Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Anchored Christian Life and Ministry

I read Ezra 7 today as part of my daily Bible reading, and I came across a verse with which I have been much familiar over the years. But the reading of this passage struck me with fresh importance today. The last portion of Ezra 7:9 reads, "...the good hand of his (Ezra's) God was upon him." Then verse 10 states, "For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel." Ezra was a priest, a called representative of God. And God was blessing Ezra's life and work. Here the biblical text speaks of the essence of Ezra's life and commitment; here the Bible tells us what God was blessing in Ezra's life. Ezra took God seriously by taking God's Word seriously. He studied the Word of God, then he put the Word of God into practice into his life, and finally he taught God's Word to the people. This is, in a nutshell, the essence of an anchored Christian life and ministry. Learn the Word, practice the Word, then teach the Word.

Over the years I have learned that I have been mistaken many times in my life. But there is one place in my life where I have been right all along - the Bible is the Word of God, and it demands our study and obedience. Any Christian, and any Christian preacher and teacher, who does not get this, does not get the point! I am continually stunned by the fact that God HAS SPOKEN in language. The natural implication is that we should listen to Him, learn from Him, live out what He says, and pass the Word of God along to others. What else is there in life?

In addition, I am growingly amazed at how many so-called Christian leaders, churches, pastors, teachers, and denominations miss this point. Recently I received an advertisement from a denominational office that promoted an up-coming conference where I could learn the principles and truths about how to break the growth barrier in my church. If I attended, and learned these so-called powerful truths, then, the advertisement said, I could make my church grow in numbers far beyond what I could ever expect. And, the advertisement went on, God wants my church to grow, but...(the implication is that God could not grow His own church; He needs a little help from those who will go to the growth conferences). First, what Bible book, chapter and verse states that numerical growth is the indication that God is blessing a church? What about passages that speak of many going down the road to destruction? What about Jesus' statement that the road to life is narrow, and the gate to it is small. Few people find it! I have never heard this passage quoted by the growth experts. Wonder why? Second, why do we present God in our ministries and training as One who is impotent? Why do we present Him as One who cannot get His will done; He needs help from the almighty human? Huh? That is a different presentation of God than I find in the Bible. And to cap it all off, the advertisement said the conference would be held at a church that I know does not preach the doctrinal truths of Scripture. So, here we have a so-called good denomination linking with a conference promoting ideas that are not biblical, and the conference is to be held in a church that does not preach and teach the truth. We have come far from Ezra and Ezra's commitment!

No true change will occur in this world until God is taken for who God is, and God will not be taken for who He is until His Word is taken as His Word, and His Word will not be taken as true until the church believes the Word, obeys the Word, and preaches the Word. It is always the Word of God (the Scriptures) that will bring about the change that God wants.

I also read Acts 7 today. Stephen preached a powerful sermon regarding the truth, and he was killed for it. But there was one there, who witnessed and approved of the killing, who would one day be one of God's greatest servants - Saul of Tarsus. Studying, obeying, and preaching the Truth may get us killed, but it will bring forth the fruit of divine glory. Christian, let us learn the Truth, obey the Truth, and preach the Truth for God's glory. Amen!


  1. Thank you for always preaching God's Word and standing firmly on it!

    One thing I get tired of hearing from my Sunday School class, I didn't have time to get my lesson done. How can they learn, obey and teach if they never open it up! ????