Wednesday, August 12, 2020

1888 Message Study : Sharing the Word




The purpose of this week's lesson is about sharing God's word. It presents various aspects and applications of the Word. Each day outlines these particulars by the use of "Symbols of God's Word" (Sunday); "The Creative Power of God's Word" (Monday); "The Benefits of Studying God's Word" (Tuesday); "Applying God's Word" (Wednesday) all of which leads to "Sharing the Word" with others (Thursday).


The memory verses for this week begins with the adverb "so" – "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void …" Isaiah 55:11.


The word "so" compares God's word with what went before. Here the word means "in the same manner" as it finishes the thought from verse 10 – "As the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, [then verse 11 finishes the thought" – "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."


God speaks His word to prepare and to accomplish what He sends it to do as it lodges in the fertile soil of the mind. Words are thoughts made audible. God declares His thoughts to us by speaking. Amos wrote that God "declares to man what His thought is" (Amos 4:13). God's desire is that Christ, through the Word, will abide in your heart and mine.


Perhaps you have used or heard the expression "I am going to give 'so and so' a piece of my mind." How is this accomplished? Simply by speaking what is on the mind. Likewise, God gives us a piece of His mind through His written word and through the Word, Christ. "He was the Word of God, -- God's thought made audible" (The Desire of Ages, p. 19).


Christ, the Word of God, created the world. After He created earth and everything in and on it, He made Adam. From earth, He formed the human body and all the organs therein. Then Jesus knelt down and breathed into Adam's nostrils and mouth. Christ breathed into Adam and thus mankind with the kiss of life.


The term Adam includes both male and female. Both were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). In the family records of the descendants of Adam, beginning in Genesis 5:1, Christ calls both Adam and Eve "Adam" 4:2 (KJV) – "Male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created." Other translations call them "mankind." Well over 500 times "Adam" means mankind.


When the man "Adam" and his wife sinned, they lost much of God's image. However, the Lord immediately put into operation the plan of redemption which is simply the carrying out of His original plan of creation that man shall be in His image. In redemption, this is accomplished by the same creative power – God's word.


Jesus is Creator and Redeemer. He redeems by His word. His promise is that "if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature/creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Through the plan of Redemption, the same powerful creative word works to accomplish what God sends it to do. And also, the Sabbath plays a role here. The Sabbath is the memorial of God's power in creation. It is likewise the memorial of redemption. In both creation and in redemption, we have the same Person, Christ as Creator and Redeemer; the same power, His word; and the same Sabbath, as the memorial of redemption and of creation.


As Jesus is the light of the world He created, He also lightens every person "coming into the world" for the purpose of redemption. The written word is creative. And it is called both light and a lamp that guides us into and within the path of life (John 1:9; Psalm 119:105). Along with this symbol of light, there are other symbols used in Scripture as metaphors and similes giving word pictures of what God's word will do in our lives. His word is "like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces" (Jeremiah 23:29). The word, as a hammer, breaks up the hard heart and this same word creates a new heart of appreciation because of Christ and His righteousness abiding there by faith.


God's word is also likened to the piercings of a sword which inflicts a heavy or fatal blow upon nations and people (Proverbs 12:18; Revelation 19:15). This use of the word has to do with judgment.


His word is illustrated, in another context, as bread by which we are to live. This is how Jesus lived – by faith in every word of God. When tempted by the devil in the wilderness, Jesus answered "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).


Elder Waggoner used "grass" as an illustration of the weakness of man, but joined to the power of God and what He can and will do in our lives:


"Although two of the weakest and most helpless things in existence, yet what miracles of strength the grass and the acorn become when their weakness is united to the power of God's word. In like manner we behold man. Weak? Yes, as weak as the grass and as helpless. 'His days are as grass,' 'and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.' His life, - 'even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.' Helpless, utterly helpless in himself, unable to care for himself a single moment, unable to resist the smallest temptation, unable to do one good act.


"But look again. An unseen power has taken possession of him, a new life has animated him, and lo, he has 'subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness was made strong, waxed the valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens!' In that wherein he was weak, now he is strong, where once he would have trembled and fallen, now he stands unmoved like a house built upon a solid rock.


"What is this unseen power? What is this new life? It is the life and power of God's word united with man's weakness. It is the life and power of God Himself, for God goes with His word 'working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight.' 'For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."  E. J. Waggoner, English Present Truth, October 12, 1893.


Mrs. White also used biblical symbols to instruct us regarding respect and reverence for the pure word of God.


"We should reverence God's word. For the printed volume we should show respect, never putting it to common uses, or handling it carelessly. And never should Scripture be quoted in a jest, or paraphrased to point a witty saying. "Every word of God is pure;" "as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." (Proverbs 30:5; Psalm 12:6.). Education, 244.


And E.J. Waggoner wrote about the power of God's word:


"He [Jesus] did not speak the word which set somebody else to work, but His word itself did the work. "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth." "He spake, and it was." Ps. 33:6, 9. This miracle of Jesus [in healing the impotent man] was therefore simply a manifestation of the creative power of God's word." E. J. Waggoner, "American Sentinel Articles," March 2, 1899. Emphasis original.


In conclusion. As we take the word of God into our lives, by faith, it changes us. And in whatever way God's word is symbolized whether, as fire, a hammer, seed, bread, or light – these have a single common point, which is the power to change our lives. Whatever symbol is used, it is used to reveal what the word will do in transforming our lives and the lives of those with whom we share as they accept it as authoritative in their lives.


As we study and allow the word to do what it promises, we will desire to share what it will do with others who accept it as their rule of life. And it is only with a changed life that enables us to effectively share with others what the word has accomplished in our own lives. This will have a powerful effect on those who hear and believe.


~ Jerry Finneman