The Letter of God is Not Enough

by Joseph Franks

Are you a person blessed with the Word of God but not blessed by the Word of God? Are you one immersed and saturated with God’s Word but stuck in the mud in your spiritual development? And as you review the condition of your personal and church families, do you find this to be their situation as well?

My dear friends, have you learned that your personal devotions do not automatically improve you, and your family devotions are not necessarily fruitful and effective?

Have you taken advantage of Christian school bible classes, Christian school chapel services, and summer Christian camps and yet found your children largely uneffected?

When you go to church on the Lord’s Day and receive your Sunday morning sermon and your Sunday school lesson, do you find yourself more hungry for lunch than you are for spiritual communion and improved Christ-likeness?

Yes friends, if you are like me and my family, you have saturated yourselves with the Word of God and still find yourself spiritually and relationally dry and crusty. So why is this so? Why does Christian education often seem so vain and futile? Why does the Word of God seem so ineffective within and around us?

Simply put, the letter of God is not enough.

Listen to the words of wisdom penned by a former minister of the Gospel:

Oh in comparison with the New Testament Church we are so sub-apostolic, so substandard! Sound doctrine has put most believers sound asleep, for the letter is not enough. It must be kindled! It is the letter plus the Spirit which giveth life. A sound sermon in faultless English and flawless interpretation can be as tasteless as a mouthful of sand. To rob [Satan] and cripple [his kingdom] we need a fire-baptized church. A blazing bush drew Moses; a blazing Church will attract the world, so that from its midst they will hear the voice of the living God.     (Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries, 102)

What is his point? What do you and I need? We need a regular and fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We need a daily pentecostal moment. We need that which is referred to in the hymn, “Spirit of the Living God:”

Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me

Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me

Break me! Melt me! Mold me! Fill me!

Sprit of the living God, fall fresh on me

Or that which comes to mind upon the singing of “Spirit of God Descend upon My Heart:”

Teach me to love thee as thine angels love

One holy passion filling all my frame

The baptism of the heaven descended Dove

My heart an altar, and thy love the flame

Struggling brothers and sisters, the Word of God is not enough. Consider the hundreds of liberal professors who teach the Bible but are not converted and conformed. Consider the thousands of Christian school students who can recite scripture from memory but have it not written on their hearts. Consider the hundreds of thousands of worshipers who will gather under some sort of preached Word this coming Sunday but not be effected. My friends, all of this can be for naught. Scriptural impartation can be a waste of time; it can actually be harmful. Or as another hymnwriter stated:

Brethren, we have met to worship and adore the Lord our God

Will you pray with all your power while we try to preach the Word

All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down

Brethren, pray and holy manna will be showered all around

So perhaps you need to put your electronic device and your Bible away and spend a bit more time on your knees in prayer. The Word of God is sufficient when the Spirit of God chooses to use it. Why not spend some time in personal prayer and pursue another pentecostal moment right now?

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