Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Who Is Listening?

The topic on my mind this morning is 'Who is listening?'

The Bible gives an interesting answer.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." - Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

The chapter directly before this one is the 'heroes' chapter. The chapter begins with people that are talked about in length in the scriptures but end with a group of unknown size that also walked by faith comprising a cloud of witnesses who are looking forward beyond the length of their life. They are talked about here.

"And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets-- who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated-- of whom the world was not worthy--wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect." - Hebrews 11:32-40 ESV

That is just the cloud from the old testament. What about the new Testament saints? Then there are those that have gone into eternity before us and those who live around us and witness what God has done for us in this life.

It could make us uncomfortable knowing that this many eyes are on us but it shouldn't. The vast majority of them are invisible to us and I think they have a limited vision as well.

"...that apart from us they should not be made perfect." - Hebrews 11:40b ESV

What an interesting passage. It speaks to me of grace. Grace perfects after all. God saves by grace and finished what He started by grace.

I am a big fan of taping messages. Some might say, 'Why, No one is listening?' but the passages above say otherwise. God will bring people to the grace message. As we seek God brings them and then someone will find that tape or obscure YouTube video and it might be the difference between life and death for them. It might be the thing that matures them to the point of release from a long-standing bondage.

The majority of the cloud of witnesses around us are invisible and they could care less about our failures or our secret sins. (Ha. There are none by the way. Nothing we do is in secret. I'm sure Eve felt all alone when she took that fruit and hers is one of the most publicized acts in Human history.) Secret or not those invisible people don't care about that. They are just like us in that way. They failed and God saved them. They had a go at this life and now they are made complete by the continuous unfolding of the finished work of the cross in our lives.

I have no problem raising my voice and shouting to a crowd that has mixed interest because I know that my redemptive whispers are already shouted to a much larger invisible crowd.

Don't get me wrong. We are little people with a big God. When we speak grace words God puts a microphone in front of our faces so that all eternity can hear it. The much-publicized speeches of pompous blowhards will be forgotten but the quiet conversation of two broken people that magnify God will never be forgotten.

So I want to amplify the message. I want to spread it far and wide in as many mediums as I can. It isn't because I am important but what I am saying is very important. I speak because I am confident that nothing can separate me from the love of God and by God's grace nothing will shut my mouth.

Who is listening? It's hard to say. I think we will be shocked at how many were listening.


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