The Word of God ALWAYS produces a response.
Paul wrote to the Colossians, “…you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth…” (Colossians 1:5-6)
The gospel, Paul exclaims, was bearing fruit in Colossae just as it bears fruit every. where. it. goes.
To put it another way: God’s Word works. God’s Word opens hearts, changes minds, shapes wills, and transforms lives. God’s Word is God’s chosen method of accomplishing His will in His people and in the world.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven; and do not return there but water the earth; making it bring forth and sprout; giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty; but it shall accomplish that which I purpose; and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10–11, ESV)
God’s Word is effective. It will accomplish the purpose for which God sends it. All ministry (in order to be faithful) must trust the Word of God to produce true gospel fruit.
As believers, we must prioritize God’s Word in our battle against sin and to cultivate a closeness to our Savior. When we neglect the Word of God and rely instead on willpower, accountability, and other resources, we are moving our trust away from God’s Word and placing our confidence in our own strength and wisdom. This is a recipe for frustration and failure.
Instead, let’s run to God and His Word. Marinate our minds in Scripture. Memorize His promises and follow His commands. Instead of watering our souls with inspirational thoughts and esteem-building post-its, let’s plant our souls next to the running waters of His Word. Let’s write Scripture on our mirrors and keep His commands before our eyes.
The Word of God is not only effective, but also sufficient. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16–17, ESV)
God’s Word is His method of shaping our lives and strengthening our souls. It is by His Word that the Holy Spirit prepares workers, trains disciples, and equips His servants.
James instructs believers as they seek to do God’s will and walk in His purposes. To walk faithfully, they must “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21, ESV)
In other words, the saving of their souls (in this case, victory over sin and increasing holiness) is ultimately dependent on the Word of God.
We see this all over the Bible. Consider still these Scriptures:
Need more faith, a stronger faith? Look to God’s Word, for “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17, ESV)
This is true because “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, ESV)
Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17, ESV)
God’s method (and therefore Jesus prayer) centers on the ability of God’s Word to transform, sustain, and empower His people. But more than a declaration of it’s ability, God is giving us a promise that He will transform, sustain, and empower us as we trust His Word.
In our study of Acts, we saw Paul and his company move through Macedonia. Paul’s pattern was to reason from and present the Word of God as he declared the gospel. When those in Thessalonica received God’s Word immediately endured persecution from those who rejected it. There is so much we could say about this (you can read it in Acts 17). For now, let’s simply say it was their high value on God’s Word that enabled them to survive.
Paul would then be sent to Berea, where there was not persecution (at least not from the Bereans). The reason the Bereans came to faith together (instead of being divided like the Thessalonians) is because they had positioned themselves under God’s Word and committed themselves to its proper understanding. It is this high respect for Scripture that made the Bereans “more noble” than the Thessalonians.
This challenges us in at least three ways:
1. We must give priority to the Word of God. As we live our faith and share it with others, we must rely upon and lead with and trust God’s Word to bear fruit and produce results.
2. We must cling to humility and teachability. We must determine in our hearts that the entirety of our lives is under the authority of God and His Word. Our methods, ideas, desires, and theology must all be subject to and shaped by the Word of God. Like Martin Luther, our conscience must be captive to the Word of God. Scripture, rightly interpreted and well-reasoned supersedes all our ideas, desires, dreams, and traditions.
And 3. We must give attention to the Word of God. We must read it, meditate on it, memorize it, sing it, submit to it, talk about it, and teach it. Our lives must be given over to the Word of God. We must give it more than 30 minutes a week. God’s Word should pour into our lives daily if the seeds of His Word are going to transform our minds and lives, heal our hearts and families, strengthen our hearts and our hopes.