GOD’S WEAPON OF CHOICE

The Word of God is its own sword (Hebrews 4:12). It is the Almighty’s weapon of choice, being prevailingly wielded by Him in our present-day world. It vanquishes every foe and proves itself to be everlasting. As the prophet said, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8).

As the legendary sword Excalibur could only be supernaturally wielded by King Arthur, who alone had managed to pull it from the stone, so also the “sword of the Spirit” can only be miraculously wielded by the King of kings, who came into this world to bring it to life by pulling it out of cold stone tablets. Granted, as His subjects, we are armed as His witnesses with the sharp sword of His Word. Nevertheless, the moment we attempt to wield it as a club in the coercion of others, we step out from under its authority and are no longer standing and relying upon its inherent power.

God has not given us the Bible to bludgeon people with. We are not to behave as the modern-day version of the Pharisees, the spiritual bruisers of Jesus’ day. Instead, God simply wants us to share His unadulterated Word with others. Although God wants us to do so with boldness, He also wants us to be compelled by His love and empowered by His Spirit. When we are, God can speak through us to the hearts of men in the still small voice of the Spirit. It is hearing God speak through us, not hearing us speak for God, that changes men’s lives and alters their eternal destinies. 

The ancient prophets went out into this world armed with nothing else but “Thus saith the Lord.” Our Lord Himself changed forever this fallen world by mightily wielding His authoritative Word within it (Matthew 7:28-29). Likewise, His ragtag band of disciples managed to “turn the world upside down” by simply repeating the words that He had spoken (Acts 17:6). And even when persecuted and imprisoned for their preaching of His Word, His disciples remained confident that His Word was “not bound” and would continue unimpeded into “all the world” (2 Timothy 2:9; Matthew 24:9-10, 14). 

Along with being unstoppable, the Word of God is also all sufficient. Jesus portrayed it as seed in His famous parable of the sower (Luke 8:4-15). Everything is in the seed: the stalk, the leaf, the ear and the kernel. Likewise, everything we need is in the Word of God. It is not only sufficient for the salvation of souls, but also for the perfecting of the saints (James 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Truly, it is enough; we need nothing more to be fully armed and equipped!

“The Bible is no mere book, but a living creature with a power that conquers all that face it.” (Napoleon)

BRANDISHING THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT

In Ephesians 6:17, the Apostle Paul tells us to take up the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” According to Hebrews 4:12, God’s Word is “quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged 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.”

Despite the clear teaching of Scripture, today’s church is reluctant to take up the “sword of the Spirit.” Instead, we attempt to avoid the persecution of a politically correct culture by leaving our sword sheathed or by blunting its sharp edges. We appear to believe that the best way to win converts is by sensitively prodding a world at enmity with God toward Christ with the slightest, imperceptible pricks. By doing so we’ve foolishly convinced ourselves that we can buddy up to a fallen world that bruised and bloodied the body of Christ on the cross of Calvary.

In the face of this flawed philosophy, we’ve just received another demoralizing report on the sorry state of affairs in Southern Baptist life today. Church membership has declined for the fourth straight year and our baptisms have hit a sixty year low. One cannot help but wonder how today’s church growth gurus explain these continuing trends, especially in light of our spiritual sensitivity training and vastly improved marketing technics.

Do you suppose that our futile evangelism could actually be our own fault, for failing to unsheathe our sharp two-edged sword? Could it be a consequence of our soft-soap peddling of the Gospel to a politically correct world? Instead of speaking with authority the absolute truth of God’s Word, as our Lord did (Matthew 7:28-29), we sheepishly present the Gospel as our personal opinion so as to avoid offending anyone. Far from unashamedly acclaiming it, we apologetically suggest it, as though one’s spurning of it amounts to no more than a mere difference of opinion devoid of any eternal consequence.

What would happen if we unsheathed our sharp two-edged sword and started mightily wielding it in the world today? What if we became unapologetic about our faith and started boldly proclaiming it without fear of raising the ire of today’s politically correct masses? I say it’s time we unsheathed the “sword of the Spirit” and sharpened up its edges! What do you say? One thing for sure, if we fail to do so the church will continue to lose ground and many a man his immortal soul.