"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

Hold Forth The Word Of Life

By Rich Carmicheal

    This issue of the Herald focuses on the theme of the written Word of God. The Herald staff hopes the articles encourage you, challenge you and stir you to renew (or begin) and deepen your devotion to the Word of God and to the Author Himself. In light of the truth that it is God’s Word, with God’s life and God’s power, you can fully expect it to bear much fruit in and through your life as you take it fully to heart. How blessed it is to read it, study it, memorize it, practice it and share it; and how tragic it is if you fail to fully embrace it. Not only is your own spiritual well-being at stake, but so is the well-being of your family, your brothers and sisters in Christ, and the world around you.

The Word in Your Family

    Consider, first of all, the impact the Word can have as you share it with others in your family (or other loved ones). A good example of this is how Timothy’s life had been formed from childhood by those who shared the Scriptures with him. As the Apostle Paul writes to this young man: "...Continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them; and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:14-15). Timothy’s sincere faith had first dwelt in his grandmother and mother (2 Tim. 1:5), and while others had undoubtedly sown God’s Word into his life through the years, the spiritual heritage and training of these two women were key to his spiritual life. And not only did their influence impact Timothy himself, but it also helped establish the foundation for his ministry that would in turn affect the lives of many others.

    Of course, God’s plan all along has been for His people to share His Word with their families, especially with their children (and grandchildren) in their formative years. His Word is "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness..." (2 Tim. 3:16), and He wants that Word to work early and thoroughly in the lives of children. Note the strong emphasis the Lord gives through Moses about sharing His Word in our families: "Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them...so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments.... And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up" (Deut. 6:1-7; cf. 4:9-10).

    Moses goes on to stress how vital God’s Word is to ourselves and our families: "...Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life..." (Deut. 32:46-47). So much is at stake, both now and for eternity, and we must train up children in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6). Fathers and mothers (and grandfathers and grandmothers) have significant roles in teaching their children about the fear of the Lord (Prov. 1:7-8; 6:20-23), and fathers are specifically exhorted to bring up their children "in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). What a tremendous responsibility and privilege it is to teach children about the Lord and His Word!

    Of course, the Word is to flow between all of our family relationships. For example, just as Christ loves the church and ministers to her by "the washing of water with the Word," so are husbands to love their wives, care for them and nourish them (see Ephesians 5:25-29).

    Our ministry with the Word of God is intended to impact other families as well. For example, older women are called "to be reverent in their behavior...teaching what is good, that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the Word of God may not be dishonored" (Titus 2:3-5). According to Proverbs 31, a godly woman is one who "opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue" (v. 26).

The Word in the Church

    You and I are also called to be faithful in sharing the Word of God with our brothers and sisters in Christ. His Word is to be central to the life of the church, and as His people, we are to "let the Word of Christ richly dwell within [us]; with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs..." (Col. 3:16). While some in the church have special responsibilities and gifts for preaching and teaching God’s Word, all of us have the responsibility to "encourage one another, and build up one another" (1 Thes. 5:11) and to comfort one another with the Word (1 Thes. 4:18).

    Sharing God’s Word with other believers is all the more crucial in this hour when a number of people in the church are ignoring, distorting and rejecting the clear teaching of the Bible. We are in the time of which the Lord warned when men are not enduring sound doctrine, but are gathering for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, turning away their ears from the truth (2 Tim. 4:3-4; cf. 1 Tim. 4:1). We are to be on our guard against being carried away by such error, and must instead "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:17-18).

    We are not to be "tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming, but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ" (Eph. 4:14-15). You and I both play a vital role in this – "according to the proper working of each individual part..." (v. 16). We are to speak the truth in love to our brothers and sisters in Christ because we are members of one another (vv. 15, 25). Given the decline in knowledge of the Word of God and the twisting and turning of God’s truth, there is all the more need for us to be able to speak truth into the lives of others in the church. To do this, we ourselves need to grow in maturity in the knowledge and practice of the Word, that we might be more equipped to discern good and evil, and able to teach others (Heb. 5:12-14).

The Word in the World

    We are also to reach out with the Word to the lost people around us and throughout the world. As children of God "in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation," we are to shine "as lights in the world, holding forth the Word of life" (Phil. 2:15-16). Our Lord wants "all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4), and so He commissions us to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them and teaching them to observe all that He has commanded (Matt. 28:19-20).

    The first century church took the Lord’s instruction to heart and the results were phenomenal. The first believers devoted themselves to the Word of God and then faithfully began spreading it in Jerusalem and then throughout the world. They did it by proclaiming the Word themselves, by praying for the Word to be spoken boldly, by sending and supporting missionaries, and by praying for open doors for the spread of the Gospel. By the time the Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians, the Word of the truth of the Gospel was bearing fruit and increasing in all of the world (Col. 1:5-6). And of the outreach of the Thessalonians, Paul could write, "For the Word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth..." (1 Thes. 1:8).

    How desperately our world today needs us to sound forth and hold forth the Word of the Lord! Many people do not have faith in Him for salvation, and since "faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ" (Rom. 10:17), our ministry of the Word to the world is vital! For "how...shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!’" (Rom. 10:14-15). Whatever task(s) the Lord has assigned to you in sharing His love and truth with the world – going, sending, supporting, praying – be faithful. As you do your part, the Lord will certainly be faithful to work through His Word to bring a wonderful harvest of souls!

Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of the Lord

    We obviously have tremendous responsibility as God’s people to impact our families, our fellow believers and the world with His Word. This is certainly reason for us to apply ourselves more fully to knowing the Lord and His Word, and to seek to live a life that will make our witness more effective. Like Jesus – the Word of God made flesh – our lives should be full of truth and grace (John 1:14).

    Such spiritual fullness does not happen easily, but only as we give serious attention to spiritual matters. As the Apostle Paul writes to Timothy when encouraging him in his life and ministry: "Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you" (1 Tim. 4:15-16).

    I hope the Lord works through this issue of the Herald to lead you to greater commitment and devotion to reading, studying, applying and sharing His Word. As you do, may He fill your life to overflowing with spiritual wisdom and understanding, and empower you by His Holy Spirit to bear much fruit for His glory!

    We appreciate all of you who help this ministry share the Word of the Lord, and we hope to hear from you soon!

Herald of His Coming
P.O. Box 279
Seelyville IN 47878 U.S.A.