[forthright] The Power of the Written Word/No Results

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From: Forthright Magazine <ba@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2004 14:40:03 -0600
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Friend to Friend

The Power of the Written Word
by Phil Sanders

Some people lament that the days of miracles
ceased and that all we have today is just the
Bible. Unfortunately, some think the power of God
is limited to miracles. They don't realize how
truly powerful God's word is. Here are some things
God's Word does in our lives today:

1. It gives understanding (Psalm 119:130). "The
unfolding of Thy words gives light; It gives
understanding to the simple."

2. It gives life (John 6:63). "It is the Spirit
who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the
words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are
life."

3. It cleanses us (John 15:3). "You are already
clean because of the word which I have spoken to
you."

4. It sanctifies us (John 17:17). "Sanctify them
in the truth; Thy word is truth."

5. It purifies the obedient and causes them to be
born again (1 Peter 1:22,23). "Since you have in
obedience to the truth purified your souls for a
sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one
another from the heart, for you have been born
again not of seed which is perishable but
imperishable, that is, through the living and
abiding word of God."

6. It has the power of God unto salvation (Romans
1:16). "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it
is the power of God for salvation to everyone who
believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."

We need to have great love for the Word of God, to
read it, to study it, to meditate on it, and to
share it. The Word is most powerful when it is
heard and obeyed.

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COLUMN: Final Phase

No Results
by J. Randal Matheny

At the office, the colleague just turns around and
walks off when invited to church.

After the sermon, the whole church files out
without a word of compliment to the preacher.

The special series of gospel lessons ends without
a single response.

No results. Not a good feeling. The lack of
results leaves us deflated, discouraged, or
depressed.

Like the lady who called my wife yesterday to
cancel our third Bible study. Somehow, we sensed a
certain finality to the cancellation.

Man was created by a God who spoke "and it was
so." The Lord always fulfills what he intends. My
word, says God, "will not return to me empty, but
will accomplish what I desire and achieve the
purpose for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11, NIV).

So we are not wrong to want and look for results.
In fact, God wants results from our labors. He
calls them "fruit."

But not every effort will be crowned with success.
Not all preaching pricks the heart. Not all
teaching makes converts or convicts of sin or
lifts the fallen.

Has some flaw in the process or some failure on
our part caused the lack of results?

We may indeed fail in many ways, but no results
also is part of God's big picture.

After decades of preaching, righteous Noah saved
only seven others -- his immediate family.

God told Jeremiah, before the prophet preached his
first sermon, that the people would not listen.

Jesus instructed his disciples to shake the dust
off their feet in cities where the message would
not be well received.

No results has long been part and parcel of the
righteous' experience.

In the midst of no results, God still will make
his word effective. "My purpose will stand, and I
will do all that I please" (Isaiah 46:10). Even
the stubborn-hearted will not delay his salvation
(v. 11). In spite of rejection, the divine light
will not dim.

So when my search for souls turns up no results, I
need not get glum. I do need to remember to be
faithful myself and to keep speaking the Word.
Because somebody, somewhere, will heed the call of
God and show the success of the gospel.

To his glory and honor.

----
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----

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