Pastor's Piece - The Living Word
by Dr Barry Wright
The Living Word - The Importance of God's Word to us
The Bible is one of the most remarkable books ever written and is found to be unlike any other. Even though it is composed of sixty-six separate manuscripts it is able to stand on its own as a harmonious whole. In its pages one may read a continuous record of thousands of years of history and find within it a sure guide for the times to come.
This guidance for the future was confirmed by the apostle Paul when he wrote in Romans 15: 4 (NIV) that 'For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.'
Further, the author of the book of Hebrews also claimed that the Scriptures were the 'living word'. He says in Hebrews 4: 12 (NKJV) that '…the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.'
When the Word of God is given its proper place in our lives and when it is studied, allowing it to become an integral part of our daily living, then it becomes a living active force. This, in turn, can renew in us a right spirit and can create in the life a new heart. History shows that whenever individuals or nations are prepared to give the Scriptures its rightful place, both have prospered spiritually.
This principle is well illustrated in the life of one young man who lived over 400 years ago. There are very few royal figures that have accomplished so much in a short lifetime than that of young Edward VI, the son of Henry VIII. Born in 1537, Edward died in 1553, not quite reaching his sixteenth birthday. However, at the age of nine he succeeded his father to the throne of England and it was during this short reign of approximately six years that history was made.
It all began at his coronation ceremony that was held in Westminster Abbey on February 20, 1547. As he walked in procession to Westminster Hall, Edward noticed that three officers of state were bearing three special swords. On asking them what they represented he was told that they symbolised the three kingdoms that were united under the crown of England.
His immediate reaction to this information was to tell them that there was one kingdom missing. He ordered them to take the large pulpit Bible from the Abbey lectern where it was held and be carried in front of the symbols of earthly power. This powerful example from a nine-year old boy was to establish the place of God's word for all time and became the tradition for all the subsequent coronation services that were to be held in the kingdom from that time forth.
The Word of God should always be given pre-eminence in our witness to those around us and this was to be seen right back at Pentecost when the disciples in Acts 8: 4 '…went everywhere preaching the word.' Because the truth of God's Word is as sharp as a two-edged sword it is able to cut its way through to the sinful heart of mankind.
We also have the assurance about God's Word given by the prophet Isaiah in Isa 40: 8 where He says that 'The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.'
History shows that the Word of God has stood the test throughout the centuries and in more recent times archaeological finds and discoveries of ancient manuscripts have shed even greater light on its authenticity.
While the Bible remains firm, earthly things are constantly changing. Whole generations have passed off the stage of life in just a few short years. Even in our own time empires, kingdoms and republics that seemed like solid rock have vanished from the scene. Systems of philosophy, ways of thinking and living and religious customs all seemed to fade into the forgotten past.
Like the grass, like the flowers, human ideas, human works and even human beings themselves, all fade away. In this world of change where everything earthly bears the marks of decay we have a special promise found in Isa 40: 8 that says: 'The word of our God shall stand forever.' We may build our hope upon the impregnable rock of Holy Scripture, the eternal Word of God. Malachi 3: 6 makes this clear when it says that 'I am the Lord, I change not.'
God's word not only stands; it abides as His memorial and monument and also as a reminder through all the years and months and days to come. The inspired Word of God speaks volumes to any who will read and follow it. There you can find a word of peace for the time of danger, a word of comfort during times of bereavement and loss giving light during times of utter darkness.
We always need to remember that '…the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.'
Today we need to let the living Word become a part of our lives and truly set us free.
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