Introduction

In our previous post, we have looked at four metaphors that describe the word of God.

Part 1: The word of God is like Fire and Hammer
Part 2 : The word of God is like a Mirror And Rain
Part 3: The word of God is like a measuring line and a light
Part 4: The Word Of God Is a Double Edged Sword And Medicine

Let us continue our next metaphor

The Word OF God Is A Judge
“And if anyone hears My words
  and does not believe, I do not
  judge him; for I did not come to
  judge the world but to save the
  world. He who rejects Me, and
  does not receive My words, has
  that which judges him—the word
  that I have spoken will judge him
  in the last day.” – Jesus (Jn 12:47-48)

Jesus told us that the word of God is a judge. This is something all Christians must understand. Today there are many who choose not to believe in Christ. They do so not because of a lack of miracle. They choose not to believe in Jesus for they felt that  Jesus lack the appeal that attracts them.

The bible record of a man named Nathaniel, he was a man who seek the truth. But he felt that Jesus lack appeal. When Philip told him that he had found the messiah and he is from Nazareth, Nathaniel immediately commented, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

Today many regarded Jesus as a son of a poor carpenter from Nazareth, some regarded him as a mere religious teacher. they find it hard to believe. That is why they remain unmoved even when they felt that his words are true.

There are also others who followed Christ but  pay no attention to his words. They followed Jesus because he can perform miracles and heal the sick. They followed Jesus because he can provide them with food. They do not ponder about the words of Christ. It is true that Jesus had the power to perform miracles and feed the hungry. But let us not labour for  food that perish. Let us not come to him for the sake of miracles.

We need to seek the word of God which can save us. In those days, many did not esteem the word of Christ. Which is why Jesus spoke those words we read earlier. Jesus came into the world to save sinners and he came to give sinners hope. But that does not mean that there is no judgement, he told us that in the last days his word is a judge.

That is why we need to change our perspective about the word of God. For they are not mere words from a prophet but a command from God. If one were to treat it with belief and goes against it. That word will judge us in the future.

Let us remember that the word of God is a judge. we can choose to receive it or reject it, those are the words that will judge us at the end.

How Do We Preach The Word?

When Jesus sent his disciples to preach the gospel. He instructed them to do this

If the household is worthy, let your
  peace come upon it. But if it is not
  worthy, let your peace return to you.
  And whoever will not receive you nor
  hear your words, when you depart
  from that house or city, shake off
  the dust from your feet.

   Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more
   tolerable for the land of Sodom and
   Gomorrah in the day of judgment 
   than for that city!” –Jesus (Mat 10:13-15)

They are suppose to greet peace to the family when they arrive. If the house is a household that is worthy to receive the peace from God. IT will stay with them. If they refuse to accept it, the peace ill return to us.

We often get upset with people who do not listen to the gospel when we preach it. But we need to remind ourselves that we have fulfilled our responsibility to preach the gospel. If they reject us, it is between them and God and we have done our part.

That is why Jesus says if they do not receive us, we should shake the dust off our feet and leave. For preaching the gospel is a way of passing judgement as well. We know that man had no right to judge, but yet we remember the words of Jesus saying

“Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you
  bind on earth will be bound in heaven,
  and whatever you loose on earth will
  be loosed in heaven.” – Jesus (Matt 18:18)

How is this authority given? That authority came from the word of God. Whenever we preach the word of God, those who believe will be set free. But for those who reject the word, their sin will remain in them. Eventually they will be judged by the word  of God.

That is why both the speaker and the listeners are important. For if we do not speak , the others will not hear and they will lose their chance of salvation. The same goes for the listeners, they have their right to reject the word of God. But they need to know the consequences of not listening to Gods word. Jesus once told us

For whoever is ashamed of Me
  and My words in this adulterous
  and sinful generation, of him the
  Son of Man also will be ashamed
  when He comes in the glory of His
  Father with the holy angels.”- Jesus (Matt 8:38)

As we read this we wonder why the Lord is so severe in this warning. This verse applies to both believers and non believers. That is why Paul exhorted Timothy not to be ashamed of the word of God. During that time in history, the church was persecuted, this discouraged many Christians and many did not want to believe in Christ anymore. 

Finding the courage to believe

It is often in times like this we lose our courage to preach the word of God. For many will question us saying “Why did God not help us? Why is his power not manifested? why are we facing so many adversities?”

Are we still able to find the courage to believe in Christ and preach his name? This is something we need to consider especially when the situation is making it hard for us to keep our faith. Sometimes our surrounding makes us feel ashamed of the gospel, it may even prevent us from attending services. That will make sharing the word of God a bigger challenge. 

But Jesus told us that if we are ashamed of him and the gospel, he will likewise be ashamed of us when he comes in his glory.  Let us esteem the words of God, especially in he face of great temptation. For by so doing we will be blessed and God will watch over us.

If we are aware of the preciousness of knowing God, we will be willing to suffer for it. We will choose to seek God even in the midst of weakness and illness. For God is watching us, he wanted to know how we would respond to him. He wants to know if we can hold on to him in times of great difficulty.

A man who is able to keep his faith will always be blessed by God. That is why the author of Hebrew tells us

“Therefore we must give the more
  earnest heed to the things we have
  heard, lest we drift
  away.” – Author of Hebrews (Heb 2:1) 

We must take heed whenever we listen to the words of God. For these words are not a result of man’s imagination. They are the words of God, revealed through his servants. Christian are suppose to treat the words of Jesus as the word of God. That is why we often called them the words of life. For we believe that they can grant us eternal life, they are the words that can deliver man from sin and judgement.

That is why we need to respect the words of God  and take heed to it. Perhaps in the past we think that  those words are mere theory. But let us change our mind set, for today we understand that the word of God is a judge. We need to meditate on them and remember them.

True Respect For The Word Of God

All of us are able to discern between people whom we respect and people we do not respect. If we do not respect someone, we will not pay attention to what he has to tell us. We will ignore them, and would not make an effort to remember. As they speak we allow our minds to drift away.

But we would treat the ones we respect differently. We would pay attention and ponder over his words. This is the attitude we ought to have when we are hearing the word of God. If we do not pay attention, we will slowly drift away.

We will only pay attention to things that interest us. Let us pay pay attention to the word of God. Let his words never drift away from us. For  the author of Hebrews reminds us.

“For if the word spoken through
  angels proved steadfast, and
   every transgression and disobedience received
   a just reward,”-Author of Hebrews (Heb 2:2)

The author of Hebrews was referring to the Old Testament which Moses received on Mount Sinai. In that Law every transgression and disobedience is given a just reward, everyone who went against the Law of God is judged quickly.  There are serious consequences in disobedience as those who went against the Law will be executed.

The Author of Hebrews continues telling us.

“how shall we escape if we neglect so
  great a salvation, which at the first
  began to be spoken by the Lord, and
  was confirmed to us by those who
  heard Him, God also bearing witness
  both with signs and wonders, with
  various miracles, and gifts of the Holy
  Spirit, according to His own will?” – Author of Hebrews (Heb 2:3-4)

If we need to pay attention to the Law of Moses, how could we neglect the words of Christ? The Law of Moses is given to him by angels, but in the new Testament God spoke directly as Jesus. His words are accompanied with  confirmation by miracles. It would be a great sin to neglect the word of God.

Considering The Value Of Gods Words

That is why we need to ask ourselves, “How much is the gospel worth in our hearts?” Our response to this question determines our attitude towards the gospel. If we regard the gospel as cheap words without value,  something that is good to have and can do without. Would we put in effort to study it?

In life we would not devote our time to study something that is trivial and valueless. We would only do it when we are bored and have spare time to kill.

But let us value the learning of the word of God, if we treat the words of God as entertainment to pass time, we may be guilty of blasphemy and mocking of the word of God.

A Christian who neglect the word of God will slowly drift apart from him. They will fail in faith and neglect their salvation. The Author asked “how shall we escape if we neglect so  great a salvation?”

Moses once said this to the Israelites before his departure from the world.

“Set your hearts on all the words
  which I testify among you today,
  which you shall command your
   children to be careful to observe—
  all the words of this law.

  For it is not a futile thing for you,
  because it is your life, and by this
  word you shall prolong your days
   in the land which you cross over
  the Jordan to possess.”- Moses (Deut 32:46-47)

Moses reminded the Israelites to take heed of the words of God. He knew that those Israelites that he led in the wilderness are not like him. He knew that God is about to take him from this world. That is why he reminded them one more time to put the words of God in their hearts. He assured them that it is not a futile thing to do, for it concern their lives as they lived in the land of Canaan.

In the same way, we must believe in the salvation of Jesus. For his words will judge us at the very end. Let us change our attitude towards the word of God. Let us re-establish our respect for it. For it is something that is not futile and it concern our lives.

We know that one day we will depart from this world, and we must let go of everything we possessed. That is when we realise only the word of God is important, for it will give us eternal life and hope. It can forgive our sins and help us face God in peace.

Let us look at the next metaphor in this study.

The Word Of God Is Food

“Your words were found, and I ate them,
  And Your word was to me the joy
  and rejoicing of my heart;
  For I am called by Your name,
  O Lord God of hosts.” – Jeremiah (Jer 15:16)

Prophet Jeremiah describes the word of God as food to eat. He treat it as the joy of his life and happiness. Do we feel the same way about the word of God? If we do, we will need it daily.

We know that if we do not eat, our body will grow weak. If we refuse food for a long period of time, we will eventually die.  It is not illness that kill us, but we die of hunger and malnutrition.  It is a sad sight to see someone die due to a lack of food.

In the same way, if a Christian fall to sin, it will bring us sadness as well. For we all aspire to be like Job who is able to stand firm even in the midst of trials. It is a waste to see someone fall from faith just because of his lack of esteem for the words of God.

For Jesus once said
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
  but by every word that proceeds f
  rom the mouth of God.’”- Jesus (Matt 4:4)

Let us not pursue physical food only, for there is also food that is used to feed our spirit. Only the word of God can give us spiritual growth and improve our spiritual lives. We know that our spiritual life is born through the blood of Christ and the renewal of the Holy Spirit. It is given as a grace of God, for we did not do anything worthy to receive this grace.  But after receiving this grace, we must allow it to grow within us. Only the word of God can help us grow spiritually.

Peter once said
“Therefore, laying aside all
  malice, all deceit, hypocrisy,
  envy, and all evil speaking, 
  as newborn babes, desire the
  pure milk of the word, that
  you may grow thereby” – Peter (1 Pet 2:1-2)

Peter tells us that we are new-born babes and our job is to grow up. We need the pure milk of the word if we desire spiritual growth. The birth of a child is always mysterious, but after the birth of a baby they must continue to grow. As parents, we must feed the baby and let it grow. We will find time to feed the baby no matter how busy we are.

The same principles apply to growing spiritually. When we receive baptism, we are reborn and our sins are forgiven. Baptism marks the beginning of our life with Christ. It must grow in order to remain healthy.

A baby must desire the pure milk from the word of God. He cannot survive on snacks and sweets only. Milk is the only food that could give them the nutrition necessary to grow. Snack can be delicious but it will harm our body on the long run.

Sadly there are many Christians who desire snacks more than the pure milk of the world. They appear to have focus on their spiritual life, but we see no growth in their lives at all. They appear like people who eat a lot of food but yet does not gain any benefit from the food. They are unable to digest and the food eventually became waste that is passed out from the body.

The same thing can happen when we listen to the words of god. We understand that the word of God is like pure milk. We have seen many hearing it but they did not grow. Is there a fault in the words of God? Or is it our failure to digest the words of God.

This bring about a question “How can one digest the words of God?”

Gaining Strength By Mixing Faith With Hearing

The Author of Hebrew raised an important point regarding this matter.

“For indeed the gospel was
  preached to us as well as
  to them; but the word which
  they heard did not profit them,
 
not being mixed with faith in
  those who heard it.” – Author Of Hebrews (Heb 4:2)

Why is it that the believers in the Old Testament were unable to benefit from the words of God? We read of how God appeared before them and wrote the words on the stone tablet himself. The people heard the word of god through scribes and prophets. Yet their faith are not established. that is because they did not mix faith with hearing.

Only faith can help us digest the words of God and to give us strength. If one does not have faith even if they listen to the word of God daily, they will not be able to gain strength from those words. For these words will remain forever as a mere oratorical speech talking about morality.  It will never become the words of God.

If one does not mix faith with hearing, they can never receive strength in life. That is why we need to have faith in the word of God. For without it, how can one accept Christ and repent from his sin? How could they be baptised for their sins to be forgiven? Why should they come for service?

They would rather choose to sleep at home than to come to church for service. They will never be able to find strength to come to church. Many Christians were able to remain in church for they regarded the church as the temple of God.

That is why we need to believe in the word of Jesus, to make the effort to come to the church. It does not matter how many of us are there to worship. For Jesus promise that as long as two or three gathered in his name, he would be among them. Let us believe in the words of Christ and we will find strength to gather. Let us consider some examples from the bible

Daniel Found Strength In The Lord

“And he said, “O man greatly
  beloved, fear not! Peace be
  to you; be strong, yes, be strong!”

  So when he spoke to me I 
  was strengthened, and said,
  “Let my lord speak, for you
   have strengthened me.”” – Daniel (Dan 10:19)

There was something that troubled Daniel and he cannot understand. As he fasted and pray, the revelation of God came upon him. The angel said to him ”Man greatly beloved, do not fear and be strong”

Daniel was trying to seek out what he doesn’t understand, he was troubled and weakened by the visions he sees. He was fearful and was unsure if he should continue.  But when the angel spoke, he received strength, he could bear what God wanted him to know.

Have we ever received such strength and comfort from the word of God? We often think that only great prophets like Daniel is able to experience it. Let us consider another example, this time, let us look at a woman of faith.

 The Example Of Mary

We know the story of Mary and how the angel Gabriel appeared before her. He called Mary the highly favoured one of the Lord. Mary was surprised by that greeting and she wonder what grace will be given to her.

Then the angel said that she will be with a child and he will be called the son of God. The Lord God will give him the throne of David  and his kingdom will be forever. Mary is supposed to be elated but she was worried and asked “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

the angel replied

The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
  and the power of the Highest will
  overshadow you; therefore, also,
  that Holy One who is to be born
  will be called the Son of God.
 
Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative
  has also conceived a son in her old
  age; and this is now the sixth month
  for her who was called barren.”- Gabriel (Lk 1:35-36)

The words of Gabriel would have given Mary a lot of concern. For she had just been betrothed and if she is found to be pregnant. How can  Joseph and his family be able to accept it?  Even if she believed in the power of the Holy Spirit, but will other believe it? What is worst is that she may be stoned to death if everyone accused her of being pregnant before marriage.

But angel Gabriel said

  For with God nothing will be
  impossible.”- Gabriel (Lk 1:37)

If you truly believe in the word of God, you will get strength to do the impossible. It can help us get rid of our worries for we know that God will help us. Mary understood that it is the will of God that she will give birth to Jesus. She trust that God will help her and watch over her and resolve all her problem.

If Mary did not believe , she will not receive such a great grace. She had the simple faith to trust God.

Conclusion

Having a simple faith does not mean believing blindly. Mary heard the grace of God, she is aware of all the trouble that is to come. At the same time she is aware of the blessing that God will give her.  That is why she believed in the word of God and she is worthy for this grace.

We do not need to attain the perfection of Daniel in order to receive such a faith. For even Mary is able to have the same faith. Let us ask God to add to our faith and let us understand his words. They will be food for our lives if we believe in it.

If we truly believe in the word of God, our attitude in hearing and reading the bible will be different. We will find that God will add strength to us through  our faith. We need to believe in his words and we will gain strength from it.  May God strengthen each and everyone of us in faith.

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