The Power of Life and Death

Posted on 02/04/2007 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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TRANSCRIPT:

Good morning!

Do you know it's a brand new day? The goodness and mercy of God is new every morning.

Do you know that God has a very special calling on your life?

Do you know that you are the apple of God's eye, his prize, his treasure?

Do you know that as you stay under the shadow of God's wing, you are safe and secure, and no weapon formed against you will prosper?

Do you know that God's thoughts toward you are thoughts of good, not evil, to give you a future and a hope?

And do you know that you're not here by accident, but the Holy Spirit has led you here today to have a real and life-changing encounter with Jesus?

As the praise team comes to the front, let's all stand to our feet as we open today's service with prayer.

Lord God, thank you for your goodness and your mercy.

Thank you for the special calling you have on our lives.

Thank you that we are your prize, and that your love for us is greater than we can imagine.

Thank you for your protection, and for the peace and the blessed assurance that comes with remaining in the shadow of your presence.

Thank you for your thoughts toward us, which are more numeous than the sands of the sea, and that they are all thoughts of good for us, to give us a future and a hope.

And thank you for bringing each one of us here today, because you want to fellowship with us, you want to strengthen us, you want to build us up, and you want to continue sanctifying us by your Spirit and by your Word.

We pray for those who have made public prayer requests this week...

For Fredrich's friend who had kidney failure, let that friend feel your healing touch, and be brought closer to you through this time.

We pray for Mom Newell who has liver cancer. Jesus is the name above every other name, and we speak the name of Jesus over the name of cancer, and declare that by His stripes, we are healed! We speak healing, health, and life into Mom Newell. We command this cancer to shrivel up, and be no more, in Jesus' name.

We pray for Todd's relationship, that you would wrap your arms around both of them, and help them find fullness in you, casting all their cares upon you, and that you would perform your will in their relationship.

We pray for Karene, that your peace would reign in her household, and that you would continue to show her your purpose and plan and that every step they take would be plain and straight, and ordered by you.

We pray for Tyler's relationship. You are the author of marriage, and you said "What God has brought together, let no one put apart." So we ask for a restoritave miracle in his marriage, in Jesus' name. Draw them both closer to you than they've ever been.

We pray for Deborah, who is fighting cancer, and for Wendy, who suffers from migraines. The name of Jesus is above the name of both of these things, and we ask you, Great Physician, to minister to Deborah and Wendy today.

And now Lord, have your way with us today. May Jesus be magnified in all we think, say and do.

And it's in Jesus' name we pray.

Amen!


Click-touch the pulpit for a notecard, and let's worship God with song.


REJOICE FOR THE STEPS

Rejoice for the steps
    of a righteous man
They are ordered of God
    they are ordered of God
Rejoice for the steps
    of a righteous man
They are ordered of God

In the time of trouble
    God will uphold him
God will preserve him
    God will sustain him
In the time of trouble
    God will lift him up
So rejoice, for your steps are
    ordered of God


YES LORD YES

Yes, Lord, yes
    to your will and to your way
Yes, Lord, yes
    I will trust you and obey
When your Spirit speaks to me
    with my whole heart I'll agree
And my answer will be
    Yes, Lord, Yes!


WITHOUT FEAR

Teach me to be still
    to wait on you
To hear your voice
    to seek your face

To put aside
    all else that calls
Till the pursuit of you
    is all

Till all that I pursue
    is a closer walk with you
And nothing else can
    take that time away

Lord you left your glory
    your majesty on high
To come to this earth
    to bleed and die
So the way could be opened
    so the path could be clear
So I could come to you
    without fear

Thank you Lord for your presence with us here today. Help us stay in this attitude of worship, as we open your Bread of Life, your Word, listening for your voice and preparing our hearts to do your will. Amen.

Last week we explored Scripture which teaches us that we become what we consistently think. We read the call to "Watch over your heart dilligently, for from it flow the springs of life."

Today I'd like for us to explore a different aspect of this truth.

Let's begin by reading a few verses from Genesis chapter one, but I'm going to read a deviation from Scripture, and I believe most of you will immediately pick up on it.

Genisis 1: -- A MISQUOTE TO MAKE A POINT!

1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3. And God thought to himself, "Let there be light." And there was light.
4. And God saw the light, that it was good. And God divided the light from the darkness.
5. And God imagined that the light was called Day, and the darkness he thought of as Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
 
6. And a voice in God's head said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters."
7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.
8. And God visualized the firmament as being Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
 
9. And God thought, "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so.
10. And God determined that the dry land would be called Earth; and the gathering together of the waters he thought of as he Seas. And God saw that it was good.
 
11. And God, in a deep state of contemplation, thought about the earth bringing forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after its kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after its kind. And God saw that it was good.
13. And the evening and the morning were the third day.


Most of you already know both the deviation and the point being made without my even having to say it. In fact, we could close with prayer and dismiss now, and many of you would have already had a revelation.

But I'd like to reinforce what the Word of God REALLY says, and then we'll look at a few more Scriptures.

Here's what those verses REALLY say:

Genisis 1: -- CORRECT QUOTE

1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3. And God said, "Let there be light." And there was light.
4. And God saw the light, that it was good. And God divided the light from the darkness.
5. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
 
6. And God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters."
7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.
8. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
 
9. And God said, "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so.
10. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas. And God saw that it was good.
 
11. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after its kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after its kind. And God saw that it was good.
13. And the evening and the morning were the third day.


And what I would like for us to talk about today is this: God did not merely "think" the world into existence. He did not practice some type of visualization process to create the universe.

In verse three we read that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Certainly there was some unspoken preparation, some contemplation, some getting things ready for the form they are meant to take.

And yet the power of creation was not simply in a thought, or even in a series of repeated thoughts, no matter how important those words were. Rather, the power of creation was in the spoken Word of God, and as we read in John 1:3, "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

So we see that all things were created by the spoken Word, not by thought alone.

Thought is the preparation for the creation, and the spoken word brings that preparation into being.


I hope you accepted the challenge last week to start watching your thoughts, bringing every single one into obedience to the Word of God.

And this week the challenge continues, along with more guidance from the Word of God on how this can be done.

Matthew 12:34 tell us that "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."

And while our thought life, both conscious and in the levels we cannot see, comes out in our words, our words have a powerful effect on our minds. In fact, when used in agreement with the Word of God, our words can help to transform our way of thinking.

Proverbs 18 verses 20 and 21 says,

20. A man's belly will be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth, and with the produce of his lips he will be filled.
21. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

We tend to think of this last part as something negative, "those who love it will eat its fruit." And yet fruit can be good or bad. When we speak, we are wielding a powerful tool, and what we say will have an effect.

This is why Jesus tells us in Matthew 12:36 that we will give an account for every idle word we speak. He says this right after he tells us that "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."

Matthew 12
34. O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? for out of the  abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
35. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things: and an evil  man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
36. But I say to you, every idle word that men speak, they will give an account for it in the day of judgment.


So we must be daily filling our hearts with God's Word so we can think it and speak it, and we must guard our tongues, weeding idle words out of our daily talk, so we can eat the good fruit of God's Word and so we can strengthen that Word in our hearts.

"But the word is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, so you may do it." (Deuteronomy 30:14)


I'll be the first to admit that I find it very easy to fall into griping and complaining about something after a long, stressful day. But when I start heading down that road, or the moment I realize I'm already on it and have traveled many miles, I should immediately stop those words of death and destruction, and replace them with the Word of God.


"How are you today?"

"I'm totally stressed, and the stupid traffic today sure didn't help. I don't know who teaches some people how to drive, but whoever it is, they should go to jail."


Is this kind of response in line with the Word of God?

Or does Scripture say in James chapter one to count it all joy?

2. My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
3. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith produces patience.
4. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be complete and entire, lacking nothing.


So we can use our thoughts and our words to bring death and destruction in reponse to difficult times, or we can allow those times to bring us closer to becoming complete and entire, lacking nothing. It's the trying of our faith that produces patience, and if we allow patience to complete her work, we will be made complete and whole, not lacking anything.


I'd like to point out here that this goes far beyond positive thinking and affirmations, and I would like to clearly show this with a few examples.

A positive affirmation might say, "I'm okay, you're okay, we're all okay."

But Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can  know it?" And 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

A positive affirmation might say, "Day by day, in every way, I'm getting better and better."

But Isaiah 53:5 says, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."


Positive thinking and positive affirmations do not necessarily line up with God's Word, and as practiced by the world and the New Age as it creeps even into the church, can cause a false sense of security.

It's not in thinking and saying nice-sounding things that the power to transform our lives is found. And even if we can find health and riches, if we are led away from Jesus we've only been destroyed by a wonderful-sounding lie.

Controlling your thoughts in a way that will produce Godly results comes in making sure your every thought lines up with the Word of God.

And controlling your words in a way that will produce Godly results comes in making sure you are speaking the Word of God and only that which is in agreement with it.

Last week's challenge, which continues still, was to watch your thoughts, bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

And today's challenge goes hand-in-hand with that, and it is this: Will you commit today to begin watching your words, and to make an ongoing effort to speak the Word of God instead of complaints, fears, doubts, and your own opinions?

You and I are made in the image and likeness of God.

The Spirit of God hovered over the unformed earth, preparing it for the creative Word of God, just as we are to watch our minds, bringing every malformed thought into obedience to the Word of God.

And then just as God spoke, and it was so, we too have the power of life and death in our tongues, and the more we line up our thoughts and our words with the Word of God, the more of his transforming power will begin to flow through us, and our lives and the lives of those around us will begin to change.

The ministry team can come to the front now. And as they come, I would like for each of us to make that determination that we will stop destroying ourselves and those around us with words, no matter how bad or even how good they sound, that are not in total agreement with the Word of God. Instead, we will replace those thoughts and words with the spoken Word of God.

And realizing that we cannot rely on any amount of will power alone, let's lay this determination, this commitment, at the altar, asking for the help of the Holy Spirit to bring our words into line with the Word of God.

James 3:8 tells us, "No man can tame the tongue; it is an unrestrainable evil, full of deadly poison." But Luke 18:27 tells us, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God."

Let's come to the altar as an act of surrender, giving our mouths to God, and asking the Holy Spirit to help us tame our tongues with the Word of God.

As you feel as though your time here in God's presence has lifted, make your way to the fellowship room on your left, where we'll all meet for fellowship.

If you need prayer or ministry, please instant message one of the ministry team.

Lord, as we gather together at the front here, accept our coming as an act of surrender. We know that in our own strength, we can do nothing; but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

We give you control of our thoughts and our words, and ask that you help us do so daily.

As we take a few minutes to seek you and wait upon you, change our hearts, minds, and our lives. Put us on your path, and lead us forward by your Word.

And it's in Jesus' name we pray.