(Through The Bible) – Hebrews (Part 2): Zac Poonen (Transcript)

Full text of Zac Poonen’s teaching on ‘LETTER TO THE HEBREWS’ (Part 2) which is part of the popular series called Through The Bible.

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Zac Poonen – Bible Teacher

Let’s turn today to the Word of God in Hebrews 4, where we left off last night. We were thinking about entering into rest. That’s where we finished.

Hebrews 4:11: Let us be diligent to enter the same rest, lest anyone fall through the same example of disobedience.

Then we turn now to verse 12: For the Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrows, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Now, God’s Word is that which He has spoken, and here it’s spoken of as a sword that penetrates right inside and sees the thoughts and intentions of the heart. I told you that the book of Hebrews deals with a new covenant, showing how the new covenant is established on better promises. It’s a better covenant. We have a mediator, and everything is better than the old covenant.

In the new covenant, the important thing is what we read in the last part of verse 12‘the thoughts and intentions of the heart.’ In the old covenant, the thoughts and intentions of the heart had no value at all. I mean, as far as the law is concerned, you could never find out what were the thoughts and intentions of the heart. How could you punish a person under the law for what he thought or what he intended?

So long as he did everything right on the outside, the law said, okay. But not in the new covenant. The Word of God in the old covenant under the law only tested you on the outside. It’s like a doctor examining you superficially. But in the new covenant, the Word of God penetrates inside, like a scan or an X-ray, and is more interested in what’s inside. And sometimes when everything looks nice on the outside, it may be terribly wrong inside. You know, just like physically, a lot of people who look very healthy have got cancer inside or tuberculosis or something like that.

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So the Word of God is now, in this new covenant age, penetrating to the thoughts and intentions of the heart. So if you hear the Word of God—now I don’t mean just read it—but when you read it, if you hear God speaking to you through it, it will always penetrate to the thoughts and intentions of the heart. If you read God’s Word and you just see whether you’re obeying it externally, you can say pretty clearly God didn’t speak to you at all.

How do you know whether God spoke to you? Whether that which I read and heard was the Word of God? How do you know whether in a meeting what was spoken was an anointed word from God? This is the test. Did it penetrate into the thoughts and intentions of your heart? Notice the emphasis again on the heart. Not on the head, on the heart. You’ve seen that again and again throughout the New Testament.

If the Word of God which you read or which you heard in a meeting did not penetrate to the thoughts and motives of your heart, it wasn’t the Word of God. Well, it was, but it didn’t have any effect on you. It didn’t accomplish what it was meant to, and it was probably not spoken in an anointed way. I always believe that an anointed prophetic word will accomplish what we read in 1 Corinthians 14, that a man comes in, the thoughts of his heart are revealed, and he falls on his face1 Corinthians 14, verse 25—and says, God is here.

And the same thing happens when you read God’s Word. Or even when in ordinary conversations somebody shares a word and it’s a prophetic word from God, it always penetrates to the thoughts and intentions of the heart because it’s like a sword. And if you want to be an anointed servant of God, you’ve got to make sure that the sword is sharp. Don’t try to blunt the edge of the sword like a lot of preachers do. Soften the effect of the Word of God to make it more acceptable. Present it in a nice, polished, diplomatic type of way so that everybody’s happy.

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You know what happens then? The edge of the sword is so blunt, it doesn’t penetrate. Have you ever tried cutting meat with a blunt knife? It just goes on and on and on, nothing is cut. And any preacher who seeks to compromise the sharpness of God’s Word ultimately ends up with nobody getting anything. We have to proclaim it exactly like it is—a two-edged sword.

Two-edged because it first of all cuts me, the preacher, and then cuts the other person. If it hasn’t cut you, forget it. Don’t try to cut other people. A lot of preachers have got only one edge on that sword. They never judge themselves, they only judge other people. The Word of God is a two-edged sword. It penetrates, it’s able to judge what your motive is. And if we live our life exposing ourselves to God’s Word, wherever it is spoken in an anointed way or in His written Word, we will ultimately have a totally clean heart. We will cleanse ourselves so thoroughly because all the time the thoughts and motives of my heart are being exposed.

And I believe that a Christian should live like that every day, like they receive the manna every day. I must receive this Word every day which reveals to me the thoughts and motives of my heart, every day, so that I can be cleansed.

The other thing that the Word of God does is it divides between soul and spirit, it says in verse 12. Now this is a little deeper. It’s more than just a bad motive. Now if I preached with a bad motive, I will know it. But the division of soul and spirit is more subtle. Division of soul and spirit deals with that which is human and that which is divine. They could not do that under the Old Covenant.

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Under the Old Covenant there was no such thing as division between soul and spirit. I told you in the tabernacle there were three parts, and the soul and spirit, what was represented in the tabernacle, the soul and spirit’s representation were the holy place and the most holy place, and there was this thick veil. You couldn’t penetrate into the most holy place, so they could not understand the difference between soul and spirit under the Old Covenant. And if you live today without distinguishing between soul and spirit, you are living again like an Old Covenant Christian. The Word of God will show you what is soulish and what is spiritual.

A lot of so-called good Christian work is soulish. Soulish means they are human ideas, good ideas, but soulish. It’s not evil, it’s not fleshly. There are three types of Christians we can say: Fleshly Christians who live in carnality and are interested in sinful pleasures now and then and money and things like that. Then there are people who have gone beyond that, but who still haven’t become spiritual. They are soulish, they think in a very human way. They are good people, they’ve got plans to serve the Lord, evangelism and all, but it’s all human ideas because they don’t know God’s ways.

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