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30 July 2022
The Authority of the Word - Rev Funke Ewuosho

In Matthew 4:4, Jesus said: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” He was quoting Deuteronomy 8:3; where Moses charged the Israelites to remember the LORD their God who led them through the wilderness to humble them and fed them with manna. Interestingly, Jesus was also in the wilderness, where He has been led up by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil, when He spoke these words! Jesus didn"t go into the wilderness out of disobedience, but in full obedience to God"s will. Same with the Israelites; when God brought them out of Egypt, He didn"t lead them by the land of the Philistines, although that was near, but led them through the wilderness. (Ex. 13:17-18). The wilderness ‘experience" is to bring us to a place where we learn to live by EVERY word that proceeds from the mouth of God; that is for the word of God to constitute an authority in the life of the Believer. It therefore becomes very necessary to know what that means in practice - which is what this article is about.
To live by the word of God is:
1. TO LIVE BY THE LIGHT OF GOD"S WORD.
The Psalmist said, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” and “The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” ( Ps. 119:105,130). “But path of the just is like the shining sun that shines even brighter unto the perfect day.” (Ps. 4:18). The word of God sheds light on our heart, on our situations and circumstances at different times in our lives; if we would receive it. That light gives us direction, helps us make the right decisions and brings solutions to our problems. The Bible says, “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (Jn.1:4). Light stands for illumination, development, knowledge and vision, among other things. In Genesis 1:2,3; “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep. Then God said, “Let there be light” and there was light.” When God speaks, light comes and darkness disappears, because it cannot overcome that light! Darkness is the opposite of light; it represents evil, ignorance, confusion, death, and all the devil has to offer! Ephesians 6:12 says: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The Psalmist said, “The LORD will enlighten my darkness.” (Ps. 18:28). How? By the entrance of His Word! The word of God brings vision; “Where there is no vision, (or, revelation) the people perish. (Prov.29:18). The Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesians that the Father of glory may give to them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of their understanding being enlightened that they may know, “what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power. (Eph. 1:16-18). When the eyes of our understanding become enlightened, we come to know certain things; this kind of knowledge is called ‘revealed knowledge", as different from natural or human knowledge. Jesus said to Peter, “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 16:17). Paul prayed for the Ephesians to ‘know" the love of Christ which passes ‘knowledge" (Eph. 4:19). When revelation knowledge comes to us, there is suddenly, the unveiling or uncovering of our eyes; and the discovery that leads to the recovery of many things. Like in the case of David; after he and his men had lost everything, he needed a word from the Lord. So, he encouraged himself in the Lord and inquired of Him, “Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?” David needed direction and solution in his situation. And the LORD answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.” (1 Sam.30:8). The entrance of God"s word gave David the light he needed; he pursued, overtook and recovered all they had lost! Jesus said, “If you abide (or, continue) in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Jn. 8:31-32). The truth doesn"t make you free, until you know it! The word ‘know" means, “To perceive, understand, recognise, gain knowledge, realise, come to know.”
2. TO BE FOCUSED ON THE WORD.
In Hebrews 12:1, we are told to run the race set before us with endurance or perseverance, laying aside every weight and the sin, which so easily beset us. But how can we, in a world that is full of distractions? In the parable of the sower, Jesus calls those distractions, “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches” (Matt. 13:22). Those cares are mostly legitimate - “What you will eat or what you will drink.... what you will put on” (Matt. 6:25). Jesus said we shouldn"t worry even about those things! But how on this earth is that possible? Firstly, if it weren"t possible, He wouldn"t have asked it of us. To worry literally means, “To divide into parts.” The word suggests a distraction, a preoccupation with things causing anxiety, stress, and pressure. Nature abhors vacuum and it is only natural to worry, therefore, if we are not going to worry about our lives, then we must focus our minds on something else. Same applies if we will persevere in the race that is set before us. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2). “Looking” signifies, “undivided attention, looking away from all distractions in order to fix one"s gaze on one object.” - Jesus, our perfect example! He finished His race successfully in spite of all the opposition, distractions, hostility, etc. that He faced. Rather than lose heart because of all his afflictions, Paul"s inner man was being renewed daily; his internal condition was completely different from his external condition. The secret was his focus! He said, “while we do not look at the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen.” (2 Cor. 4:18). One, it sounds like a deliberate action not to look at the seen. Two, it isn"t enough not to look at the physical things, you must also divert your energy into looking at the unseen. But how does one look at what is not seen? Hebrews 11:3 gives us the clue; “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the WORD of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Therefore, the word of God is the unseen! Truly, from Genesis" account of the creation, the things which are seen are not made of things which are seen. So, we look at the unseen by looking at the word of God. The word of God is our contact and our connection to the unseen realm. “We walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7); by walking by the word of God; because “Faith comes by hearing... the word.” (Rom. 10:17). God gave us His word, and still speaks to us today, so we can live by His word. The Bible tells us about Abraham: “And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah"s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith giving glory to God.” (Rom. 4:19, 20). Considering his own dead body or the deadness of Sarah"s womb, would have weakened Abraham"s faith; so he didn"t. He considered God"s word to him instead; that he will become the father of many nations. He walked by faith and not by sight. “Now, faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (confidence) of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1). “ Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Php. 4:6-7). However, the secret of an anxiety and worry free life, is in keeping one"s mind on God, through His Word. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose MIND is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3). The Bible says the double-minded man shouldn"t think he will receive anything from the Lord! (Jas. 1:6-8).
3. TO BE REGULATED BY THE WORD.
The Bible says, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast of restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.” (Prov. 29:18). The revelation or vision we receive from God"s word, helps us to live a purposeful life. When God put man in the garden of Eden, He said to him: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat; for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die (dying you shall die).” (Gen. 2: 17-18). God"s word was meant to define the boundaries of Adam"s operations in the Garden. When he crossed that boundary, he lost even what was legitimately his! That is what always happens when we push our boundaries, we lose our rights and privileges altogether. Proverbs 25:28 says, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” Can you imagine such a city? Every nation has some form of Border control, to determine what goes out and what comes in. That is what God"s word is meant to do in our lives. It is meant to create godly boundaries around every sphere of our existence and every aspect of our lives. For instance, the Bible says, “Be angry, and do not sin... Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Eph. 4:26,29). Jesus, during the temptation, demonstrated how His total life"s operations -His appetite, His desires and even His actions- were regulated by the word of God. He kept replying the devil by what was written. (Matt. 4:2-10). The Apostle Paul charged the Thessalonians to abstain from every form of evil, and prayed – “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 5:22,23). How will they be sanctified? By the word of course! Jesus, in His prayer to the Father for the Believers said: “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth, Your word is truth” (Jn.17: 14,17). To ‘sanctify" means: to set apart, dedicate, consecrate, separate, etc. Therefore, when we live by the word of God, we are set apart unto God and separated from the world; because the ways of God are completely different from those of the world. “Don"t love the world"s ways. Don"t love the world"s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically, everything that goes on in the world- wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important - has nothing to do with the Father. It isolates you from Him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out - but whoever does the what God wants is set for eternity.” (1 Jn. 2:15-17 MSG). For instance, the disciples of Jesus had an argument among themselves as to who should be considered to be the greatest. Jesus told them that in the world, their kings lord it over them, “But not so among you, on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.” (Lk. 22:26). Just do what the word says, and you will automatically be different from the world. In Peter"s sermon on the day of Pentecost, he admonished them to “Be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40). The word of God has the ability to deliver us from the perversions of our generation. The Bible says that Christ gave Himself for the church, “that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:26-27). We must allow the word of God to regulate our thoughts, imaginations, feelings, words and actions; for our whole spirit, soul and body to be preserved blameless at the coming of Christ. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true...noble...just....pure...lovely... of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. (Php. 4:8).
4. TO BUILD ON THE WORD OF GOD.
Building on the word is doing what it says; obeying the word! Jesus said the man that comes to Him, hears His words and does them, is like a wise man who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on the rock. And the house couldn"t be shaken, because it was built on the rock! On the other hand, the man who heard and didn"t do what he heard is like the man who built on the earth, without a foundation. When the floods came against the house, it fell and it"s ruin was great. (Luke 6:46-49). The rock on which the wise man built his house was the word of God; that is the sure foundation upon which we are to build our lives. Notice Jesus didn"t say “if”, He said “when the floods arose”. But when we commit to doing what the word says in every area of our lives - family, finance, relationships, health, etc., we will be building on the rock; and even when the storms come, those things will still be standing! The Psalmist said, “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled (i.e. stand firm) in heaven.” (Ps. 119:89). Foundation also means ‘basis". Don"t do anything until you have heard from God concerning it or found out what His word says about it, and then do it based on that. Don"t just get married because your friends are getting married. Don"t marry someone because they are attractive or rich. Have you found out what the word says about marriage? Have you asked God"s opinion about the person? Living by the word of God involves digging deep into the scriptures to find the relevant word and building on it, by obeying what it says. God told Joshua that, if he meditated day and night in the Book of the Law and did according to all that is written in it, he will make his way prosperous and have good success.” (Josh. 1:8). Jesus came to the earth on the basis of God"s word- “Behold I have come - in the volume of the book it is written of Me - to do Your will, O God.” (Heb. 10:7). All His actions while He was on earth were based on the word of God; Jesus healed all who were sick, “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken.....” Matt. 8:16-7). To live by the word of God is to base all that we do on the word; that is our sure foundation and our guarantee for success. Base your prayers on the word: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what desire, and it shall be done for you.” (Jn. 15:7). Also, “If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 Jn. 5:14). The apostle Paul told Timothy to wage the good warfare by the prophecies previously made concerning him.” (1 Tim. 1:18). The Word of God is a more sure Word of prophecy, “which do well to heed, as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns, and the morning star rises in your hearts.” (2 Pet. 1:19). Base your actions on the word: “And whatever you do, you do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Col. 2:23-24).
5. TO BUILD WITH THE WORD.
In John 1:3, “ALL things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” God and His Word are one! Nothing was made that wasn"t made by the Word. How did God create the universe? By His word of course - according to Genesis 1. We are told that worlds were FRAMED by the word of God, “so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Heb. 11:3). The word ‘frame" also means: “To arrange, set in order, equip, adjust, complete what is lacking, make fully ready, repair, prepare.” The same word was used for the disciples mending their nets (Matt. 4:21) and for restoring a fallen brother (Heb. 13:21). That is, I can arrange, set in order, equip, adjust, prepare and repair my life by the word of God! I can complete what is lacking in my life by the word of God. I can go into the word of God and begin to frame my future according to God"s good plan for my life. (Jer. 29:11). I don"t have to wait for what life has to throw at me; I can receive all the good things God has for me –good health, a godly husband, godly kids, financial prosperity, etc. by the Word. Like God did in the beginning, I also simply need to speak His word, concerning those things. The centurion said to Jesus, “But only speak the word, and my servant will be healed.” (Matt. 8:8). Remember, God calls the things which do not exist as though they did! It is so important for us to build with the word, that is, for the word of God to be the raw material or the fabric with which our every aspect of our lives - marriage, ministry, health, finance and our entire future - is built; if we would survive the avalanche and the tsunamis of life! It isn"t really safe and secure to build with any other thing than the word of God. Your financial prosperity and health must be a product of your soul"s prosperity. (3 Jn. 2). The Bible says, the man that meditates in the word of God, “shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Ps. 1:2-3). To meditate means ponder, by speaking to oneself. We must learn to keep speaking the word, even to ourselves. The word has the power to create and to change things. It isn"t enough to build on the word, it is equally important that we also build with the word. “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay straw, each one"s work will become clear, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one"s work, of what sort it is.” (1Cor. 3:12-13). If our work endures the fire, we will be rewarded; if not, we will suffer loss; but we will be saved. (verses 14,15).
6. TO HOPE IN THE WORD.
Living by the word of God is putting all our hopes in His word. The Psalmist said, “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.” (Ps. 119:114). And “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word do I hope.” (Ps.130:5).Where is your hope? Is it in the word of God or in the words of man? Is it in the power of God or in human wisdom (1 Cor. 2:4,5)? Time and your actions will tell! How do we hope in God? By believing His word! “Now may the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13). The word of God always gives us hope when we believe it. There is absolutely no hopelessness in God! You would have to go away from God and His word to be without hope in this world. The Bible says Abraham believed- “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who (Abraham) contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations....” (Rom. 4:17-18). There is the natural hope and spiritual hope; and it seems we don"t usually come into spiritual hope, until we have ran out of natural hope. That spiritual hope is the hope in God"s word alone, when there is no hope in the natural. This was exactly where Abraham was when he had Isaac! The Bible says it is impossible for God to lie. God gave His word, backed with an oath, so that we can build our hope in His word. “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Heb. 6:19). So, you don"t need to wait until you have run out of natural hope, or until there is nothing to hope for in the natural. You can be proactive, by hoping in God"s word from the beginning; knowing that “hope does not disappoint us........” (Rom. 5:5).
God bless you.