Sunday, April 24, 2016

First things must remain first

You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. Titus 2:1.

DSC_0031.jpgAs Ministers of the Gospel we are not under the constraints of the Old Covenant. Being a Gentile or non Levite would have precluded us from the glorious privilege of ministry. Nevertheless some excellent principles can be garnered from Yahweh’s call to the priests. From Malachi some great insights come to nourish our hearts and minds.

 Malachi 2:5 is such a challenge. ‘My covenant was with him (Levi)…and he revered me and stood in awe of my name.’ It’s easy to be familiar with the divine revelation of God in Christ and lose the sense of awe. Once we trembled at His word but have we now taken it for granted? Has the awe faded and reverence (or fear) been lost? May the Holy Spirit constantly arrest our hearts with the glory of our Lord and Saviour. Then what Malachi wrote will also apply to us.

Malachi 2:6 makes three comments about the life of Levi because of his appreciation of Yahweh. ‘True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.’ These three expressions of a relationship with the Eternal can also be found in our ministries.

One deals with having true instruction in his mouth because the Truth was stored in his heart! Are we convinced that Jesus has the words of eternal life and is the Holy One of God (John 6:68–69)?  How is our desire to remain loyal to Him regardless of the cost? Do we still have a passion which motivates us to let others hear about Him? Remember the heart feeds the mouth. Many passages can be found dealing with the importance of the lips.

The second comment declared that Levi walked with the Lord. Can two walk together unless they agree? (Amos 3:3) The apostle John placed that principle in more graphic terms. We can only have fellowship with our Lord and each other when we walk in the Light. This unity requires constant maintenance and cleansing by His poured out life. There is no way we can maintain our walk with Jesus Christ if we insist on teaching our prejudices or wisdom. Yes He does give us room to move in a number of areas of daily life and experiences. That doesn’t apply to His unchanging commands and doctrines. Over and over again in ministry the hardest thing to say is, ‘Not my will but yours be done!’ Without it there isn’t any hope of being in step with the Lord Jesus Christ.

The third comment made is that Levi turned many from sin. To be God’s instrument in reclaiming a person from sin’s grip is an incomparable joy. To have the privilege of seeing them transformed into trophies of His grace is wonderful. How is it possible for this to take place? 1Timothy 4:16: ‘Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.’ It isn’t emotionalism: it isn’t ‘Christian entertainment’: it isn’t soft pedalling God’s Word. It is however living the Truth: teaching the Truth: feeding on the Truth and allowing the Spirit of Truth to strike another’s heart through speaking the Truth.

Malachi 2:7 explains the reason. A man or woman of God is His messenger! They are not delivery boys or girls of the latest religious theory or fashion. Messengers of The Most High have knowledge of Him to publish abroad. They have personalised God’s instruction through experience and devotion so as to show its relevance. Where does he or she receive all this? From the Holy Spirit making His Word alive and active to the Messenger! Then with burning heart and quivering lips the minister makes it known to all with ears to hear.
Reflection: Am I more awe struck about Jesus today than a year ago?  How do I display my reverence for Him?

1 comment:

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