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Hope from Hebrews #8 - The Double-Edged Sword

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Text: Hebrews 4:12-13

Thesis: To examine the power of God’s Word and the need for a response to it.


(1)   When God speaks, we must listen.

(2)   “The Bible demands a response, because God does not tolerate indifference and disobedience” (Kistemaker 116).

(3)   Let us note why we must listen to the Word of God:


I.                   First, consider the power of God’s Word (v. 12).

A.    It is living.

1.      Cf. Acts 7:38 – OT = living words

2.      Cf. John 6:63 – Words of Jesus = words of life

3.      Cf. 1 Pet. 1:23 – Lives and abides forever

4.      Cf. Psa. 119:89 – Endures forever (cf. Matt. 24:35)

B.     It is active.

1.      “A thing may be alive but dorman” (D. Guthrie 118).

2.      However, the Word of God is alive and active “in the sense that it speeds to fulfill the purpose for which it has been uttered” (Bruce 112).

3.      Cf. Isa. 55:11 – will not return void

C.     It is sharper than any two-edged sword.

1.      Cf. Eph. 6:17; Rev. 1:16; 2:12; 19:15; Isa. 49:2

2.      “The pen is mightier than the sword”

3.      “Nothing remains untouched by Scripture, for it addresses every aspect of man’s life” (Kistemaker 117).

D.    It is piercing to the whole of man.

1.      “We should not take the reference to ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’ as indicating a ‘dichotomist’ over against a ‘trichotomist’ view of man, nor the reference to ‘dividing’ to indicate that the writer envisaged a sword as slipping between them. Nor should we think of the sword as splitting off ‘joints’ and ‘marrow.’ What the author is saying is that God's Word can reach to the innermost recesses of our being” (EBC).

2.      I.e., “No segment of the human […] can escape [the divine word’s] keen edge” (Lightfoot 99).

E.     It is a discerner of the mind of man.

-          “The Word of God passes judgment on men's feelings (enthymeseon) and on their thoughts (ennoion). Nothing evades the scope of this Word. What man holds as most secret he finds subject to its scrutiny and judgment” (EBC).

II.                Second, remember that we will be judged by God’s Word (v. 13).

A.    Note: “If God’s Word uncovers everything, then it follows that God Himself is fully aware of all things” (Kistemaker 118).

B.     We cannot hide from God.

C.     Instead, everything we do, say, or think is “laid bare” before Him.

D.    For these things, we must give an account to God.


(1)   Just as the original readers, we are “now confronted with a moment of decision. The Word of God […] will either be a word of promise, the acceptance of which will mean […] entrance to God’s rest, or a word of punishment, which will be fulfilled by […] falling in a spiritual desert” (G. Guthrie 157).

(2)   Will you listen and respond to God’s Word?

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