The Living and Active Word from a Living and Active Life
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
- Paul to the Corinthians
The Living and Active Word
Many times during the sermon portion of worship last Sunday, I felt the urge to cry. As a non-crier, I wanted to share why.
Followers of Jesus believe God’s word is “living and active (Hebrews 4:12).”
We believe that when it’s read, sung, taught, preached, etc; it’s doing something, “teaching, reproofing, correcting, and training (2 Timothy 3:16).”
However, while we believe it is always living and active, there are times when it is “living-er” and “activ-er”, especially when it comes with (Pentecostal people, go with me here), “unction.”
Living and Active Messengers
Where and when is this “unction” most noticeably present?
I believe unction is most present when the messenger of the living and active word, is someone who has lived out the living and active word.
- Have you ever heard a frontier missionary teach on the necessity of the gospel advancing to the hardest and darkest places?
Did that living and active word hit differently? It did! The living and active messenger not only believed what they were saying, they’d practiced it in real time.
- What about a compulsive giver?
When my dad, who is not the (materially) richest man in the world, takes the offering at church, I feel it. He can’t go 5 seconds without sharing what the Lord has blessed him with (I think he learned it from his dad). The living and active word hits differently when it comes through a living and active messenger.
You can see where I’m going.
Last Sunday, hearing a cowboy shepherd teach the premiere shepherd text in the bible came with unction.
Joe has loved and served the members of this flock as an imperfect under-shepherd to the Good and Perfect Shepherd for decades and when he read “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you (1 Peter 5:2)” it hit differently.
Do Our Words Come With Unction?
This moment caused me to think, “Do my words come with unction?” Not just as a preacher, but as a disciple of Jesus who is about His business to make disciples. When I talk about Jesus with an unbeliever, do they “feel” my words? When I’m reading the bible with another Christian, am I simply parroting the texts, or are they coming out of me as someone who has, however imperfectly, aimed to walk them out?
These are good diagnostic questions to ask yourselves. The word of God always has been and always will be living and active, but we should ask our Father for the good gift of living them out so that when we speak that living and active word to believers and unbelievers alike, it comes with unction.
Until He Comes,