Jump Start # 2466
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of the soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Our wonderful verse today reveals the nature of the word of God. It’s alive. It’s active. It does something to us. The illustration used is of a sword. Swords were used in battle. They were weapons. They were used to kill. The word of God isn’t just going to give you a flesh wound. It’s not going to simply prick your finger. It’s going to be thrust deeply within you. It’s going to pierce you. The joints and the marrow are covered deeply within by skin, muscles and tendons. Separating the joint and marrow in a battle scene would be a very serious wound, nearly fatal. If the joints of your knee was separated, you wouldn’t be walking. If the blow was to your shoulder, you could no longer defend yourself. Powerful. Deep.
And, all of this leads to one of the grand principles about Biblical truth. It’s a principle that we often do not touch upon. Yes, as the Lord says, the truth shall make us free. And, yes the truth will open our eyes and enlighten us. But, first, truth often makes us miserable. To be thrust with a sword is a very painful experience. And, this is the powerful nature of truth.
Truth will cut, like a sword, through all the wrong opinions that we have held and believed for years. We’ve heard these things. We’ve read these things. We’ve heard others repeat these things. Everyone thinks these things are true. But a close examination of God’s word reveals that they are not true. And, it is at this moment, that the point of truth cuts us. The Bible or what we have always thought was right? The Bible or what our family has always said? Many, discount the Bible and without evidence, proof or facts, they continue to believe something that is false. But for the honest heart, there is that painful moment when truth has made us miserable. We realize that what we believed is not true. We see from Scriptures that we’ve held on to lies. We learn that we have been wrong. What a miserable feeling that leaves us with.
Truth will also cut through the empty excuses we’ve used for years to justify not doing what we ought to do. We’ve hid behind the way we were raised. We’ve used the excuse that we have been too busy. We’ve allowed our children to be excuses for not doing what we should. With those excuses we have found ways to remain comfortable and safe. But when we face the truth of God’s word, now we see that those excuses no longer work. Jesus told the young ruler to sell all that he had and follow Him. Jesus said let the dead bury the dead. Jesus said once you put your hand on the plow, there is no looking back. The truth of God’s word has opened up the reality that our excuses do not justify disobedience to God. The Lord won’t give us a pass for being lazy, worldly and uncommitted. Boy, the truth can hurt.
Truth will identify that we must change. And, change is hard. Few people like to change their lives. Truth will lead us to being a righteous person, which means putting aside things that are wrong. Truth has a way of redefining our priorities. The kingdom first changes the order of everything else. Truth will cause you to apologize rather than walking away. Truth will lead you to being helpful rather than inconsiderate. Truth will have you thinking about what you say and how you say it. Truth will make you sensitive to how you treat others. All of this can be very painful. All of this can make a person miserable.
And, because truth, like a sword, can hurt and cut, some, steer clear of it. Some would rather be happy and comfortable, than being right. Some would rather be wrong and stay the way they are than have to change. Some just don’t want to think about these kinds of things. They fill their days with thoughts about the here and now and have little depth to their thoughts, conversations or their goals. Many have the notion that “religion” ought to make you feel better. It will, much like a surgery. But that doesn’t happen at first. There is always some cutting, pain and recovery involved with surgery. After the healing, the person feels so much better, but the first few days can be tough. The truth is like that as well. Where many of us are now, we love what God’s word has done for us. But thinking back, there was those moments when we were scared, we knew we had to make some tough decisions and we need that this was going to change our lives.
We ought to remember this when we are teaching someone. There is a period when they may resist, feel uncomfortable and even be miserable. That’s the truth piercing deeply within them. Don’t apologize for what God’s word says. Don’t try to lessen the pain. Don’t soften the message. The audience that heard Peter was pieced to the heart. In battle terms, that’s a death blow. A sword to the heart was fatal. These folks weren’t just uncomfortable, they were stunned, shocked and rattled to the core. That’s the nature of truth.
The Gospel begins where we are. And, where we start, isn’t a good place. There is a lot of cutting that needs to be done. If one stays with it, the truth will turn him into a disciple of Jesus.
It’s been said of preaching, that it ought to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. It’s that afflicting part that some have trouble with. That truth will bring one to their senses. It will lead them home to God, just like it did for the prodigal.
God’s word is sharper than any two-edged sword. It’ll do it’s job. It will even work on you.