"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"
God’s Powerful Word (He 4:12-13)
1. In He 4:11, we find a succinct summary of all that has been said
in He 3:7-4:10 …
a. We need to be diligent to enter "the rest that remains", our
b. Or we may fall short of our rest, just as many Israelites fell
short of their Canaan rest…
"Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone
fall according to the same example of disobedience." – He 4:11
2. To stress the need for diligence, we are reminded regarding the Word
of God – He 4:12-13
a. That Word which provided the example of the Israelites’
b. That Word which is now warning them not to emulate the
3. In this passage, the Word of God is described in amazing terms…
a. It is "living"
b. It is "powerful"
c. It is "sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the
division of soul and spirit"
d. It is "a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart"
4. At a time in which God’s Word is so often neglected, even by some
Christians, it never hurts to contemplate the wonder of God’s
a. And so we take this opportunity to reflect upon what is said in
b. With a desire to renew and increase our appreciation of the power
of God’s Word
[We begin by noticing…]
I. THE WORD OF GOD IS "LIVING" AND "POWERFUL"
A. GOD’S WORD IS NOT SOME "DEAD LETTER"…
1. Not only in this passage, but elsewhere we read of the abiding
nature of God’s Word
a. Notice Peter’s description of it – 1 Pe 1:23-25
1) It "lives and abides forever"
2) It "endures forever" – cf. Isa 40:8
b. Jesus said "my words shall not pass away" – Mt 24:35
2. The "life" of God’s Word is due to the nature of God Himself!
a. God is eternal; He is "the living God" – cf. He 3:12; Jer 10:10
b. He cannot lie, so what He says will come to pass – He 6:18;
— Thus His Word will never perish
3. As Jesus said, "…the words that I speak unto you, they are
spirit, and they are life." – Jn 6:63
B. THAT GOD’S WORD IS "ALIVE" IS SEEN IN ITS "POWER"…
1. It has the power to accomplish its intended purpose – Isa 55:10-11
2. The gospel in particular has the power to save – Ro 1:16-17;
3. Through God’s word we can be born again – 1 Pe 1:22-23; Ja 1:18
4. It works effectively in those who believe – 1 Th 2:13; cf. He 4:2
5. It can build us up, and give us the inheritance that is ours
– Ac 20:32
6. It can make the man of God complete for all good works – 2 Ti 3:16-17
— How could anything with such power be a "dead letter"?
[With such a living and powerful word at our disposal, we would be
foolish to neglect the blessings it offers, or the warnings it gives!
Its power is seen further as we note how…]
II. THE WORD OF GOD IS "SHARP" AND "A DISCERNER"
A. SHARPER THAN A "TWO-EDGED SWORD"…
1. The Word of God is often likened to powerful objects
a. Here it is described as a sword – cf. also Ep 6:17
b. Elsewhere it is described as fire and a hammer – Jer 23:29
2. To illustrate its sharpness as a "sword", the Word of God is
said to pierce…
a. "…even to the division of soul and spirit"
b. "…and of the joints and marrow"
— i.e., the divine word is able to cut through everything
that is in man (Lightfoot)
B. A DISCERNER OF "THE THOUGHTS AND INTENTS OF THE HEART"…
1. With its sharpness, it is capable of sifting through and
revealing the heart of man
2. Its effect on man reveals his true heart…
a. In some cases, that one’s heart is sincere and open to
change – e.g., Ac 2:36-37
b. Other times, that one’s heart has no desire to change
– e.g., Ac 5:33; Ac 7:54
— One cannot hear or read the Word of God without being
[As stated earlier, the "life" of God’s Word is due to the nature of
God Himself. In a similar way, the "power" of God’s Word is due to the
nature of God…]
III. THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD IS DUE TO HIS OMNISCIENCE
A. GOD IS OMNISCIENT …
1. The word "omniscient" means "all-knowing," "having infinite knowledge"
2. David praised the omniscience of God in Psa 139:1-12
3. Solomon also wrote of God’s omniscience – Pr 15:3
— That is why "there is no creature hidden from His sight, but
all things are naked and open" to His eyes
B. THEREFORE NO ONE CAN HIDE FROM THE JUDGE…
1. As David counseled his son Solomon – 1 Chr 28:9
2. It is before this omniscient Judge that we must one day give
a. There is a judgment day coming, in which God will judge the
world through His Son, Jesus Christ! – cf. Ac 17:30-31; Ro 2:16;
2 Co 5:10
b. We read of that Judgment Day in the last book of the Bible
– cf. Re 20:11-15
3. The standards by which we will be judged are the words spoken
through His Son
a. As stated by Jesus in Jn 12:48
b. Which should give special force to the warning found in
1) If the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and
every transgression was justly punished…
2) …then how shall we escape judgment if we neglect the
words spoken through God’s Son?
1. Yes, the power of God’s Word is derived from God Himself…
a. God is omniscient, able to see into the hearts of men; therefore
His Word is able to cut to the hearts of men and reveal their
b. God is living, eternal, who will one day judge the world;
therefore His Word that abides forever will be the standard by
which we will be judged
2. In view of the power of God Himself and His powerful Word…
a. How dare we neglect the warnings given in it, such as those found
in He 4:1; He 4:11?
b. How dare we neglect to even read about the warnings (as many do
by not reading the Bible)?
3. And remember, how we react to the Word reveals our true
a. Some are so "dull of heart" that they react with indifference
and say "so what?"
b. Some are "cut to the heart" but angrily resist the Word and blame
the messenger – Ac 7:54
c. Some are "cut to the heart" and cry out, "What shall I do?"
– Ac 2:37
What kind of heart do you have? If your heart cries out, "What shall I
do?" in response to the gospel message of salvation in Christ, then we
encourage you to heed:
"Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be
baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins;
and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." – Ac 2:38
If you have so responded to God’s saving grace, then we encourage you to
heed the warnings found throughout the Scriptures, especially here in
the book of Hebrews, and in the words of our Lord Himself:
"…Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."
– Rev 2:10