In John White's book "The Fight" he mentions some college
students who came to Christ. He mentioned how that their initial
conversion seemed real enough, but that as he observed them immediately
after their coming to Christ, he said, "They seemed like an unlikely
bunch." They just didn't seem with it spiritually. Their actions
and language didn't seem to fit with those of other Christians.
What he was getting at was that these young men seemed to be more in
the world in their actions and language, than in Christ. But
they were in the Word, studying God's Word on a daily basis.
Then lo and behold when he had opportunity to observe this
same group a year later, they were transformed. He knew by observing
their actions and language that they were indeed Christians.
What happened? They simple answer. Their conversion had been genuine
enough. When God the Father draws us to Jesus (John 6:44),
he draws many of us just as we are. You're familiar with
the song, "Come as you are." But these young men studied the Word
of God, delved into it, on a daily basis. And with Jesus in them,
his Word had a transforming effect. The key for them was studying
the Word of God on a daily basis. When we're alone with God in
His Word on a daily consistent pattern, change is going to happen.
We grow in grace and knowledge. How many times have you studied
the Word of God this week? If you haven't been effectively studying
the Word of God on a daily basis, you're like a soldier without
a swordwithout his or her weapon. Without personal daily
Bible study it's like going into battle in 'Nam or Desert Storm
without your ammo clip. You have an empty gun. Someone who seeks
God is going to be in the Word daily.
Ephesians 6:17, "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword
of the Spirit, which is the word of God." The sixth article
mentioned in Ephesians 6 is the sword of the Spirit, which is
defined right there as the word of God. The word used for word here
in Greek is Rema which means a small portion of Scripture.
This denotes that a Scripture will come into your mind at a specific
time to help you fight a specific battle. Jesus Christ's prime
example of this use of the sword of the Spirit is found in Matthew
4:1-11. Each time (as we saw earlier) that Satan tempted Jesus,
Jesus countered Satan with a specific Scripture. But without being
in the Word on a consistent daily basis, over a period of time,
your mind and the Spirit of Jesus won't be able to call up the
right or appropriate Scripture needed to fight a temptation or
guide us in a questionable situation. It's that simple.
There are three ways the sword can be used:
To bring about personal growth,
To guide us,
To guard us.
Point 1. The Word of God causes growth in us when we study
it to commune with God. We as Christians are in a spiritual battle
with Satan and his world. Satan won't stop attacking us because
we don't have our sword in our hands. 2 Timothy 2: 15, "Do your
best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who
does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word
Paul has this to say about people who don't effectively gird on
their sword. Hebrews 5:11-14, "We have much to say about this,
but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact,
though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone
to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again.
You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being
still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use [i.e.
constant daily Bible studycommuning with God in His Word]
have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." You
don't learn about God just by having a Bible in the house. You
must open it, study it, and learn it. When
you study, it helps if you kneel down at first and pray, "God
I want to encounter you."
Point 2. God's Word guides us. David in one of his psalms says
it's a lamp to our feet, lighting up the path we're walking on
in life. David prayed, "Let no iniquity rule over me." God's Word
provides moral guidelines. It is for any person in any society.
The truths in God's Word are for any age. Scripture reveals God
himself. Scripture will do more than tell you a certain thing
or contemplated action is right or wrong, Scripture liberates
us. Hebrews 4:12,
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged
sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints
and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." God's
Word helps us look right into our own minds, hearts, soul, where
our attitudes are formed. Then through the indwelling of the Holy
Spirit of God, Jesus in us (John 14), the active Word of God,
the Logos, changes us, our thoughts, our attitudes and then
downstream from that, our actions!!! In my personal life,
right this morning, I had just woken up, and started to daydream
about this girl. Immediately a specific Scripture flashed into
my mind. Matthew 5:27-28, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do
not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at
a woman lustfully [and that includes mentally, daydreaming] has
already committed adultery with her in his heart." Now this Scripture
fit, because I am married. When this Scripture flashed into my
mind, I threw the daydream out of my mind and got up to make some
coffee. The sword had protected me once again, and character was
built up and not destroyed. But had I not been familiar with the
words of Jesus in Matthew 5, what would I have done? The Word
of God in us stops sin in its' tracks, before it has time to fester
and grow! [The Jews and some old covenant Christian groups celebrate
the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread. These Days of Unleavened
Bread are observed for one week, where they have to get rid of
all leavened products and keep them out of their homes and not
eat them for one week, starting at the Passover. One of the symbolic
meanings for leaven in Scripture is that it represents sin. The
Jews know this, as well as the old covenant Christian fellowships.
Leaven is all around us. It's in the air as tiny microscopic spores.
The evil broadcast of Satan is all around us also, putting sinful
thoughts into the unsuspecting simple-minded souls. The Days of
Unleavened Bread, a part of God's old covenant law, was not done
away for Christians, as many believe. They were transformed and
made active and new. The spiritual intent of the Days, the reality
of them, is lived in us whenever we cast out sinful thought and/or
actions. The Holy Days the ancient Hebrews observed, the Holy
Days observed by the Jews to this day, Paul said were a shadow
for what the Lord does in us. If you are living in the Word, and
it is active in you, you are casting out the leaven of Satan,
the spores of his evil thoughts which fill the air. He is the
prince of the power of the air, Paul said. We today can understand
better than those before us how he charges the airwaves with his
evil broadcasts. We have modern radio and television. And I don't
just mean he uses these, although he does. He broadcasts his attitudes
and even sinful thoughts into the minds of unsuspecting mankind.
So in a very real sense, these Days of Unleavened Bread are observed
by Christians, as they live in the Word of God, casting out the
leaven of Satan and his societies of man.] And it is the sword
of the Spirit, the Word of God, which and who is actively in us
performing this work. Jesus wants us to be intimately acquainted
with the process in this battle, and thus we're responsible for
putting the knowledge of God's Word within our minds. Then he,
the Logos, Jesus Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit,
will paint or illuminate a specific Scripture when it is
needed. He will not always do this if we have not effectively
placed enough Scriptural emmo in our minds. In modern warfare,
with the use of laser targeting devices, we have the term to
paint a target. This means that "recon" soldiers use invisible
lasers to paint or point out an enemy target. Then other forces "home
in" on this target and destroy it. In a much similar way, Jesus
can paint a spiritual target with a specific Scripture,
and then when we see it illuminated, we can destroy it. He did
just that this morning. Jesus, the living Logos painted up a target
in my mind with Matthew 5:27-28. Then I destroyed the target!
And that gets us into the third point. Even David pointed out
the light bearing qualities of the Word of God. Psalm 119:
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."
Point 3. God's Word will guard you. Psalm 119:9-11,33-37, 43-48, "How
can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your
word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your
commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not
sin against you Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I
will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in
the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart
toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes
away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your
word Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth, for I
have put my hope in your laws. I will always obey your law, for
ever and ever. I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought
out your precepts. I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame, for I delight in your commands because
I love them. I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love,
and I meditate on your decrees." Wow! Read the whole psalm. Then
you will come to realize why God promised that he would place
king David as resurrected immortal king over the twelve tribes
of Israel upon the return of Jesus to set up the kingdom of God
on earth! Even the twelve apostles, promised to rule each over
one tribe apiece, will have David as their immediate king over
them. Is it any wonder? A whole book of the Bible is devoted to
the precepts of God. Let's take a short look at it. Proverbs 6:20-29,
32-35. "My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake
your mother's teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten
them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when
you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will
speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is
a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life,
keeping your from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of
the wayward wife. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or
let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces
you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very
life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being
burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?
So is he who sleeps with another man's wife; no one who touches
her will go unpunished But a man who commits adultery lacks
judgment; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace
are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away; for jealousy
arouses a husband's fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes
revenge. He will not accept the bribe, however great it is."
The Word of God is another big part of revival. Hebrews 11:3, "By
faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command,
so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." God
is invisible, but he's there. He's a consuming fire. Satan our
enemy and his host of demons are there also. They are also invisible.
We are at war with a powerful invisible enemy. Our ammunition
is the Word of God. The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.
Jesus is the active living Word of God, the Logos (read John 1:1-11).
Jesus gave us an example of how the sword of the Spirit is to
be used in Matthew 4:1-11. No matter what weapon analogy you chose
to use, let's pick up our weapons, our ammo clips, and let's fight!