Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

  by Jeannette Haley

    Not too many people these days (in Westernized nations) are armed with a sharp sword for protection from attack, although fencing is still popular in some circles. My all-time favorite sword-bearing character was, and still is, Zorro (played by Guy Williams). Everyone who knows me well knows that I have had a “crush” on him for most of my life. Once the weekly black and white Zorro series began to air on TV, kids everywhere displayed their enthusiasm for this latest hero by painting or carving “Z” on sidewalks, fences, buildings, trees—you name it. That was probably the first “graffiti” I had ever seen.

      If you look in the Strong’s Concordance, you will find that the words “sword” and “swords” is extensive, beginning with Genesis 3:24 and ending with Revelation 19:21. The Scriptures equate the sharp two-edged sword with the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Greek definition of “quick” means “to live, life, lively.” Only the Holy Bible (and basically the KJV) is alive, or the living Word. It never grows old, dull, or dead. The more a person reads it, believes it, studies it, memorizes it, meditates on it, practices it, uses it, adheres to it, hears it, speaks it, sings it, and prays it, the more alive and powerful it becomes. It is living food for the soul and spirit of mankind. Concerning “food,” Job declared, “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” Job 23:12. How many of us pause when we read these beautiful words, and honestly ask ourselves if we had to choose between our spiritual food, God’s Word, and just enough to eat in order to maintain our physical life, which one would we prefer? It depends on whether we desire a “sharp sword,” or prefer a “blunt sword.”

      In Hebrews 4:12 the word “sharper” means “decisive” as in a single blow, not repeated hacking or cutting. This decisiveness is what makes the Word of God “clear cut” in understanding, for example, the Ten Commandments, and God’s other moral laws. There are no “gray areas” or “wiggle room” where sin, transgression, trespasses, and iniquity (or any part of God’s Word) is concerned. No wonder the Word of God is under such heavy attack in these evil days—days that mirror the wickedness which reigned in the days of righteous Noah, and brought destruction on the entire world. Evildoers despise the Truth, and God’s Word is The Truth. “Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil” Psalm 56:5. (Emphasis added.) Peter, speaking of the Apostle Paul, wrote, “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” 2 Peter 3:16. (Emphasis added.)

      Thus, twisting (wresting), changing, altering, watering down, modernizing (to fit our godless culture), perverting, profaning, polluting, diluting, reinterpreting, as well as adding to, or taking away from the true (original) Word of God, will end in the destruction (eternal damnation) of all those who dare to flaunt their idiocy in God’s face. In case you wonder, the fact remains (and has been proven, see: ) that the most accurate, unadulterated, and anointed Bible version for the English speaking people is the King James Version. If you are in love with whatever “version” you are used to, please at least have a KJV handy for comparison. You might be surprised at some of the blatant changes the newer “versions” have that alter the intent and meaning (spirit) behind it.

      God warns in Deuteronomy 4:2, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”  We read of the sacredness of God’s Word further on in Deuteronomy 12:32, “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” Another warning can be found in Proverbs 30:6, “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Then in the last book of the Bible, in the last chapter we read this chilling warning, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” Revelation 22:18, 19.

       In spite of all these God-breathed warnings, how many false so-called “apostles,” “prophets,” “teachers,” “preachers” and “Christian workers” are daily twisting and perverting God’s Word through their profane lying lips, silly sermons, ungodly utterances, fantastic fakeries, and extravagant entertainments? “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” 2 Corinthians 11:13, 14. Satan’s number one goal is to attack God’s Word by mocking and discrediting it (Genesis 3:1), provoking people to disobey it (1 Chronicles 21:1), ignore it (1 Samuel 28; 1 Kings 13:20-22), flee from it (Jonah 1:3); misquote it, (Matthew 4:6; 2 Peter 3:16), and use it for personal gain, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” 1 Peter 5:3, 4. The Holy Spirit’s warnings are to be personally heeded today, and not heedlessly relegated to history, or only leaders of the Church, or the Jews, or to anybody else. These words are written to you, and to me, who are living in these perilous times, today. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” 1 Timothy 4:1, 2. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.

      Why do so many people flock to the “big name” popular heretics, and false prophets that are popping up faster than weeds, supporting their unscriptural books, profane music, psychobabble garbage, and ungodly, worthless teachings? Why are most of the so-called “Christian” bookstores bulging at the seams with worldly junk, vain books (false doctrine), and carnal music, (much of it reeking of the New Age and the occult): and, yes, I’m going to say it, even satanic “music?” The reason is because people have an inner need to be religious, even if godliness and Spirit and Truth are in no way involved. People want to fulfill the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and live out the pride of life without conviction, without a guilty conscience, without true repentance, which means forsaking and turning away from their fake religious façade, and getting real with God. People want to feel good—feel good about themselves without holiness (“without which no man shall see the Lord” Hebrews 12:14b); feel good about their lusts, unclean sexual perversions, and fornications; feel good about their slothfulness, and lack of spiritual diligence; feel good about their independence from obedience to God. Yet, the truth remains. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water [the Word] and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” John 3:3, 5-7. (Emphasis added.) Do you believe that professing Christians who live for the world and their flesh will end up in Heaven? If so, consider what God says: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” Galatians 6:7, 8. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10.

      We need to remember that the Word of God is sacred, holy, divinely inspired, Spirit-breathed, and is not just another religious book. Jesus said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” John 17:17. We need to remember that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16. The Bible cannot be compared to any other book, inscription, record, or writing in this world, or the world to come, for it is the eternal Word. Jesus, God incarnate, is the Word as John 1:1-5 declares, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” Matthew 24:34. Peter wrote, “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” 1 Peter 1:25. No man can destroy the Word of God, although Satan has tried to erase it from the earth from the beginning of the creation, and having failed to do that, he never ceases from trying to demean it, mock it, cast doubt on it, twist it, outlaw it through his wicked governments, and do all he can to keep people from studying it. Nevertheless, “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven” Psalm 119:89. “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8. What great comfort and joy these words should bring to our hearts!

       Can you say with the Psalmist, “In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul” Psalm 94:19. The comforts of God are not created out of thin air by our own imaginations, flights of fantasy, and vain imaginations, but are established in the bedrock of the infallible, unchanging Word. Merely wishing, and hoping, to be blessed, and undefiled does not procure this reality, and leaves you with nothing but a useless, “blunt sword.” Here is how to acquire the “sharp sword:” “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word [God’s Law]. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments [moral responsibilities]. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes [ordinances]. With my lips have I declared all the judgments [verdict] of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies [records], as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts [doctrine], and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statues: I will not forget thy word” Psalm 119: 9-16. (Emphasis added.)

      The sad truth is, multitudes of Christians who own a Bible have never read it from cover to cover, let alone studied it, meditated on it, memorized portions of it, or even truly understand it. How ill-equipped this makes the army of God! Try to imagine, if you will, hordes of well-trained, and well-equipped experienced soldiers of the enemy going out to battle against an army of untrained, disenfranchised, confused, ignorant, undiscerning, spiritually immature novices armed with their little blunt swords that resemble plastic picnic knives instead of the highly effective two-edged sword that they should, and could, have at the ready. While this may be amusing, it does nevertheless, illustrate an alarming truth, and serve as a warning, and wake up call to every professing Christian of the absolute necessity of being a student of the Word in all sincerity and sobriety. The only weapon that defeats Satan is the skilful use, through faith, of the two-edged sword of God’s Word – “It is written….”  Satan couldn’t care less about your theological training and degrees, or the hours you’ve spent watching the Truth Bashing Network (TBN), or how many philosophically religious sayings you can quote, or how many years you’ve parked yourself in the same pew, or how high you can jump or how loud you can shout, or how many Christian bumper stickers are on your vehicle. Satan is not fearful of the blunt sword of weak Christians who huff, puff,  and bluff their way through life, believing that they can just “wing it,” to defeat Satan and impress others. Nope. That isn’t going to work, and the enemy will have you for dinner. All such things only serve to give you a false sense of security, and make your sword blunt, and totally ineffective. Therefore, let us not be as the five foolish virgins whose lackadaisical attitudes, indifference, and carelessness kept them from being prepared and ready when the Bridegroom came, for when He shuts the door, it is shut. Period. No man will ever be able to pry it open, and enter in. It will forever be too late.

      The eternal Word of God is like an artesian spring, bubbling up from an inexhaustible source (God) that will never run dry, or fail to satisfy the thirsty soul. Jesus declared, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” John 7:38. (Emphasis added.) Blessings are promised for those who reverence God’s Word, in heart and deed, such as we read in Joshua 1:8, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth: but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Emphasis added.) Jesus promised, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.” (Emphasis added.) In Luke 11:28 we read another promise from the lips of Jesus concerning the Word of God, “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” (Emphasis added.) Again, from our gracious Lord Jesus, we have this promise, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” John 5:24. (Emphasis added.) The book of Revelation contains this promise of a blessing, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” Revelation 1:3.

      As I told an astonished unbelieving neighbor many years ago, my Bible is the most precious and valuable item that I own. What can be compared to the value of the Word of God? Would you exchange the eternal Word for the temporary Lotto? Who can put a price on it? “Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold” Psalm 119:127. “The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver” Psalm 119:72. What is greater in power? “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” Psalm 107:20. What can give more comfort? “Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me” Psalm 119:82? What in this world is purer? “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it” Psalm 119:140. What can bring greater joy to our hearts? “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts” Jeremiah 15:16. “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” Psalm 19:8. What can bring wisdom to your heart? “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” Colossians 3:16. What guides and gives direction for your life? “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” Psalm 119:105. What gives understanding? The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple” Psalm 119:30. These are just a few of the manifold blessings of God’s Word.

      How is your sword? Is it quick and sharp as a two-edged sword, or is it rusty and blunt from neglect? Let the words of the prophet Isaiah challenge you: “Seek ye out the book of the Lord, and read” Isaiah 34:16a. Consider what Jesus said, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” John 5:39. Do you want to learn? Romans 15:4 tells us, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Do you want to keep your sword sharp? Then “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 timothy 2:15.

      In conclusion, we read these awe-inspiring, soul-shaking, astounding words describing the Apostle John’s vision of Christ in the Revelation, and the twoedged sword of the Word of God as follows: “And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” Revelation 1:16; “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth” Revelation 2:16; “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” Revelation 19:15. Finally, we read of the sword of the Lord, and the destruction of His enemies in verse 21, “And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”

      May the Lord’s Spirit stir us up afresh to lay hold on the precious Word that He has given us. May He stir us up to bring the unadulterated Word of God back into today’s “seeker-friendly” churches. May we remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 4:4, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”  and, finally may we allow the Word to cleanse, restore, and empower each of us personally to live the life God has called us to live for our good, and His glory. Amen.