You Had to Be There

The authority and power of God’s Word is such that sometimes hearing it second-hand—either a recording, or someone quoting part of a sermon—does not have the same effect as hearing it personally.  What I am sharing from this past Lord’s Day may not mean anything to you, but I am writing about it as a witness of this authority and power in my own hearing.

Pastor Truelove did not use his microphone because he thought the batteries were dead. (Someone else had turned it off.) As we are ending the study of the Gospel of Mark, he was bringing us to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It was not a sermon preached with great oratory, but in spirit and truth.  His desire is always to convey the Word of God and not his own opinions and personality; and so he relies heavily on the authority of the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit to deliver it.  It needs nothing added from man.

 What we hear depends on the preparation of the heart.  When I am in the presence of a man that God has appointed and anointed as a messenger of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ I fear that I might miss something that He has for me, so I prepare with prayer and reading during the week for this special time on the Lord’s Day.

Just a few weeks ago our pastor took us to the Garden of Gethsemane to the scene of Jesus’ arrest.  There were no special effects that were used for that sermon either, but I think I will never forget the words of Christ (simply spoken by our pastor) as He responded to those who were looking for Him. Just as His words “I AM HE,” when spoken to the soldiers knocked them backward, so I heard them as if He had spoken them directly to me.  There was a similar effect of fear, but not in the same sense as theirs.  His words were affirmation for my heart, strong words for my own soul, confirming Who was being arrested, how He was arrested, and the purpose to accomplish His ministry and   fulfill prophecy of the scriptures. He and His disciples were always, “going up to Jerusalem” for this event.  He was ready now to “finish” the work He had come to do.

In the sermon on Christ’s resurrection this past Lord’s Day the same thing happened.  When the two Mary’s came looking for Jesus, it was not our Lord who spoke, but His messenger.  The man in white said, “HE IS RISEN,” and again my heart leaped after Him—not the angel, but Jesus, my Lord.  Here was another confirmation of the truth of God’s Word working awe, wonder, and faith in this old heart of mine.

With this authority and power I can stand, sit, and walk daily in the knowledge and reality of Who He Is.  There is a testimony of God, through His written Word, in me and through me.  His Spirit fills this temple, using His Word to cleanse, purify, separate, and sanctify me for Himself, and to proclaim Who He Is.

You have to be there.  The message is for those who come to Him, hungering and thirsting for Him, seeking His kingdom and His righteousness.  Hearing a recording or watching on television is not the same as gathering as one people  “all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee (the messenger) of God.”   Acts 10:33

“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace,
and bring glad tidings of good things?”
Romans 10:14

Gracious Father, today, speak to us through your Word.  We pray for the authority of your Word to be commanded in us by the power of your Holy Spirit. Prepare our hearts to come together with your people to hear, believe, and live in the light of your truth.  In Jesus name we pray, praise you and thank you.  Amen.       

GOD’S GLORY ~ Not Ours

If God had created us for our own glory wouldn’t He have made life easier?  Why does starting, and getting through, a normal day require so much?  And why are we not satisfied and content with all that we do?  Is it not because God, our Creator, planned more for His creation than we are able to understand or to live up to, on our own.

He proved this, by leaving our first parents to themselves.  A day without the constant companionship of the Father left them open to their own imaginations and the temptations of this world, and they failed to live up to the standard by, and for which, they were created.

GOD is His own standard of excellence, a standard that no one can reach.  He must, through His own plan of redemption, bring us into this relationship of Father and child; and in His own timing and means of grace conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Without this we will continue to work for our own success and glory, hoping and trying to “be like God,” and failing miserably.

Only as He does a continual work in our hearts and lives by the authority of His Word and the supernatural power of His Holy Spirit, daily leading, teaching, and bringing us up in “the nurture and admonition of the Lord  Jesus Christ” can we ever know the true purpose for our creation and redemption—His glory and our joy.

“God is faithful, by whom you  were called  into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.”                     1 Corinthians 1:9

Now to him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, world without end. Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20, 21