Wednesday, March 22, 2006

When God speaks

One of the struggles of ministry is that people very easily try to put God's word aside. We remember what we know and forget where we learnt it. We become familiar with the truth and think we know how things work. And so God's word gets put back on the shelf. And I begin to rule.

It matters because God's word is the way God rules in my life. Without the word Jesus is not being Lord in any practical sense. Of course, just because I have the Bible open every day for my work doesn't mean I will pay attention to it. I'm quite capable of reading it and then forgetting it. My sinful nature looks to tempt me. And I'm easily convinced by it.

Paul teaches Timothy about the importance of guarding God's word, and thus God's gospel. It must be remembered, reflected on and taught constantly.
2 Timothy 2v14-19 God is sovereign and requires changed lives, so you rememember to teach the gospel of grace
People catch themselves in pointless disputes and gossip. Such things drown God's word in sin and irrelevance. They corrupt God's people and they corrupt the Bible teacher sinking their work in shame.
Instead the call is to unashamed work - work done in the presence of God, knowing that lives must be changed by the gospel. God requires it of his people. But change doesn't come from coolness or clever ideas, from relevance or remarks... change comes from God's word. It must be taught faithfully. God is sovereign, let him rule in our lives by his word.

2 Timothy 2v20-26 God is sovereign and acts to change lives, so you remember the power of the gospel of grace
Further the work of changing people is God's work. He changes lives. We must be ready for service, ready to be used by him. We must flee from sin and temptation. We must be fit for his work. And then we labour with patience and kindness and gentleness... trusting that God will work to change people. Only God can grant sinners repentance. Let it start with me, and let me teach trusting in his power to change lives.
I'm reminded afresh that I must be immersed in God's word, and I must look to God to change my life, and those I minister to. I've been reading James, a much neglected book, faith extends from thinking into life, from private into public life.... though in my line of work public faith so often seems easier than private faith. It remains: What the Bible says, God says..., I must listen, Lord help me listen.
"you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God" 1 Peter 1v23
God's word brought me to life... it will sustain me. It will stand forever!
"This is my daily bread,
your very words spoken to me"

-- Marie Barnett

1 comment:

  1. The Bible is as welcome in most churches as Johnny Marr at a Morrissey concert.