Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Word Of God Works Wonders

Can we handle the idea that a perfect God uses imperfect men to communicate His message?

"For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers." - 1 Thessalonians 2:11-13 ESV

This is a great passage for any communicator of the Gospel and I have been thinking about it as I've looked at Abraham, Moses, Ezekiel and Jonah. They are all such different men but God used them.

"Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in [both of] which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts," - 2 Peter 3:1-3 NKJV

The 1 Thessalonians 2 passage continues like this...

"For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved" - 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16a ESV

Paul and Peter were amazed that God would use them in a similar way to the men who had gone before them in the Hebrew scriptures. They saw patterns forming as they continued in ministry. Suffering was cross-cultural. Opposition to the Gospel was also.

They saw people that hindered the communication of grace as people who displeased God and hindered all mankind.

Grace Communication. How different it is? Flawed men who teach grace also reflect grace. But there are many who teach something else.

"You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' " - Matthew 15:7-9 ESV

Men with ideas and people with theories and philosophies apart from the cross of Christ abound but something is missing from their words. They point to a way to live but they don't have words that give life.

The Apostles saw the Gospel do a work in individuals and groups. Patterns formed in front of their eyes. We can see them also if we are patient. God will do what He has always done.

""For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." - Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV

I never want to be a critic of the Church of God. It is with fear and trembling that I speak words of grace. The Church is God's responsibility and there is much more happening then I can see with my eyes. I might find out later that I opposed God by making His Church a target of my petty criticism. I have been charged with a message of good news. I am not speaking to backslidden Israel like some men of God did before the cross. My message is one that seeks to save that which is lost and it is effective to do it.

"Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand." - Romans 14:4 ESV

Yes. But I want to have a clear message. I need to have an unhindered connection to God. If I have found a place that promotes that connection then I want to nurture it and be a part of it. Many groups that call themselves christian don't have the message that will give life.

We need grace words. We need them to grow. We need them to branch out. We need them to process the hard parts of life. We need people of all kinds and varieties to speak them.

Accusation wants to shut your mouth. Don't let it. Just be clear about what needs to be said and who needs to be lifted up. Then speak because this generation needs people who have something to say that transcends the doctrines of men. This generation, like ever generation, needs grace words and mercy people.


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