God Works by His Word

What a glorious, powerful, simple, sobering, overwhelming truth: God works by His word!!  We see this over and over again in the book of Acts, as our risen and exalted Lord Jesus Christ gathers, shepherds, and multiplies His flock – all by His word, through the power of the Holy Spirit.


AMAZINGLY, this is God’s single, permanent strategy for world missions!  He fulfills His mission to redeem a people for Himself by the work of His word, in and through His people.  He uses the proclamation of His word to miraculously create new life (1 Pet. 1:22-25), and to powerfully feed/shape new life (2 Tim. 3:16-17).  Oh how wise and glorious He is, and how authoritative, sufficient, sweet, and desirable is His word (Psalm 19)!


Beloved, this being so, how passionately, joyously, and expectantly ought we to always, “…like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grown up into salvation – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good”?  (1 Pet. 2:2-3)


Many Bible reading plans abound, but the most fundamental issue is:  do we hunger for God’s word like newborn infants?  Are we so tenaciously zeroed in on the single source of nourishment, confident that God feeds only through His word, that we gladly bypass anything that would hinder our delight in His life-giving truth?   We’re all in different situations, and we face different pressures on our time, but we always seem to do what is necessary to feed our physical bodies (and many other things besides, my Facebook friends 🙂 ).  How much more should we do whatever is necessary to feed our souls with the living, transforming word of God!


I look forward to being with you this coming Lord’s Day, as we share again in the feast of God’s word He has for us!!


Because Christ lives, and is returning,


Our All in All

Because Jesus Christ is Lord of all (Acts 10:36), we must increasingly trust Him as our all in all!  We must follow Him – humbly submitting to His loving authority.  Practically, as we considered last Lord’s Day, this means being increasingly captivated by His worth, consumed with His work, concerned for His will, counseled by His word, content in His ways, and comforted in knowing He is with us.  (Kudos to Brian Dillard for helping me with that last “w”!)


Oh beloved:  trusting, knowing, and following Jesus as our all is the only place of true joy, peace, and hope!  This is the satisfied confidence David expresses in Psalm 23 –
1 A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

3 He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


I pray the Lord would continually strengthen your faith in Him, even through the trials, griefs, and challenges He lovingly ordains.  In every moment of every day, may you sing with deepening assurance, “All the Way My Savior Leads Me.”


Because He lives, and is returning,


Jesus Christ, the Lord of ALL

This past Lord’s Day, we considered some of the scope of Christ’s reign, as displayed in Acts 9:32-12:25.  There are many powerful implications for believers within this glorious reality that Jesus Christ is Lord of ALL.


Because He is Lord over all disease and death, we can be comforted in knowing that eternal life and ultimate healing is our inheritance.  There is coming a day when all pain and grief will be removed, and God will wipe away every tear from our eyes (Rev. 21:1-4).


Because He is Lord over all gospel advancement, we can be certain that Christ designs to use us as “salt and light” (Mt. 5:13-16) in our particular circumstances – however mundane and ordinary they may seem.


And because He is Lord over all wicked rebels, we can be confident that Christ will defend His own righteousness and glory.  Vengeance is God’s, and He will destroy all His enemies – in His way, and in His time (Rom. 12:17-19).


Beloved, what hope, endurance, faithfulness, and joy these truths should strengthen in us!  May your faith in, submission to, and contentment with Christ’s all-sufficient authority be multiplied.  He is our good, great, and chief Shepherd!


Because He lives, and is returning,


Beware of Idols

“Because of what we know, let us not to idols go.”


This simple rhyme might be a helpful way of remembering the force of the Apostle John’s exhortation at the end of his first letter – “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 Jn. 5:21).


In preaching about this passage last Lord’s Day, I made reference to the weight of John’s final exhortation in connection with all he addresses throughout his letter.  And in the immediate context of 1 Jn. 5:21, the whole of his letter is summarized with three “we know” statements in vs. 18-20 (emphasis mine):

18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.


These truths help us understand why the idolatry is such a dangerous threat.  Idols are deceitful and false gods that undermine the true knowledge and worship of the one true God, through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Idolatry thus robs God of His glory, and it robs people of the blessing of knowing God, and the eternal life that is found in His Son.  In all its varied forms, idolatry exchanges God’s clearly revealed, life-giving truth with that which is false and deadly.


Beloved, the best way believers can keep themselves from idolatry is to keep growing in the true knowledge of God and His saving work in Jesus Christ!  Keep reading, hearing, memorizing, meditating on, singing,  praying, trusting, and obeying God’s word.  Keep praying for and encouraging your brothers and sisters in Christ in these ways.  And keep sharing God’s word with others, that they might be delivered and kept from the deceitful, destructive dangers of idolatry.


“Because of what we know, let us not to idols go.”


Because Christ lives, and is returning,