The Importance of the Word of God
John 10.3-5 – The watchman opens the door for this man, and the sheep listen to his voice andheed it; and he calls his own sheep by name and brings (leads) them out. When he has brought his own sheep outside, he walks on before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will never [on any account] follow a stranger, but will run away from him because they do not know the voice of strangers orrecognize their call.
Is your Church preaching and expounding on the Word of God?
Beware of false teachers and doctrine that presents in abstract ideas, visions, dreams, experiences, and feelings, containing oft-repeated ethereal vernacular, posting themselves as the “elite” of God, focusing on people, books and music…
Focus instead on the Word of God, which will outlast the heavens and the earth, which never returns void but accomplishes what it set forth to do, which reveals the heart and purpose of God, which when you meditate on it will make your ways prosperous and is the path to good success. The Word will set you free, and if you study it you will never be ashamed. It was in the beginning, and will judge you in the last days. God’s Word is what brings us to repentance and is the power of God demonstrated, although it is foolishness to men. It is written so that people may believe and have life in the Name of Jesus and no God and His will.
Satan’s question to us today is the same as at the beginning: Has God really said? So many false apostles and false teachers invade the Church to masquerade as servants of righteousness to exploit and take advantage of people by teaching a different and false gospel, a different Jesus and a different Spirit, disguised as “angels of light” – our only defense is as Jesus’ was when the devil twisted the word –
The Holy Spirit wields no sword but the Word of God, which is mighty through God.
Give me a preacher who is preaching the Word of God, or give me no preacher at all. I love what Charles Spurgeon said in 1891, which many would do well to hear today, as a “famine of the Word of God” prevails in the pulpit – I share this so you can read and grow.
The Word, we say, is the only sword which the Spirit uses. I know the Holy Ghost uses gracious sermons; but it is only in proportion as they have the Word of God in them. I know the Holy Ghost uses religious books; but only so far as they are the Word of God told out in other language. Conviction, conversion, and consolation still are wrought, and only by the Word of God.
In contending against the powers of darkness, “The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.” “It is written” is his master-stroke. Words which God has spoken by holy men of old, and has caused to be recorded on the sacred page—these are the battle-axe and weapons of war of his Spirit. This Book [the Bible] contains the Word of God, and is the Word of God; and this it is which the Holy Ghost judges to be so effectual a weapon against evil that he uses this, and this only, as his sword in the great conflict with the powers of darkness.
The ministers of the gospel may preach God’s Word in all sincerity and purity, and yet, if the Spirit of God be not present, we might as well have preached mere moral essays, for no good can come of our testimony. The Holy Ghost rides in the chariot of Scripture, and not in the wagon of modern thought. The Spirit of God worketh in, by, and through, and with the Word; and if we keep to that Word, we may rest assured that the Holy Ghost will keep with us, and make our testimony to be a thing of power. Let us pray the blessed Spirit to put an edge on our preaching, lest we say much and accomplish little.
It is “the sword of the Spirit” because he alone can instruct us in the use of it. You think, young man, that you can pick up your Bible, and go and preach from it at once, properly and successfully. You have made a presumptuous mistake. A sword is a weapon which may do hurt to the man who flourishes with it in mere wanton pride. No one can handle the sword of the Spirit aright save the chosen man whom God hath ordained from before the foundation of the world, and trained in feats of arms. By this the elect of God are known—that they love the Word of God, and they have a reverence for it, and discern between it and the words of man. Notice the lambs in the field, just now; and there may be a thousand ewes and lambs; but every lamb finds out its own mother. So does a true-born child of God know where to go for the milk which is to nourish his soul. The sheep of Christ know the Shepherd’s voice in the Word, and a stranger will they not follow, for they know not the voice of strangers. God’s own people have discernment to discover and relish God’s own Word. They will not be misled by the cunning craftiness of human devices. Saints know the Scriptures by inward instinct. The holy life, which God has infused into believers by his Spirit, loves the Scriptures, and learns how to use them for holy purposes. Young soldier, you must go to the training-ground of the Holy Spirit to be made a proficient swordsman. You will go in vain to the metaphysician or to the logician; for neither of these knows how to handle a spiritual weapon. In other arts they may be masters; but in the sacred use of diving theology they are mere fools. In the things of the Word we are dunces till we enter the school of the Holy Ghost. He must take of the things of Christ, and show them unto us. He must teach us how to grip this sword by faith, and how to hold it by watchfulness, so as to parry the adversary’s thrust, and carry the war into the foeman’s territory. He is well taught who can swing this great two-handed sword to and fro, and mow a lane through the midst of his opponents, and come out a conqueror at the end. It may take a long time to learn this art; but we have a right skillful Teacher. Those of us who have been in this warfare thirty or forty years feel that we have not yet reached the full use of this sword; nay, I know for one, that I need daily to be taught how to use this mysterious weapon, which is capable of so much more than I have yet supposed. It is the sword of the Spirit, adapted for the use of an Almighty arm, and therefore equal to the doing of far more than we think. Holy Spirit, teach us now feats of arms by this thy sword!
Dear brethren, is it not a very high honor put upon you, as soldiers of the cross, that you should be allowed, nay, commanded to take the sword of the Spirit? The raw recruit is not trusted with the general’s sword; but here are you armed with the weapon of God the Holy Ghost, and called upon to bear that sacred sword which is so gloriously wielded by the Lord God himself. This we are to bear, and no other. Does the timid heart enquire, “Wherewithal, my Master, shall I meet my adversaries”? “Here,” saith the Holy Ghost, “take this! This is my own sword; I have done great marvels with it; take it, and nothing shall stand against you.” When you remember the potency of this sword, when the Spirit tests it upon yourself, you may take it with confidence, and use it in your holy war with full assurance. That Word of God which could convert you, can convert anybody; if it could kill your despair, it can remove another man’s despondency; if it has conquered your pride and self-will, it can subdue the like in your children and your neighbors. Having done what it has certainly done for you, you may have a full persuasion that, before its power, no case is hopeless. Wherefore, see to it, that you use from this day forth no other weapon than the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit; but IT IS ALSO TO BE OUR SWORD.
Here I must begin again, and go over much the same ground. We shall need a sword. Our warfare is not child’s play: we mean business. We have to deal with fierce foes, who are only to be met with keen weapons. Buffets will not suffice in this contest; we must come to sword-cuts. You may be of a very quiet spirit, but your adversaries are not so. If you attempt to play at Christian warfare, they will not. To meet the powers of darkness is no sham battle. They mean mischief. Nothing but your eternal damnation will satisfy the fiendish hearts of Satan and his crew. You must take not so much a flag to unfurl, or a drum to beat, as a sword to use, and a specially sharp sword too. In this combat you will have to use a sword such as even evil spirits can feel, capable of dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow. If you are to live through this fight, and come off victorious, no form of conflict will suffice less sharp and cutting than sword-work. Depend upon it that in this struggle you will be forced to come to close quarters. The foe aims at your heart, and pushes home. A spear will not do, nor bow and arrow; the enemy is too near for anything but hand-to-hand fighting. Brethren, our foes are not only of our house, but of our heart. I find an enemy within which is always near, and I cannot get away from him. I find that my antagonist will get his hand on my throat if he can. If our foes were far away, and we could play upon them with artillery which would kill at six or seven miles’ distance, we might lead a pretty easy life. But no; they are here! At our doors! Yea, within us; nearer than hands and feet. Now for the short sword: the claymore of Holy Scripture, to stab and cut, near and now. No sling and stone will avail us here, but we must take the sword. You have to slay your foe, or your foe will slay you! There is no room for peace: it is war to the knife, not only now, but to life’s end.
The use of the sword is needful for attack. I have reminded you several times already that it will not suffice for the Christian to guard against sin, and ward off temptation from himself; he has to assail the powers of evil. In our case, the best method of defense is an attack. I have heard of one who would bring an action in law to gain his ends, for he thought this better than being the defendant. That may be matter of question; but in war it is often safer to assail than defend. Carry the warfare into the enemy’s territory. Be trying to win from the adversary, and he will not win so much from you. Do not merely be sober yourselves, but attack drunkenness. Do not be content with being from superstition yourself, but expose it wherever it appears. Do not merely be devout when you feel obliged to be so, but pray for the growth of the kingdom; pray always. Do not merely say, “I will keep Satan out of my family by bringing up my children aright”, but go to the Sunday-school, and teach other children, and so carry the war over the border. God forbid that we should ever go to war as a nation! But if we were at war with some nation on the Continent, I should certainly say, “Let the continentals have the battles on their own ground: we do not want a campaign over here.” It is wise to keep the war in the enemy’s own regions. If we had fought the devil more in the world, he might never have been able to invade the church so terribly as he has done. Attack with the sword, for it is your calling, and thus will you best defend yourself.
We need the sword for real fighting. Do you think that you can dream yourselves into heaven? or ride there in the chariot of ease? Or fly on the wings of brass music? You make a great mistake if you so imagine. A real war is raging, your opponents are in deadly earnest, and you must take your sword.
And, further, we need this sword: this sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. We say with David, “There is none like that; give it me.” It has wrought such wonders that we prefer it to all others. No other will match the enemy’s weapon. If we fight the devil with human reason, the first time our wooden sword comes in contact with a Satanic temptation it will be cut in pieces. If you do not wield a true Jerusalem blade you are in grave peril; your weapon will break off at the hilt, and where will you be? Standing defenceless, with nothing but the handle of a broken sword in your hand, you will be the object of your adversary’s ridicule. You must have this sword, for no other will penetrate the foe, and no other will last out the battle. After twenty years, what has become of the pious resolutions of your youth? What is the staying power of your consecration made in the hour of enthusiasm? Alas, how little trust can be placed in it! What would become of us after thirty years of fighting, if we had not the Word of God to rely upon? The Word of the Lord endureth for ever; but nothing else does. We may do well in early days, but we shall fail in old age if we have not eternal verities to fall back upon.
I can commend this sword to you all, my brethren, although you are so varied in character. This sword suits every hand. Youth or age may alike use this weapon. These dear girls from the Orphanage, and yonder lads from the Bible-class, may fight the battle of their youth with the Word of God; for Holy Scripture may impress and guide our freshest life. You that have grown grey, you that have passed seventy or eighty, you will value the Bible more than ever, and you will find that this sword is the best for veteran warriors. Young men and young women, here is a sword suited for all of you, and well does it become the hand of the feeblest and the gentlest. The Holy Ghost has in the sacred Word prepared an implement of warfare suited for great minds and small, for the cultured and the uneducated. A wonderful sword this is, which, in the hand of faith, reveals an adaptation marvellous to the last degree.
Whatever others may say, it is sufficient for us that this is the regulation sword. A soldier is not left to choose his own equipment; he must carry such arms as his sovereign appoints. This is the regulation sword in Christ’s army. The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, is what you are bidden to take; and if you in wilfulness resolve to exchange it for another, you commit an act of rebellion, and you make the change at your own risk and peril. Come, then, let us each one take the Word of God, and carry it nearer our hearts than ever; for such is the word of command, “Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.“
Now, see what we are told to do. We need a sword; we need this sword; we are to take this sword. Note that we are not told that we may lay it down: the demand to take the sword is continuous, and there is no hint of its being suspended. There is a time, of course, when the soldier of her Majesty may remove his sword from his side, and put off his regimentals; there is never such a time with a Christian. One might have thought, from what we have seen of late, that orders had come from headquarters that the soldiers were to lay down the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and take to lighter weapons. Entertainments, amusements, farces, and sing-song are now used to do what the gospel has failed to achieve! Is it not sadly so? Well, if any will try these silly toys, I can only say that they have no command from their Lord to warrant them in their proceedings. Take all these things, and see what they will do; but you make the trial at your own risk, and on your own heads the result of failure will fall.
Once more, we are to take this sword with a purpose.We are to use it that we may be able to stand and to withstand. If you want to stand, draw the sword, and smite your doubts. How fiercely unbelief assails! Here comes a doubt as to your election. Pierce it through with the Word. Anon comes a doubt as to the precious blood. Cleave it from head to foot with the assurance of the Word that the blood of Jesus cleanseth us from all sin. Here comes another doubt, and yet another. As quick as arm can move, drive texts of Scripture through every new fallacy, every new denial of truth, and spit the whole of them upon the rapier of the Word. It will be for your good to kill these doubts outright. Do not play with them, but fight them in real earnest. You will find that temptations also will come in hordes. Meet them with the precepts of sacred Writ, and slay even the desire of evil by the Spirit’s application of the Holy Word. The washing of water by the Word is a glorious cleanser. Discouragements will arise like mists of the morning. Oh, that God’s Word may shine them away with the beams of the promises! Your afflictions multiply, and you will never be able to overcome impatience and distrust except by the infallible Word of God. You can bear trial, and bear it patiently, if you use this weapon to kill anxiety. You will “stand fast in the evil day”, and having done all, you will still stand, if this sword be in your hand.
You have not only to stand fast yourselves, but you have to win souls for Christ. Do not try to conquer sin in others, or capture a heart for Jesus, except with the sword of the Spirit. How the devil laughs when we try to make converts apart from Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit! He laughs, I say; for he derides our folly. What can you do, you children, playing with your little wooden swords—what can you do against men covered from head to foot with the steel mail of the habit of sin? Sunday-school teachers, teach your children more and more the pure Word of God; and preachers, do not try to be original, but be content to take of the things of Christ, and show them to the people; for that is what the Holy Ghost himself does; and you will be wise to use his method and his sword. No sinner around you will be saved except by the knowledge of the great truths contained in the Word of God. No man will ever be brought to repentance, to faith, and to life in Christ, apart from the constant application of the truth through the Spirit. I hear great shouting, great noises everywhere, about great things that are going to be done: let us see them. The whole world is going to be embraced within the church; so they say. I fear the world will not be much the better for inclusion in such a church. Big boasters should heed the word of the wise man, “Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.” If the champion goeth forth with any other sword than the Word of God, he had better not boast at all; for he will come back with his sword broken, his shield cast away, and himself grimy with dishonor. Defeat awaits that man who forsakes the Word of the Lord.
(Spurgeon quote taken from http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/2201.htm)