Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Reality Check: the POWER of the Word

The past few posts pertained to the new doctrines of the New Apostolic Reformation. One of the key tenets of their heretical faith is the introduction of spiritual warfare. These activities are almost always done in lieu of a presentation of the Gospel. Prayer marches, prayer walks, "confronting the powers," etc. all consume precious time and energy. But they do not utilize the one resource that God has best given us with which to TRULY "confront" the darkness of sin that lies in the hearts of men -- i.e., the Word of God.

The Power of the Word

"In 1 Corinthians 2:4, the apostle says there, concerning the ministry of the Word, 'My speech and preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.' See here two sorts of preaching. There is preaching that is with enticing words of man's wisdom, upon which a preacher may be commended as being a brave man, a witty man, a curious man, or any of a hundred other such epithets. 'But,' says Paul, 'we preach in the demonstration of the Spirit.' And look what follows: 'and of power.' So that the power of the Word follows upon the demonstration of the Spirit. When people apprehend a minister preaching only with his wit and his gifts, the heart of a man will condemn it. It may commend the man, but condemn the Word, for it has no power over the conscience; but when a minister of God comes in God's name, and preaches in the demonstration of the Spirit, then he preaches with power, such power as prevails with the consciences of men: the demonstration of the Spirit and of power.

"It is said of Christ in Matthew 7 that He did not preach as the Scribes and Pharisees, but as one who had authority, as one who spoke to the consciences of men. So the ministers of Christ ought to speak in the name of Christ as being backed with the authority of Christ, as men who have to deal with men's consciences and not with men's fancies. . . . There is a matter enough in the Word of God to make any heart to tremble if it is delivered as the Word of God. What's the chaff to the wheat? 1 Peter 4:11: 'If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.' If any man undertakes to speak God's Word, it must be as the Word of God, the oracles of God.

"I remember reading of a man named Tully, who spoke so powerfully that he made Caesar's book fall out of his hands. And, certainly, if Tully could do so with his eloquence, there is that power and eloquence in the Word of God as will make the lusts of men to fall out of their hearts. 'The weapons of our warfare are mighty through God, to the casting down of strongholds, and proud imaginations that cast themselves against God and His truth.' There is a power in God's Word; men are mighty through God. Not being carnal according to the flesh but spiritual, they come to be able to cast down the proud imagination and to make them tremble before the Lord. . . .

"In Revelation 6:9, it is said of some there that when the fifth seal was opened, 'I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held.' That is, they would rather be slain than go contrary to the Word of God. They would keep themselves close to the Word of God whatever became of their lives and of their estates. 'I saw the souls of those and they were under the altar, they were under God's protection.' Oh, surely they were such as trembled at the Word of God -- and God looks at such souls. The soul of such a one shall lie under the altar; shall be in God's eye. That soul so trembles that it would rather lose life and all than do anything against God's Word."

This excerpt above is from Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646), Gospel Fear: Developing a Tender Heart that Trembles at the Word of God by Jeremiah Burroughs (Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1991), p. 48-50.