Whether you’ve been a Believer for years or days, we can all agree on this, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33) We can also all agree that the mysteries of God take a lifetime to pursue for a fuller and more complete understanding of Him. The revelation of the mysteries of God are both easy and most difficult to obtain, because it requires work on our part…mainly searching the Scriptures for spiritual truths, divine wisdom and insights in order to understand Biblical concepts and see the relationships between them. But this takes discipline and commitment to achieve…and sadly a lot of Christians today just aren’t that engaged. They’d rather hear bits and pieces preached from the pulpit every Sunday and let it go at that. But Paul is encouraging all of us here in Colossians that if we do search the Scriptures for ourselves, the spiritual benefits we obtain in that daily Bible study will give us a great harvest of revealed truths.
The Book of Lamentations was written by Jeremiah as he watched the destruction of Jerusalem. All five Chapters in Lamentations are called Poems of Mourning…each one giving an eye witness account of the horror taking place. These Poems of Mourning were a way that an overwhelmed Jeremiah could grieve what was happening to his beloved city, express sorrow and confess the people’s great sinfulness, and bemoan the fact that it was their own wickedness that had brought this judgment upon them. But Jeremiah also rightly pointed out that God is just in all He does, that nothing happens without God first ordaining it, and that sin will not go unpunished. (Jeremiah 3:37-39)
In John 14:27 Jesus said, ” Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.” And as Believers, we can attest to this kind of peace…the safety and security found within our relationship with Jesus Christ. But this verse warns us of returning to folly…so what does that look like? Anytime we allow fear and doubt to overtake our mind and emotions we’re returning to folly. At that point, we’re not being ruled by peace and righteousness but rather by anxiety and wrong thinking…and God’s peace is far from us. So listen to what Paul wrote in II Thessalonians 3:16 and take it to heart the next time fear and doubt tries to overwhelm you and rob you of your peace, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way.”
The rabble identified in these verses were non-Israelite riff-raff that had followed the Hebrews out of Egypt. These foreigners had no personal knowledge or attachment to God…or His promises, they were just along for the ride and whatever they could get out of it. But even though the Jews held no high regard for them, they still allowed the rabble’s discontent to influence them. The Israelites began grumbling too…totally forgetting how and why God had brought them out of Egypt in the first place. We as Christians need to be very careful in listening to the world’s rabble…for if we don’t, we’ll start complaining just as loudly and be just as discontent…forgetting everything about God.
To many times when we’re trying to tell someone about Jesus, we focus on how nice our home Church is and how many great programs they have for all ages. Or we expound on the Theology our Church believes in. But if you think about it, all this has little to do with the eternal salvation of the person we’re talking to. It’s all trivia when placed side by side to the Good News of the Gospel Message… for it will never save their soul. Our goal should be to introduce them to Jesus, direct their attention to His love and saving grace, and point them to the One Who offers them eternal life. The rest is just details.
Sharing your personal testimony of how Jesus changed your life can be very powerful…but it can’t be the core of your conversation. Our personal stories of salvation can be a good place to start, but they’re usually filled with a lot of feelings and emotions and little else. That’s why proclaiming the Scriptures is so important…for the power lies in the Word of God. Colossians 3:16 tells us to, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another…” That means either memorize Scripture or have it clearly marked in your Bible so you can seamlessly move the conversation to the Word. I like the Roman Road – Romans 3:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:9, and Romans 10:13. For if you look them up, you’ll find a clear, concise, and comprehendible path to salvation. No matter what method you use to share the Gospel Message, remember the power is in God’s Word, not yours.
In His personal conversations with people Jesus asked really good questions. And as we read through the Gospels, we can see that Jesus routinely engaged people this way. He asked questions that provoked deeper thinking and personal response. His questions often led a person to the self-realization of where they stood spiritually…as it was with these two blind men. In John 5:6 Jesus saw a paralytic lying near the pool of Bethesda and learned he had been in this condition for a long time (38 years), He asked him, “Do you want to get well?” Or put in laymen’s terms, “Do you have a earnest desire to be healthy, or are you happier with all the attention you receive from everyone and would rather blame others and make excuses than be totally healed?” Yes, Jesus asked really good questions, and in our personal ministry with those around us we should too.
Simply put…the Jews and Samaritans hated one another! To the point, no self-respecting Jew would even consider traveling through Samaria, let alone purposely going there . But we find the disciple Philip intentionally traveling to Samaria to preach the Good News of the Gospel. But what was so different, was his approach to a potentially hostile and resentful crowd. Instead of brow beating, Bible thumping, or telling them how wrong they were…he ministered among them first. And it says because of this, the Samaritans listened to him and his message. Words and deeds go hand in hand when sharing the Gospel…and in doing so Philip’s good works paved the way for the Samaritans to truly open up their hearts to Jesus.
After the stoning of Stephen, a great persecution of the early Church broke out and Believers made a hasty retreat out of Jerusalem. They became exiles in foreign areas of Judea and Samaria…uprooted from friends and family…alone and suffering. But one thing they refused to do was to stop talking about Jesus. It says that wherever they went so did the Good News of the Gospel Message. They looked for opportunities to share the love of the Lord with those who didn’t know Him. They turned their misfortune into a mission field…always looking for a chance to proclaim the Word of God. Paul wrote in Colossians 4:5-6 about this, “Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Don’t allow what you may be going through today to stop you from sharing the Gospel with those around you…for you never know who needs to hear it.
Humans are a stubborn, rebellious, and selfish lot. We want, what we want, when we want it…not really caring how it may effect others. We foolishly think we’re the master of our own destiny, but that is so far from the bitter truth. God is the only true liberator of mankind…purchasing and redeeming us from the slavery of sin. But for many, pride and self-reliance will stop us from true repentance. But have no doubt about it…God’s justice is divinely perfect, rewarding the godly and punishing the wicked. Or as it tells us in Isaiah 59:20, “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins, declares the Lord.”