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Theology > Church > The Purpose of the Church > Mission > Dependence on the Truth


With confidence in the Word the believer proclaims the Word, obeying the Lord’s command. What then? Is the believer responsible for more than the proclamation of God’s Truth? Can the believer do more? The question is one of results. What is the believer to do to insure success? Or can he insure success? Is the accomplishment of the Truth, whatever it may be, contingent upon the believer to any degree? Does result rest upon man or God?

Proclamation of the Word is man’s doing; the result the Word produces is God’s prerogative. If results relate to God then the appropriate posture of man is one of dependence. There will be a multifaceted dependence: dependence upon the Truth because it is the Truth, dependence upon God’s sovereign use of the Truth to accomplish His purpose, dependence upon the Spirit’s use of the Truth in effecting conversion, and dependence upon prayer which is really a confession of our own insufficiency and inability.

The proclaimer of Truth depends upon the Truth because it is the Truth. Truth is that which is not false, and is characterized by integrity and consistency, being unified, adequate, and reasonable (see: Characteristics of the Truth). It is a “living” Word and a “powerful” Word (Heb. 4:12), reflective of the living and powerful God. From the Word we learn that it is the Word that creates its own effect. The desired result is faith, and this is precisely what the Word produces (Rom. 10:17), commanding faith and then creating what it commands. John writes that the words he wrote “are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (Jo. 20:31). The Word’s purpose is to bring one into the group of the redeemed, to create a believer out of a non-believer.

What the believer proclaims with confidence, God’s Truth, is to be trusted to do what only it can do. Only the Truth transforms, and it must be waited upon until it does just that. That is why it is proclaimed, so it can do its work, which will be a successful work. It is a work that converts the unbeliever from death to life, from a goat to a sheep, from a tare to wheat, from the family of the damned to the family of the redeemed, from a child of Satan to a child of God.

Truth is supernatural and it accomplishes the supernatural, creating life, spiritual life. And only the Truth can create that kind of life. Peter speaks of those who have been “born again” by an “incorruptible” seed which is “the word of God which lives and abides forever” (I Pet. 1:23); and James speaks of those who have been brought forth “by the word of truth” (1:18), an “implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (Jas. 1:21). Spiritual birth and growth flow from the Truth, which is capable of initiating and sustaining both. Because it is God’s Truth it will not disappoint. It will not fail.

The affirmation of Truth is also predicated upon the fact that God will use the Truth that is sent forth. The believer depends upon God, whose Word will accomplish what He pleases and will not return void, empty, without fruit and effect (Isa. 55:11). The work of the Word is the work of God, because the Truth is God’s Truth. He uses it as He sees fit, for it serves His eternal purpose. God is sovereign in giving the Truth initially and is sovereign in the effects wrought by the Truth. God did not give His Truth without a plan and purpose which the Truth is to serve, and God does not ordain the proclamation of His Truth without that plan and purpose being fulfilled. God’s Revelation leads to man’s salvation.

The success of the Truth is not dependent upon man but upon God. God insures its success, for man is not capable of such effect. God declares that “it shall accomplish what I please” (Isa. 55:11). “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures” (Jas. 1:18). Note the progression: “will,” “word,” and then “firstfruits.” Before the “firstfruits” there is His “will,” and by the “word” the “firstfruits” are created according to His “will.” Our dependence must be upon God.

Additionally, there is a dependence upon the Spirit and His use of the Truth in effecting conversion. In fact, He is called “the Spirit of truth” (Jo. 14:17; 16:13). Jesus says: “He will guide you into all truth” (Jo. 16:13), giving knowledge of the Truth and comprehension of the Truth. He is the One who convicts “the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (Jo. 16:8); and He is the One who causes the unbeliever to be “illuminated” (Heb. 10:32). The Spirit glorifies Jesus and takes of what is Jesus and declares it to the individual (Jo. 16:14-15), for the Spirit is the One who teaches (Jo. 14:26) and testifies of Jesus (Jo. 15:26). In accomplishing His work the Spirit uses the Truth, particularly the Truth concerning the person and work of the Son. By doing this He reveals to the sinner his condition and his need of the Son to rectify that condition. Slowly but surely the light of the Truth penetrates the darkened mind bringing insight, which is conviction and conversion. the individual is embraced by the Truth. It is with the Truth that the Spirit makes the dead to live; He plants the seed in the unbelieving heart which eventually is transformed, as the seed germinates, into a believing heart. The Wind is blowing; the believer needs to wait and see which leaves are rustled.

Finally, there is a dependence upon prayer, which is really a confession of our own insufficiency and inability. The question to Ezekiel is the question to the believer today; “Can these bones live?”  The question focuses on the seemingly impossibility of the bones living and the utter inability of the prophet to bring life to the dry bones. The believer’s answer must be Ezekiel’s answer: “O Lord God, You know.” Ezekiel had neither the knowledge nor the power. He left the question, and thus the outcome, with God. His was an absolute dependence on God.

The believer’s posture must be the same, that of casting oneself completely upon the mercy and grace of God; it is realizing our limitations and His omnipotence. Only the Lord knows; only the Lord can. Ezekiel did what he was told; God said: “Prophesy to these bones” and “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath and breathe on these slain that they may live”’” (Ezek. 37:1-10). He was to prophesy and call to the breath from the four winds.  When he did life came.

So it must be with the believer; he must preach and call out to the only One who can bring life—the Lord God. Prayer is the believer confessing: “I can’t”; it is affirming: “You can”; and it is pleading: “Be true to Your Word; bring glory to Yourself; accomplish Your purpose; and save.” Dependence upon the Truth is dependence upon God.  

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