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A Bible Message by Bayless Conley
Copyright © 2005 Answers with Bayless Conley
I want to talk to you about THE SECRET OF FAITH. Please look in your Bibles at 2 Timothy 2:15, 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. When it speaks there about rightly dividing the word of truth, properly interpreting the Bible, where it says “word,” it is the Greek word “logos.” The logos is the Bible, rightly dividing the word of truth, talking about the Scriptures as a whole. The logos is the entirety of God’s word from the Book of Genesis all the way through to the Book of Revelation. For the most part, the word “logos,” translated “word” here, refers to the general written word of God. Now look in 2 Timothy 4:2, 2 Preach the word! (Preach the logos!) Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. All right, preach the word: Anytime a message is preached from the word, it is the logos. This book is where we are to get our doctrine. When Jesus shared the parable about a guy casting seed on the ground, He said the sower sows the word. The sower sows the logos is the Greek word that Jesus used. Anything preached or shared from this Book is a part of the logos or a revelation of what God has spoken. Now let me just quote to you a few other verses so you will get an idea about it. In Hebrews 4:12, a verse many of us are familiar with, it says, “for the word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, able to divide between spirit and soul.” All right, that’s the word “logos.” The word of God, the logos of God is alive. It is a living thing. In fact, it is God-breathed. In John 1:1, it says, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” and then it says in John 1:14, “and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” “Word” is the Greek word “logos.” The word of God became flesh. Jesus is the logos made flesh. He is the embodiment of the entire word of God. We are commanded in Colossians 3:16 to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom. That is logos. To let the logos dwell in us richly in all wisdom. In James 1:22, the Bible says to be doers of the word and not hearers only, because if you just hear and you do not do, you are self-deceived. Well, it is the word “logos”: to be doers of the word. In other words, be a doer of everything you hear in the Book, of everything that applies to your life. You just can’t pick and choose. Be a doer of the word.
Somebody might say, “Well, I like this part of the word, but I just don’t like that part on tithing. Please get done with that part. I like this part on healing, but I don’t like this part on not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together. I like this part on God meeting my needs, but I don’t like this part on forgiving.” No, no, no! We must be doers of the logos, of all the word of God in its entirety. Now Jesus said in Luke, chapter 6, that the man who hears and does His sayings… the word “sayings” is logos… is like the one who builds his house on the rock. So we are to let the logos, the word of God, dwell in us richly. We are to build our lives upon the precepts of the entire word of God, not just a portion of it. We receive knowledge, the knowledge we have about God and His promises from the logos. In Matthew 24:35, Jesus is speaking, and He said: 35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. Now we know God and His word are one, correct? Well, this logos, according to Jesus, is more real than the heavens above us and the earth beneath our feet. It is more trustworthy than the chair you are sitting on. A lot of you have faith in a natural sense: You sat down in that chair; you did not even test it first. You just believed it would hold you up. Well, the logos is more sure than the earth beneath your feet. It is more sure than the sky above us. Heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s word will not pass away. Yet in spite of that, we see people all the time stand on the word… at least apparently standing on the word, apparently using faith… and failing, not getting the results that they are after. Some people quote healing Scriptures, and they say the right things. They may come up in a prayer line, have hands laid on them, but they do not get healed. We have all seen people apply the principles and yet experience failure, and some have become discouraged and begin to doubt God and doubt the promises of God. Others have even accused God of being unfair and of being partial. I remember years ago there were two women in church. Both of them were barren; they were childless. Neither one was able to conceive. One woman and her husband had tried for seven years, and the other lady and her husband had tried for almost seven years. They were listening to a message, were inspired, and came forward for prayer. The first woman who had been trying for seven years, conceived that night. They came back rejoicing with a glowing testimony, and gave birth to a healthy baby. The other lady heard the same message, was inspired, and came up in the prayer line. She and her husband had been trying all that time, and she did not conceive; and, to my knowledge, to this day, they still have not had a child. So you have this paradox on your hands. In fact, I remember talking to the second woman afterwards, and she felt like God was punishing her and her husband. I tried to convince her that was not the case, but it’s still not an easy answer.
Well, I want to share something tonight that I believe is an answer. It’s not the only answer, but I believe it is an important one. It is the secret of faith. We could go into just about every different realm of existence and cite examples that are very similar to the example I just cited to you about the two ladies. I have received mail from people who have been very discouraged and angry with God, because they “did the faith thing” and did not obtain the results that they felt the word of God had promised them. So they felt that God was either angry with them, or that maybe the word of God did not work. The reason for the lack of results, I believe, is because there is another aspect to the word of God that is essential for miracles, and it is essential for faith to work. Look in Matthew 4:4: 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” We have already found that the logos is the general word of God, the written word of God, the entirety of God’s word; but when Jesus said here, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,” He does not use the word “logos.” He uses another Greek word here. This is the Greek word “rhema.” Man lives by rhema. Rhema, as opposed to logos. Logos is the entire word that God has spoken. Rhema is the word which God is speaking. I will say that again: The logos is the word which God has spoken; rhema is the word which God is speaking. Rhema is when the word of God becomes a word from God to you. You live by words proceeding… notice, it is present tense here… words proceeding from God’s mouth. It is present tense. Dr. Ironsides defines logos as the “said” word of God, and he defines rhema as the “saying” word of God. Rhema is what God is saying to you. I have studied every single reference to rhema in the entire New Testament, and the best definition I could give you would be that rhema is a specific word given to you from God for a specific situation. Looking at it in its entirety, everywhere it is used in the Bible, rhema would be a specific word of God given to you by God for a specific situation. You know, we read in Hebrews, chapter 4, that all of the logos is alive, but rhema is when a particular Scripture or portion of Scripture becomes alive to you. You see the difference? Now all of this word is God breathed. It is all alive. The logos is alive. It is powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword; but rhema is when a particular Scripture comes alive to you for your situation. Rhema is what the word of God is saying to your heart. We do not live by the logos in the sense that Jesus is speaking here, but He said, “Man lives by what God is saying,” by the rhema of God.
Now let me show you some interesting things about rhema. Look in Romans 10:17: 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. “Word” here means “Rhema.” Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the rhema of God. Logos will impart to you a knowledge and understanding of God, but rhema imparts faith. That is why some people do not get results. They memorize Scriptures, they confess them, they act and fall flat on their face because it is not real to them. It is all mental. They have not heard God speaking to their heart, and generally you can recognize them. They do not have any rest; there is not any peace. The Bible says in the Book of Hebrews, “We which have believed do enter into rest.” A sure sign that you have entered into faith and that the word has come alive to your heart is that there is a rest in your soul; and there is a transition point when the logos of God becomes rhema to your heart, and with that transition comes rest. I read a story years ago about three young Korean girls in South Korea. They tried to walk across a swollen river. They were actually at a Christian camp. They stood at the bank of this swollen river, and there were other people present there from the camp. They said, “Peter walked on the water, and Peter’s God is our God. Peter’s Jesus is our Jesus. We can believe like Peter did.” They all stepped out into the river, and all three girls were swept away and disappeared under the current. They found their bodies three days later out in the open sea. It really shook many people in the Korean church. The front page of the paper several days later read this way… it was the headline: “Their God could not save them.” Now it shook many people’s faith because they said, “Well, they acted on the word of God. They quoted the Scripture. I mean, is not Peter’s God our God? Is not Peter’s Jesus our Jesus? They tried to walk on the water, and they died.” Now, see, Peter walked on the water… listen to me… not because of logos, which gives a general knowledge of God. Peter had a specific word. He said, “Lord, if it’s You, bid me come;” and Jesus said, “Come.” It was a specific word directed to a specific individual in a specific situation; and, friend, that’s what causes faith to be born. It was rhema. Rhema brings faith. Peter had a rhema. The girls only had logos, and that does not produce faith for miracles. So many people have done the same thing; and, in a sense, they have climbed out on a limb and sawed it off. They sometimes get mad at the church. Sometimes there are devastating results. They get mad at God. I remember reading about a minister who had a heart attack, and he was in a kind of twilight zone position between his heart operating correctly and him going over the edge. He had gone to get doctor’s care, and he was studying the word of God; and as he was studying God’s word, the Holy Spirit spoke to him from First Peter 2:24. Now it was something that he needed to have… a quadruple bypass surgery or something. He was in a weakened condition, and he was reading where it is speaking about Jesus in 1 Peter 2:24, “Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree that we being dead to sin should live unto righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed.” That scripture suddenly came alive to him as he was reading it, “by whose stripes you were healed;” and the thought came: If you were, then you are; and if you are, get up and run. He got up and began to run, and his heart was
immediately healed. He went back to the doctor. They could not find any trace of the damage that had been done because of the heart attack. His arteries were all open. Everything was running perfectly. Well, he shared that story in a meeting, and there was a man who was in the meeting who had recently had a heart attack and was in a similar condition. He heard that, went home and ran, and he dropped over dead. One man had a word from God; the other guy was just sort of inspired. Friend, there is a difference. Even with salvation, people are not saved just by hearing the logos, but by hearing rhema, by God speaking to their hearts. Now this entire tenth chapter of Romans deals with salvation. Please go to Romans 10:8: 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. It says the word is nigh you, but the word has to be believed, and it has to be confessed. What word is it that is near you in your mouth and in your heart? It is the word “rhema.” The rhema is near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that is the rhema of faith which we preach. That is why two people can hear the same message and only one responds. They will come forward, and they will pray a prayer; and because God is speaking to their hearts making it real to them, they respond, and they are genuinely saved. The other person may not be ready; they may have closed their mind to it. They heard the logos, but it was not something that was real to them. Friend, our attitude has a lot to do with that. When I got saved, God was speaking to me. I didn’t fully recognize it at the time, but I sat on the front row of that little mission, and I cried like a baby. Every person who got up and testified were answering all of the questions that I had been asking God; and, I mean, it was as if God had sat in the chair next to me and said, “Now listen up.” It was just exploding in my heart! God was speaking to me. I got radically saved that night and delivered from drugs. God turned my life around, but you know what? That room was filled with other unsaved people. Yet, to my knowledge, not one other person responded to the message that night. It was full of other alcoholics just like me, full of other drug addicts just like me, full of other people who were living a wild and wooly lifestyle just like me; and, as far as I know, I was the only one who responded to the invitation that night to accept Christ. Yet others heard the same word that I heard. We read earlier where Paul told Timothy, “Preach the logos. Be ready instant in season and out of season.” And in a sense the logos was always preached. But in Romans 10:8, in the second part, he says, “the word of faith (rhema) which we preach.” I do my very best to wait on God to try to get a specific word for a specific time before I stand up and preach. I pray, and I seek God. Now I got into a pride deal some years back. I would stand up and say, “I don’t just have a word for you today. I have the word today.” I used to say that all the time, and God really got on my case. He said, “You are
so full of pride!” So the next week I preached an old message, and I got better results. I think it’s important that I always pray, and I try to seek God and ask, “God, what is it that the people need to hear?” I honestly think that is why people will say, “I can’t believe it! It was like God was speaking to me tonight! I was getting answers tonight… the very stuff we talked about on the way to church.” Or, “…the very question I had the night before. It was like I got an answer.” Well, that is God speaking to you. I think everybody hears that. Do you all underline in your Bible? You know why you underline? That is rhema! You would not be underlining it unless it is speaking to you. That is God talking to your heart. Those things suddenly come alive to you. It was just the word of God, and it’s great, but it has suddenly become a word to you. Now when you come to church, you should be attentive and listening for God; and I believe you will get direction and solutions for your problems. When you read the Bible, you need to have that attitude of attentiveness and seeking after God. I honestly think that is why, when I sat in that little mission, it had to do with the posture of my heart. People that are seeking God will hear from Him. The Bible says that God said, “If you seek Me with all of your heart, I will be found by you, and I will turn your captivity.” I even think it’s good sometimes when people just come up and kneel at the altar and wait on God. I think many of them hear God speaking to their heart. The Holy Spirit is quickening the logos into rhema. There is something else found in Ephesians 6:11 that is very important when it comes to understanding the difference between logos and rhema. Ephesians 6:11, 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. It goes on to talk about the different pieces of spiritual armor. Verse 17: 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; Guess what word that is? It is rhema. To stand against the wiles of the devil, take the sword of the Spirit, which is the rhema of God. Not the whole Bible, but a specific Scripture given to you by the Holy Spirit to deal with a specific situation. It is a promise that God has given you, something that has come alive to your heart. When Jesus was out in the wilderness, He battled with the devil. He was fasting, and Satan came and tempted Him, saying, “Oh, if You are the Son of God, why don’t you command these stones to be made bread?” Jesus said, “It is written, ‘…man does not live by bread alone, but by every word proceeding out of the mouth of God.’” That was a rhema. That was something the Spirit of God gave Him at that moment. Jesus took the sword of the Spirit and stuck it between the devil’s third and fourth ribs, and gave it a twist.
The devil then showed Him all the kingdoms of the world from the pinnacle of the temple, and said, “Cast Yourself down.” Then he showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and said, “Hey, bow down and worship me, I will give them all to you.” These were two more temptations from the devil, and Jesus, both times, immediately came back with another scripture, “Thou shall not tempt the Lord your God.” He came back with another Scripture. The sword of the Spirit stuck the devil, and it’s interesting. The Bible says, “Satan left Him.” I wonder why. It’s not fun getting stuck with a sword. Jesus was literally doing spiritual warfare with the sword of the Spirit, a word from the Holy Spirit given to Him for a specific situation. The Bible says in First Peter 5:8-9 that we are to resist the devil steadfast in the faith. It says, “Your adversary the devil walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith.” How does faith come? By hearing, and hearing by the word of God, by rhema, a specific word from God. That is how you resist the devil. If the word is not real and alive to you in a specific way concerning your authority, the devil is not going to go anywhere. Somebody might say, “All right, Pastor, I understand what you are saying, but I feel like I am in a dilemma. How do I get a rhema?” I’m glad you asked! If you want to hear the rhema of God, fill yourself with the logos. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the logos of Christ dwell in you richly.” Fill yourself with the logos. Put the logos in, and the rhema will come out when you need it. I like what one old preacher said, “Put the word of God in your heart when you do not need it, and the word of God will come out of your heart when you do need it.” Spend time waiting on God. Give Him the opportunity to speak to you. Don’t just put a bunch of Scriptures together and start blabbing. I mean, it’s always good to quote the Bible. I understand that. It is good to memorize Scripture, but if we would take time to wait on God, and take time to ponder the Scriptures, then logos will turn into rhema. I really think meditation has a big part to do with that. Meditation of the logos is what turns logos into rhema. We start with information. Then we have meditation where we go over and over it. We wait on God. We read over the Scriptures. God begins to speak to our heart. It goes from information to meditation; and then during meditation, the logos suddenly becomes rhema, and it goes from meditation to illumination. Suddenly the logos is illuminated. It is real to us. Then from illumination, it goes to action. Then we act upon it, and from action it turns to manifestation. We have the answer that we desire. A lot of people want to circumvent the process. They say, “Can’t you just lay hands on me? Do I have to spend all that time with God?” Well, yeah. A lot of people want to take the shortcut and let the Bible gather dust. Friend, we are called to rightly divide the word (logos) and to spend time immersing ourselves in the Book. I am telling you, fill yourself with the logos, and you will get your rhema from God.
I will show you an example. Look in Luke 2:25. This is after the birth of Christ. His parents have brought Him into Jerusalem to the temple to be circumcised. Luke 2:25, 25 ¶ And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. Now the Consolation of Israel refers to the Messiah, Jesus. Now that word “devout,” is an interesting word. The Amplified Bible brings out the full flavor of this verse. It says, “This man was righteous and devout, cautiously and carefully observing the divine law and waiting for the Consolation of Israel,” that is, the Messiah. Simeon is carefully, cautiously observing the divine law. He is filling himself with the logos, reading and praying over the prophetic Scriptures concerning the Messiah. That is where it starts. Let’s read on, 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. No doubt that happened to him as he was pondering over the Scriptures concerning the coming Messiah, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, carefully and cautiously observing the divine law. And the Holy Spirit revealed something to him. Luke 2:27, 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: 29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation” From this point, Simeon begins to quote some Scriptures that he has been meditating on; but I want you to take note. In verse 29, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word,” (rhema). It was a revelation by the Holy Spirit to Simeon. So just get the picture: He is waiting on God; He is feeding on the logos, and God spoke to him and gave him a rhema. Now this was concerning the coming of Messiah, but you know what? The principle holds true in every area. It is the same thing when it comes to healing. The same thing is true when it comes to having your material needs met. The same thing is true when it comes to having peace for your mind, getting answers to prayer, direction for your life. You carefully and cautiously ponder over the divine word. Now you may not be pondering on Scriptures concerning the second coming of Christ, but it may be about your marriage, or it may be about your children, or it may be about your finances, or it may be about your physical body. As you are going over those things and praying, the Spirit of the Lord many times will speak to you. He will give you a rhema, and when that happens, faith comes. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Then miracles follow.
Look in Luke 1:37. This is about Mary. The angel appears to a young virgin named Mary, and this is the angel speaking. Luke 1:37, 37 “For with God nothing will be impossible.” Now he has just told her she is going to conceive a child. She does not understand how. Luke 1:38, 38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. In verse 37 when the angel said, “For with God, nothing will be impossible,” the word “nothing”… translated “nothing” in our English Bible… is rhema. Literally, no declaration from God will be void of power: “Mary, this is God speaking to you now.” For with the rhema of God, nothing is impossible. Then Mary responds, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your rhema.” And the angel departed from her. History tells what happened next. She conceived and gave birth to the Son of God. Once a living word comes to you from the mouth of God, a rhema, receive it just like Mary did: “Let it be to me according to Your word.” The supernatural will follow. Results will come. Now that does not mean all of your battles are over once God has spoken a word to you. Sometimes the battle gets hotter after God has spoken a word to you. It just guarantees that there will be a fulfillment of what He has promised. This whole church property journey that we have been through, mercy me, no one thought we would be able to work out the deal for the 18 acres. I had to make a decision to sign the papers the next day that Cottonwood Christian Center would be responsible to pay over fourteen million dollars for it; and, I was tossing and turning and said, “God, that’s a lot of money!” Well, you know what? I woke up in the morning, and God’s presence was tangibly resting on me. I felt like God said to me, “Do it.” Now we have been through a few battles. How many would say that the battle did not cease once we made that decision to go for the property? I don’t mean that the decision to buy the property was just based on God’s word to me. I mean, we did our homework. We talked to the experts. We did everything in the natural, as well. We sought wise counsel. We talked to our board of directors. We talked to other people. So it was covered in all of those natural areas, as well; but the deciding factor was that I had to make the decision. You know, we have been through so many battles that we could write a book about it. In fact, I have been encouraged by people all around the world, “You need to write a book about what your church has faced.” We may do it once we are all done. But you know what? I stand here tonight and tell you there will be a fulfillment of what God has promised.
I love it. Look what Jesus says in John 8:31: 31 ¶ Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Abiding in His word is abiding in the logos. if you will do that and become a disciplined follower, Jesus said, “If you will abide in My word, you will know the truth, and the truth makes you free.” It is when you know it, that freedom comes. That is where you turn the corner. That is where logos becomes rhema. It is not just knowing it in your brain, but it is also knowing it in your heart. Do you ever go to buy a newspaper? I remember when they used to be a dime. Some of them you can still get for a quarter. How many have ever been on a Sunday and forgot that it now costs five quarters to get a Sunday paper? You put your two quarters in and you cannot lift the cover to get the paper! You gave the L. A. Times 50 cents for nothing. But let’s say you put the right amount in, and you still can’t get that thing to open because the quarter doesn’t drop. You know that specific sound it makes when the quarter drops? Confession time: Is there anyone in the house besides me that has hit the top of one of those newspaper dispensers? Oh yeah! Well, it is not going to open unless the quarter drops. Friend, when you abide in His word, the quarter drops, and then you suddenly know it. You knew it in your brain, but suddenly you know it in your heart. That is when freedom comes. That is when miracles follow. That is where faith is born. Abide in the logos… Jesus is the logos made flesh… and it will cause a rhema to abide in you. It’s like the story of the Pool of Bethesda. The Pool of Bethesda was there, and there were sick people laying all around it. One guy had been there for 38 years. We have this wonderful story of how Jesus brought healing to them, but the Scripture says that once in a while an angel would come down and stir the waters in the pool. It came to pass that the first one who went into the pool after the waters had been troubled or stirred up was healed from whatever disease they had. Now the water was always there, but it was only when the angel stirred it up that it brought healing. God’s promises are always there, and God will begin to make them stir within your heart as you dwell upon them. When that happens, jump in, and do not look back. That is when faith comes, and that is when miracles happen. The promises are there all the time. They are for anyone. We are all on equal ground. We are all on equal footing. Yet, like Simeon of old, if we will spend time pondering the word, carefully and cautiously observing it, and if we will spend time abiding in the logos like Jesus said to do, then faith will come. See, faith comes by hearing, not having heard, but hearing, present tense. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. It comes by hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing.
There may be someone who is crying out and saying, “God, I don’t know what to do! What do I do next?” As you acknowledge God in all of your ways, He will direct your path. You do not have to fear the future or be entangled because of the past. God will guide you. Search for God, and you will find Him. He has mapped out and laid out a direction for you to travel, and along the way, He has made provision for you. So do not fear, for He will not only guide you, He will walk with you. Won’t you bow your heads just for a minute and thank the Lord for the precious Holy Spirit Who does take the word and makes it a specific word to our hearts.
Copyright © 2005 Answers with Bayless Conley