How can we make God’s Word come to pass? How can we make it WORK? This was the problem that was pressing upon my heart and mind during the winter months of 1953.
As mentioned in our previous chapters, we had experienced seasons of great blessing in our ministry. Yet I was to face another crisis – another period of dissatisfaction and feeling utterly inadequate and frustrated.
Again and again I would read the startling promises and declarations in the Word of God concerning us as believers – our position in Christ, our victory, our power, our freedom from the carnal nature, the promises of healing and deliverance, of the supply of all our material needs, but were they happening in my life?
In brief – the New Testament portrayed a life of glorious reality in Christ, while I personally was confronted by such a lack of supernatural power in so many facets of my own life and ministry. As a pastor, I was too well aware of my own inability to meet the challenging needs in the lives of many people in my assembly.
If only the mighty truths of the Word of God could be made effective, all this would be changed.
But why didn’t the Word work?
For weeks this debate went on in my heart and mind. I would stop the car, pick up my New Testament, and read and read again – and then lift my heart to the Lord and ask, “Why doesn’t it work?”
I would awake during the night, take up my Bible and read again the tremendous promises and declarations for every believer and for the Christian church in general. Then I would hold the Bible up toward heaven and ask the Lord why his Word was not in evidence in my life and in the lives of my congregation.
Then one night, after I had left my bed and was pacing the floor with my Bible open on my desk, I was asking the same old question – “Why, why, WHY?”
Suddenly, something changed inside of me, a river of faith and assurance seemed to well up from my innermost being, a veil seemed to be torn away from my understanding, and from my lips broke forth, not the old question of unbelief, but the expressions of faith and conviction.
“The Word works! It works by faith, and I HAVE faith! What the Word says about God is TRUE! What the Word says about ME is true! What the Word says I am in Christ, I AM! What the Word says I can DO through Christ, I CAN DO!”
And so, in these and similar expressions, I gushed forth the deepest convictions of my heart. I believed, and I KNEW I believed.
God Works By His Word – Through Faith!
What a difference it was to preach now. I wanted to open my Bible and shout from the housetops. With boldness I could say to the people, “What God says about you is true – you are born of God, a new creature in Christ, indwelt by Christ, and you can do all things through Christ! Your feelings may tell you that you are defeated, frustrated, struggling against overwhelming odds, but the WORD says you are more than a conqueror, a devil-defeater, master in all circumstances, and standing on the threshold of unlimited possibilities – in Christ – and through faith in the WORD.”
Instead of looking to the old Adamic nature with its hopeless futility and frustration, and asking “WHY doesn’t the Word work,” I now saw myself as a new creature in Christ, and taking hold of the immeasurably vast and powerful declarations of God concerning m y identity in Christ I boldly cried , “AMEN! Thy Word is TRUTH! Hallelujah!”
And how true it is that ”faith cometh by hearing the Word of God,” for the preaching of the positive truth of God ‘s Word wrought mighty results in the lives of those who heard it.
Now let me set forth a few of the great fundamental facts concerning the Word of God and how it works for all who can believe it.
1. THE WORD HAS DIVINE AUTHORITY
In Genesis 1 God spoke authoritative words – “Let there be . . .” and there was. This world about us is the product of the authority of the Word. Evolution is not so much a challenge to God’s power and ability as it is to the authority of his Word.
God made man and brought him immediately under the authority of his Word . . . “And the Lord God commanded the man” (Gen. 2:16).
In the coming age Christ will rule by the authority of the Word . . . “Out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations”(Rev. 19:15), and “he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:4).
Between Eden and the Millennium, however, there is being waged a fierce contest over the authority of God’s Word. To Eve Satan questioned – “Hath God said?” (Gen. 3:1). Today, in this hour of earth’s deepest spiritual darkness, that question is well established in the minds of the masses. It is a subtle, Satanic challenge to the authority of the Word of God.
But the authority of God’s Word is backed by his very being, his very character, his eternal throne. It stands unshaken and unshakeable by the onslaughts of devils or men. Though heaven and earth pass away the Word of God will prevail throughout countless ages to come. Hallelujah!
2. THE WORLD HAS DIVINE POWER
Not only did the atoms come together at the authoritative command of God, but they LIVED by the power of that Word. Behind all creation there is the mind, thought, word, power and life of God.
The words of the angel to Mary (Luke 1:37), “For with God nothing shall be impossible,” read in a literal translation as follows: ”No Word of God shall be void of power.”
Little wonder Mary responded, “Be it unto me according to thy WORD.” The angel had declared a promise requiring supernatural fulfilment, but the Word of God has in itself the supernatural power to materialize!
3. JESUS COMBINED BOTH THE AUTHORITY AND POWER OF THE WORD
When Jesus cast out the unclean spirit from the man in the synagogue, the people were amazed and exclaimed – “What a word is this! For with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out” (Luke 4:36).
The words of Jesus contained not only the authority of God, but the power, life, energy and ability of God.
We see the divine authority of his words when he cursed the fig tree – and it obeyed and died. Again, when he commanded the wind and waves to hush and be still – and they obeyed and gave place to a great calm.
Then we see the power of his words when he took the five loaves and two fishes – sufficient only for a little boy’s lunch – and said to his disciples, “Give ye them to eat!” Acting on those words, which were so powerful and pregnant with creative energy, the disciples found sufficient to feed five thousand men and gather up 12 baskets full of leftovers!
Jesus claimed both authority and power when he said, as he looked down upon the palsied man, “Whether it is easier to say ... Thy sins be forgiven thee (authority), or to say, Arise, take up thy bed and walk (power)?” (Mark 2:9).
Yes, Jesus personified the divine Word of authority and power.
4. THE WORD OF AUTHORITY AND POWER IS GIVEN TO US
Jesus spoke God’s words. “The words I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (John 14:10).
Moreover, Jesus gave those authoritative, powerful words of God to us. “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me” (John 17:8).
What words do we speak?
Jesus said – “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God“(Luke 4:4).
Solomon said – “A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Prov. 18:20-21).
Again Jesus said, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt. 12:37).
Jesus lived and ministered by the power and authority of the words the Father gave him: Little wonder, then, that the people were amazed and said, “What a word is this!” And in awe and bewilderment the officers of the chief priests and the Pharisees, sent to seize Jesus, came back and said, ”Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46).
My friend, these words of God are given to us. We, too, may speak them. We, too, may live by their authority and power.
As those words of God dwell in our hearts and are spoken by our lips they become bread and fruit to us. We shall be filled with their power. We shall be changed and transformed by them. They will justify us, heal us, empower us, and give us victory.
5. WHEN WE UNRESERVEDLY ACCEPT THE AUTHORITY OF GOD’S WORD WE SHALL ALSO PROVE ITS POWER
Why doesn’t the Word of God work?
Surely the question should now be – “How does the Word work?” “Why” seems totally irrelevant! Almost like an echo from Eden – “Hath God said?”
That night, as I paced the floor with an open Bible, it seemed God was saying to me, “The moment you unreservedly accept the authority of my Word, you will experience its power.”
Mentally I accepted the authority of the Word, but my heart had struggled and staggered before its challenge.
But now I knew that the moment our hearts unreservedly accept the authority of the Word, it will work! It may not immediately materialize -but it immediately becomes a creative and productive factor in our lives.
The God who, with authority and power said – “Let there be light, and there was light . . . ” has also said –
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Cor. 5:18). I am in Christ – therefore I am a new creature!
“Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” – and it is so!
“I am crucified with Christ . . . Christ liveth in me” (Gal. 2:20). I accept the Word of God to me. . .and it is so!
“And they that are Christ’s (and I am Christ’s) have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Gal. 5:24). I accept the authority of the Word of God and I experience its power!
Yes, my friend, the God who said – “Let there be a firmament . . . and it was so” (Gen. 1:6-7), has also said –“The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up” (James 5: 14-15).
“They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16: 18).
“I am the Lord that healeth thee” (Exodus 15:26).
And the God who said – “Let the earth bring forth grass . . . and it was so” (Gen. 1:11), has also said –
“The God of peace shall bruise Satan beneath your feet shortly” (Rom. 16:20).
“We are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Rom. 8:37).
“I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 2).
And so, on and on, promise after promise, declaration after declaration, assurance after assurance, truth after truth, revelation after revelation!
Bow humbly before the authority of the Word, then arise and go forth in its power. God declares that your “old man.” the old sinning nature, with all its bondage, and limitations, and deception and defeat … is dead, crucified with Christ. Believe it! It is so.
God declares that you have been raised to new life in Christ, complete in Christ, indwelt by Christ. Believe it! It is so.
God declares you can do all things by the in wrought power of Christ. Believe it! It is so.
A thousand thoughts may arise in rebellion against the authority of His Word . . . but God said. . . it is so!
This is the key to victory, to healing, to deliverance, to the supply of all your needs.
No longer ask, “Why doesn’t God’s Word work?”
Wholeheartedly accept its authority,“And God said … “You will surely prove its power, “AND IT IS SO!”