B.A.S.I.C. NEWSLETTER #145
I Cor. 16:9 ‘For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’
It is a sad commentary that among some Christian churches, the big thing about Pentecost seems to be the miracles: sound of a mighty rushing wind, tongues of fire over the heads of apostles, and speaking in tongues. This year on May 31st we celebrate Pentecost above all in that the Word, as if by an explosion, started to be cast far and wide. The miracles were to get the people’s attention and to show that God was behind the spread of His glorious message of a Savior slain for our sins and raised to prove our justification. Peter pointed up that the message is for all, “It shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Jesus prophesied of the spread of the Word across continents, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do…” Jn. 14:12 No one did greater ‘miraculous’ works than Jesus. Stilling a storm, raising the dead, healing instantly and so on, these are unsurpassed. Jesus did speak the Word faithfully and even to Gentiles like the Syro-Phoenician woman. But His apostles and those who followed their example spoke to vast multitudes beyond the numbers who heard Jesus. They covered much more territory than our Lord did in His three year ministry. These are the ‘greater works’ of preaching to more people, in more places, and over longer periods of time.
And this is still going on today. It comes back to the Word. As at the first Pentecost the people said, “We hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” Today literally thousands are scattered throughout our world translating the Scriptures into the language of the people. Then these productions are printed and distributed that each one may read for himself about our loving Lord.
May God allow all of us working together, using our God-given talents, and led by God’s Spirit to declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Distinctly Lutheran (2)
We are in the Word
At the time of the Lutheran Reformation, one of the Catholic princes asked his theologian, “You mean the Lutherans are in the Word and we are not?!” It was true then and still is today for us. While this is a self-evident thing for us, so many churches have teachings based on reason, tradition, misinterpretation of Scripture.
- We preach the whole counsel of God. Acts 20:27 It is so easy to listen to men and try to please them. But our joyful duty is to please our God who has saved us in time for eternity.
- We have the ‘high view’ of Scripture. Again, something that is so self-evident to us has been lost to many. They pick and choose what in the Bible they ‘want’ to believe. We know that no jot or tittle of the Word is to be changed. Matt. 5:18-19 Our regard is for every word no matter how small. All Scripture is inspired and therefore for our use. II Tim. 3:16
- We preach Christ as the heart and center of the church and our life. All radiates from Him as the spokes of a wheel go out from the hub. Christ is the hub for us. Jn. 5:39, I Cor. 1:30 A variety of churches have become man centered. Our attention is first on the Christ, who then directs us to love our neighbor, by love to serve one another. When churches become man-centered, they lose the message and dither about.
- We go as far as the Word and no further. Some churches because they are under God’s direction, they reason, they can expand on the clear Word. Not so. For instance in regard to the position of women, we say they must be subject to man in the church, I Tim. 2:11-12 and to the husband in the home, Eph. 5:24. Yet in politics and business, since God has not spoken we can have our own views, which may vary. Or think of prohibition of drinking any liquor. Some churches teach this, though it is beyond Scripture. The Lord Himself changed water to wine at the wedding at Cana.Jn. 2:1-11 Paul encourages Timothy to drink some wine. I Tim. 5:23. We do not make up new laws beyond the will of God as revealed in the Bible.
- We let the Word explain itself. The Bible is the only book in the world that explains itself. It is of course the Spirit who explains the Word through the Word. As Peter writes the Word is of no one’s private, personal interpretation. II Pet. 1:19-21
- The Word is the master and reason and all else is servant to it.
What a joy to have the solid confidence of the Word as the base and instrument for our lives. It does not change. We change as we grow in knowledge of it.
THE PARABLE WHICH HAS TRUE HIDDEN MEANING.
A parable sent from Ibrahim Karioki of the CLCEA, (Tanzania/Kenya)
A young man was playing cards when he became so angry, he picked up a gun and killed his friend. He was put in prison and sentenced to death. Up until this time, he had lived a good life. His friends and family signed a paper to say he was a good man. They sent it to the governor, the person in charge of the prison.
One day a Christian man came to see him. He was dressed in the clothes of a priest. “Get out of here” He shouted, “I don’t want to see you .I have heard enough of religion at home.” The visitor tried to talk to him, but he would not listen.Sadly, the visitor turned away and left.
A few minutes later a prison guard came to him. “Well, young man, “he said, “I see you have had a visit from the Governor.” “What!” He said, “Was that man dressed as a priest really the governor?” ‘He was,”answered the guard, and he had a pardon in his pocket for you, but you wouldn’t even listen to him.
“Get me a pen and some paper,”requested that prisoner. He sat down and wrote a letter telling the governor he was sorry .The governor read the letter, turned it over and wrote, “no longer interested in this man.”
When the day arrived for that prisoner to be put to death, he was asked if he had anything to say before he died. ‘Yes’ he replied, ‘tell young men everywhere that I am not dying because I killed someone; I could have lived. Tell them I am dying because I would not accept the governor’s pardon.
Did you know that we have all been offered a pardon for the wrong things (sin) we have done? God loves us so much, he sent his own son, Jesus Christ, to the earth .He lived a life without doing any wrong. Then he was killed as a criminal, taking the punishment we deserve for our sin. That was God’s way of offering us a pardon.
But we need to receive the pardon that he offers. We must ask Him to forgive us. He will do that and much more. He will be our friend and help us when we have trouble. He will make us strong when things go wrong in our lives.
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