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.

Weightier Matters

Part IV

Holding Fast the Word of Life  

“You can't see the forest for the trees!” This has been a saying that has represented those who were unable to recognize the important priorities in things since I was a boy and I am sure long before that. As we discussed in our introduction, the Jews of Jesus' time were guilty of this saying. They had prioritized their own pride, wisdom, and righteousness instead of the weightier matters of the Law (justice, mercy, and faith).

The similarities in the situation of the Jews and the religious practices concerning Christianity today have prompted us to try to dig into some of the weightier matters that we should be focused on today (just scratching the surface, but developing an idea of the importance in seeking God's wisdom over our own). To this end, we have been examining the Apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians. This was a church surrounded by and influenced by Roman culture, paganism, intellectualism, and immorality! Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Yet, Paul's instructions did not prioritize the ability of these Christians to rebuild the Lord's church; restructure the church to resemble the influences surrounding them; to rely on their own wisdom to maintain a co-existing relationship with the world, or to disregard the word of God as lacking the wisdom necessary to overcome their specific problems or needs.

To the contrary! The specific instructions to this church that was successfully navigating through the influences that surrounded them, was actually the opposite of what are causing many of the perversions in the church today.

•  They were to take individual responsibility for their own salvation and the sanctity that such a life demanded.
•  They were not to be an undermining force against the foundations laid by our Lord to satisfy their own pride or weakness.
•  Finally, the last point the Apostle to the Gentiles would record and the focus of this lesson; they were to hold fast the word of life !

 

Text:

Philippians 2:12-16 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling ; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing , 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life , so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”

 

When I lived in New Mexico , we had a neighbor that had a busted sewer line that went out to the street. It was winter, and that meant it was cold. He knew the work of digging up the line was going to be hard and problematic. So he called the city and tried to blame them in an attempt to get them to do the work. When that didn't work, he called the county and came up with the same result. He then tried to blame the original contractor that had installed the lines thirteen years earlier, to no avail! It was on his property, the maintenance of the system was his responsibility.

Today's Christian seems to be like this man. They want what God has to offer through Christ Jesus, yet, they want everyone else to do it for them, or every other way than what God has revealed to do it. However, when it comes right down to it, they and they alone are responsible!

 

The only way that Christians are going to survive in a crooked and perverse generation is to hold fast the word of life !

 

 I. What This Does Not Mean !

When my kids were small, it never failed that the birthday gifts that my wife would buy them, had some assembly required ! Well! As many of you can probably relate, there were adequate instructions, however, I tried to assemble it without the instructions anyway! Hours later and frustrated by the results, I would go back to the instructions and assemble the toy correctly (the very reason the instructions were there, get it?).

Holding fast the word of life does not mean doing what we want to do and claiming to be a disciple of the Lord! This only results in our not being put together adequately!

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.”

James 1:25 “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

2 Peter 1:9 “For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”

 

Holding fast the word of truth does not mean only adhering to the parts you like! The power of the word of God lies in the ability it has to transform you from the lowly, sinful, and weak person that you were apart from God, into the image of total completeness through the power of Jesus Christ. This really means that you must particularly adhere to the parts you don't find easy, as this is the areas that need transformation the most.

2 Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed , rightly dividing the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete , thoroughly equipped for every good work .”

 

Holding fast the word of life does not mean knowledge without application. Holding onto something requires more than the knowledge to grab hold of the rope. It also requires the wisdom to apply leverage, grip, and strength. This is also true of the child of God in Christ! There is the expectation that we not only know what the Lord expects of us, but that we are doing everything in our power to achieve it.

Titus 2:11 -12 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that , denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly , righteously , and godly in the present age ,”

 

 II. What it Does Mean.

In stark contrast to the previously mentioned items, holding fast the word of life does mean that we:

•  Seek It.

First, this requires that we recognize that the wisdom of God, revealed in His holy word, is greater than our own and we humble ourselves to it.

Proverbs 9:10 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

1 Corinthians 3:19 “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their own craftiness"

James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

Second, is that we spend time with the word of God everyday!

Psalm 1:2 “But his delight is in the law of the L ord , And in His law he meditates day and night.”

Third; taking every advantage of every opportunity to study with others. This allows us to admonish and be admonished, to teach and be taught, and to encourage and be encouraged.

Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works”

 

•  Do It.

There is an evident danger in being a hearer and not a doer of the word of life. The world and the church have enough Pharisees (they say, but they don't do – Matthew 23:3 ). Only through consistent demonstration can we teach the world the value of the will of God in Christ!

James 1:22-25 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

 

•  Teach It.

A natural by-product of the Christian, who is properly motivated and actively engaged in the work of the Lord, is to “proclaim the praises of Him who called us” ( I Peter 2:9 ).

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 III. The Final Conclusion.

We should now have removed all doubt concerning what is truly necessary for the Christian and the Lord's church to know and do in order to survive in a cooked and perverse generation:

 

To this end, each Christian can overcome and the church can prosper (not by the standards of men, but of God). Then we will be able to say, like Paul:

Philippians 3:8-11 “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

 

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