God didn’t have to do it. He didn’t have to send His one and only Son to suffer unspeakable torture and death on a cross. But God did. Titus 3:4-5 tells us, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.” It is only because of God’s immeasurable grace and mercy…and His incomprehensible benevolence towards us that we are able to call ourselves sons and daughters of the Most High King. God didn’t have to do it…but He did.
Ezekiel was in a valley covered with the remains of a vast army. As far as he could see, there were skeletons lying in piles. So when God told him to speak to these corpses, Ezekiel probably thought to himself, “You want me to preach to the dead?” In a word, Yes! And God wants us to preach to the dead also! He wants us to speak life and hope into people’s lives that are perishing because of sin. He wants us to share the Message of the Good News of Jesus to those who have never heard it. For anytime we declare the Word of God to the world around us, His Word is set free to work and give life to those listening…even if they seem to be ignoring us! Ezekiel probably thought preaching to the dead would be a total waste of time…but he didn’t realize the life-giving power in God’s Word. And so he watched in amazement as that vast army took a collective breath and rose to its feet.
Paul is thought to have written this letter to the Philippians during his first Roman imprisonment. He wanted them to be encouraged whether they ever saw him again or not. Paul especially exhorted them to stand firm in one spirit…something that the modern-day Church should take heed of. When there is infighting, discord, and division, the Church cannot function as it should. For when we are not standing firmly together in unity…contending for the Gospel as one…the message of Salvation through Jesus Christ is lost in the muck and mire and turmoil within the Church walls. Paul reminds the Philippians, and us, to lead our lives in a manner deserving of the Gospel of Peace.
Paul is admitting here that even the lack of self-awareness of any negligence on his part doesn’t prove his faithfulness and obedience to God…for only God can judge. As Believers we are all held accountable to…responsible for…and entrusted with the Gospel Message. To paraphrase II Corinthians 10:18, We can’t just hear the Word to be in right standing with God…we must obey it. And in the end, we will all stand before the Judgment Seat of our Lord.
Someday I’ll get right with God. At some time in the future I’ll give my heart to Him…but not yet. I’ve got too much I want to do, and I don’t want the rules and regulations of being a Christian to hinder me. I’m young and I want to just have fun. Sound like you? You’ve been holding God at arms length…knowing what you should do, but wanting to wait till you’re “old” to commit. But consider this – someday may never come for you – your future may end today, and this is why now is the time to be serious about your eternal salvation. When we’re young we have this grandiose vision of immortality, and the future goes on forever…but in an instant…this can all change. That’s why the Gospel Message is for you today…the forgiveness of your sins is for now, not someday. Don’t wait until tomorrow to make that decision you know you need to make today…for you may be running out of tomorrows.
Peter, James, and John were with Jesus on the Mt. of Transfiguration when Elijah and Moses appeared and Jesus was for a time transfigured from an earthly form into a supernatural one. True to form though, Peter started to babble, putting a foot into his mouth…when God interrupted him saying, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5) However, this mountain top experience changed Peter, James, and John forever. They were witnesses to the power and majesty, glory and honor of the Lord Jesus Christ…and this personal knowledge and experience changed who they were and how they shared the Gospel Message from that time on.
Most Believers have a tough time sharing with others the Good News of Jesus. We think we need a memorized speech…or a fancy, persuasive dialog before we even attempt to talk to others. Or in our fleshly wisdom, we think we must first somehow “have it all together” ourselves before we even consider sharing the Gospel message. But the Good News of Jesus Christ really has nothing to do about our communication skills and more about showing God’s love to others. Simple words of encouragement, and sharing about our own struggles go a long way to prompt others to feel comfortable and ask questions. So remember, it’s not about the messenger, but the Message…and it’s not about the communication, but the Cross.