Scripture: Convicting, Convincing, Changing

Confluence October 23, 2017

One of our core values as a family of churches on a mission together is our confidence in the authority of God’s word and its importance to us as followers of Christ. This is expressed in our values statement that describes what a Newfrontiers church is like: “A church where regular teaching and preaching of the Bible holds a primary role and where Scripture’s authority if final.” But this is more than a statement about church doctrine. It expresses how we live as God’s people.

I [John Lanferman] was nineteen years old and in college when I personally discovered the power and life of the Bible.  One day a compelling thought seemed to take over my mind while I was in prayer.  I was overwhelmed with guilt, as I seemed to reflect on how selfish my life and prayers had been.  Most of my praying seemed to be centered on petitions for God to assist me in some way.  I opened the Bible and instantly my eyes fell on a scripture that seemed to me to be highlighted in bold print.  “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15,16)  Those verses became alive and personally directed at me in my then present turmoil.  I was liberated as instantly my guilt was lifted and praise filled my heart.  I now know those thoughts of guilt were from Satan, my accuser.  However, the word of God set me free.  God’s word was penetrating and powerful, alive and giving life to me.

In the previous verse (Hebrews 4:12) the writer expresses the power of the word of God.  “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  I certainly found these words regarding the word of God true on that day and everyday since.

The word of God is not like reading any other book, for it is “living” and relevant to each culture, person and situation.  It is God-breathed.

The word of God is not only living but also “powerful” in that it can transform us. On that day, at age nineteen, I discovered that God’s word could reach out and touch me at the point of my need and bring transformation and renewal to my mind.  The word of God is so powerful that Isaiah says God’s word shall not return to Him empty, but will accomplish His purposes and succeeds in the thing for which He sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

The word of God “pierces” with such sharpness that it pierces to the point of “division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)  The word of God opens up our inner life with sharp, objective truth.  It exposes our inner selves and obliterates inner deception.  The word of God reaches the deepest part of who we are.  Many people can testify of the word of God’s penetrating power in that even in their most hardened condition it has pierced them convicting, converting, and changing them in an instant.

The word of God is a “discerner” of our thoughts and motivations.  The word comes with such power that our hearts are exposed.  With our hearts exposed and our need so apparent, we also encounter His mercy and grace to help in time of need.  That was my testimony as a nineteen-year-old college student.  Being filled with the shame of my own selfishness I discovered, through the word of God, a high priest in Jesus who understood my weakness and invited me to His throne of grace to receive his mercy.  In that moment I encountered the transforming power of the word of God and I found comfort in His word: “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives life.” (Ps. 119:50)

DL Moody said, “The scriptures were not given for our information but our transformation.”  I urge you to daily discover the life-giving, powerful, penetrating and transforming power of the word of God.

 

Source: Confluence Blog (Newfrontiers USA)

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