Need for God’s Word
This morning I was overwhelmed by my need… a critical need, for God’s Word… I need it like I need a drink of living water… And every time approaching them prayerfully, asking God to guide and direct my study. And in the same breath remembering the need to pray for each other, regardless of circumstance.
When approaching God’s Word I am overwhelmed by their authority in my life. I study them prayerfully, asking God to guide and direct my thoughts as I read that I might gain what he has for me each day.
This morning after my prayers I listened to a sermon on YouTube, by Martyn Lloyd Jones. He is a British preacher that lived from 1900 to 1985. It was a sermon on Romans 10:9-10, titled “Jesus is Lord”. These are powerful verses and this morning the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to focus on something different than usual. Most of us know these verses very well, if not by heart…
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
But as usual, I had to look at the whole passage and get a better understanding of the context. So, I read from verse 5-21. This whole passage is powerful. It speaks of preaching the good news and how powerful that is. But there were two verses that hit me hard. They kind of surround a question and answer that Paul poses in this chapter.
One was verse 11 at the beginning of that passage and the other is verse 17 that for me closed the passage.
11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Authority of God’s Word
As I read this passage over and over I am convicted of how critical it is to hold fast to God’s Word. The first half of verse 11 got my attention… “For the Scripture says”. Now that is so simple, but it is also so foundational. The first thing that Paul does is define where his authority comes from, and it is the Holy Word of God.
He does not simply say, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame” (verse 11b) as if it were by his authority. He draws on the scriptures. He quotes Isaiah 28 and Psalm 118. It is not Paul saying this it is the Word of God.
Power of Preaching
Then Paul makes this case for preaching in verses 14-17. I love verse 14
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
I am filled with joy that I have heard and I do hear every Sunday the preaching of the Gospel, but there is this one thing that makes it good and true and that is defined in verse 17.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (emphasis added)
The most important part of that verse to me is the last half… Surely, “faith comes by hearing”, but hearing what? Well, it is the same thing that Paul said in verse 11. The phrasing was different, but the meaning was the same. The hearing must come “through the word of Christ” (verse 17b). And that Word is the Holy Scriptures… the Bible… The living Word of God.
It is not enough to simply find a Church and sit and listen to a man preach. I have an obligation to test his teaching against what is written in the Bible. The Holy Word of God is the truth and the light against which we measure everything.
Testing What we Hear
If I do not believe it all why do I bother with any of it? If my opinion outweighs what is written in even one sentence of the scriptures how can I stand on any of it.
As I consider this passage I give thanks for my preacher, Terry Cooper, at Ninevah Christian Church because he not only preaches from the Word but he gives me the scriptures to confirm where his sermons came from. He not only provides the passages, but he asks us to test his teaching against God’s Word.
As I finish this up this morning all I can do is run over the wonder of God’s Word. The passage that keeps running through my head is John 11:1-5
“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
I can hardly get my head around all of this sometimes. But the Holy Spirit helps me with what I need from the Word. He gives me discernment and understanding. Above all I know this; that Jesus died for me, and how do I know? The Bible tells me so. And that all just gives me a hunger to know the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… through the Word.