Is There A Word From God?
Is there a word from the Lord today?
I believe there is a word from the Lord, but it is not a new word; neither is it a different word.
It is the final word spoken to us long ago and which has not been heeded in the day in which we live.
The Epistle to the Hebrews begins by saying, "God, who at sundry times and in divers
manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken
unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things."
God has spoken to us in these last days by His Son and His word to us in this hour is,
"Hear ye Him!"
The question is: what shall we hear.
Have we really heard His final word in Matt. 28: 18-20: "All authority is given unto me
in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:
and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
Have we heard this?
Have we really heard this?
Unquestionably, this is God's word to us.
I believe that we know that it is; and yet it goes unheeded, and we continue our frantic search
for some new revelation for our day.
It is the most ridiculous thing in the world for us to expect God to speak to us until we heed
the word already given.
We are writing books, attending meetings, compassing the whole earth, in the faint hope
that somehow, somewhere we shall regain the lost note of authority, which the church once enjoyed.
Instead of a holy boldness, we are stammering and apologizing for being the called of God.
Can you imagine what it would do for us if we were to accept this word from our Lord and go
from this place and act upon it.
I'm not sure of all that it would mean, but here are some things that I think that it would do.
It will give us power for the task.
Jesus said, "Go ye with my power."
And when He said it -- it was as if He were touching heaven with one pierced hand and pointing
to the ends of the earth with the other, and was saying, "All authority is given unto me
in heaven and in earth."
There is absolutely no conceivable challenge in heaven or in the earth that can defeat My purpose
if you come under the sway of My authority -- that is what Jesus is saying.
How many of us, as ministers of the gospel of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ,
know anything about that authority in our lives?
"All authority is given unto me. Go!"
What authority is He referring to?
I believe that he is telling us that He has the authority to pour out His power upon any person
in any time in any place in this whole wide world.
If there is any one need above all others that we, as pastors, need -- it is for a new authority
in our preaching ministry.
I am not speaking of the spirit which would lord it over any of the flock of God.
I am referring to the authority of a man of God upon whom unquestionably rests the power
to speak in His Name and to see people rise and walk and leap and praise God
because of that which has happened.
How many of us have that kind of authority in our ministry?
Are we not commiserating about the loss of the spirit of revival in our time?
Do we not long to recapture the power of prayer that opens prison doors and enables
the servants of God to walk out, free?
In the name of Jesus, who said, "All authority hath been given unto me,"
we must determine to pray until this authority is manifested in our lives and in our preaching
and in our churches.
This is the authority needed in our churches.
We have grown lax in our church discipline.
As overseers of the congregation of God, it should be our greatest concern to keep
the church pure and powerful.
We ought to be prepared to stand on our feet and say, "By the authority of Jesus Christ, my Lord,
hypocrisy has no place in the body of believers."
This is what the apostle Paul did.
Infidelity reared its ugly head in the church.
Two men had gone astray on the doctrine of the resurrection, and Paul says,
"I just turned them over to Satan, that they might learn not to blaspheme."
Immorality crept into the church at Corinth, and when Paul wrote them about it he said,
"You turn these people over to the devil for the destruction of the flesh,
that the spirit may be saved in the day of Christ."
This is the word we need to hear, and it goes deeper than that.
It includes all of Satan's pressures that are brought to bear upon the preachers of God.
A recent survey indicated that few of the pastors (and some were Baptists) any longer
believe in a personal devil.
What does the apostle Paul mean when he says, "We battle not with flesh and blood,
but with principalities, with powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, with wickedness
in high places."
What does he mean when he says that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal?
What does he mean when he says, "Put on the whole armor of God, submit yourselves
under God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you"?
We must remember that our Lord never stood face-to-face with any demonic power or force
that He did not have the authority to destroy, and this is the authority in which you and I
have been commanded to go.
The word of God also gives us a program for the time in which we live .
We are not only equipped by His authority with power for the task, we also have a well-defined
and clearly-outlined program.
My professor of theology, Dr. Boyd Hunt of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary stated:
"One of the things that must take place before the church ever realizes its destiny in the world
is that it must forget its present understanding of the word, "missions."
I have heard pastors all throughout my ministry say with great pride, "My church has four missions."
That is great, but a church may have a hundred missions and have no real sense of mission
in the New Testament sense of the word.
Our Lord left heaven's glory because of a mission.
It has been estimated that if He had visited a single village every day for the past 2000 years,
He would not even have finished visiting the villages of India, much less the rest of the earth.
This is why He said, "It is expedient for you that I go away."
He could not visit all the villages of the earth in the flesh, but, if you and I properly understand
His program for our time, we will understand that we are the body in which He now dwells;
"Christ in you is the hope of glory"; and it is in these bodies -- dwelling fully
in them by His Living Presence and power -- that He expects to go to the ends of the earth.
We will not hear a new word from God until we have heard with the ears of our hearts
this word spoken so clearly and unmistakably.
It is difficult to understand how we Baptists, who have placed so much emphasis on baptism,
have missed seeing this.
What is baptism but a picture of a person who has abdicated mastership of his own body;
died to any personal control of it; and, found it raised up by the quickening power of the indwelling Christ
who now rules, reigns, and controls that body as He would control it if He had been a body of flesh in our time.
What could we have been thinking of all these years.
We haven't told our people this.
We haven't taught our people this.
It is no wonder that we have churches full of dead man's bones; full of carnal Christians;
full of babies whose cries for attention have well-nigh driven us to the brink of insanity and desperation.
I don't know what you do in your church, but until our churches come to understand this,
it is difficult to believe that they have been evangelized.
It is time for us to heed this word of God!
Teach them! Teach them!
Teach them to understand what is supposed to happen between the new birth and the glorious
appearing of our Lord.
What our churches need more than anything else in this day is a bunch of resurrected people
who, after their burial with Christ, rise up and walk in newness of life with the living Lord in control
of that body as fully and as completely as if it were His very own temple (which it is).