Friday, November 10, 2006

The Powr of God's Word

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But not only did God create everything from nothing, God also created everything by his Word.

"And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light" (Gen 1:3).

If you and I make something, we need raw material to work with. We’ll have to expend effort and energy. If it’s complex, we’ll need help. Not so with God. At no point has God ever been frustrated in his creative plans or designs. He did not have to struggle to create anything, nor has he ever needed the help or cooperation of others. As Paul says in Romans 4, "He calls things that are not as though they were"; and then they are. God creates by speaking.

When the Bible refers to God’s Word, it’s not necessarily referring to an audible voice. Rather, God’s Word is the expression of his wisdom, power, and love. We have it in written form in the Bible. But ultimately, as Hebrews 1 tells us, God "has spoken to us through his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe" (Heb 1:2). John says the same thing at the opening of his Gospel. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). Jesus Christ is the creator of everything because Jesus Christ is the Word by which God creates.

This also means that whenever and whatever God creates, whether it’s light or life or spiritual life, it’s an act of powerful, irresistible grace. Nothing forces God to speak. But when he speaks, things happen. It’s not just that the potentiality for things is created. No, things happen. Nowhere is the gracious power of God’s creating activity more vividly illustrated than in Ezekiel 37. There, God instructs Ezekiel to speak God’s words to a valley of dry, dead, bleached bones. When he does, life enters into those bones and they get up.

We see the same in John 11. Jesus calls out to the corpse of Lazarus, and Lazarus gets up and walks out of the tomb.

The bones didn’t say to Ezekiel, "I don’t want to get up." Lazarus didn’t say to Jesus, "Not now, ask me again next year." No, when the voice of God rings out in gracious, creative power, not even death nor unbelief can resist his power.

This is why we should preach the Bible expositionally in our churches. We could do lots of video and song and dance and entertain people better. We could write our own stories, or read and talk about really insightful things that other people have written, filling our churches with those who are interested. But as heralds of God’s Word, our goal is neither to entertain nor to intellectually stimulate. Rather we desire that people who are dead in their sins will find life; that people who are spiritually blind will see. And for that, only God’s Word will do, as it is spoken to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Preacher, whose voice are your people hearing? Christian, whose voice are you listening to?"

1 comment:

Tim said...

I re-read and then used it in Sunday School class- book by Piper - about the Swan not being Silent - Augustine, Luther, Calvin. Calvin's theme, I believe - The Majesty Of The Word Of God. Calvin made a statement to the effect that God's Word was to be revered as highly as God himself. He also believed that the best way to Glorify God was to (expositionally) preach His Word.