Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Word of God Shall Stand

Today is Reformation Day - the day we remember Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the church door to spur debate about the practices of the church, namely the selling of indulgences. Luther had several points to make - including the glorious truth of justification - that God accepts us by grace alone, through faith alone, on the basis of Christ alone. One of his other points was a significant one - that the Scriptures are our only final authority.

The Word of God shall ever stand!

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isaiah 40:8

God has purposed for His Word to endure - even when and if it is stormed by every foe, engaged by all the powers of hell and hosts of sin. No power can overthrow it. His changeless Word will prevail.

God's Word has stood, and it will stand. The Scriptures are our authority for how to grow, how to think, how to love, how to act, how to LIVE. The Scriptures provide all we need to be equipped for every good work that God has planned for us to do.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3:16-17

The Word of God convicts us of sin - it is living and active, and judges our hearts!

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

God's Word lights our way so that we know how to walk.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

And God's Word provides encouragement. As we read about what happened to saints and sinners who have gone before, we see God's faithfulness over generations and generations.

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

As we see how the saints before us persevered, it gives us hope that we, too, can persevere through this sinful generation until Jesus calls us home.

Since Scripture is our final authority, I encourage you to study it and know it - let it dwell in your heart richly!

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

The Word of God Shall Stand
Words by Frank Huston

The Word of God shall ever stand,
Though stormed by every foe;
Upheld by His almighty hand,
No powers can overthrow.
Though all the powers of hell engage,
And hosts of sin assail
God’s wondrous might, His changeless Word
Shall evermore prevail.

The Word of God shall stand,
Shall stand unchanged forever;
In every clime and land
The world shall own its sway.
The Word of God shall stand,
Its foes can change it never;
Though Heav’n and earth may pass away,
God’s Word shall stand forever.

God’s Word has stood the fiery darts
Of all the sinful world;
And skeptics all through ages past
Their fiercest blows have hurled;
It stands unmoved, a mighty rock,
’Gainst cruel hate and scorn,
To bless the nations of the earth,
And nations yet unborn.

Then sound we forth His glorious Word
To souls of all the earth,
To tell them of the Father’s love,
And Jesus’ matchless worth.
It is the Spirit’s mighty sword
No power on earth can stay;
Though Heav’n and earth may be removed,
God’s Word shall stand for aye.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Blessed are the Souls that Hear and Know

How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all the day, and by Your righteousness they are exalted. For You are the glory of their strength, and by Your favor our horn is exalted. Psalm 89:15-17

I was so moved in church this past weekend, hearing a wonderful story about the spread of the gospel to a remote people group in Asia. More than 120 years ago, my church sent a missionary couple to go to this people group - people who were self-described as wicked savages. Their language had not yet been written down, and this missionary couple left their comfortable life in the Midwest (as comfortable as it could be in 1890!) to ensure that these people would hear the gospel. They were obeying Jesus' command:

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." Mark 16:15

For 37 years, this couple learned the language, wrote it down, preached sermons, discipled the people, translated the Bible and introduced men, women and children to the gospel. Their goal was that the people would turn from their wickedness to the living God.

“Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them." Acts 14:15

The beautiful story of the gospel can transform hearts and lives. This story, about Jesus, who died for our sins, was buried, rose again, and was seen by many people before returning to heaven, has saving and sanctifying power.

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. I Corinthians 15:1-8

The missionaries in this story faithfully served their Lord and Savior for nearly 40 years before coming back to the United States and going home to be with the Lord. But their work is still reaping great rewards! Of the 600,000 people in the group in Asia, 500,000 are now believers! They have an active and living church, and are sending missionaries out among other people groups in their region to spread the gospel.

Certainly, these souls are blessed who heard the gospel's joyful sound and their joy is bearing their spirits up through their Redeemer's name. Our Lord gladly gave them salvation and their, and our King, lives forever! Glory be to His name!

Blessed are the Souls that Hear and Know
Words by Isaac Watts

Blessed are the souls that hear and know
That Gospel’s joyful sound;
Peace shall attend the path they go,
And light their steps surround.

Their joy shall bear their spirits up
Through their Redeemer’s name;
His righteousness exalts their hope,
Nor Satan dare condemn.

The Lord, our glory and defense,
Strength and salvation gives;
Israel, thy King for ever reigns,
Thy God for ever lives.