SHARPER THAN A SWORD

SERMONS

Hebrews 4:12-13 "For 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. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

Fruit or Famine?

Opening Thought:

Amos was a mouthpiece for God that prophesied in the days of Uzziah the king of Judah and Jeroboam II of Israel. Although Jeroboam II was an evil king, God granted good times for the people because they had no one to look to for the favor of God. However, they would misunderstand God's goodness and think that just because they were God's people and they performed extravagant worship (in error, after the first Jeroboam, who set up golden calves to worship God instead of allowing the people to go to the temple); God would not hold it against them.

During this period of time, there was much national optimism (things were good), however; greed, injustice, and hypocritical religious motions have replaced true worship and the desire for the knowledge of God. This was to cause callousness and a tolerance of idolatrous practices towards the pending wrath of a rejected God and none of the prophet's warnings seem to bring the people to a change of heart.

Regardless, Amos would lash out at the sinful people and attempt to awaken them through the promise of the nearness of God's wrath in order to mobilize the nation to repentance.

The prophet would proclaim that God had brought them out of captivity and blessed them in their own land with rain and harvests, to include the blessings of His teaching and direction. However, instead of worship, adoration, and righteousness, and instead of love and concern for one another, they had become cruel, selfish, and rebellious. They allowed themselves to be deceived by the things that God had done for them. They concluded that since He was their God and that they were His people and that they had been so extravagant in their offerings and worship; surely in spite of their half hearted efforts and refusal to put away vain things, He would bless them (Wrong!).

There are two significant messages that we derive from the word of God through Amos. First ; that individuals are obligated to live up to the light and knowledge granted them . Second ; the most elaborate worship is but an insult to God when offered by those who have no mind to conform to His commands .

Amos would predict a time that there would be a famine of the word of God, note:

Amos 8:11 -12 "Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord God , "That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water,

But of hearing the words of the Lord . 12 They shall wander from sea to sea,

And from north to east; They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord , But shall not find it.”

Added to the terrible proclamation of national judgment described is a famine of the word of God. As they had now rejected and trampled underfoot His word, in the hopelessness of their future condition God will not respond to their cry for a message from Him. They will be left to stumble within themselves, never having developed a love for the truth or a desire to walk therein . Sound familiar?

This is virtually the exact same wording used by the Apostle Paul to describe the great apostasy, note:

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

The lawless one is the son of perdition described back in verse three. An explanation of this individual is put forth in verse four, note:

(4) “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God , showing himself that he is God.”

Although these lying individuals would come and teach vain things against the true authority of Jesus Christ, it would only be successful because Christians would not develop a love for the truth and thus never developing a desire to walk therein!

 

Problem:

There exists in the church today an equal famine for the word of God and the desire to walk therein. There are a vast amount of illustrations concerning the servant of God producing fruit (righteous behavior, produced through the word); we will deal with this momentarily. However, fruit can never be produced when there is a famine for the word of God!

 

A seed cannot grow under conditions that are contrary to its survival!

 

Bible classes have half the attendance of worship services (sometimes worse); home Bible study is almost non-existent. The result is that there are fewer Bible teachers; a degradation of worship offered (there is more to worship than an appearance during the service), fewer who are able to defend the truth, and consequently error overtaking the church.

 

Lesson:

The only way to overcome this depletion in the production of fruit for the Lord is offered in the following three points:

 I. We must Desire the Word.

1 Peter 1:22-25 “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because

"All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the L ord endures forever."

Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

(2:1-3) Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word , that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

Peter is writing to Christians of the dispersion and would refer to them as pilgrims and sojourners (temporary residents, see 1:1-2 ; 2:11 ). These were Christians of Jewish origin who had heeded Apostolic warning of the pending destruction of Jerusalem ( 4:7 ; 12 ; 17 ; II Peter 3 ), and due to their new surroundings were going to be observed very closely ( 2:11 -12 ). In this text, Peter is going to remind them of what it was that they were born to, and what it was they were going to have to desire in order to fulfill their obligations to produce fruit.

Since they were born of the incorruptible seed of the word of God (past tense), it was this that they were going to have to desire. The concept of desiring the word as newborn babes is not just the idea of new Christians needing the word to grow (although this is true as well), but we need to understand that these were not new Christians. The fact is that they were to desire the word of God with the same passion and nature of a newborn; who at this stage knows very little else but the desire for food!

 

 II. We Must Consider Our Journey.

Since Peter referred to these Christians as pilgrims and sojourners, I believe that he also had it in mind that they were temporary residents, not just in a different nation, but on earth as well.

Now consider carefully the words of Paul to the church in Christ at Colossi. He is going to explain to them their need to produce fruit by the knowledge of Christ's will! This teaches God's expectations !!!!

Colossians 1:9-11 “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy ;”

Note, that not only were they to be fruitful in every good work (which teaches us that we are to never be satisfied in our knowledge of His will, but that we are to continue to learn the things that we are both good at and the things we are not), but that there were certain graces that were to accompany our production.

However, Paul would not leave this instruction here; without further edification. After a brief doctrinal exhortation in chapter two , he would begin the third chapter with a look at the entire journey we are to make in this life as His children, note:

Colossians 3:1-4 “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

 

Were: In the first verse, Paul begins his instruction at the beginning of the new life of a Christian, with a review of a proposition he has already discussed (raised with Christ), note: ( 2:11-13) “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God , who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,”

Since we were raised with Him, the command is to seek those things which are above. Since all scripture is God breathed, it is of a heavenly origin ( II Timothy 3:16 -17; II Peter 1:19 -21 ), it is in the word of God that we seek those things which are above. Isn't the instruction to seek, and set our minds on things above, a command and not a request?

 

Is: Paul now brings his instruction to a present state. In the life of these Christians (your life is hidden with Christ in God); the concept of a life that is hidden in Christ, is not that it is secluded from the rest of the world, but wrapped up in Christ. This is the idea that everything we do is built upon the instructions of Christ. This has application in all aspects of our life and worship of God (attendance. Prayer, study, love, work, and pattern of life). However, a life wrapped up in Christ cannot exist, without a love for the truth and a continuous filling of the knowledge of His will.

 

When: Paul will finish this exhortation with what every Christian should be looking forward to (our hope), our appearing with Him in glory! If we do not have a love for the truth, and a desire to produce fruit, our labor towards this goal is vain!

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord .”

 

 III. We Must Heed the Prophetic Warnings.

Hebrews 10:26-31 “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The Lord will judge His people." 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Consider these Hebrew Christians. Because of persecution and a lack of dedication to the word of God ( 5:12-14 ; 10:33-34 ), many had drawn back to perdition, completely forsaking the assembling together and the love and good works that such assembling produces.

Can there be a more moving statement than, “ Vengeance is Mine ” and “ The Lord will judge His people ”.

 

Summary:

Hebrews 10:36 “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:”

 

We cannot do what we do not know!

We cannot know what we do not learn!

We cannot learn what we do not have an interest in!

We cannot have an interest in that which we have no commitment for!

All this equals a famine for the word of God!

 

Revive us again, our Father! That we may produce the blessed fruit of righteousness, in an unfeigned love of the truth. Renew our spirit of vitality in the face of the world's temptation, that we may display our love for your word in our lives, in Christ's Name. Amen!

Hebrews 10:39 “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.”

Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God .”

 

Create An Environment (In You) for the Growth of Spiritual Fruit