“The Word of God Is…”
August 20, 2017
Pastor Ed Young
Known by many names, the Bible is the most popular book in the history of the world. From the time it was first penned, its message has been read and rejected, protected and persecuted, championed and chastised. But in all the time that the Bible has existed, it has never changed or wavered from its claim as the very Word of God. But is this ancient book still relevant? In this message, Pastor Ed Young opens Scripture to reveal what it says, who it reveals, and what its powerful and providential truth means for each of us today.
[INTRO VIDEO OF INTERVIEW WITH DR. LAWRIE]
Wasn’t that a great video? Absolutely amazing, I mean. When I say great I just like the way it was edited. And it was very emotional for me to watch it. But I thought about that a lot because had I not gone to the doctor, had I not just had a regular checkup from my cardiologist I wouldn’t have known I had a messed up valve. Had I not known that, I wouldn’t have gone to this amazing surgeon. He wouldn’t have cracked my chest open, repaired the valve, and I wouldn’t be functioning like I am today.
Now, had I disregarded the advise from the surgeon and my cardiologist I could’ve gotten into severe trouble. But obviously I paid attention and I said to myself, “You know, I think this is a wise decision to have surgery.” And the doctors have promised me and I feel that way that I would have more energy and feel better after the surgery prior to the surgery. And I really do. I feel great. My chest is still sore. I mean I can’t do very many bro hugs right now. It’s going to take a year for this sternum to actually come together and to fuse and to heal. However, I do feel great. I’ve been running and tomorrow morning, pray for me, I have another appointment. In fact, it’s my first appointment since the surgery to talk to my cardiologist. So they’re going to do more test and things and I’m looking forward to emerging unscathed.
But heart surgery is not fun. It’s not easy. You have got to go through pain to get to the other side.
What if you needed heart surgery? What if we had some sort of a spiritual sonogram in every seat? What if the God of the universe could look at your tests and mine, what would he see? We’re talking about an open heart. God wants us to have an open heart before Him. Not just for His sake, for our sake. God sees it all. He knows my hypocrisy, my chicanery, my shenanigans, my sin, my rebellion, my attitude, my motives, He knows. He knows when I’m not being the kind of man I should be. He knows when I’m not being the kind of husband, or father, or pastor I should be. God knows. You’re not pulling one over on Him. He sees it all.
Yet God challenges us to open our hearts. God challenges you and me to crawl up on the operating table, to lie there. He challenges us to open ourselves up to Him because He is the master surgeon.
The Savior is the surgeon. Do you know one of the things they call Jesus was the Great Physician? Isn’t that interesting? The Savior is the surgeon. Many times people are afraid to go to church. Have you noticed that? They are. Let’s just be honest. People are like, “No, I’m not sure.” I was talking to a friend of mine. Today in fact. He invited a friend of his and he said he backed out. And I talked to someone else who said, “Yeah I thought she was coming but she didn’t show up.” On the other hand, I know a lot of people who have said, “Yeah my friend is here today. My family is here today.”
But why, why, why, I’m a why guy. Why do certain people just kind of have an aversion to coming to church? It’s like going to the doctor. A lot of people don’t want to know the truth.
Jesus is the surgeon. And this book right here, is the blessed blade. The scalpel is the Scripture. A lot of people don’t want to get cut. I understand that.
This incredible surgeon, he didn’t do the surgery just for himself. I don’t think he needs anymore money or a claim. He’s operated on kings and queens and emperors. And recently Barbara Bush. He operated on a regular guy like me. He did it for me, you heard him. He is a surgeon, he is a doctor because he likes what happens as a result of what he does. It’s not easy, it’s not pleasant but, it’s worth it. So I thank you for coming here today. I thank you for submitting yourself to the blessed blade.
The scalpel, the word of God. Because I don’t have anything to say. I mean don’t come to church to listen to me. However, when I teach and preach the word of God listen. So all I have is the word of God. Me just talking and waxing eloquently, I’m not sure I can even do that aside from the word of God. That’s one thing. But we’re talking the Holy Bible. We’re talking the word of God. We’re talking the scriptures here. That’s why at Fellowship we’re under the authority of the word of God. It’s our only authority, the Bible. We’re a Bible teaching, Bible believing church. We even believe the maps.
So I want to encourage you to open your heart. Some people don’t want to come to church. They don’t want to get cut. And I’ve heard people say for a long time, “Yeah I grew up in a hail, fire, and brimstone church. And it kind of turned me off church, I’ll never go back.”
Well basically that’s a bunch of crap. I understand some churches are coo coo for cocoa puffs, but not very many. The reason people say that is because you’ve gotten too close to the fire, too close to the mirror, too close to the water, too close to the blessed blade, the sacred scalpel. The Bible is called a mirror, did you know that?
Have you ever looked at yourself in a mirror? You ever done that? If you have lift your hand. No, no, you didn’t listen to me. You’ve never looked at yourself in a mirror nor have I. You’ve looked at your reflection. Your image, you haven’t looked at yourself. The depth of yourself. This is the only mirror that shows me who I really am. The mirror is God’s word.
Also, the Bible is liquid. The Bible washes you and me. You should’ve seen the pre-op I had to go through. Not to get too detailed. They wash me, and wash me, and wash me, and then when they put me to sleep, who knows what they did to wash me. I was like clean man! This, right here, this is the true shower. The Bible will wash us clean. Will it not? The Bible.
The Bible says about itself in 2 Timothy 3:16. “All scripture is inspired by God.” This word inspired means it’s God breathed. Isn’t that interesting? God can’t have bad breath. So the Bible is a book of perfection. It was written by human authors. Yet, the original autographs are infallible. 2 Peter 1:21, “For prophesy never came by “the will of the man “but holy men of God “spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
This word “moved” is a nautical term. It’s a ship that’s born along on the sea. Or maybe some lake. The writers, whether they were multi-billionaires like Solomon or maybe they were very poor like some of the disciples, their sails were up. They listened to the Holy Spirit of God. They were carried forth to write the word of God using their personalities, using their life experiences. The Bible is a book of perfection. God is a God of truth. When the Bible speaks, God speaks.
The Bible is also, let me just tell you this little bit about Jesus, the word of God. The word of God. John 1:1, “In the beginning was the word.” That means Jesus. “And the word was with God, and the word was God.”
Now the Bible is not Jesus. Yet on every page we see Jesus. Jesus is the hero of scripture. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death, rose again so we could have life, so we could have a new heart.
Notice also the authority of scripture. Have you thought about that? As I said a second ago, when the Bible speaks, God speaks. And in this book tells me how to be the man God wants me to be. It’s told me, because I’ve been reading this book for a long long time, how to be the kind of junior high student that God wanted me to be; how to kind of be the athlete that God wanted me to be; how to be the kind of single man God wanted me to be; how to be the kind of boyfriend God wanted me to be when I started dating Lisa; how I’m to preach, and how I’m to teach, and how I’m to be the husband, and the father, and over the next couple of days, a grandfather. A grandfather! This book is the book of life. And whenever people have taken the book seriously in context, throughout history, life change has taken place.
So I want to ask you to put yourself on the operating table. Because that’s what I did. They allowed me, when they wheeled me into the OR, they said, “Do you want us to lift you on the table or do you want to get on the table yourself?”
I said, “I will get on the table myself.”
So I got up in the OR looked around and I’m like “Whoa man!” And I just walked, put myself down. They said, “Move up a little bit.” And then I’m out. And the next thing I knew I had tubes sticking down my throat. And wow, and then they took those out and then we started the fun part of the post operative recovery regiment. Which I’ll have to tell you later.
I am allergic to sulfa based drugs. Anybody allergic to sulfa based drugs? Well here’s what’s so wacky. I had this giant wound. They crack my little chest open and sewed it up. On all of my records, “Sulfa based allergy, sulfa based allergy.” What were they pumping me with in my stomach with shots every two or three hours? A derivative of sulfa based drugs. I broke out. The rash from hell. From the top of my head to the toes of my feet. So yeah, this thing hurt. But I think the rash might have been worse. I had to face some tough stuff.
I’ve noticed something when people preach and teach the word of God, the Bible. There’s three reactions. And I’ve seen this for 27 years. Some people get mad. They really do, they get mad! I’ve seen people get up and storm out. People have sent me this or that. I got people that actually talk to me. Some people get mad.
Other people get sad. That’s okay, I understand that. I see tears, I see conviction. I see like oh, the blessed blade. Wow that scalpel! Ooh man, that’s convicting.
Other people though got glad. If you’ll stay with the process, I promise you you can move from madness to sadness, from sadness to gladness.
After my surgery, I’ll just be totally transparent here, I got mad a little bit, I was mad. “Man I can’t believe I had to have heart surgery. I can’t do this, can’t do that for a while.” Even barked at Lisa some. Talk to her, I was in a bad mood, mad, kind of mad. Watch out. She looked at my brother and she was like, “Man, ugh.”
Then I got a little sad. Doggie downer you know. “Awe man, I’m tired of this rash and I hurt just to even walk. I can barely get out of the bed.”
But after a while, after like six days in the hospital, they finally said, “Mr. Young, you can go home.”
So I got in the car, driven by a friend of mine. I said “First stop, Whataburger!” That made me glad! So I had Whataburger and drove back to beautiful Dallas and I’ve been glad.
So what I’m saying is stay with the process. Here’s what the Bible says about itself very very quickly. The Bible illuminates and penetrates. It’s the sacred scalpel, the blessed blade. The Bible says in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is alive.”
The word alive is the word “zoo”. We get the word zoology from it. The Bible is alive. It’s not reading some book by Grisham. It’s not reading some textbook. No, no, the Bible is alive. In fact this next word active is from two words. “Ergo” and “en,” it means in energy. Energy in. You read the Bible, you sit under Biblical teaching. You’ve got energy, you’ve got life. Isn’t that great?
So yes we’re cut. Yes, we have to have sutures. Yes the Bible is like a fire as surgeons cauterize things to stop the bleeding. All those things are true. Yes the Bible is a mirror, but we have to allow ourselves to get convicted to go through the pain, to go through the process, to get mad, and sad, and on the other side we’re going to be glad.
God has your best interest in mind. As a single adult, he’s got your best interest in mind. As a single parent, you might be way up there in the balcony. I’m telling you, God has your best interest in mind. He has our best interest in mind financially, relationally. God has our best interest in mind. Yet to get to it we got to go through it. We’ve got to be willing to have open heart surgery.
So the Bible illuminates and penetrates. You know the Bible is talked about and it’s described as “a light and a lamp unto our feet,” Psalm 119:105. Do you want to see where you’re going? I want to know where I’m going. This book.
Now I’m all about, you know, Christian psychology. I’m all about studying human behavior. I’m all about this or that. But, there’s no book like this book. There’s none like it. It’s the word of God. It doesn’t just contain the word of God, it’s the word of God. Go to the Bible. Make the Bible your priority.
And that’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about the devotional app that I’ve been writing. Have you seen that? I’ve been writing, and some of the other pastors have been writing it as well. It’s a really great thing. If you don’t have it, you probably heard about it already. Download Fellowship Church app. Just go to app store Fellowship Church and just That’s right, click the icon “get” and you’ll have it. If you’re again, going to school, if you are in the rat race at work, if you’re a teacher, if you’re a stay at home mom, which is probably the most difficult job out there. Five minutes, five minutes allowing the scalpel of God’s word, the light of God’s word, the mirror of God’s word, the water of God’s word to do its work in your life. I’m telling you something. Amazing things will happen.
So it illuminates and penetrates. It exposes sin. We don’t like to call sin, sin anymore. We call it mistakes. Some attorney’s call it issues. We don’t like to say repentance or will you forgive me. No, no, no, we say, my bad. Hey I want to apologize if I offended you. What? What?
Let’s call it what it is. What is sin anyway? Sin is an archery term. You know a lot of people like to bow hunt. I’m not a hunter but, I have a lot of friends who bow hunt and when you bow hunt you’re not always going to hit the target. You’re going to miss the target. That’s called a sin in archery.
God’s target is perfection. All of us have missed the target! All of us have sinned. So the Bible illuminates and penetrates. It shows us stuff we didn’t even know was there. I had no idea my mitral valve was that serious. When I got the call, “Hey you’ve got some serious problems. You need open heart surgery” I was thinking to myself, “What?! I don’t feel that bad. I feel good you know, I work out at a trendy gym with a trainer.”
But then when I saw, wow! The depths of my heart after five grueling tests! Then talking to this master surgeon I was like, “I’m in trouble.”
See I thought I knew myself. I thought I knew my heart. But I didn’t until I saw the depths of it through the eyes of these tests and through the eyes of a master.
People walk around and go, “Oh yeah, I know myself. I know my heart. Follow your heart. Your heart’s not in it.” And I understand that. We know ourselves pretty well, but we don’t really know ourselves. Only God, only His blessed blade can show us who we really are. Because there’s sin in there. There’s cancer in there. There’s disease in there that only He can cut away. Have you put yourself on the table? This blessed blade. This supernatural scalpel.
“For the word of God” it says in Hebrews 4:12 “is alive and active. Sharper than any two edged sword. It penetrates.” Means to go through. “Even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow.” That is deep. “It judges” uh oh. “The thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Those negative thoughts that I have, that I don’t want to tell anybody else about. Those impure thoughts. Those selfish thoughts. Those materialistic thoughts.
Have you ever been trying to pray and all of a sudden boom! “Where did that thought come from?” Have you ever been to church and like bam! “Man, what’s up with that?” Well the Bible tells me in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things “and desperately wicked. Who can know it?”
So we’re not talking about a physical tissue, we’re talking about a spiritual issue. Look at our world today. The mayhem, the murder, the racism, the wars, the selfishness. The just absolute wheels-offness. (I made that word up.) We have a heart problem. The issue is the heart and the heart is the issue.
Psychologists can’t give us the answer, anthropologists can’t give us the answer, biologists can’t give us the answer. They try, but they fall miserably short. This is the answer. We have a diseased and depraved heart that can only be cured by God Himself. “So the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double edged sword.”
And this book is called The Sword of the Spirit. “It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges.”
This word judges you might want to highlight that. We get the word critique from it. Critic from it. God critiques you and me for our best interests.
ILLUS: After our Saturday night service we always have a critique meeting. Where we critique the service. We critique everything that we do up here. We critique even the ushers, we critique the parkers because we’re expressing the love of God. We should do things with excellence. So we critique. And we always say we don’t criticize. We critique. So when I critique you, or when I receive critique, I’m being critiqued in order to get better. So usually I’ll even tweak and change the message from Saturday to Sunday because of this critique session. Now it’s not fun. It’s like “Oh man, I cannot believe I didn’t say that.” Or “I forgot that point.” Or “Yes I should’ve done that.” Or “I could’ve told that story to make that clearer.” And then I’ll go home, watch the game film. I mean the film of the service on my computer. Then go through and change it and tweak it.
So God wants to do that in your life and mine, because again, he simply wants the best. Look at verse 13. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.” I mean we’re not going to surprise Him. He knows it. He just wants us to know that He knows it. And He knows more than we know. And when He shows us what He knows, we’re going to be like “whoa, I had no idea you knew that and now I know that. You got it?”
“Everything is uncovered and laid bare.” This phrase laid bare is literally face-to-face. It’s a wrestling term.
Okay, how many people are going to order the Connor McGregor / Mayweather fight? How many people are going to order it? That’s okay you lift your hand, I’m not. Okay some on the balcony. Yes, God bless you, thank you. I believe Mayweather is going to kill him. This is my opinion because he is not primarily a boxer. Now, if they took the gloves off and did this MMA style, Floyd would last maybe 20 seconds. He would tap out quick.
This phrase, I love this. Laid bare, is a couple of fighters, wrestlers face to face. When we allow God to operate on us, when we expose ourselves to the blessed blade face to face, that’s what God wants to do in our lives. So “Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.”
A lot of people are running from God. And I would tell you this. What you’re running from is what you need to run to. Because it’s going to be that what you’re running to is what you need to run from. Run to God. Run to His word. Run to His grace. Run to His forgiveness and love. Some people get mad! Some people get sad, some people get glad.
ILLUS: A while back I did a message and I was talking about riches. I was talking about wealth. And I basically said you know, God is not anti-wealth or anti-ownership. Some people in the Bible were mega wealthy. Others didn’t have that much. The Bible says though it’s difficult for a rich man to get into heaven. He said it’s like a camel. I call it camel filter. A camel trying to get through the eye of a needle. You’re supposed to laugh there. Your camel filter, okay.
Well, this guy, he’s very wealthy, didn’t dig it. And I know him, I’ve known him for a while. He was like “I didn’t like what you said about wealth.”
I said, “Well man I just said what God said.
“No I don’t like it because you said a lot of people have a hard time being good at being wealthy.”
I said “Yeah, that’s what the Bible says.” I said “Man, don’t get mad at me. If you’ve got problem, if you’ve got a problem take it up with God.” And I said, “You’re mad. But I’m going to defend God’s word. I don’t care how much money you have. But if you’ll stay with the program you can move from madness to sadness because you know what your problem is?” I told him this, “You are ruled by riches. And the thing you don’t understand is, if you gave your entire life to God, he would probably make you wealthier than you are now. But I don’t think you’ll ever do it because money has you.”
What was happening? This guy was cut by the supernatural scalpel. By the blessed blade. He’s not been back since. If he’d of stayed with the program, he’d of gone from madness. I’ve been mad before. Sadness. And then gladness. I pray that that he’ll get it but, I don’t know.
Where are you today? Because that blessed blade is cutting, it’s slicing. And God is doing it for your best, for my best. I pray that you would turn to Him. Some here have a hard heart and God wants to soften it. Others here, you’ve never given your heart to Jesus. And today, you can make that decision. You might have a few little symptoms like I had. A little bit out of breath. A little bit, oh I don’t feel quite right. My voice was hoarse. I didn’t realize I had cardiac asthma. But after the test and the physician, and after the surgery, look at me now! I feel great!
Could it be that as the Holy Spirit is moving, as God is cutting to the heart of the matter you realize that you need a new heart, a new life; that you need God to take control of your heart, to forgive you, to cleanse you, to change you. You can make that decision right now. Because everyone lives forever. Everyone! And that’s great news. Yeah we live in one of two places forever.
If we did the Heisman and kept God at bay our entire lives, God will simply give us a greater measure of that when we die. And the Bible says we’ll face the word of God again. You know people so do I. “Awe man I’ll never go to church.” They’re running from the word of God. You know what God says? “They’ll hear the word of God again.” When they die they’ll say, “Oh I didn’t realize it! “Hell!”
And listen to me, God doesn’t hurl anybody to hell. Let me say it again. God does not send anybody to hell. We make that choice. If you go to hell you’re going against the will of God. You make that choice. But some are going to go “God, I don’t deserve hell! I mean God, yeah, I kept you at a distance!”
God will say “Exhibit A. Do you remember at Fellowship Church that time? Do you remember when that preacher preached the word of God? You had an opportunity. You did the Heisman; you’ll have a greater measure in eternity in a place called hell.”
Others of us who’ve responded to the word, who’ve received Christ, who’ve given our hearts to Him, we’ll go to heaven. Not because of what we’ve done, but because we’ve received that God has done for me by sending Jesus to die on the cross for my sins.
But it’s my choice, it’s your choice, I can’t make that choice for you. You’ve got to make it. But I would be remiss if I didn’t give you an opportunity to make this decision to give your heart, to open your heart to Jesus.
[Ed leads in closing prayer and then invitation to walk forward.]