Service Video Message Video Message Audio The service video is unavailable at this time. The sermon video is unavailable at this time. The sermon audio is unavailable at this time. Scripture Verses Proverbs 14:12, 1 Peter 1:23-25, Hebrews 4:12-13, Deuteronomy 8:3, Jeremiah 23:29, Isaiah 55:11, Romans 10:14-15, Colossians 1:6-7, 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 Downloads & Resources Revolutionary Proclamation Dr. Jon Morrissette - 6/27/2004 There is so much conversation and debate taking place about matters of great concern. People are deeply divided over moral issues. Is the death penalty just? Or is it cruel and inhumane? Is homosexuality a form of love or is it deviant behavior? Should marriage be redefined to include any two consenting individuals regardless of gender? Does life begin at conception or does life begin "X" number of months after conception? Is it a mother’s right to abort a newly forming life in her own womb? Should stem cells be harvested from embryos and used to provide organs for transplant? Is adultery, living together outside marriage, or premarital sex a sin? Is divorce anything more than a legal technicality? Is a person’s private behavior of public concern? Is it right to put a greater tax burden on the wealthy to provide services for the poor? Should morality be legislated? If so, whose morality should be legislated? Why? Is the physical abuse and torture of terrorists for information justified? Is war ethically or morally justified? People are deeply divided over religion. Does one true God exist or are there many gods? Has God spoken? To who? When? Is every faith equally valid or are some faiths more true than others? Are there universal moral standards or truths that apply to all people, at all times, in every culture? Does evil actually exist, or is the notion of evil merely a social construct, invented by man out of practical necessity? Does the moral majority define right and wrong? Does life have some over-arching meaning and purpose? Or is life only what we make it? Left to ourselves, we have no real way to resolve life's issues. These are the questions of our times. We could spend a lifetime debating these issues. But left to ourselves, we have no real way to resolve life’s issues. Our words and our wisdom cannot provide definitive answers to all of life’s questions. One man’s voice drowns out the next man's. One man’s wisdom is seen as foolishness to another man. The truth is that ultimately, our words on these matters are immaterial. Our opinions and thoughts shift like the changing winds. They have no weight, no bearing, no authority, no power, and no perpetuity. Our words are temporal. They pass with time. They follow us into the grave. They are shrugged off and forgotten. Only God's word and the guidance contained within it is eternal. What does matter is what God says about our lives, the issues of our day, and his world. When push comes to shove, it is only God’s word that is eternal. It is God’s word that is the definitive and final word on all matters of concern to us. It is God’s word that carries weight, that has bearing, authority, and power over us and that stands the test of time. All of civilization stands under the word of God. Our place is not to stand in judgment on God’s word. We should not presume to be like God, presume to know more than God, or presume to have authority over our fellow man. Our place is to hear and receive the word of God. And after hearing and receiving it, with equal fervor to proclaim the word of God to others. Our place is to allow God’s word to transform our thoughts and feelings and to change us from the inside-out. But it's always about God’s word and never about our words. We need that jolt of truth to put things back into their proper order. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is the alpha and omega. Jesus is the creator and sustainer of the universe. Jesus is the resurrection and life. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Jesus alone is the wisdom of God. Our job is to proclaim the word of God. What is it about our nature that causes us to stop receiving and proclaiming the word of God? Who do we think we are? What is the source of our arrogance and pride? It's certainly not our track record or the fact that we’ve outsmarted God and proven his wisdom wrong. We break ourselves against the word of God every day. The way of righteousness always proves true. The truth of God’s wisdom is always vindicated in time. Just think about where we have come from. Do we really know better than God? Do we really hold the keys to life within ourselves? Do we really have the perspective and wisdom to discern truth and choose our morality on our own? We are sinners. Our hearts are deceitful. Our minds are depraved. We live in darkness. Apart from Jesus Christ, we live in darkness. We are fundamentally selfish. Why do we place so much confidence in ourselves and in our own wisdom? Proverbs 14:12 (NIV) says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." God speaks to us through his word to save us from ourselves. God’s word is our salvation. But look at us. God’s word is not on our lips. His word is not being proclaimed in the home, in the workplace, or in our circles of influence. We disregard his word, which is why so many among us forsake the assembly of gathering together with other Christians. There is always other business more important every day than receiving the word of God. It’s why we leave our Bibles at home and closed during services. It’s why our Bible school classes are half-empty. It’s why Christian novelty has replaced sincere meditation on the ancient words of God. It’s why books by Christian authors are more popular and deemed more relevant than Jesus Christ, the living word. Quite simply, God’s word doesn’t carry the authority over our lives that it should. We have a better plan than God’s plan. God’s word is of little concern and priority to us. We're like little children who always know better than God. Let’s take a few moments to be reminded about the power and authority of God’s word. God’s word is imperishable. 1 Peter 1:23-25 (NIV) says, "For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, 'All men are like grass, and their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.' And this is the word that was preached to you." Years ago a person was seen in a crowd holding up a large sign that read, "God is Dead-- -Nietzche." Nietzche was a well-known German philosopher who died in 1990. Behind him was standing a second man with a sign reading, "Nietzche is Dead---God." Nietzche and his words have been forgotten. But God’s word remains forever. In Matthew 24:35 (NIV)Jesus says, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." God’s word will never pass away, but we will! God’s word is revealing. Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV) says, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 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." Lara and I got a new dentist a while back. He is kind of a techno-wizard. He has all of these high technology gadgets and cutting edge devices. Instead of x-raying our teeth like our previous dentist, he has this laser device that is so precise that it can detect cavities years before they become visible even to an x-ray. It's getting expensive for me going to the dentist, but nothing is hidden. Everything is laid bare. Cavities and sugar sins are pinpointed, sand blasted, and filled. No counselor, psychologist, preacher, Christian author, talk show host, or man can do for you what God’s word can do for you. God’s word pinpoints our sin with laser precision, judges it for what it is, blasts it with truth, and covers it with grace. God’s word sustains life. In Deuteronomy 8:3 (NIV) Moses teaches the Israelites a hard lesson. "He (God)humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." In the beginning it was God’s word that created life. Why should we suppose that God’s word is any less vital to life today? God’s word is a practical necessity for life, like food and water. We cannot live without it. The contrast between a life lived under the authority of God’s word and a life lived in defiance of God’s word is the contrast between life and death. Make a note to study Romans 1 as Paul describes those who deny the authority of God’s word in their lives. Life apart from God doesn’t lead to life, but instead leads to death. God’s word is powerful. In Jeremiah 23:29 (NIV) God says to Jeremiah the prophet, "Is not my word like fire", declares the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?" God’s word purifies our lives, like a refining fire. God’s word decimates sin. Like fire and like a hammer, God’s word can powerfully bless us. But for those who set themselves against God’s word, there is judgment. There is the fire that consumes. There is the hammer that breaks. There are certainly consequences in this life for sin. God disciplines us through the consequences of our sinful choices. May we learn well. But there are even deadlier eternal consequences. God’s word is effective. Isaiah 55:11 (NIV) says, "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." I don’t know what you think about when you pick up God’s word, your Bible. When you pick up your Bible you are literally touching the lips of God. God speaks to us through his word in a way that no one else can speak to us. God’s word is eternal and imperishable. His word reveals the sin that separates us from God. His word provides sustenance, not just for this life, but for our eternal life. God’s word is powerful enough to crush the power of sin in our life. But pay attention to this last point. When God’s word is spoken, it accomplishes the purpose for which God sent it. God’s word is effective. So God’s word stands in complete contrast to our words. If you want to make a difference with your life, proclaim God’s word, not your words. Our words fade, but God’s word never fades. Our words pardon sin, but God’s word pinpoints and annihilates sin. Our words cannot produce life, but God’s word creates and sustains life. Our words have no authority, but God’s word is powerful and consequential. Our words are weak and ineffective, but God’s word accomplishes his eternal purpose. So what happens when we begin slinging God’s word around? In Acts 16:13-15 (NIV)we discover what happens when God’s word is proclaimed. Listen to the account of Luke. "On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. ''If you consider me a believer in the Lord,' she said, 'come and stay at my house.' And she persuaded us." Consider what happened on this occasion. First, there was the proclamation of God’s word to Lydia and others. God’s word was spoken audibly. Second, God’s word, because it was spoken, was heard. The women, "listened". Third, God used the occasion of Lydia hearing the word of God to accomplish his purpose in her life. It says, "God opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message." They trusted Christ. They were baptized. God's word does not return empty. Let me tell you why I believe the Holy Spirit put these words in our Bibles. They are here as a reminder and testimony to the power God’s word has when it is proclaimed. God uses his word to create faith and to cause people to respond. Let’s flash 1 Peter 1:23-25 back up on the screen. "For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, 'All men are like grass, and their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.' And this is the word that was preached to you." God uses his word to create faith and new life in his kingdom. Isaiah 55:11 says that when God’s word goes out and is proclaimed it does not return empty but it accomplishes the purpose for which God sent it! Do you want to make an eternal difference? Do you want to change lives and achieve something lasting and that will never be destroyed? Buildings crumble and collapse. Technology becomes obsolete. Trophies are forgotten. People and things come and go. Kids grow up. But God’s word remains forever and the work, God’s work, achieves in people’s lives remains forever. The duty of every Christian is to proclaim God's word. The duty of every Christian is to proclaim God’s word. Whatever is lacking in our presentation is eclipsed by the inherent power of God’s word. The duty of parents is to fill their household full of the word of God. The duty of every Christian is to first receive God’s word, but then to proclaim it everywhere. God’s word is so powerful, the mere act of proclamation is revolutionary. Romans 10:13 (NIV) says, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." But Romans 10:14-15 (NIV) asks, "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!' " God’s lips must be opened up. These words must be spoken audibly by you! Only then will people hear. Only then will God create faith and new life. Only then will God’s purpose be advanced in our lives and in our world. In Colossians 1:6-7 (NIV) Paul commends the Colossian church saying, "All over the world the gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant..." Epaphras proclaimed God’s word audibly. The Colossians heard it. Eternal destinies were altered. And God’s purpose was achieved. In 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (NIV) Paul says, "When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that you faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power." Our part is proclamation. God’s part is creating faith and in opening people’s hearts to respond to our proclamation. Proclamation is an act of faith. As we proclaim Christ, we trust in God’s promise that his word will accomplish the purpose for which it was sent. Why not take a revolutionary step of faith this week? This week God is going to provide an opportunity for you to proclaim his word. I know this because we're going to pray together for that opportunity. Be ready. Be observant. When that opportunity presents itself, God is going to give you the words to say. Be prepared. Be tactful. Be compassionate. But proclaim the name of Christ. And watch. In God’s time, not ours, God’s word will accomplish God’s eternal purpose.