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.

Word or Deed

Colossians 3:17

“And whatever you do in word or deed ,

do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

 

The Apostle to the Gentiles describes to the church at Colossi the character of the new man in Christ Jesus. This new man in Christ bears the graces mentioned in verses 12-15 . These graces are achieved by letting the word of God dwell in you richly and by sharing it with others ( 3:16 ). However, most importantly this indwelling of the word of God in your lives in knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual understanding; it must exist in the new man in both word and deed ( 1:9-10 ; 3:17 ). Both are a production of the heart and will betray you if they do not match that which you claim to be!

 

There is an old saying; “That which is perfected by prayer, should be punctuated by practice” (author unknown). How often do we fail to apply this principle in the church and our individual service to the Lord? We pray for the unsaved souls; yet, never go to them with the word. We pray for the Lord to bless the scriptural work of the church; yet, find a dozen excuses not to do our part for its success. We pray for a sinning brother; yet, never go to him and attempt to exhort him back into the fold. We pray for wisdom; yet, invest little or no extra time in study.

 

What does God reveal concerning this stalemate of personal reluctance and what can we do to regain spiritual concern and the desire for personal involvement?

 

 I. Realize the Danger of Empty Service.

The great prophet Isaiah came to the people of Judah during the reign of the kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. The name Isaiah means “God is Salvation” and his ministry lasted approx. 40 years. The first 39 chapters of his book are filled with statements of judgment upon the immoral and idolatrous men of both Judah and the surrounding nations. God would not allow such blatant sin to go unpunished. In the opening chapter of his book; Isaiah would condemn the ritualistic and empty worship of the people of Judah . They prayed great and swelling prayers to God, they practiced extravagant worship ceremonies, and they offered the best they had in sacrifice. However, it was empty to God because they practiced vulgar and evil things in their lives. They were classified in there daily lives right along with Sodom and Gomorrah (read: Isaiah 1:10-14 ).

What we have in this illustration is a pure picture of hypocrisy! When they came together they offered to God, yet their hearts were far from Him ( Vs.13 ). Note what God would say concerning their prayers to Him:

Isaiah 1:15 “When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you ; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear . Your hands are full of blood.”

When Isaiah came prophesying to Judah , times were basically good. Economically, Judah was sound and the people had much. Their impasse of personal reluctance was born in their relish of the physical and their poor prudence to invest in their need for God and His great providence. This would eventually manifest itself in their complete destruction and captivity (in the same way it manifested itself to their brethren in the northern tribes).

What message then did Isaiah bring them? What were the words of God that were spoken by this mouthpiece, that they should heed and avoid the continued fall from grace, note:

Isaiah 1:16-20 "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good ; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.

18 "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the Lord ,

"Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; 20 But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword"; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

 

Learn to do good !” Keep in mind that the prophet did not condemn the people because they came together to worship, sacrifice, and pray. He condemned them because they were hypocritical in doing so. They had no intention of doing the will of God, they had no intention of helping their brothers, and they had no intention in fulfilling what they prayed for!

The instruction from God is simple, “put away your evil doing” , and “learn to do good” .

 

What we have learned thus far: The people of God can violate the righteousness of God even if they are faithful in attendance of worship services; even if they pray; even if they sing; and even if they present themselves as living sacrifices, if their hearts are hypocritical in the production of righteousness by what they do or don't do! A child of God is not a part time work ! Remember our opening statement from the Apostle Paul; Whatever you do in word or deed .

 

 II. The Fruit of Heavenly Wisdom.

We became Christians because we saw the value and love of God on our behalf! We found significance in the salvation of God and the ability to remove the burden of our guilt in sin. Our lives found new meaning and joy in the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Many of us have lost sight and once again are allowing the world to occupy the majority of our time and interests (all of us are guilty of this to some degree). Is this wise? Is this the wisdom that we obeyed and found solace in?

Can we re-gain the wisdom from the above and allow it to reign in our lives over the world?

YES!!!

We can be victors in the fight! We can repent and overcome the power of this world!

 

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Colossi, which we visited in our opening, also told them that they should set their minds on things above in an effort to put behind them their earthly desires that distract them, note:

Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

 

The letter of James is a letter of practical exhortations (a call for Christians to practice what they know is right!). At the end of his strict warning concerning the damage that can be caused by an uncontrolled tongue, he would set straight the difference in the wisdom of this world verses the wisdom that comes from above, note:

James 3:13-18 “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

 

Earthly Wisdom: This is described by the discontent in the good fortune or excellence of others; selfish ambition; and those who boast of a godly life, but whose actions state something different. This is earthly and measured by priorities that detract from the production of righteousness.

 

Heavenly Wisdom: This wisdom finds a place in the hearts of those who are willing to yield their own desires in order for it to reign in their lives. It is measured in good conduct and good fruits, and most importantly it is void of hypocrisy. This is what it means to let the word of God dwell in you richly. This is a life that is born of the word of God in both word or deed .

 

Ask for wisdom with the intent to seek it! Pray for an erring brother, then go and see him. Pray for the sick, then go and encourage and exhort them. Pray for the growth of the church, then start a bible class in your home.

 

“And whatever you do in word or deed , do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”