An Article Based On A Sermon

29 December 2007

The Sword Of The Spirit - God's Word

by Jon Bowles

(PLAY FROM START)

The events of the past week in Pakistan have been very significant indeed. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto is something that has certainly dominated the headlines, with all the ramifications that will then lead from that assassination.

But as I was listening to the news coming through, it made me think that here is this lady who has just died, and her spirit has returned to God. The thing that gives all the details of what she was and how she existed and everything about her has now returned to God, who gave it in the first place. At the same time also, all the followers that were killed; their spirit returned to God as well. Asleep, obviously, all of them are fast asleep as far as they are concerned. And the assassin as well....that spirit returned to God who gave it, also asleep.

All of them - in the next living second that they will have - will wake up in a different world. They will wake up in a world that we will have spent a thousand years with the rest of mankind, putting together a world that will be a utopia. They will wake up in that utopia as physical human beings. This is what is going to happen in the very next second for Benazir Bhutto, the very next second for the assassin who either pulled the trigger, or detonated the bomb that went off. They are going to actually be resurrected.

All the things that they have worked for, everything that they have stood for, all the effort put into life, including the assassin who went ahead and destroyed this "terrible lady, as he thought. And all the things that Benazir Bhutto worked for, trying to, if you like, rectify the fact that her father died, was hanged by President Zia. Her two brothers were murdered because they were involved with terrorism. One was poisoned, the other one possibly died in a gun battle somewhere in Pakistan. Everything that concentrated the mind of this lady in the past - all of that is all swept away. Everything.

What is going to have to therefore replace that, is what will then be taught to them by you, and by me, and by those that are there at that particular time. Probably on a one-to-one basis, because of the number of people who will be born during the Millennium and actually live on into that future time. To remind ourselves what we are told about that time, turn to Revelation 20:12:

"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books [the biblos] were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the [biblos], according to their works." (Revelation 20:12)

The people are to be judged out of this particular book that we hold here, this biblos. They are going to have a lifetime in which they will learn the things they need, and they will be judged - assessed - according to what is written in this book. Everything else is going to be swept away.

I want to continue today with the series on the Armour of God. I want to deal with the only offensive piece of this armour that is actually mentioned, and first remember who we are actually battling against. Ephesians 6:12

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against [wicked spirits] in high places." (Ephesians 6:12)

We have seen events in Pakistan that seem to be shaping up that area of the world and right away across into the Middle East - shaping the whole of the world therefore, to whatever is coming on this world. Again, we read these scriptures and we see the events in Pakistan within a certain light, within a certain framework. It is because of this Word. It is because this Word is here, and because of what this Word says, that we are able to do that.

Part of this armour that is being mentioned in Ephesians 6:17, after the helmet of salvation it says:

"... and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:" (Ephesians 6:17)

I want you to notice that we are not talking about the Spirit here. The Spirit is not what is actually being mentioned as part of the armour. That is not what is being addressed as being the armour, or the element being discussed. In fact the element being examined is the Word of God. That is what is being discussed. That is the item - the Word of God, and predominately, it is the Bible.

We know the Word of God comes in different ways. It comes when we go outside and we see the creation. When we see the heavens, that also speaks to us. But the principle way is through this book, through these pages of scripture.

The sword of the Spirit is what the Spirit can then use to fight with. That is what we are talking about. It is the only offensive piece that is actually mentioned here, and it is the Word of God That word is then used by the Spirit that dwells in us, and allows the Church to fight against whatever may come against it. And it's not fighting flesh and blood - but against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, wicked spirits in high places. That is what it's fighting against. It is the use of that sword, that living Word, that we want to discuss today.

Certainly it is important that we understand this, because we are going to have to teach it. The very purpose of our being called now is to teach this Word and the principles that are behind the Word. We are being called now because we currently use this Word in an environment where Satan is still on his throne and the Spirit within us fights with the sword, using the very Word of God. That same Word will then be taught by us, same Bible, same words of God, taught by us in the future, to people that at the moment are fighting one another. They are fighting on a human basis, and all they see is the human factor. Yes, there is religion involved in it, and certainly what happened in the assassination in Pakistan is certainly religious, but it is the human factor that they focus their minds on.

We have got to be understanding, that no, it is a spiritual factor. That is where we are fighting. That is our battleground. It is between our two ears at this present time, but there are wicked spirits that are influencing, broadcasting. That is what we fight against. It is the Spirit in us that then needs something to fight with, something to get hold of, get its hands around, to wield in a certain way, and that is what this particular item is. So the areas I want to go into are:

1) How the Holy Spirit uses the Word. One of the scriptures I will use is II Timothy 3:16, which will then give us the next four points that we can put within the areas that we want to deal with. How God's Spirit uses His Word for:

The first point I want to deal with is how the Spirit uses the Word, and then go into the 4 areas in which it is used; doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness. I think you will see that it is not just a case of using it, it's a case of using it in our present environment when we are battling spiritual battles. Those spiritual battles are very real. They are just as real, and more real in many ways than what Ms Bhutto had to battle with and lost, as did her assassin, although he did gain his objective.

How The Holy Spirit Uses The Word (PLAY FROM 09:18)

So, let's talk a little bit about how the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God. Turn over to II Peter, chapter 1, and just remind ourself how the Word actually came. How this Bible was put together. What the Word came from, because once we understand how the Word came initially, then the link between the Word and the Spirit is very clear, as Peter says here in verse 15:

"Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance [he was about to die, this was written about 67 AD, he could see the end of his life was nearing, and he wanted to leave something within the Church]. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables..." (II Peter 1:15-16)

It's interesting that when it says that you "...have these things always in remembrance" (II Peter 1:15), the literal Greek says, 'at each time.' If you think about it, this particular epistle was probably read in the Sabbath services, and each time it was to try and keep people going in a certain direction, pointing them in a certain direction. Just as we can go ahead and play a tape now. They didn't have tapes - they didn't even have printed Bibles on their laps. But somebody could get up and read this, pointing them in a certain direction, and making them understand something about the very Word of God. II Peter 1:16:

"For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount." (II Peter 1:16-18)

Now Peter, James and John were with Christ in the holy mount. James had already been executed by this time, so James wasn't there, there was Peter and John remaining. Now these two individuals, along with Paul were actually involved in the canonization process. So, this particular passage where it says that you; "...have them always in remembrance" (II Peter 1:15), it was a group of writings that were necessary, that would then be read at the Sabbath services, along with prophecies, along with the Torah, along with the other scrolls. And the purpose of these particular writings were, to keep them pointed in the right direction. And it says:

"And this voice which came from heaven we heard when we were with him in the holy mount. [and implies therefore:] We have also a more sure word of prophecy [the word prophecy means to foretell, certainly to tell in the future, but also means to "forth-tell", to address before people, to put before people from an inspired perspective]; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed [you listen], as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture [not just the prophecies, it is all the writings of the scripture, the scripture being under the inspiration of God] is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (II Peter 1:18-21)

We could actually better render it: "That holy men spoke as they were moved by Holy Breath." That is literally what it says. They spoke from a Holy Breath. That Holy Breath produced the Word - what has been written down here. It is Holy Breath having produced the Word, having expounded or expressed the Word in the first place.

So the Word of God that we have here within scripture has come, and has been expressed from that Holy Breath in the first place. It is the antithesis of the other breath. So when we are looking at the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, we are looking at something to be used against this spiritual wickedness in high places. This spiritual wickedness which is broadcasting from high places, discouraging us perhaps, or getting us to go in certain directions which are wrong. We put ourself under the Holy Breath - we recognize the source of this Word. We try and align our lives with the Word itself, and by doing so, we are able also to allow the Spirit which is in us, - that is the same Spirit that gave the Word in the first place - the tools to do the job, the tools that it needs.

In John chapter 14, we find Christ dealing with the other end of the scale. We have just seen how the Word itself came initially. We are talking about both the canonized Old Testament that we have today, and also the canonized New Testament, both coming from the same source. Holy men as they were moved by the Breath of God spoke, or wrote, expressing whatever the Word was actually saying. Here in John 14:22:

"Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world [it's a good question, how are you going to show things to us, but not the world]? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (John 14:22-23)

So linked into this - the way the Holy Spirit is able to use the Word - is that there is a degree of keeping that Word, a degree of doing. As we go through this subject, we will find that doing has a great deal to do with it.

"He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me [it is one consistent Word, coming from both Christ and the Father, it is an expression through the Spirit that they both share, of their mind, of their way of life]. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter ['parakletos'] which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:24-26)

He was speaking to Judas on this particular occasion, and in these particular cases here were people that Christ was actually dealing with face to face. The Spirit then, that was going to be with them in the future, would then bring to their remembrance things that He'd said, and allow them to apply it in the very circumstances in which they would find themselves.

Remember what the original question was. He said, "Lord, how will you manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?" (John 14:22) What is the difference? The difference is the very Spirit of God. One of the key areas is that the words that Christ gave them were then going to be coming back into their minds from the prompting of this Spirit. The Spirit of God would then bring back to mind what had been given to them by God. That is how Jesus Christ Himself would manifest Himself to them and not to the world. It is exactly the same thing as far as we are concerned as well.

What is it that causes us to look at the situation in Pakistan today - or any world news - and look at it in a certain way? Why was I able to write what I wrote in the Update? Well, because we can look at the situation through the prism of this Word and what was delivered to us in regard to this Word.

We know the plan of God through the Holy Days. We can see what is going to happen. We know the battle that we are in. We know where Israel is, which is what Mr Armstrong brings out in the World Tomorrow programmes. People listen to them, and they say, "Oh, he's been dead, ten, twenty, thirty years .... rubbish - it didn't happen. We can forget the whole thing." That's nonsense. What is important, is that it is a very short period of time. Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty years, it makes no difference. The principles that you find within this Word are clear, and the application of this Word.

What we have to do is take the Word in exactly the same way as we have had revealed to us, and apply it to our present world. To see the present world through the same eyes, eyes coming from the Spirit of God. When we are looking here, where it says; "...how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not the world?" (John 14:22) Well, you keep the Word. You hold onto that Word, as it says; the Holy Spirit will actually bring back to memory all the things that have been said.

II Timothy, chapter 1:5. Here, Paul is discussing with Timothy about the very Spirit of God and what it is like:

"When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands [there was an additional blessing of the Holy Spirit given to Timothy by the laying on of Paul's hands, he was an evangelist]. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (II Timothy 1:5-7)

That is what is going to be there within the mind, coming from the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God then uses that power, love, and a sound mind in a certain way. Notice in verse 13:

"Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love [in this same power, love and of a sound mind and faith also] which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us." (II Timothy 1:13-14)

What good thing? It was the Word of God, and being kept by the very Spirit of God as well. That Spirit was able to continue using that Word in the way it needed to be used. Notice in II Timothy 2:14:

"Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness." (II Timothy 2:14-16)

In other words, he was to allow that very Spirit that was in him to be used in rightly dividing this Word, to actually use this Word, and use it correctly. Give the Spirit what the Spirit needs to rightly divide and be able to separate whatever is being presented before us. The use if you like, of this Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Giving the Spirit what it needs, to walk forward so that we can be led by that Spirit. Notice in II Timothy 3:1:

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come [verse 13]. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them [that is also being written and being preserved for us also to apply]; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures [incidently 'holy scriptures' is a phrase that is used to mean the scriptures that have a canonization seal on them, the ones that were kept within the temple, copied in the temple, looking back at the Old Testament scriptures], which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God..." (II Timothy 3:1;15-16)

Or is God Breathed. The same thing as we read before. It comes by the Breath of the Spirit of God, by that Holy Breath, as men were moved by that Holy Breath.

"All scripture is [God Breathed] and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3:16-17)

We will go into therefore, doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness, those four things. Because these are the things that scripture, that is God Breathed is then used by the very Spirit of God. Like Timothy, we need to study, so as workmen we need not be ashamed, rightly dividing that Word of truth. Guided by the Spirit of God to rightly apply it.

Doctrine (PLAY FROM 24:45)

So we go into the second point therefore, the subject of doctrine. At the end of chapter one of II Peter 2 we read:

"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by Holy [Breath]." (II Peter 1:21)

II Peter 2:1:

"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." (II Peter 2:1-2)

So we see that in regard to doctrine, false teachers coming in with their own pet ideas and pet theories are going to actually twist and pervert the Truth. It talks about many following their pernicious ways. Notice in verse 19 of such people:

"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the [slaves] of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage." (II Peter 2:19)

So they were going in a certain direction, but it wasn't according to the Word of God but against that Word of God and the Spirit of God. In II Peter 3:1 it says:

"This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance [remember, that's what it said earlier on back in chapter 1]: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts," (II Peter 3:1-3)

They're wanting to go in a different direction. This again ties in with this passage of being false prophets and also false teachers among you. That has actually gone on all the way through the ages. Again, we are not wrestling with flesh and blood, but principalities and powers, wicked spirits in high places that bring in doctrines which are corrupt, which are wrong. How do we get rid of that? Notice what it says in II Peter 3:17:

"Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness." (II Peter 3:17)

It is the same basic principal that we find over in Revelation where it's addressing Philadelphia. It says: "...hold that fast which thou hast..." (Revelation 3:11). Hang onto what you have. Hold onto the Word of God that has been actually given to us.

So when we are looking at doctrine, we need to remember the word 'doctrine' itself, simply means teaching. It's the teaching that we have from God. If it is a perverted teaching, if the doctrine is twisted, if the doctrine is skewed, it is not coming from God. It is coming from something else. Where is the something else? The spirit of the power of the air is broadcasting and that is the source of the perversion! John 7:14:

"Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marveled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." (John 7:14-17)

So, it's a case of doing. Remember, you will find that in this subject, it is not just having the Word. Yes, the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God but what do some people do? They sit and they study. And that is all. That is not the way God teaches. Remember, the word doctrine means teaching. How does God teach? Well, how do we teach our children? How are we commanded to teach our children? We are told to teach them by the way. It is a case of actually applying that Word. It is a case of doing; to do that will:

"If any man will do his will, he shall know of the [teaching], whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." (John 7:17)

So then you are able to sort it out. It is applying that will. It is being plugged into that vine, and therefore allowing the very Spirit of God to use the Word itself and being able to see very clearly that it is coming from the right source. Turn over to I John chapter 2, where John brings out something similar to what he was bringing out in the gospel of John in chapter seven. But in I John 2:14:

"I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning..." (I John 2:14)

I am not going to go into that particular section at the moment, but I want to draw your attention to this section in the second half of the verse:

"...I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God [lives] in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one." (I John 2:14)

The strength that is coming from the Spirit of God, is the fact that they have the Word of God living in them, and that strength then, overcomes the wicked one. It is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God which then fights against the wicked one. It goes on and says:

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (I John 2:15)

Where does that love of the Father come from? It comes from the Spirit of God that is in him. It is the love of God shed abroad by the Spirit of God that is in him.

"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (I John 2:16-17)

This is just the same as is being mentioned over in John 7:17, where it says: "If any man will do his will, he shall [understand] of the doctrine..." (John 7:17). If you are doing the will, you will then understand the teaching, because you will be able to see where that teaching is coming from. So the Word of God is something that the Spirit of God can use to determine whether that teaching is true or not. If the person is actually walking in that way, doing the very will of God as it says here. "...he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (I John 2:17). Turn back to Matthew 4:1 and we see Christ also applying this:

"Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." (Matthew 4:1-3)

Why not? Why not just go ahead and make some bread for yourself? I mean, aren't you hungry? If you can do that, all you have to do is say the word.

"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4)

Remember the name Christ means the 'Anointed One'. Anointed by the very Spirit of God. The Spirit of God that He had without measure was then able to use the Word of God. It was the Word of God that countered the teaching that Satan was throwing at Him. He said, "Look, you can go ahead and make bread." But the immediate thing that came to Christ's mind was:

"...man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of [God]..." (Deuteronomy 8:3)

That was coming from a scripture over in Deuteronomy. That was the immediate thing that the mind clicked on there. He was humbly applying the principle, applying what God's Word said, and applying it in the right way.

Reproof (PLAY FROM 33:34)

This is why when we go onto the third point - reproof - over in II Timothy 3:16, the word in Greek that is translated as reproof, literally means to tell a fault. It is allowing you to see what is wrong. Here in Matthew 4:4, notice what it says:

"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone..." (Matthew 4:4)

And down in verse seven it says:

"Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." (Matthew 4:7)

And then down in verse ten:

"Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." (Matthew 4:10)

Now, He obviously knew the scriptures. Remember as a young boy, He was able to go into the Temple and talk to the doctors of the law. And they were astounded at the knowledge that He had. He obviously knew the scriptures.

Yes, He had the Spirit of God without measure. Yes, His Father was literally the Father through the very Spirit of God, and He was the Word. The One who gave the Word in the first place. But chances are He also read the scriptures. He had a human mind, He had a human brain. Assuming, if it's anything like my human brain, you have to go back and actually read and re-read the scriptures, and also He would also meditate.

If the Word isn't there, if we're never reading, if we never crack a Bible open, how on earth are we going to have this happen? This is where the reproof, the telling of fault, being able to bring these things to our mind can work. How on earth can we say, "It is written" if the Bible is never cracked open, and if all we do is bring a Bible here to Church services, and during the rest of the week it just sits in the cupboard or in our briefcase? This is why Bible study is so important. It is part and parcel with prayer. We should be praying every day. We should be studying every day. It is not just study. It is study with meditation, so that we can therefore apply the scriptures, so these words will come into our minds. So that we can say, "Yes, it is written."

Let's look at I Corinthians, chapter 3:10:

"According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (I Corinthians 3:10-11)

Remember what Christ said; "The Spirit of God will bring to mind all things that I said unto you." The foundation is being laid there within the Church. The Church therefore had the foundation from the apostle Paul, and it was coming from words that Jesus Christ Himself actually gave. Be that words of the Old Testament, be that words of the New Testament that had yet to be canonized. It doesn't make any difference. They were God-breathed, the Holy Breath actually gave rise to those Words. In I Corinthians 4:1 it says:

"Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers [or servants] of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self." (I Corinthians 4:1-3)

In other words, the Corinthian Church was judging Paul, was putting Paul down. They were saying that his words were not worth listening to, his assessment was not worth listening to. Apollos was much more interesting perhaps to listen to. Therefore, they were making comparisons between the different ministers in that regard.

"For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord [that's where it's important]. Therefore judge nothing before the time..." (I Corinthians 4:4-5)

That judgment eventually will culminate with the resurrection. That is when our life comes to an end, then we receive the reward of that judgment.

"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both bring to light the hidden things of darkness [the things we as humans can't see], and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have the praise of God. And these things, brethren, I have in a figure to myself and to Apollos [because that was the primary problem at that time] for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think [the words 'of men' in italics, are not in the original] above that which is written..." (I Corinthians 4:5-6)

Now how did they know what was written? What did they have that was written at that time? They probably had a letter from Paul, but that is not what he is referring to. He is talking about the Old Testament scriptures, going back and understanding and knowing them. We have no excuse today. These people had to go to the synagogue and read. The chances of them having their own Bible were pretty slim. But they had to stand up there and read and spend some time in actually reciting. This is why the Psalms are so often quoted within the New Testament, because the Psalms they sang. It is easier therefore to remember the Psalms. When you come to Isaiah, Isaiah is in poetry, the vast majority of Isaiah is poetic. Why? Because you then can remember the verses much more easily.

"...that ye might learn in us not to think...above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another." (I Corinthians 4:6)

Stop this antagonism between the people within the Church, and the way to do that is to get back onto the foundation as Jesus Christ laid within the Church, and to go back to that Living Word, and to make sure that we understand that Living Word. If we go into II Corinthians 10:3, we see how the Spirit is using its sword, using its Word to actually operate within each and every one of us:

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh [that is not where the battle is taking place]: (For the weapons of our warfare are not [fleshly], but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds [things within our minds that are strong holds that need to be pulled down];) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God..." (II Corinthians 10:3-5)

Now where are we going to get that knowledge of God if we are not studying? If we are not actually sitting down with our Bibles and reading scriptures, and not just reading them, but meditating on them as well. Allowing the Holy Spirit to digest the scriptures. Allowing us to then think about and mull over them during the rest of the day. We should be able to see within the assassination of Benazir Bhutto - and other world news - events which bring to our minds various passages within the scripture. Be it according to the various prophesies that you find in Daniel and Revelation. Be it the fact that the spirit returns to God in Ecclesiastes. The fact that these two individuals are going to go ahead and arise at the same time, as written in Revelation and Ezekiel. Allow out minds to mull over these things and apply them to what we are looking at, what we are witnessing on the news. So that these things 'that are written' are there, and the Spirit can then use them, and bring them to our remembrance, because they are there.

"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" (I Corinthians 10:5)

The kind of obedience Christ had. What did Christ do? He said, "It is written, man shall not live by bread alone." It is written that "you do not put God to the test". It is written, "God only shall you serve." "So go take a hike." Is basically what He said in the temptation.

"And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is [filled to the full]." (I Corinthians 10:6)

In other words, you will do what is necessary to put your life on track, and you will be able to be guided by the Spirit of God, according to that very Word of God, which defines and allows that Spirit to bring these things back into our mind and counter the various problems that we've got. The problems can be anything. It could be anger. It can be depression. It can be anything we are battling against. But, II Corinthians 10:5 says:

"...every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is [filled to the full]." (I Corinthians 10:5-6)

That is what we need to be actually doing.

Correction (PLAY FROM 44:09)

Over in Hebrews, chapter 4, we find here the Word of God being discussed as a two-edged sword. Here is 'the telling of our fault', i.e.being able to see the problem. It is a two-edged sword that cuts across. So the Holy Spirit has this two edged sword that goes across one way, and it sees the problem and tells the fault. But it has another edge on it as well. That other edge is the correction.

The Greek word for reproof actually means 'telling a fault'. When it says correction, it literally means to 'straighten up again'. So it's a two-edged sword. It comes across one way and corrects, but it comes across the other way and straightens you up and points you in the right direction. One says, you don't do it; "...for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20)s. But the other side is; "...This is the way, walk ye in it..." (Isaiah 30:21) This is the direction of life, when you turn right, and when you turn left.

Let's take childrearing; it's not enough just to reprove a child. "You mustn't do that. Stop doing that. Behave yourself!" Is that going to do any good? Yes, it's necessary to do that, but then you teach. If we don't teach, we might as well forget correction! If all we're doing is barking orders all the time, nothing will get done. It's better to say; "Don't do it that way, do it this way." Point them in a certain direction. If we're not doing that, then it is hopeless. God does that same thing with us. It is not just reproof - telling a fault - it's correction. It's straightening up again. It's getting us back on track again. Here in Hebrews 4:8 it says:

"For if [Joshua] had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a ['sabbatical' is probably a better translation] to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest [he is talking about about the millennial rest, and aiming for that millennial rest in the future], lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." (Hebrews 4:8-11)

How do we labour and what are we labouring with? Then he goes into what we are labouring with:

"For the word of God is quick [living]..." (Hebews 4:12)"

Remember, we have mentioned before, if any man will do the Word, then he will know the teaching. Then you will be able to see the teaching. You have got to do it, before you actually start to understand it.

"For the word of God is quick [it is alive, it's living], and powerful [the Spirit of power, love and of a sound mind, the Word of God is coming from that Spirit], and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)

He gets right to the heart and core. Again, with a child, you teach him in the way. Yes, you reprove, you tell him the fault. You say, "No you don't do that, that's not right. If you do that, we will spank you." That's basically one side of it, but that is not enough. "This is the way you need to go. This is the way you walk. This is what you should do. This is how you operate. This is how you do it." Now that takes much more time and effort. It's easy to just yell at kids, but again, God gives us this Word, and yes it reproves us. It gets to the heart and core. It goes ahead and cuts asunder soul and spirit, joints and marrow, but it's the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

"Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." (Hebrews 4:13)

This individual is our High Priest. It is Christ, Himself, the Living Word, with whom we then learn how to walk, how to go thereafter, how to actually conduct our lives.

Let's turn back to the classic scripture, Isaiah 51, and just remind ourselves why that Word is there. What are we being given the Word of God for? What is the purpose of us being converted at this particular time? Isaiah 51 gives it, and verse 16 you will find on the web site because it gives it in such a lucid way:

"...ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law...And I have put my words in thy mouth..." (Isaiah 51:7,16)

So the Word of God is there. How does the Word of God come into our mouth? It comes by the Breath.... the Holy Breath. Men were empowered by that Holy Breath, the Holy Spirit, and therefore were able to give to us the Word of God. When we come across situations, when we come into various circumstances, we are able to therefore allow what comes out of our mouth to be Godly, and right. That Word of God is what we need and then we can be straightened up again and pointed in the right direction.

"And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand [possibly pointing back to the time of Moses - he could see and understand exactly what God is like], that I may plant the heavens [this is the purpose of it in the very long, term, to plant the heavens themselves], and lay the foundations of the earth [in the intermediate term of the Millennium - building a utopia here on earth], and say unto Zion [the Church today], Thou art my people." (Isaiah 51:16)

Stressing why the Church has been called today, the purpose of the Church today. It is a case of straightening up again, and the Word has been put in our mouth so that we can walk in a straight and correct direction. Turn over to Isaiah 66. The context of this is looking backwards from; "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth in the preceding..." (Isaiah 65:17) going into chapter 66. Coming into now, the time of the prophecy as of this moment, as of the Church right now in its shattered state. Isaiah 66:1 says:

"Thus saith the [Eternal], The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest [where is the temple of God, the spiritual temple]? For all those things hath mine hand made and all those things have been, saith the [Eternal]: but to this man [this house] will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit [having the right approach, having the right mental outlook], and trembleth at my word." (Isaiah 66:1-2)

Who is straightened up. Who trembles at the Word that comes from God, and he is corrected by that Word. We fear before it, so we allow that Word to have its effect, and allow it to tell us the way to go.

"...Yea, they have chosen their own ways [that's the problem, they are not straightened up again, not corrected, they have chosen their own ways], and their soul delighteth in their abominations [in whatever they choose to do]. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not." (Isaiah 66:3-4)

They were not straightened up again. They were not reproved, but they also were not corrected and guided into a certain direction.

"Hear the word of the [Eternal], ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the [Eternal] be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed." (Isaiah 66:5)

Now the context of this is a reverse prophecy. It is clearly focused on the time that we are in right now, just prior to Christ's return. It is the case that to this man - the one that trembles at the Word - the one that will actually be straightened up again by that Word that is so important. So the sword of the Spirit then can be used, because there is a respect to that Word. It allows the Spirit to then use the Word to straighten up our lives and to point us in the right way. It is not just reproof, saying, "Don't go that way!" It is; "This is the way, walk in it, go down this route." We are therefore led by the Spirit of God.

In Philippians 2:5 it is talking about the mind of Christ: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:" (Philippians 2:5)

That's the aim. That is the goal. That is what is needed, that the mind of Christ dwells in each and every one of us, that we be is Spirit-led, the the same way that Christ was Spirit-led. Down in verse 12 it says:

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure [that is where it comes from, it is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Spirit of God]. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;" (Philippians 2:12-15)

Remember, what are we doing? We are battling, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against wicked spirits in high places. Against attitudes of mind that come across to us. Against depressive attitudes of mind. Against attitudes of mind of anger and hatred - all the antithesis of God's way. Notice how it's done. It says in verse 16:

"Holding forth the word of life..." (Philippians 2:16)

In other words, this Word then determines the path. It straightens us up again and determines how we go. This is how it's done. This is how - within this crooked and perverse nation - we get the battle won. It is the Word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit. It is what the Spirit that is within us uses to straighten us up.

"Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain." (Philippians 2:16)

He is able to rejoice that what he did was effective.

Instruction In Righteousness (PLAY FROM 57:06)

For the final point - instruction in righteousness - turn over to Hebrews 1:1:

"God, who at [different] times and in [different ways] spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;" (Hebrews 1:1-2)

He actually sent Christ to this earth, making available a different Spirit, allowing us to go ahead and have His Spirit, and by using that Spirit, we are able to therefore become like Him. To become a son like the One who was Jesus Christ. Turn over to Hebrews 5:12 and in that context we find:

"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat." (Hebrews 5:12)

Now he's talking to the Hebrews, to people who knew the oracles of God. They knew the Word of God, and yet they weren't applying it, they weren't being instructed in righteousness.

"For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness [the Holy Spirit is not able to be effective, it is not able to use the Word of God like a Sword in the way it needs to]: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use [or habit] have their senses exercised [the Word of God has got to be used and exercised in order to be useful and that is the only way it can be useful] to discern both good and evil." (Hebrews 5:13-14)

Yes, they've had reproof, and had a straightening up again, and it is leading therefore into a direction of righteousness. A direction that allows that Spirit of God within us to discern good and evil, and to fight against anything that is going against that final purpose of becoming God's children. It is the Living Word that is necessary. Turn back to John 12:44 where we find:

"Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me [tying the Father and the Son together again]. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me." (John 12:44-45)

Because He was God in the flesh, and if the Father was in the flesh, He would be walking in the same kind of way. The same kind of way that we also need to walk.

"I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world [that wasn't His purpose at that time] but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." (John 12:46-48)

So, the Word is eventually going to go ahead and judge in that last day. It's coming not from just Christ, it is also coming from the Father.

"For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak." (John 12:49)

It is that Word, that is in the future that is going to judge. As we have read before over in Revelation 20:12, that we are all to be judged by what is written in the Bible. We are all judged by the books as it says over there. In Revelation 19:15, it talks about Christ, and out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, with which He will judge the nations. That sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God is going to be very much in evidence when we come into the future. Turn to back to Isaiah 11:1:

"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the [Eternal] shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the [Eternal]; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the [Eternal]: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid..." (Isaiah 11:1-6)

So we are looking into the Millennial rule. In that Millennial rule, what is going to happen is this sword of the Spirit - this literal Word of God - will be used by Christ, and also by those who are ready for this time. The ones who have qualified at this particular point in time, ready for being the born sons and daughters of God, administering that same Word. Having that same Spirit and applying that same Word, at that vital time.

Be Ready to Give an Answer (PLAY FROM 1:04:00)

We have got to be ready within the Church to give an answer. We are told that over in I Peter 3:15.

"...be ready always to give an answer to the man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you..." (I Peter 3:15)

But we are also told, in passages such as Luke 21:14, not to premeditate - when we are hauled before the courts - what we are going to answer. So how can we be ready to give an answer, and yet we are not to be premeditating what to answer? How is that possible?

Well again, looking at the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, we have got to be studying scripture and applying it on a day in and day out basis. The Spirit of God that is in us has got to have something to work on. It has got to have that Word that it can then use in the future when it comes into that time. There is a case of direct inspiration if necessary. But if we're not actually studying this Word, if we're not reading it and meditating on this Word, how can we possibly have the confidence when we are brought before judges, or kings, or whoever, that the Spirit of God will have something to work on? Because it says; "...be ready always to give an answer..." (I Peter 3:15) and yet it says; don't premeditate. We don't need to premeditate when we get there, because it has already been done.

If you go to the article Mr Armstrong wrote on 'How to be an Overcomer' he says; "The problem is that we are too far away from God when the trials come." That is the problem and the way to be an overcomer is to get that relationship right, and keep that relationship right. That involves prayer. But it also involves study as well. It involves study with meditation. That is the way it's done.

Therefore, when the problems and trials and difficulties come up, we are ready and we are prepared. But if we are like a boxer who never did any training, and then goes into the ring with Mohammed Ali - or any champion boxer - we would lose immediately, you can't hope to fight like that. Ridiculous!

If we are studying, meditating and digesting that Word, then when the problem comes up, we can then face the problem. The sword is there. The sword is sharp. We have got a sword that is sharp that can be handed to the Spirit of God at the appropriate time and then be used.

This particular time, it's being used in preparation for the future. But when you look at what happened in the Church years ago - it should make us all ashamed, because we were caught on the hop. Had we have been studying as we should have been studying; had we been recognizing what was in this book as far as the shattering that would take place; about the various things that would take place within the Church even; what happened in the previous times; had we been completely up to date and really understood about apostleship; about the various doctrines placed in the Church, and how doctrines were placed in the Church, then we would never have been led astray in the way we were. Yet, we were led astray, myself included. There is not a single individual I have ever come across, that had not been led astray, not one. All contrary opinion notwithstanding - nobody. We were caught on the hop. All slumbered and slept.

We have got to make sure that we understand, that we have that sword of the Spirit. That Word of God has got to be kept sharp. It has got to be kept up to date. The meditation has got to be there. I'm not talking about hours, and hours a day, I'm talking about half an hour a day that we do something regularly. That we sit down and we go ahead and open this Bible and at least read it and meditate on it. If we've got children, okay we get the Bible for five minutes, we open it and read a passage and then we think about it for awhile. Then read another passage and think about it for awhile. That's the way study has got to be done when you have young children. Here in Isaiah 30:1 it says:

"Woe to the rebellious children, saith the [Eternal], that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:" (Isaiah 30:1)

There is a real problem being discussed here and within society generally that is true, and it says Isaiah 30:8:

"Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the [Eternal: they won't listen to this Word, they don't have that Word sharp within their minds] Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word [the Word has got to be used, it is the Sword of the Spirit, it has got to be kept sharp, it has got to be understood and meditated on], and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. (Isaiah 30:8-13)

You will never be ready for it. You will not realise what is actually happening, because the Word has not been studied. The Word has not been meditated on. You don't even recognise the things that are actually taking place, Isaiah 30:18:

"And therefore will the [Eternal] wait [this is primarily talking about Israel], that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the [Eternal] is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him. For the people shall dwell in Zion [they will dwell under the authority of Zion, the true Church, the resurrected true Church] at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." (Isaiah 30:18-21)

You see one of the people that will be actually resurrected into this particular situation will be Benazir Bhutto. Another person will be her assassin. Right now they are fast asleep, but their next conscious thought is going to be that time. Here we see another group of people - the teachers - that at that time will have a Word to give to them. The question is, are we going to be ready for that? Are we going to be able to do this? Are we going to go ahead and be able to have a word behind them saying, this is the way, walk in it, when you turn right and when you turn left?

It is going to be largely to do with whether in fact we are using that Word now. Whether we have that sword sharpened now. Because, that is what we are looking at - we will need to be sure that our two-edged sword is sharp and ready to use. This two-edged Sword is indeed the sword of the Spirit, the very Word of God.