God’s Word Convicts Us

When I was a kid, I would see these commercials online about children in Africa that needed saving.  They had no food, and the water they drank was making them sick.  I found out that, for as little as $18 a month, I could support one of these kids and help change their life forever!  The woman talking, I believe it was Sally Struthers, had me convinced that I needed to do this.  I was so caught up in what was happening in Africa that I begged my parents to give me $18 a month so I could support one of these children. My soul was rocked to the core!  Needless to say, my parents didn’t give me the money for that.  I moved on and looking back, I now realize the power of conviction.

This week, we’ve talked about the Bible truly being God’s Word and how the Bible can guide us in our lives.  Today, we’re looking at how God’s Word can convict us.  Conviction is an interesting word.  Webster’s Dictionary defines conviction in three ways. Today we’ll look at the third definition, which is “the act of convincing a person of error or of compelling the admission of a truth”.  The Bible is used for a lot of things; knowledge, wisdom, history, and good life advice.  Another way the Bible can be used is as a mirror.  Now, I’m obviously not saying you literally look into it as though it’s made of glass.  Instead, I’m saying that, by seeing the life of Christ, the disciples, and many of the ancient followers of Christ, we can take a look at how we measure up.  We can take inventory of where we are in our relationship with Christ.  We can also find blind spots that we’ve missed along the way that are keeping us separated from God.

One of, if not, my favorite books in the Bible is Nehemiah. It’s the story of God’s people returning to Israel to rebuild after the Babylonian captivity, and how Nehemiah, along with other leaders, rebuilt the great wall around the city.  Most of these Jews had never actually been to Israel and had only heard stories from their grandparents about what it was like. Much of the culture and beliefs of God’s people had been forgotten.  That included God’s Word, specifically the Law of Moses.  

And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.
Nehemiah 8:1–3

Because many of these people were raised in foreign lands where God’s Word was not commonplace, this may have been the first time many of them heard the Law of Moses. Everyone was there, and we read that they were attentive to it. This was part of who they were as a people, and they anxiously hung on every word that Ezra read.  Something interesting happens, though, after they hear the Word of the Law of Moses.

“They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law.”
Nehemiah 8:8–9

The people WEPT as they heard the words of the Law!!! The Law of Moses is part of the Torah, which is the first five books of the Bible; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The last four books of the Torah make up the Books of the Law. These are the books that made them weep.  How could THOSE books make someone weep?

Imagine living your whole life only to find out that your family wasn’t really your family, and your entire history was something much different.  What if you found out that you’ve actually been living in opposition to the life you were supposed to lead?  That’s exactly what has happened here.  God’s people weren’t living as God’s people.  They were living like the pagans in the countries where they had been raised.  When they heard God’s Holy Word, it cut them to the bone. They were convicted of their sin and longed to make things right with God. Later in the book, we see where they confessed their sins and signed a new covenant with God where they would now follow after Him.

We read yesterday that…

…the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

When we read the Word of God like a mirror, we can see where we are falling short. We can take inventory of the life we are living and see where we need to work harder.  While we are not saved by works, as Paul says,

“work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
 Philippians 2:12–13

God’s Word convicts us and shows us who we are and how we should live.  That shouldn’t scare us or discourage us.  Instead, we should use God’s conviction as a motivator to better things. We cannot ignore God’s Word.

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.
Hebrews 10:26–27

Just like we read in the definition from Webster’s Dictionary, we need to be convinced and compelled.  Allow God’s Word to convince you of your sin.  Allow God’s Word to compel you with the need for salvation in the world.  Be compelled by the need to share Christ with others.  Be convinced of the reality of Hell.  God’s Word convicts us so that we can be a light in a very, very dark world. That conviction will lead us to be more like Christ and lead others to do the same.

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