Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Word by Revelation
Peter in his First Epistle said something that caught my attention. Look in the first chapter:
23Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Were not the word and the gospel the same thing? No, it would appear that the gospel includes something about the way the message is rendered and something about the experiences, character and personal illumination of the speaker. By the time of Peter's writing the correspondents knew of his challenges, victories and shortcomings in the Galilean ministry and in the darkening final year leading to Christ's passion. They also knew or would soon know something of the transformation in the Big Fisherman - from impetuous, self assured, quick-fused to humble, longsuffering and persevering. This gave real veracity to the "born-again" message of which he spoke. This was a new man on fire with the revelation given to him from the Lord.
And this should be the power of our testimony, a revealed word, and not
An apologetic word;
An anecdotal word;
An allegorical word;
An alliterated word;
A systematized word;
A chain-referenced word;
An inductive word;
A histrionic word;
A contemporary word;
A moralizing word.
We have all heard teachers use these styles to pleasing effect, but the messages we really remember as impacting our spiritual growth are the ones in which the speaker's heart, struggle and mettle are involved. As we leave the gathering we are heard to say, "He really got into that one didn't he?"
No pastor or teacher can have such insight or verve for every message. It should not be expected of him. You will notice the dip in impact, when in the teaching series he comes to the place he has not traversed. Sad that he must forge ahead when perhaps someone else in the room has placed a milestone of life experience on that very passage of God's truth.
We expect too much of "Pastor So-and-So", and perhaps miss some of the real gems remaining un-noticed and unheard from the pews. But convention has always required the staff-speaker and lay-audience format. Pity.