As I prepare to guide us down another path in God’s inexhaustible word, I’d like to pause and reflect on the series we’ve just completed.
Over the last couple of months we have been pursuing messages Paul shared with Timothy and by extension, the first century churches in Asia and ultimately you and I today (in case you have missed any, they are available at www.simplechristianity.com/sermons). The point of the series has been threefold: we serve an awesome God, He equips us with all things pertaining to life despite our shortcomings and that as children adopted into his divine family, there is work for us to do.
• We serve an awesome God!-Being relatively simple fleshly creatures with limited capacity to understand all things spiritual, Yahweh can be a difficult Deity around whom to wrap our minds. Questions abound such as who created Him? Where did He come from? How and why does He do what He does and refrain from doing other things? Admittedly, some of these questions cannot be answered and some answers that are available are difficult for some to accept. In Springfield, Illinois, right of I-55 there is a massive power plant. It is easily identified by three huge smoke stacks that billow steam into the air. I couldn’t begin to tell you what goes on behind those secured doors, but I know the plant is there, I know why it’s there and I know that when I flick on a local switch, the lights come on. Naturally there is no comparison between God and a power plant, but I submit to you that whether you understand many things about Him or not, you can see evidence of His presence and His activity in YOUR LIFE all around you, Romans 1:19-20. The questions with no apparent answers fall within the realm of faith. We believe that all things will be revealed in His good time according to his promises. Surely He is an awesome God.
• He equips us!-Romans 5:8 shares most assuredly with us that, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That takes care of the point earlier made that despite our shortcomings; he is still awesome to us. You may recall during our study that in 1 Tim 4:13-15, Paul was reminding Timothy that he had been equipped for the task of, among other things, sharing the gospel and serving the church at Ephesus as its minister and, some say, elder. In his case, he had been prepared by a God who created him, a Mother and Grandmother that taught him, apostles that prophesied about him and laid hands on him that he might receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. You and I have likewise been created by God, taught by someone in your lives, are foreknown of God and received the gift of the Holy Spirit upon being baptized. It is surely not for me to say how you have been equipped in particular, nor can I say for what specific task(s) outside of contributing to the expansion of the borders of the kingdom. I do, however, have bible for the fact that it has most assuredly taken place. I might suggest a study of Romans 12 and 1 Cor 12 for illumination on this subject. Suffice it to say that God has work for us to do and being the awesome God that He is, has not sent us into the field ill equipped.
• There is work for us to do!-Where does one begin to discuss all of the things that we can and should be doing in service to our Lord? In our congregation, we are well rehearsed in the fact that we are to love God with all our hearts soul and might and love one another as we love ourselves, but truly, everything that is expected of us can be found in those two verses, Matt 22:37-39. I submit to you brothers and sisters that if you are curious about what you should be doing, first examine the word for what speaks to you individually. It never fails that after sharing the word in sermon, someone comes and informs me that either I was speaking directly to them or that the sermon was somehow for them. I’d like to think we know when God is speaking to us. Truly, he always is, but that is another subject for another time. Then, do a gifts inventory to determine what you are best equipped to do. Remember that suggested study in Romans 12. Take a magnifying glass to the 7th-9th verses and you’ll see exactly what I mean. The point is to recognize and understand that the Lord has given His all for us. Shall we not express our love and gratitude by giving ours to him? Think on these things.
Strengthening Our Faith