I covet your prayer as I am on the road again for the next couple of weeks. I will be preaching at Hope Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana this coming week; then, travel to Joy Baptist Church in Chilhowie, Virginia to preach the following week. Thus, I ask for your prayers regarding safety, travelling mercies; and, most of all, that the anointing of the Holy One might rest upon me to boldly "hold forth the Word of life." (Philippians 2: 16)
As I ponder that statement, "Holding forth the word of life," I am reminded of several things regarding my responsibility, as a preacher of the gospel, to do what I was called to do. I am to "hold forth the word of life," which means that:
1) The ORIGINATION of the Word is in Jesus!
He is the author of it. He is the creator of it. He is the originator of it. "In the beginning" He was "the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1: 1)
As the two walked on the Emmaus road, Jesus showed up and "...expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself." (Luke 24: 27) Think about that! It was the Word expounding the Word. It was the Lord of the Word unveiling the Word of the Lord. I believe you would agree, Jesus would be more than qualified to teach about Himself those things concerning Himself. Thus, for us, or our people, to take issue with the Word is to take issue with the author. He is solely responsible for its content.
2) The INFORMATION in the Word is about Jesus!
Paul says that it is the "word of life." Jesus said that He is the "...resurrection and the life." He is the "way, the truth, and the life." In other words, the "word of life" reminds us that star of the Bible show is none other than the Lord Jesus. The Bible is a "HIM-book;" it's all about HIM!
It's about Him historically.
In Adam, we see Him as the head and representative of his people. In Noah, we see Him as the restorer of the new world. In Isaac, we see Him as a victim laid upon the altar. In Joseph, we see Him as sufferer, and a Savior. In Moses, we see Him as a lawgiver. In Aaron, we see Him as a high priest. In Joshua, we see him as a captain and commander. In Boaz, we see Him as a kinsman redeemer. In Solomon, we see Him as the wisdom of the ages. In Isaiah, we see Him as a prince of peace. In Jonah, we see Him as buried and raised from the grave.
It's about Him ceremonially.
He is the body of every shadow. He is the reality of every type. He is the rock whose streams followed the Israel of God. He is the manna that came from Heaven. He is the city of refuge which gives us protection from judgment and justice. He is the lamb "slain from before the foundation of the world."
It's about Him doctrinally.
He is the "mystery of godliness." He was "God manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, and received up into glory." Every doctrine of the Gospel, as treated by the inspired authors, leads to Him, and is fufilled by Him. He is the "apostles' doctrine."
It's about Him practically.
"For me to live IS CHRIST." To be a Christian is to live not to ourselves, but to be "crucified with Christ." The Christian life is the Christ-life. It nothing more, nothing less than Jesus Christ Himself. The practicality of the Christian life is for death to give way to resurrection. I die, so that the Risen Christ can live. His example is the rule, His love is the motive, and His Spirit is the author. God's standard is perfection; and, since that disqualifies everyone of us, only Jesus can satisfy that standard.
3) The TRANSFORMATION from the Word is through Jesus!
It is not the "word of death," but it is the "word of life." It has power to "reconcile us unto God," and then to make us a "new creature" in Christ Jesus. It has the power to cause demons to fear, diseases to flee, depravity to fall, and difficulties to fail. It has the power to justify us, sanctify us, and glorify us. It has the power to pick us up, set us up, clean us up, tune us up, and hold us up.
Pastors, preachers, evangelists, teachers, and Christian, "hold forth the word of life." God has not called us to 'help it out,' we are called to HOLD IT FORTH! We do not have to defend it, we only have to declare it. It's origination, information, and transformation will do what we cannot do. That is my prayer as I stand behind the sacred desk, and it is my prayer for you as well.
Thank you for your prayers as I travel to preach. Pray for my congregation as I am away, and pray for the congregations that I will preach to. Pray that God will use me to courageously, compassionately, and convincingly "hold forth the word of life."
Your Friend in the Fight,