Tuesday, November 22, 2016
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 (NLT)
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book. He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people. Revelation 22:17-21(NLT)
According to some who teach the art of writing, in any article, book or speech, it is the opening and closing statements which are most important. The opening is critical to set the stage and the closing because it must leave us to ponder both the worth and consequences of what the author has written.
God’s word opens with: In the beginning God…. I have often thought if anyone can accept those four words, the rest comes to a willing heart.
If faith is established to believe that God is the source and power of creation and all which exists, the rest of Scripture makes sense. Without that faith the rest of Scripture becomes merely a literary amusement or frivolous and fruitless speculation.
This opening statement of Scripture is critical to the whole of this faith once delivered to the saints. If rejected, there is no further need to read any Scripture. If accepted, the remainder of Scripture answers the questions about what kind of God; we find out and begin to experience the nature of God’s love and how our miracle called life is shaped. These are critical issues for the major questions of life: where did we come from, where are we going, and what are life’s meaning and purpose.
The closing of Scripture is cautionary as well as pleading. The pleading is for this God of creation and redemption to come near. The caution is for the meantime; an attitude to observe while we wait for His appearing; we are warned against distorting the message, anything which demeans or contorts (for others or ourselves) the nature of God.
This is especially close to the heart of any preacher. As called by this God to proclaim His message, we must take much care to deliver a pure message, an undistorted prophetic witness of the one, true, living God.
That is a grave responsibility. And we must proclaim it as much with our lives as merely with words. While there is nothing quite so impossible as living an absolutely blameless life, the evidence of one who would not distort the Word in anyone else’s vision is, or should be, the target for which we strive.
To my preacher friends, how is it with your soul and all you do and say?
To all my other Christian friends, how is it with your soul and all you do and say?
Are you going on to perfection in love today?