By David Sanzo
God confirms the words of His servants. The gospel of Mark says that the Lord worked with the apostles, “confirming the word with signs following” (Mark 16:20). The book of Acts tells us that He gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power, or with great demonstration of His ability (Acts 4:33). The book of Hebrews supports this truth, saying that He bore them witness “both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will” (Hebrews 2:4).
When we come to an interior place where we find ourselves reigning in the spirit, our words take on a guarantee. Our words become much more powerful: they become more sure, for they become confirmed by Almighty God. God bears them witness, even by working wonders. God’s power especially flows when we speak with the faith of God. God has told us that He is the Lord that:
- ••confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers (Isaiah 44:26).
God will back up the words of the obedient communicators of His divine message. He will cause their words to take place. He will even reinforce their words when it comes to judgment.
After Elijah was taken up in a chariot of fire, Elisha went to Bethel. On his way, some children began to make fun of the power of God, telling Elisha to “go up, thou bald head” (II Kings 2:23). They made a mockery of Elijah, his mentor, being taken up. Elisha cursed them in the name of the Lord and two female bears came out of the woods and tore up 42 of them. Surely it is a dangerous thing to speak against the man of God, especially one by whom the power of God is manifested.
In Acts 5, we read an account of a husband and wife named Ananias and Sapphira. They wanted to join everyone else in giving to the church. At the time, there were many that sold their houses, real estate, and other valuable possessions and gave the proceeds to the church to further the gospel. (It would be wonderful to see people doing that today.)
This couple sold a piece of property, but decided that they wanted to keep back part of the profits for themselves. I do not think there was anything necessarily wrong with that. The problem was that they conspired to lie to the church, making everybody believe that they had given all of the money to the work of God.
They wanted to appear spiritual and dedicated to the same degree that everyone else was. That was not a bad desire necessarily. Desiring to be spiritual and dedicated is honorable. The issue was that they were going to lie to portray this image. They were lacking the substance. In other words, they were being hypocritical.
When Ananias came to lay the money at the apostles’ feet, the Holy Ghost gave Peter a word of knowledge about the situation. Peter also discerned the spirit at work in this situation and he spoke up. Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God (Acts 5:3-4).
When Ananias heard this, he immediately fell to the ground, and died right on the spot. Some young men then arose, took him out, and buried him.
Three hours later, his wife came in not knowing what was done. Peter asked her if they had sold the land for the amount of money given. She affirmed that it truly was the case. Then Peter told her,
How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out (Acts 5:9).
Then she also dropped dead instantly. No one took a sword to I lull hod ics. No one fed them any poison. They were not in poor health beforehand, that this shock would give them a heart attack. Rather, Peter was speaking with the power of the Word of God, and what he said was bound to happen.
This was not the only case in the New Testament church when a judgment was placed on someone who fought against the kingdom of God. In Acts 13:4-12 we read the story of the apostles Barnabas and Paul trying to deliver the Word of God to a high ranking official, named Sergius Paulus. However, a sorcerer named Elymas “withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.” But Paul, full of the Holy Ghost, said to him,
0 full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season (Acts 13:10-11 a).
Immediately, Elymas became blind and left, trying to find someone who would lead him by the hand. The result of this wonder being performed was that the deputy believed and was converted. God will do whatever it takes to save us, teaching us by his Word to believe, act, and speak as we ought, so that we might show His power to those who have not yet experienced it.
Paul, being full of the Holy Ghost, needed only to speak the word and the judgment was carried out. These three scriptural instances show that there are two sides to the coin. Now the day will come, and even now approaches, when God will supernaturally defend His Church. When that time comes, people will be careful how they treat the man of God.
“It Is Enough!”
An older friend of mine told me of a time when he was a younger minister, preaching for a particular black bishop in Ohio, a pastor who was a powerful man of God. My friend told me that, at the time, this particular bishop seems to have had a number of problems with a certain woman, who had an evil spirit. She was not possessed, but her own spirit was so wicked and warped that she continually caused problems, interrupting services and calling attention to herself at almost every turn.
She came to a service one weekend while my friend was ministering at that church. During the Sunday night service, she began to stand up in the aisle and to scream and “do her thing.” At that point, the tall elderly bishop stood up from his seat on the platform, stretched out his hand toward her, and simply said, “It is enough.”
Immediately, she dropped to the floor, dead. The judgment of God had hit her as sure as it did Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5). The result of the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira was that “great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things” (Acts 5:11).
It is safe to say that the congregation had a tremendous respect for the old man of God, after the woman dropped dead in the church aisle. Most likely, anyone present would think twice before acting in rebellion, or speaking against the man of God.
There have been numerous like instances connected with the great Azusa Street revival, which took place at the beginning of the twentieth century. The same is true for various other places where there have been great movements of God’s Spirit, such as the great revival currently happening in Ethiopia.’
“Look at Me!”
In the case of the death of Ananias and Sapphira, the Scripture states that,
Of the rest [of the people] durst [dared] no man join himself to them [the apostles]: but the people magnified them [esteemed them highly] (Acts 5:13).
They were understandably none too willing to claim such an impressive title as “apostleship.” They dared not join themselves to apostolic service if they were not truly called to it. The power the Lord entrusted to the apostles was so great that it was fearful (Acts 5:11).
There are quite a few today that are only too happy to tag them-selves with an honorable title, such as apostle or prophet, when they do not really have that calling, nor display its power. We are overloaded with people who are called to the glory of the pulpit, or the prestige of the platform. It has been said, “Some have been sent; others just went.”
We do not need people who desire only to learn “which buttons to push” to win the approval of the crowd. We need men and women who are called to preach the gospel and to spread the kingdom of God.
Too many have been allured with their eyes to the grandeur of the office they desire, without having “prayed the price.” They want the recognition of the title without the repentant state of the heart. They desire the fame without the humility. They crave the celebrity status that man can give, without walking the road of self-sacrifice. Their heart longs to be men and women of renown more than it desires to be men and women of God.
To be a man or woman of God requires time spent alone with God. The man of God must get to know His voice, His will, His Spirit, His Word, and His ways. To achieve “household name” recognition requires only marketing and advertisement. In other words, they must be involved in self-promotion. But God warns us not to touch “the glory,” for that is His. Observe what happened to King Herod:
So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died (Acts 12:21-23, NKJV).
Just as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira, the result in Herod’s death was that God was glorified, “But the word of God grew and multiplied” (Acts 12:24). The Lord will be glorified, in spite of our shortcomings. The question is whether whether we shall share in His spiritual glory:
Because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which he called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Thessalonians 2:13 b, 14, NKJV).
If we die (to self) with Him, we shall also rise with Him (Romans 6:11). But we must realize that God’s work is not to be taken lightly, for it has consequences attached to it, even in this life. Jesus Himself asks us, as He asked the apostles James and John, when their mother wanted the Lord to sit them at His right and left hand in His kingdom:
Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism I am to be baptized with? (Matthew 20:22, NKJV)
If we are willing to humble ourselves, and “pay the price” for being close to Jesus, we shall share in His glory, though probably not in the way that we would expect with our carnal minds (Matthew 20:23). Jesus glorified the Father by His life and his death (John 12:28, 13:31¬32). As the head has done, so must His body. “Sunday” (His rising) only comes by way of dying. Even if we are not chosen to glorify the Lord with a martyr’s death, we ought to do so by learning to die to self-daily, that our new life in Christ might shine more clearly (Galatians 2:20).
Words that Do Not Fall
But if we will not submit, patterning our thought after His Word, we shall be “overthrown,” and the power of our words will be brought to naught. We are told in Proverbs 22:12 that the Lord “over throweth the words of the transgressor.” In other words, God takes steps to render ineffective the words spoken by transgressors; He works to make their words useless, powerless:
Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he who formed thee from the womb: I am the LORD who maketh all things; who stretcheth forth the heavens alone; who spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; Who frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; Who turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish (Isaiah 44:24-25, emphasis added).
God works actively to undermine the words of liars. Here is another reason to be obedient to the Word of God, to be a doer of the Word: God will not let the words of His own come to nothing.
For the position of the transgressor is quite different from the position of the prophet, and in particular, Samuel. Of Samuel, it was said that the Lord “did let none of his words fall to the ground” (I Samuel 3:19). Samuel had his words confirmed by God Himself.
When Samuel spoke a word, it was bound to happen. It was bound to make an impact. None of his words fell to the ground. None of his words were rendered ineffectual. All of his words were confirmed, established.
Both Peter and Paul also had the Lord’s confidence. They were astute enough to know that, if they pronounced death or blindness on an individual, it would happen. Their words would be substantiated, just as “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
So we can speak a word, knowing that it will be confirmed by God. Remember, though, that the great power God has invested in the
Church is not present so we can use it selfishly, being motivated by a spirit of revenge (remember James and John in Luke 9:51-56), or some other spirit. Power is there so that we can move effectively in accordance with the will of God.
Words Have Meaning
God counts a man’s word to be of high value. Certainly, He would like to count on it. He told the people of Israel, in no uncertain terms, that they were to perform whatever they verbally committed themselves to God to do.
If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth
In order to develop the faith of God, or to receive into our lives the operating power of the faith of God, you and I must first remove any hindrances, or points of resistance. We must comprehend how it is that words really do mean things—in the spirit realm. We must understand that we must quit saying things that are a hindrance to the operation of faith.
You have probably run into people who are always sick. They are always talking about sicknesses and diseases. They always are speaking of some type of syndrome or affliction.
They especially enjoy talking about the many infirmities they have. They can inform you of the latest diseases “hitting the market.” They can list everyone who has died from your condition.
It is interesting that the modern medical profession has concluded that some people’s sicknesses are all in their minds. They think they are ill from a particular sickness, so they confess it with their mouths. With time, they truly develop their sickness in their body. Psychosomatic illnesses are just that, brought on the body through the mind. People have claimed their conditions, and it came to pass just as they proclaimed. Oh, there is power in the words we speak.
Others always seem to be healthy. They pronounce words that produce health. They speak about health, life, and strength. They talk about “getting in shape.” They articulate their goals in life. The words they utter have to do with progress and advancement. Thus, they get what they claim. Solomon knew what he was talking about, when he said in Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
Psalm 103:5 tells us that one of our benefits in the Lord is that He “satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagles.” God causes our youth to be renewed like the eagles. One of the easiest, and most direct, ways He does this is through our mouth.
Is the Word “Ho-hum” to You?
Today, people often hear the Word of God preached, but it does not excite them. To them it is dead, dull, and dry. They view it as boring and meaningless because they have come to discount words, as if they had no value or power in themselves. So, in their thinking, neither does the Word of God have any value or power. They seem to believe that the only significance to the Word of God today is to teach a moral code, or to explain an after-death salvation. To some, it may produce the added benefit of offering some comfort in rough times, to provide an occasional inspiration, or even to lay the groundwork for theological or philosophical discussions.
But the Word of God is not limited to just these things. His Word works powerfully to accomplish His will. It is quick (life-giving) and powerful (Hebrews 4:12). It is our sword of the spirit; and as a spiritual weapon that we use, it is mighty (effectual) through God, to the pulling down of strongholds.
His Word is given to work the work of God, the work of the super-natural. It is spoken to change lives and to see things happen as a result. It was not designed to return void.
Proverbs 13:13 says, “Whoso despised [does not count it of great value] the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.” When you can internalize (take inward) that the Word has the power of the Almighty behind it, you will become excited about it being spoken. When you comprehend its connection to the moving of the Spirit of God, and that He the Spirit—loves you and wants the best for you, you will be filled with anticipation of what I le will say.
Furthermore, when you realize that He has given you promises for you to take to heart, promises that you can stand on, and that you can apply to your life, you will not sit there passively. It will make you excited about what the Word of God has to say. You begin to see how it will really work in your life.
Yes, there is reason to get excited when the preacher preaches the Word. When he preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ to us and tells us the promises of God, he is speaking words that are guaranteed to perform.
‘Nona Freeman, Unseen Hands and Then Came the Glory (Minden, LA: Faith Printing Company, 1988 and 1994).
The above article “Words Guaranteed To Perform” is written by David P. Sanzo. This article was excerpted from chapter eleven in Sanzo’s book The Key to the Kingdom.
The material is copyrighted and should not be repainted under any other name or author. However, this material may freely be used for personal study or purposes.