Read Time 9 Minutes
THE PURE WORD OF THE LIVING GOD
We live in a day where technology reigns supreme. The ease with which ideas can be exchanged is a marvel to those who treasure knowledge, but what is the cost?
Information overload is a peril, selectivity in sources is imperative and discernment is necessary to sort truth from fiction and good intent from malice. Make no mistake – information has been weaponized. Words as weapons have been used by the military for centuries and it is called Propaganda. Now, propaganda has been mainstreamed as news, advertising, political jargon and social justice blackmail.
Words are simply words, but whether for good or evil, they are powerful and we must be responsible to use them to persuade, never coerce, to build up and not tear down. Never is this more important than when we are privileged to speak the Word of God. When we speak to others on behalf of Christ we are responsible for conveying the Pure Water of the Word of God. The Word of God is the Water with which the Believer is Cleansed.
Ephesians 5:26-27 KJV (Bold and Underline Emphasis Mine)
26 That he (Jesus by His Holy Spirit) might sanctify and cleanse it (His Body – the Church) with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Two things are important for us to take away from this passage.
First, Jesus, by His Holy Spirit, is doing the sanctifying and cleansing. Believers cannot sanctify themselves, for we are still constrained by the sinful flesh in which we live. When we come to Faith in Christ, our Spirit is Born Again – the 2nd Birth, but our flesh, our body in this world remains burdened by the sin nature. We cannot attend church enough, give enough or serve enough to sanctify ourselves for those are “works” of the flesh. They may be good, they may be uplifting and helpful to our fellow man yet they remain works. The cleansing and sanctifying of the Believer is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit and cooperating and actively participating is the part of the Believer.
Secondly, Holy Spirit is making this transformation in Believers over time by Washing them with the Water of the Word. The Believer reads and studies the Word in order to renew the mind and Holy Spirit makes the Word come alive so we can see and understand beyond mental ascent. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the Word is transformed from Knowledge (mental ascent) to Wisdom (the knowing of the Spirit and Heart).
How do we cooperate with Holy Spirit? We first release our hold on any unsound doctrine, denominational bias or religious theory and seek Truth – the Pure Water of the Word. We spend time in Scripture and in prayer asking for discernment, for understanding and the courage to walk in Truth.
Once Knowledge becomes Wisdom, by moving from our head to our heart, then we can truly benefit others. We are all ministers of the gospel, our commission from Christ. We must take the responsibility to make certain the Word we convey remains as pure as humanly possible.
Must we wait until the sanctification process is completed and our minds have been completely renewed before we can assist others? Certainly not – for the process will never be completed on this earth. We are all a work in progress. Our primary responsibility is simply to convey the Pure Water we have been given – nothing more, nothing less. As we grow in Christ, our capacity to grow even more increases. The most learned of our scholars only possesses a thimble size portion of the knowledge of God.
The effective use of knowledge to direct another’s thinking while conveying accurate information is Persuasion. Language, when properly used, allows us to exercise the art of persuasion. We can only persuade someone to a point of view which we, ourselves have gained as wisdom from Holy Spirit.
Manipulation is the distortion of knowledge to achieve a desired result through deceit or trickery, by the addition of untruths, the twisting of events or a faulty narrative. The knowledge of man can even skew the Word of God, this is why Jesus warned us –
Matthew 10:16 KJV
16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
What was Jesus telling us? Be as wise as a serpent – run and hide under a rock, if necessary or, when cornered – stand and fight. Be smart, yet conversely, do no harm to another. Let your Words be His Words. Think of the temptation in the wilderness and how Jesus’ responded to Satan’s taunting and bribery. He did not argue, he did not threaten or seek to compromise. He spoke EXACTLY the PURE WORD OF GOD and then the Son of God was quiet. He neither added to nor took away from the Word. He said it and stood on it.
We must always be careful when discussions near controversy. Don’t compromise, but back away! Stand firm, stand forcefully and in complete alignment with the Word. If you fail to do so, you will ignore the admonition of Mark Twain.
“Never argue with a fool, onlookers may be unable to tell the difference.”
The ability to set forth competing ideas and factually propound the strengths of your position while highlighting the weaknesses of the opposition is persuasion, not argument. In times and schools past this was referred to as debate, in the Christian world this is known as Apologetics. Research, logic, reasoning and a persuasive presentation of one’s conclusion was a skill prized by teachers, businesses, institutions and society as a whole.
In our propaganda controlled world today, we are given a 30 second soundbite of someone else’s analysis of an event or even a 30 minute sermon outlining what “the writers intended to say.” But let’s consider, what if the analysis or even the pastor is wrong? What if you are being given an intentionally biased or inaccurate view of what was written? Have you equipped yourself to discern the difference and are you willing to make your own evaluation and stand behind it? This skill is necessary to prevail in the age of disinformation. Those who use knowledge as a weapon must serve as instruction by their example to us in what we must never become. The end does not justify the means – a distortion of facts to win a point of debate, even on behalf of Christ, is still a lie.
Is every wrong interpretation or misunderstood passage put forth by others intended to harm or mislead? Perhaps in the secular media, but not always in the church. People repeat what they have been taught and simply assume it to be true and accurate. When we present these conclusions as our own we take personal responsibility and must research it for ourselves before mindlessly repeating erroneous information. Holding fast the “denominational line” limits your growth in Christ and fails to prepare you to effectively witness. Some will have questions you will be unable to answer if the knowledge is not your own. The fear of being uninformed will limit your willingness to share and defend the faith with confidence and accuracy.
We must first state our position succinctly, then be prepared to articulate how we reached our conclusion. We can learn to artfully voice our position and be truly persuasive. God made it simple and therefore it is profound!
- Know what you believe.
- Know why you believe it.
- Speak the Truth of the Living Word in Love.
The self-sacrificing love displayed on a Roman Cross for you and I is termed Agape Love. To Agape Love someone is to place their needs above your own. You may have been given a glib wit and ability to talk circles around others to make them look silly, even when their point is sound. Don’t misuse your ability and thereby abuse others to display your cleverness or skills. Agape love engages the heart first – then the wit and brain.
When engaging in “discussion” with others remember your heart condition is more important than your head condition. Pray for and allow Holy Spirit to create a clean heart within you and then share with your heart, rather than only with your head. Their needs above your own . . . the Pure Water of the Word of God . . . offered with . . . Agape Love!
We teach others daily whether we realize it or not. The lesson we teach cannot be an example of those things they must never do or how they must never behave or speak to another person. Be certain your behavior, both inside and out, exalts Christ and is the attitude another would choose to emulate. Be an active listener, not a hearer only. Debaters formulate their counterpoint and reply rather than listen. You will never learn actual truth if the only thoughts you hear are your own. Listen with an intent to hear when someone is speaking . . . really hear what they are saying!
Never be reluctant to read, study or consider an alternative point of view, for this is how you learn. You trust Jesus with your Salvation, trust Him, by the Holy Spirit to protect you from error when you are earnestly seeking truth. I have learned much from the wrong interpretations of others. Fear of error can be paralyzing. Pray for specifically and Trust Christ and His Holy Spirit to guide, instruct and keep you in truth. Let the Holy Spirit whisper Truth into your heart as a gentle breeze.
The “voice” of Holy Spirit is not audible, but a quiet assurance and peace within or a hesitation when you “sense” something isn’t quite right in what you see or hear. This is often referred to as a “check in your spirit”, a caution, an awareness to be alert for error. A Word or phrase may simply pop into your mind and, initially, you might think the thought is your own. Pause and consider it. Often, it is the “voice” of Holy Spirit. The more you listen for His leading, the more certain you will become of His direction and presence.
The day you determine you have “arrived” and have The Word of God all figured out with complete doctrinal clarity is the day you cease to grow. Not only do you become tedious and uninteresting, you are a danger to yourself and others. Knowledge without Wisdom is lethal. A teacher, pastor or any man’s theory about God, even your own, is only borrowed until it becomes Wisdom. The truth or falsity of it will never reach your heart and doesn’t truly belong to you until you study the Scripture for yourself by the power of Holy Spirit.
To successfully defend the faith we must first define the gospel. Then we are able to internalize, personalize and join our hearts and minds to His truth by the power of His Spirit. The most important Truth – the Source of Living Water is the 3 points defined by Paul to the Corinthians. It is these 3 points which explain, define and confirm the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What must we believe in order to be saved?
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that (1) Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that (2) he was buried, and that (3) he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
This is the first and most important tool in your toolbox for without the gospel men perish. Every other issue in scripture is important and yet peripheral to this simple, yet profound premise. When one is able to say – I Trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for my salvation – It is Finished! This is the Wisdom of the Ages, the Pure Water of the Living God.
As we learn the old and valuable skills of persuasion, let us continue to wash ourselves in the Water of the Word with a heart of love and concern for our Brothers and Sisters In Christ. We can be Trustworthy to handle the Pure Word by entering into the heart of Christ with a mind renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Then and only then are we able to grow in the Knowledge and Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and contribute by serving God’s people.
Thanks for taking time for me . . .
Sherry Driskell Griffin
P. S. If this was a Blessing to you . . . be a Blessing and pass it along!
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