1. Welcome everyone to Community Lenten Services
Good Friday – NO Easter egg hunt
11 am crosswalk
12 pm service
March 1 – 7 PM – Footprints in the Park planning meeting
May 3 – 6:30 PM – National Day of Prayer
Attend ministerium meetings
The busier and more hectic that our lives become, the more impactful and meaningful seasons such as Lent become. The Lent season is a time for us to slow down and reflect upon our lives in light of God’s word. It is a time for us to allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and a time to remember the life and sacrifice of Jesus. It is a time for us to cry out to God as David did here:
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
For this year’s community lent services, we decided on the theme, “The Names of Jesus.” As we meet together every week to learn, worship, and fellowship together, I pray that we learn more fully who Jesus is and are drawn more closely to Him.
The name of Jesus that we’ll be taking a look at this evening is, “Word of God.”
Words possess incredible power! In Genesis, we find that God created the heavens and earth and everything in them simply by speaking words. It seems that we, being created in the image of God, also carry power with the words that we speak.
With our words we can build up and tear down. With our words, we can strengthen and encourage as well as weaken and dishearten. Our words create atmospheres around us either of praise or complaint. I’m sure that we’ve all had the experience where we walk into a room and, without hearing even a single word, can tell that nothing good had been spoken about before we walked in.
Words are powerful!
Sin corrupted God’s perfect creation with four simple words spoken by the serpent, “Did God really say?” In fact, that same simple question still leads us into temptation today.
Think about how the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness in Matthew chapter 4. The devil tempted the living word of God by quoting the word of God. The devil tempted the bread of life with bread. The devil tempted Jesus to lay down His life at the temple; to fulfill the very purpose for which He came. The devil tempted the King of Kings by offering Him authority over all the kingdoms of the earth. The devil used words to tempt Jesus and to tempt Jesus at the core of His identity and purpose. Words are powerful!
The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Just a few words can set the course of a person’s life either further into God’s purposes or far off of His path. Just a few words can set one’s perspective for a lifetime about someone or something. Just a few words can control my life, how I think and act and respond to people and circumstances.
Once a person allows words to set their perspective, it takes a miracle to change it! Has anyone here ever dealt with a situation where someone believed something about you that simply was not true? Sure, most all of us have dealt with that and understand how difficult it can be to change that person’s perception about you! Words are powerful!
With just a few words, Jesus raised the dead to life. He told Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, “Come out!” and that dead man walked out of his grave. With just a few words, Jesus cursed a fig tree, not bearing fruit out of season mind you, and it withered up and died. Jesus simply said the word and healed the Centurion’s paralyzed and suffering servant some distance away. Jesus simply said the word and demons fled.
16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
“He took up our infirmities
and bore our diseases.”
I always believed that it wasn’t until the crucifixion that Jesus fulfilled this prophetic word from Isaiah 53. However, the gospels record that with the simple words of Jesus long before the cross, He was already taking up our infirmities and bearing our diseases.
With just a word, Jesus radically transformed people’s lives in an instant for the better. The good news is that the word of God is still transforming lives today! How many here believe that tonight?
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
How can words written over the course of around 1,600 years by around 40 writers be alive and active today? How can it judge my thoughts and attitudes? How can it lay bare everything in my life and bring me into account for it? The word of God can be alive and active because, though it was written through individuals, the true author of those words is none other than God, Himself.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
All scripture was inspired by God through the Holy Spirit, God-breathed, and written by individuals. The individual’s unique styles and personalities are revealed through their writings, but the meaning and intention had their source by the true author, God, Himself.
The same Holy Spirit that authored those words lives in us and helps us to read and understand His word. As we read the written word of God, the Holy Spirit within us breathes life back into those ancient words and that word becomes active and alive once again!
More importantly than this awesome reality is that the word of God is alive and active because the written word of God is embodied by Jesus, the living Word of God! John wrote about this reality in a poetic form in:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus is the living word of God, alive and active! His desire is that His ministry continue through you and I. His desire is that His word still go forth to heal, deliver, and restore; still transforming lives today. Our words possess the power to do just this. Our tongues still hold the power of life and death! What an awesome calling and what an awesome responsibility we have!
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
During this season of reflection, let us be more thoughtful and intentional about the words that we speak. Let us be ones who speak only what is helpful. Let us be ones who speak only what builds others up. Let us be ones who speak words that are aware and compassionate toward the needs of others. Let us be ones who speak words that benefit those who listen. Let us stop grieving the Holy Spirit within us by the idle and destructive words that we all so often speak!
We would be wise to look to our example, Jesus, the living Word of God. He used wisdom and discernment in the words that He spoke. He knew when to correct and rebuke. He knew when to pose a question to get straight into the heart of things. He knew when to support and encourage. Most importantly, He knew when to be silent and not to speak at all. Learning from Jesus’ example, we can train ourselves to use our words wisely. There is also a lot of great advice found in the book of Proverbs on the subject.
Let’s also be more intentional about getting into the written word of God and listening to the voice of the living Word of God speak to us through it. Let’s not just read the Bible for the sake of checking off another one of our daily tasks. Let’s be intentional about setting apart time to read it with the intention of truly hearing the voice of Jesus speak to us through it. Let’s read God’s word, memorize it, and then meditate on it throughout the day and allow the living Word of God to bring those words alive and active within us.
Let’s allow the alive and active word of God to speak through us transforming the lives of those around us. Let’s use the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, to FREE people around us from the darkness and oppression of the enemy, not to cut at the people who are held in bondage by it.
Let us use our words to speak life and hope and blessing. Let’s use our words to encourage and build up and to benefit the people who hear them. Let’s use our words to lead others into an encounter with the living Word of God, Jesus Christ, the only one mighty to save. Words are powerful because the living Word of God is all-powerful!
Let’s close by praying together the cry of David found in:
Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
keep watch over the door of my lips.