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Sermon #2098[i]                                                                    Miscellaneous Sermons


            Title:                           “THE WORD OF GOD IS…”


            Text:                            Hebrews 4:12-13

            Subject:                     The Word of God



My text is Hebrews 4:12-13. The title of my message is The Word of God Is… — Hebrews 4:12-13.


Hebrews 4:12-13 12 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. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.


The Word of God is a name for our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ as well as for this Sacred Volume, the Holy Scriptures. It is difficult to say whether this text speaks of the written Word (The Bible), or of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the incarnate Word (John 1:1-3). The fact is, we cannot sever the two.


John 1:1-3 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.


John 1:14 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.


The Lord Jesus Christ is the Word of whom all the written Word speaks (Luke 24:27; 44-47). The Word of God is what it is because the Lord Jesus Christ is embodied in it.


Luke 24:27 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.


Luke 24:44-47 44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.


John 1:45 45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.


Acts 10:43 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.


Illustration: — The Alabaster Box


The Word of God is


First, let me show you what our text tells us the Word of God is. Let’s look at our text line by line and word by word. Here God the Holy Ghost, whose Book this is, tells us seven things about the Word of God. — The Word of God Is…


1.    It is “the Word of God(2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).


This Book is God’s final, full, complete, and perfect revelation of himself and his will to man. Since the Book of God is complete, we no longer have and no longer need the signs of the apostles. God no longer gives revelation to men. The Holy Spirit now gives us illumination by the Word, revealing Christ to us and in us by the saving operations of his grace; but he does not give additional revelation.


2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.


2 Peter 1:19-21 ¶ We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.


2.    This Book, the Bible, the Word of God is living. — “The Word of God is quick.”


  • Our words pass away, God’s word lives on. — “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8).
  • God’s Word has life in itself. It is the living and incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1:23).
  • It creates life where it comes.


The word “quick” is an old English word which means alive. This is a living Book, its words are the words of our living Redeemer (1 Peter 1:23-25; James 1:18). The Word is the living seed.


1 Peter 1:23-25 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the Gospel is preached unto you.


James 1:18 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.


3.    The Word of God is effectual. — “quick, and powerful


  • It brings conviction and conversion.
  • It is the basis of faith in Christ and gives us faith in Christ
  • It ministers comfort to believing hearts.
  • The Word of God has power to elevate our hearts and minds to Christ and things above.


Christ and his Word are active and effectual.

  • He spoke for the elect in the council and covenant of grace (Hebrews 7:22).
  • He spoke all things out of nothing in creation (Hebrews 11:3; Genesis 1:6, 9).
  • He spoke and revealed the Father (John 14:10).
  • He speaks and the dead come forth (John 5:24-25).


John 5:24-25 24 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. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.


4.    It is cutting. This Book is the Sword of the Lord. It is “sharper than any two-edged sword


The Word is all edge. It has no blunt side. It is alive all over. It wounds, in one way or another, all who touch it. You cannot come near the Word of God without its having some effect on you (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).


2 Corinthians 2:14-16 Now thanks [be] unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one [we are] the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who [is] sufficient for these things?


Our Lord comes “not to send peace but a sword;” and that sword begins in our own souls, wounding and killing. Yet, it kills nothing but that which ought to be killed — our pride, self-righteousness, envy, lust, and sins.


5.    The Word of God is piercing. — “even to the dividing asunder


It forces its way into the hardest of hearts. It can find its way anywhere. It penetrates the smallest opening, like the arrow which entered between the joints of the harness. Although the soul and spirit are invisible and the joints and marrow are covered and hid, so penetrating is the Divine Word that it reaches the most hidden and secret things of men and women. It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Christ knows the heart and will make manifest all that is in it by the Word (Luke 16:15).


Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.


6.    It is discriminating, too. — “to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit”


  • It separates the precious from the vile, the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats.
  • It divides “joints and marrow,” families and churches.
  • It does this by its own penetrating and discerning qualities.


7.    And this blessed Book, the Bible, the Word of God is revealing. — “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”


It cleaves a man and exposes the secret thoughts, imaginations, and corruptions of his heart, like a butcher splits a carcass and exposes all within.


All this we have seen in the preaching of the Word of God. Have you not felt it to be so? Does the Word of God pierce your heart? Does it reach your soul? If it does, thank God for it. Does this Sword of the Spirit prick your heart? Does its edge draw out the blood of your heart’s lusts? Bless God for it. You would do as much to a surgeon who lanced your diseased body, and severed a putrifying cancerous tumor from your body. Though he caused you great pain, you would thank him for his service, and pay him, too. How much more ought we to bless God for his work for, upon, and in our souls by his Word.


The puritan, William Gurnall, wrote, “There is not another sword like this in all the world that can cure with cutting; not another arm could use this sword, to have done thus with it besides the Spirit of God.”


The Instrumentality of the Word


Second, I want to show you from this Book, from the Word of God, what God the Holy Ghost has to say about the instrumentality of Holy Scripture. It is by this Book, specifically by the preaching of this Book, the preaching of the Gospel, that God saves his elect and instructs his saints (Romans 1:16-17; 10:17; 1 Corinthians 1:21-23; James 1:18; 1 Peter 23-25). Is that, or is it not, precisely what God tells us in this Book?


Romans 1:16-17 16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.


Romans 10:13-17 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the Gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.


1 Corinthians 1:21-23 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness.


James 1:18 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.


1 Peter 1:23-25 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the Gospel is preached unto you.


I realize that there are many who object to the fact that this Book declares plainly that God saves sinners only by the preaching of the Gospel. They tell us that such doctrine limits God’s sovereignty. But the teachings of Scripture in this matter are crystal clear, as we see in these passages. That puts an end to the matter. It is not a debatable issue.


If God has purposed something, he has purposed all the means necessary for its accomplishment. Why does the farmer till his ground and sow his seed? He knows he cannot cause seed to vegetate and grow! But he also knows that if God gives the increase, it will be through the instrumentality of these means and that it is only in the use of these means that he can hope to receive the increase.


We know that all the means used to effect the salvation of God’s elect are, in themselves, utterly powerless unless God makes them effectual. What encouragement was there for the prophet Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones except this — God had determined in connection with his preaching to give them life. What encouragement do we have to preach the Gospel of Christ to those who are dead in trespasses and sins except this — God has determined to give efficacy to the Word of his grace.


God has a chosen people on this earth; and, as the Gospel is the appointed means for effecting the salvation of his chosen, he will send it to those whom he designs to save. God had much people in Corinth, and for this reason he sent Paul there to preach the Gospel. And by the Word preached, chosen, redeemed sinners were born again and granted faith in Christ.


This is a matter of tremendous importance. God saves his people by the Word of the Gospel (“By which ye are saved” — 1 Corinthians 15:3; Ephesians 1:13).


Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.


It is the naked, unadorned Word of God, plainly preached, by which Satan is conquered, dead sinners are brought to life, and our thoughts and imaginations are brought into captivity to Christ. This Book, and this Book alone is our weapon of warfare (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).


2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.


The preaching of the Gospel is God’s ordained means of salvation for his elect (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).


2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.


The preaching of the Gospel is God’s ordained means of edification, instruction, and comfort for his people (Ephesians 4:8-16). — Gospel preachers are the ascension gift of Christ to his church.


Ephesians 4:8-16 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.


Pray that God will give more, that God will yet give his church pastors according to his own heart, to feed his chosen with knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3:15). Oh, how we ought to cherish and pray for those men the Lord God has given his church as faithful pastors to serve his flock (1 Thessalonians 5:11-13).


1 Thessalonians 5:11-13 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.


John Owen once wrote, “The time will come, when a faithful minister of the Gospel will be more scarce and precious than a bar of gold.”


Stripping Work


Now, look at verse 13 for just a moment, and understand this. — The Word of God is designed to strip us naked before God. “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things [are] naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”


Christ, our Lord, is the omniscient God. Nothing is hidden from him. Our Savior’s eyes are like a flame of fire, penetrating through all coverings. Christ is our Almighty Zaphnathpaaneah (Genesis 41:45), the great Revealer of secrets. By his word, he strips us naked and lays us open, exposing the thoughts and intents of the heart; and he does it by the preaching of this Book.

  • The word “opened” might be translated “thrown on the back.” So Christ by his Word, throws sinners down from their loftiness and exposes them.
  • The word “opened” might be translated “cut open, or cut up,” referring to the slaughter of an animal sacrifice, cut open, with its entrails exposed and ripped out. That is a pretty good picture of our Lord’s work by his Word. — He cuts us open, exposes the evil that is in us, and lays it out to our open view, causing us to know ourselves as he knows us. — That is Holy Spirit conviction!
  • Believers, like Peter even in the teeth of his terrible sin, find great comfort in the fact that, he who is our Lord and Savior knows all things.

·      Unbelieving religious hypocrites tremble at the thought of Christ’s absolute omniscience.




1.    Let us ever reverence this Book as the Word of God.

2.    Let us come to the Scriptures for quickening for our own souls.

3.    Let this Book alone determine both our faith and our practice.

4.    Pray that God will make his Word effectual (2 Thessalonians 3:1).


2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have [free] course, and be glorified, even as [it is] with you.







Don Fortner








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[i]    Danville — Sunday Morning — August 18, 2013

     Covenant of Grace Baptist Church, N. Wilkesboro, NC — 08/08/13


Recording#         BB-43

Reading:             Hebrews 4:1-16

                           2 Peter 1:1-21

                           Ezekiel 1:1-28