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Stage 3

Speaking the
Word of God

"If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God...so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ..." 1 Peter 4:11.

God wants us to absorb His word in our hearts (Colossians 3:16). He can then use this hidden deposit of His word. When we speak, the Holy Spirit will work with us to anoint His word in two ways:

Digesting the Word

"It is written, 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God'" Matthew 4:4 (see also Ezekiel 3:1-3).

God's word is like food. It gives strength to our inner man and causes us to grow up in Christ (Ephesians 4:14-15). The depth we can absorb in God's word depends upon our maturity in Christ. And our maturity comes from how much of the word we put into practice.

Milk

"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good" 1 Peter 2:2-3.

The simple truths of God's word are like milk. These truths deal with the foundations of the Gospel and the nature of our relationship with God.

Solid food

Solid food is an understanding of the nature of God Himself - His thinking, His heart and His plan - so that we can join the Lord in His purposes.

"In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil" Hebrews 5:12-14.

God is wanting us to grow up in our experience in the Lord so that we can impart to others the word of life we have received.

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you" John 15:7.

Receiving the Living Word

"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you" Psalm 119:11 (see also verses 11, 105).

The word of God has no effect on us unless we receive it in our hearts and respond to it. It is not just in hearing the word of God that we are changed. It is in doing the word of God.

"...humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says" James 1:21-22 (see also verses 23-24).

Translating the Word

God desires for us to absorb His word into our hearts not just for ourselves to grow but for that word to be used in His purposes. When we share the Gospel with others, the Holy Spirit can then help us translate God's word into everyday language that an unbeliever can understand. This means that simply memorising Bible verses and quoting them at people is not what God is after. It is the living word, not the quoted word, which changes people's lives.

The word of God can be expressed in two forms:

The general word

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth" 2 Timothy 2:15 (see also 2 Peter 1:4,19; 1 John 2:14).

The whole word of God is the general word. The word of God is like water and as we read and meditate on the general word, we bathe in the word of God (John 15:3; Ephesians 5:25). It is the general word which trains us to think and speak like the Lord Himself (Isaiah 50:4).

The general word of God provides the context for everything God speaks into our lives. It is important to read every verse in context - what comes before and what comes after (see 2 Corinthians 4:2). As an exercise, look at the following verses and see what they mean in context:

Philippians 4:13; Romans 8:37; Romans 16:20

The specific word

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" Hebrews 4:12.

When God speaks to a person's heart, He brings a specific word out of His general word (see Matthew 4:4; Romans 10:8). This is the living word of God, anointed by the Holy Spirit, to meet the need of a person's life. It is the living word of God which brings revelation and change. It is the living word which will not return to God empty (Isaiah 55:10-11).

Imparting Faith

"For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith" Hebrews 4:2 (see also 1 Thessalonians 2:13).

The message of God's word has no effect on people's lives unless it is mixed with faith. Only the Holy Spirit can give faith. But when we speak with faith and conviction, the Holy Spirit anoints our words to penetrate that person's heart (1 Thessalonians 1:5). God wants us to be sharing the word we have in our hearts (Jerermiah 20:9; 2 Timothy 4:2). But as we share the word, we must always remember that we must speak God's words, not our own (2 Corinthians 2:17; 4:5). This means we must continually keep close to the Lord so as to hear His words (1 Corinthians 2:13).

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life..." Philippians 2:14-16.

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Copyright 1981,1996 Paul, Bunty and David Collins. All rights reserved. This study may be freely used and reproduced, wholly or in part, by the Christian Church for the non-profit purposes of study and training only, provided copyright and contact information is included.

Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures quoted in these studies are from the New International Version of the Bible New York International Bible Society, used by permission. Other versions referred to are: KJV (King James Version), NKJB (New King James Bible), TLB (The Living Bible), Amp (The Amplified Bible) and The Message. All versions used by permission.

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