The Power Of Truth

In 1517, a man named Martin Luther sparked the Protestant Reformation when he nailed what is now known as the 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg. This was common practice for posting bulletins or things to be debated, but what he wrote was revolutionary. At the time, the Catholic Church was in control of religion in the West and there were many things they were doing that were in absolute contradiction to the Word of God (like charging people fines called “indulgences” as atonement for sins). Bibles at that time were few and far between. An individual or family couldn’t own one and if there was a Bible in a local church, it would have usually been chained to the pulpit. In addition, those were usually in Latin and not in the language of the people so even those pulpit Bibles weren’t something the common person could understand. Since they couldn’t read it for themselves, people regarded the word of the Pope and the religious leadership as the word of God, which led to widespread abuse. When Martin Luther read the Bible and realized that what was being done by the church wasn’t right, he challenged it.

This was a turning point in church history! What’s so interesting though is that the crisis of Martin Luther’s time was not so much the abuse of power of the religious leadership as it was the general population’s ignorance to what the Bible said. They could be manipulated by lies because they didn’t know the truth. If we fast forward a few hundred years, we find something that Martin Luther probably couldn’t have even imagined. In our country and many in the world, Bibles are readily available in almost any language. Most of us have our Bibles on our phones, with any version or language we want at our fingertips. However, the same fundamental problem faces the church today that it did in Martin Luther’s day, if we don’t know the word of God for ourselves! It is possible to live in a land of abundance, with more Bibles than there are people, but live in a personal famine of the Word of God.

I say all of that to say that Truth that is not yours is absolutely useless to you. The Truth of the Word of God is as powerful now as it always has been. Isaiah 40:8 says,

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

However, even though truth is always truth, it will not affect you personally until you know it, believe it, and act on it. In Acts 19, we come across an interesting story about Paul and some new believers in Ephesus:

“It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John's baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying “

The truth of the power of the Holy Spirit did not change based on whether or not those believers at Ephesus had received Him. He had already been released as a gift to the body of Christ, but until they knew the truth and then encountered that truth, they saw no evidence of its reality in their lives. Often, people evaluate the truth of the Word of God based on the evidence they see of it in their own lives. For example, they let the presence of sickness cause them to doubt the truth that God still heals today. In fact, the opposite should be true. The Word of God should be the standard we use to evaluate the measure of truth in our own lives!

God’s Word has the power to change our lives if we know it, believe it, and then act on it! Romans 10:14-17 says,

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So, faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

Before you can have faith in God’s Word, you have to know it. This was the crisis of Martin Luther’s day. People had no idea what the Bible said, so they believed whatever they were told. Unfortunately, many of us live that way today, with absolutely no excuse. So, as that Scripture says, faith can only come through hearing His Word, but then faith has to come alive and be acted upon before you’ll see that Truth made a reality. James 2:18-26 explains this perfectly:

“But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”

Faith, unless you act on it, is dead. What a powerful Scripture! See, you can believe everything the Bible says is true and still not experience it. As James wrote, even the demons believe. They know that God is who He says He is! They know He’s the creator of the universe! They know, probably better than most Christians, the power of the Living God. What good is knowing it if you do nothing with it? Faith has to be alive in your life! You have to see the fruit of the power of Jesus in you. For many of us, it’s easier to believe that Jesus heals than it is to believe we can heal in His name, but the Bible makes clear that believers are to lay hands on the sick and see them made whole! God is not a God far away. The kingdom of heaven isn’t just in heaven. When you come into covenant with God by the blood of Jesus and are filled with His Spirit, you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. The creator of the universe dwells in You. You carry the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and hovered over the face of the deep at creation. The power of that truth when it becomes reality will absolutely change our lives, our families, and our culture. In our nation, there is not a famine of Bibles, but there is a great need for believers to walk in the Truth the Bible carries. 500 years ago, they understood that a Bible in the hand of every believer could change the world. The question is, do we?

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