The Word Works!

by Impact Church

For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13

One of the key buzzwords in the church world today is relevance. “Do the teachings of Jesus and the Bible really matter in my life 2,000+ years later?”

Unfortunately, many in the postmodern Church have taken the approach that in order to be successfully relevant we must compete with the glitz and glam of the culture and “give the people what they want” … presumably, dazzling light shows, dance-inducing worship music and pop-psychology preaching that sounds more like Dr. Phil than Dr. Billy Graham.

We here at Impact Church unashamedly proclaim the Word of God and agree with the Apostle Paul that it “effectively works in you who believe.” The Greek verb is energeo – from which we get our word “energy” – and it means to effect, to work, to put forth power,…i.e., to have an IMPACT! Despite the view of casual Bible readers who argue that Paul is all about faith in contrast to James’ teachings that faith without works is dead (James 2:17), this action verb is one of Paul’s favorite words and is used 19 times in his epistles. Ironically, it is James who has its most quoted Scripture use: “The effective, fervent (energeo) prayer of a righteous man avails much(James 5:16). 

That, my friends, is relevance. When the Word of God is believed upon as eternal Truth, it changes lives. Broken hearts are mended,…failed marriages are reconciled,… criminals are rehabilitated,…the hopeless begin to believe again,…drunkards dry out,… the blind begin to see,…sorrow turns to joy,…beauty rises from ashes.

The Word works! Prayer works! The Gospel works! But these work in response to something and through something. First, faith must be present. Jesus said it this way in one of the most insufficiently quoted verses in the Bible: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Most folks will quote only the last six words, but God’s Word is cover-to-cover full of truth that is not setting anyone free…until they hear it, read it, know it, believe it. That word “know” corresponds to a Jewish idiom that speaks of the intimacy of a marital union. In other words, when you believe the Word so much that it becomes part of you (as two become one!), then get ready to be set free!

Not only does the Word work in response to a believing faith, it produces its desired effect through love. Paul said our faith works through love (Galatians 5:6) and reminds us to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Indeed, how did Jesus say the world will know we are His followers? By seeing our miracles? By hearing our eloquent sermons? By how much money we give to the church? No! The greatest evidence that the Gospel has had a relevant impact on our lives will be seen in the way we show love for one another (John 13:35)!

The Bible is abundantly clear that good works don’t save us. But it is also clear that our new life in Christ will manifest itself through our works. Believe the Word. Hide it in your heart. Then allow the Holy Spirit to live out the Word in your life through loving acts of service to others