The Importance of Receiving the Word
Posted by Bishop Keith A. Butler on January 7, 2014 | 3 Comments
As Christian leaders, there is nothing more important we can do than to impress upon people the imperative of hearing, seeing, and acting upon God's Words.
The Parable of the Sower begins with the phrase, The sower soweth the word (Mark 4:14). Everything God does, He does through the Word. God scatters seed daily because people need it on a daily basis. God scatters seed—or ramos, the spoken word—in several ways:
- The foolishness of preaching: The Word can come not only by being written down but also through the foolishness of preaching and teaching (see 1 Corinthians 1:21). The closer we get to the return of Jesus, the more we need to assemble with other believers—the more we need the Word (see Hebrews 12:5).
- The Holy Spirit speaking to people's spirit: Jesus said, The Holy Spirit shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come (John 16:13).
The Word never returns void. The Word of God can produce thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred of what?(v. 20). Likewise, Satan's words and our words can also produce these amounts.
The Power of God's Word
In John 17:17, speaking about the Father, Jesus says, Thy Word is truth. In Romans 1:16, Paul says, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ [the Word of God]: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Romans 1:16). The Greek word for power is dunamis, a miracle working, supernatural power, intent, and ability. The gospel of Christ is God's power to man. That Word of God is unto soterion, a Greek word for salvation, rescue, safety, and deliverance. In the physical realm, it's the word for health.
Leaders, tell your people: If you need to be rescued, if you need to be made safe, if you need to be healed, if you need to be set free or delivered in any way, the gospel carries that power! And there's more good news! That power is unto salvation to every person who believes. It doesn't matter if your skin color is black or white or brown; it doesn't matter if you are young or old. Every person can access the power of God to receive deliverance and safety.
There is a condition: it is available for every person who believeth, a word derived from the Greek word pistis, meaning faith, trust, confidence, or belief.
The Critical Importance of Receiving the Word
Look at the reason Jesus gives in Matthew 13 why people cannot receive the Word: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing; and their eyes they have closed (v. 15a). The phrase waxed gross means that their heart is hard.
The problem is not that the people don't hear the Word; the problem is that they hear it and then decide not to receive it and act on it. That's when the human heart becomes hard.
People fail to receive the Word of God because sometimes it's the Word that they don't want to hear. For example, Jesus says, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44). I don't want to pray for my enemy, and I don't want to do good to my enemy. If I don't obey Jesus, however, my heart will become hard. The next time I hear that Word it will be even more difficult for it to penetrate my heart. You and I must always receive the Word!
Second Timothy 4:3 says that the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. This will happen in the latter days, or in the days at the end of time. We're approaching that now. People have teachers, but they are selective in their hearing. They don't want to receive the truth. They don't want to see the truth. They just want to hear and see what will make them happy and feel good about themselves.
God desires that people be converted and changed. God wills to heal and deliver them. God wants them to be made whole, but they don't want to hear, see and do God's Word. God is not like men. Men might keep pushing you to see and understand, but God will back right off if you don't want Him. He will protect your right to choose, all the way to protecting your right to choose to go to hell.
The Consequences of Not Receiving
Although the Word is the power of God for whatever deliverance is needed, look at what Romans 1:21-23 says happens when people choose not to receive this Word: they become fools; they change God's glory into idols; they change God's truth into a lie and worship the creation more than the Creator. As a result, they reap the consequences of their choice (see vv. 24-27).
Remember that these verses are in the context of the wrath of God. God doesn't do anything to them; He has been trying to keep them going the right way and has warned them repeatedly, but they keep pressing forward until He finally gives them up to the way they want to go.
People lose when they do not believe in God's way of doing things and choose to live accordingly. As a result, their foolish hearts get even darker. They come to the place where that which they think is right is wrong, and that which they think is wrong is right. It is a very serious matter to refuse to receive God's Word, with consequences both in this life and in the world to come (see vv. 29-32).
Once again, everything God does, He does with Words. God created the planet through words. The Word of God brings light, life, and health. The word of satan brings sickness, disease, and death. People can decide to plant God's Word or they can decide to plant Satan's word.
God wants people to follow Him because they want to. I'm physically stronger than my wife is. I could grab her, slam her to the floor, put my knee in her back, and force her tell me that she loves me. I could make her say those words, but I wouldn't get any gratification out of hearing them because she wouldn't mean it—she'd be saying "I love you" because I forced her to.
But if I go home after ministering and she walks up to me and says, "Baby, I love you," I experience joy at those words! Why? Because she has a choice. She can choose not to say those words, but she chooses to say them!
Likewise, people have other choices. God isn't going to force them to love Him; He wants them to choose Him. He wants them to choose to receive, love, value, and revere His Words. He wants them to choose life, not death. He wants them to receive the harvest of life and blessings—both in this world and in the life to come—that come from hearing, seeing, and receiving His Words.
This article is written by Bishop Keith A. Butler
In his signature line-by-line style, Bishop Keith A. Butler travels the world teaching the Word of God without compromise. Bishop Butler is dedicated to teaching believers how to live their faith. He is the founder of Word of Faith International Christian Center and the Senior Pastor of faith4life churches in Round Rock and Dallas, Texas.
As Bishop, he oversees 14 ministry operations in the United States. Bishop Butler has also established several international ministry works. The Word of Faith Ministerial Alliance is a fellowship of ministers and Christian leaders who have received Bishop Butler as their spiritual father and/or mentor. Through its companion website, faithleaders.com, ministers and Christian leaders can find valuable resources to aid them in their ministry callings.
Bishop Butler has a nationally televised program on the Golden Eagle Broadcasting Network called “Live your Faith”.He is the author of over 24 books with such titles as Living Life on Top, The Art of Prayer, God’s Not Mad at You and God’s Plan for Man. With the support of his lovely wife, Pastor Deborah L. Butler, and their children: Pastor Andre Butler and wife Tiffany Butler (granddaughters Alexis, Angela, & April), Pastor MiChelle, and Minister Kristina Butler Bishop Butler continues to plant churches worldwide.
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