TEXT: Hebrews 4:12-13
ETS: God’s Word is living and judges the living.
ESS: God’s Word is the source of judgment and life.
OSS: People will listen to the judgment of God’s Word and allow it to produce life in them.
PQ: What’s so special about the Bible?
TOPIC: “God’s Powerful Word”
SERIES: “Oh, What A Savior”
While reading her Bible on a public bus, a bashful Christian was confronted by a belligerent man. He boldly asked if she believed everything in the Bible. She affirmed she did. He then said, "If you believe everything, then explain to me how Jonah lived for three days in the belly of a whale!" The unassuming woman answered, "I don't know, but I believe he did." The man became more agitated. "Lady, you should be able to explain what you believe!" She quietly repeated her inability to know exactly how Jonah survived but noted she would ask him once she got to heaven. Sarcastically, the rude guy queried, "And what if Jonah didn't make it to heaven?" She replied, "Then you ask him."
God’s Word is true and it is special. Note three things that make it special.
I. ITS SPECIAL TRAITS MAKE IT SPECIAL (V.12A).
A. It is personal.
1. ζάω = to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead), powerful, efficacious.
2. It is alive and gives life.
3. Hymn “Wonderful Words of Life”
B. It is powerful.
1. ἐναργής = effectual, powerful, active. (We get our word “energy” from this word.).
2. It is full of the “energy” and power of God (Romans 1:16).
3. Illustration: God’s Word spoken through Peter and the witnesses on Pentecost was powerful (Acts 2:37)
C. It is penetrating.
1. τομός = to cut, as if by a single stroke.
2. Illustration: People were “cut to the heart” by the words Jesus’ followers spoke (Acts 5:32).
3. God’s Word still “Cuts to the heart” those who are lost.
a. This work is done by the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-9).
II. ITS SUPERNATURAL WORK MAKES IT SPECIAL (V.12B).
A. It pierces in to the depths of our being.
1. διϊκνέομαι = to go through, penetrate, pierce.
B. It presides in judgment over those who are stubborn.
1. μερισμός = a separation. So far as to cleave asunder or separate.
2. It presides in judging the emotions and the mind.
a. The “soul” is the seat of the emotions. The real you, the eternal part of you.
b. ψυχή = that in which there is life. The soul. The seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions, the soul regarded as a moral being designed for everlasting life. The soul is an
essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death
1) The word of God reveals when our “feelings” are out of line with God’s will.
c. “Spirit” here refers to your mind or intellect.
1) πνεῦμα = the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides.
2) The word of God reveals when our thoughts are out of line with God’s will.
3. It presides in judging the physical life.
a. The “Bone and marrow” represent the physical life, the way we live.
1) The Word of God convicts us of wrong living. It convicts us of our sins.
C. It purposefully discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart, soul, and mind.
1. The Word of God is the one agent qualified to open up our innermost self and expose it.
a. κριτικός = discerner (relating to judging, fit for judging, skilled in judging.)
2. The Word of God discerns (opens up, exposes) our thoughts.
a. ἐνθύμησις = thought, thinking, consideration, thoughts.
3. The Word of God discerns (opens up, exposes) our real intentions and our stubborn will.
a. ἔννοια = intent, the act of thinking, consideration, meditation. a thought, notion, conception. mind, understanding, will, manner of feeling, and thinking.
III. ITS SIMPLE JUDGMENT MAKES IT SPECIAL (V.13).
A. It judges universally.
1. There is no one who will escape being judged (Heb. 9:27; 2 Tim. 4:1).
a. The rich and the poor will be judged.
b. The prominent and the unknown will be judged.
c. The religious and irreligious will be judged.
B. It judges completely.
1. Through His Word we are made totally vulnerable and exposed to God. Nothing is hidden from Him (1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 1 Corinthians 4:5).
a. “Γυμνός καί τραχηλίζω” = Naked and open. Word picture is of a soldier who was striped of his clothing and his neck stretched back and revealed, ready for the executioner’s ax or sword.
b. There will be no secrets in judgment.
c. There are no secrets that God’s word will not uncover.
d. God’s word is now and will be the final authority! (Romans 2:16 ; Revelation 20:12).
2. We must receive God’s Word for what it is.
(1 Thessalonians 2:13) “ For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
a. This means more than mental assent. It means acting on it!
The Wild West of yesteryear was full of illusions on distant horizons. One of George Custer's young officers was sure he saw a party of Indians a mile away. As the soldier charged, the Indians looked plainer each moment. But arriving at the point, there were no Indians at all--only some buffalo carcasses. Other travelers saw ships skimming across the desert sand in full sail, railroad tracks elevated on pilings, or water birds with brilliant plumage. All of these illusions occur when light rays pass through the atmosphere bent and distorted.
But no optical illusions in nature exceed the illusions that can be left by our own hearts. By diagnosis, the human spiritual heart is "beyond cure." Unaided by God, the response of each of us toward knowing his or her heart must be despair: "Who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9). No one can fathom the secrets or pierce the darkness of his or her own heart. This is especially true at the point of the question about whom we trust--here again, our hearts can fool us.
But there is hope. It rests in this: God knows your heart (v. 10). He sifts, searches, explores, and probes the human heart. He tests and examines human emotions. This is our hope. When we get to know God, we get to know our own heart. You do not know your heart by looking into it yourself. You know your heart by getting to know God through our Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. When His Word uncovers a problem, sin, or need, we must respond in repentance, faith and obedience.