Friday, 12 December 2008

Preaching to an unbelieving world

We are preaching to an unbelieving world, fighting rapidly falling standards in our own community, trying to build up those scattered far and wide in the earth, caring for increasing numbers of elderly and incapacitated and those who are spiritually sick, and all the time trying to overcome our own innate personal weaknesses, problems and frustrations " So much effort, so little achieved. Sometimes it seems as if, in certain areas both at home and abroad, ecclesial life is falling apart, as it must have seemed to Paul in those early years of that ecclesia at Corinth.

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it is a day of small things.We do not have the power of the Spirit. God does not manifest Himself openly in the mighty acts of power. We have the Word of God which is quite sufficient to convince those of a right frame of mind. But these are very few in number, so few that sometimes it seems as if our preaching and our exhortation is ineffective, as if we are failing in some way. The few who do respond are those whom God has reserved, as He told Elijah. That was what God told Elijah, and Paul quotes God’s words to him in his Letter to the Romans to prove that there was in his day also a remnant according to the election of grace, and surely we trust that it is so in our own day. We believe that we are part of that remnant chosen by God by His grace, called by the gospel, responsive to that still small voice.
Yet the vast majority remains totally unmoved. Even within the community of the saints there will always be those who are not responsive. But we press on, struggling to remain part of the faithful remnant, and we are sure that in time, in God’s time, judgment will be poured out on the rebellious, the hard-hearted; not by men like Jehu, men who proved in the end to be no better than were those they destroyed, but judgment will be in the hands of One whom God raised up in righteousness.

We shall remember that this was how Paul comforted the believers in the first century who were suffering persecutions, “it is a righteous thing with God” he said, “to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
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This is the day of small things, the day for faithful service, no matter how little we seem to achieve, the day for accepting whatever difficulties and frustrations come our way as a result of that service, the day for bearing whatever burdens an all wise God sees fit to place upon His servants.

 - Bro E. T. 1986

full text > Three faithfull men