Sunday, September 02, 2018: Coming to Church With a Sword to Your Neck

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12–13)

How we approach God’s Word is the difference between growing and remaining stagnant in the Christian life. I doubt that anyone taking time to read this post has trouble affirming that the Bible plays a vital role in the life of a believer. Yet I suspect that this affirmation, true as it is, often fails to have its intended effect on our experience, both in daily life and as we worship together on Sunday morning.

For some of us, our interaction with God’s Word can be shallow, sentimental, and lacking in substance. For others, it may be strictly informational—a mere brain-dump of theological data that is void of affection for God. Still for others, it can be a ritualistic transaction whereby you presume that you’re performing a duty for God and winning His favor in return.

Each of these approaches has one thing in common: a lack of true vulnerability before God. We all need to approach God’s Word with a greater vulnerability, expecting that it will speak to our hearts in ways that nothing else can.

The author of Hebrews says that, as God’s Word searches the thoughts and intentions of our hearts, we are “naked and exposed” before Him. In Greek, the phrase “naked and exposed” graphically conjures an image of what took place in a gladiatorial arena or upon a sacrificial altar. Picture a defeated gladiator laid across the knee of his opponent with his throat exposed to the sword, or a sacrificial animal strewn across an altar with a knife to its neck. That’s some radical vulnerability!

These shocking images alert us to the position we put ourselves in when we stop playing games with God and become totally vulnerable to His Word, allowing it to speak truth into the depths of our hearts. Does that level of vulnerability make you uncomfortable? Most likely. Such discomfort is worth it, though, when so much is on the line. You can either embrace discomfort and grow up into the image of Christ, or you can avoid it and remain spiritually stagnant and stunted.

What this really comes down to is faith. Are you trusting God enough to be totally open to His Word? Does God’s voice ever stop you dead in your tracks, like it did Paul on the road to Damascus (see Acts 9)? Does it challenge your thinking? Does it disrupt how you feel, what you desire, and where you’re headed in life? If we truly want More Jesus in our lives and among LifePoint Church, we must be vulnerable, inviting God to search us and expose what is within us through His Word.

As we gather this Sunday, we will worship a God from whom nothing can be hidden. But He is also the God who loves us more than we could ever fathom. Thus He does not expose us to shame or embarrass us, but to grow us up into the image of Christ. That’s the destiny of every believer (Rom. 8:29). And God will not allow anything to stand in the way of that destiny—not even the areas in our lives that we would rather He leave well enough alone. Therefore He lovingly puts His sword to our necks because that’s the only way we will grow up.

Set List for Sunday, September 02, 2018:

Worthy Of Your Name (B. Brown, S. Curran, B. Younker)

You Are God And You Are Good (M. Carter, A. Ivey, J. Reeves)

What A Beautiful Name (B. Fielding, B. Ligertwood)

I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous) (C. H. Gabriel, C. Tomlin)

More Like Jesus (B. Ligertwood, S. Ligertwood, K. Stanfill, B. Younker)

You can also listen to a playlist of LifePoint’s current song rotation on Spotify.

About Tyler Greene (172 Articles)
Tyler Greene is the Associate Pastor of Worship Ministries for LifePoint Church in Ozark, MO.

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