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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Co­ming to the he­a­ring of God’s word

Vieraskieliset / In-english
17.12.2014 17.47

The im­por­tan­ce of he­a­ring God’s word is emp­ha­si­zed in the Bib­le. The Apost­le Paul wrote: “So then faith co­meth by he­a­ring, and he­a­ring by the word of God”. It is im­por­tant to gat­her to­get­her to hear what God wis­hes to make known to us through his Spi­rit. But faith does not come un­less the Holy Spi­rit does work in the pre­ac­her of the word and in the lis­te­ner.

A small baby grows in the first months on the mot­her’s milk alo­ne. The mot­her’s milk is strong and nou­ris­hing. The apost­le Pe­ter al­so com­pa­res God’s word to mot­her’s milk: “As new­born ba­bes, de­si­re the sin­ce­re milk of the word, that ye may grow the­re­by: If so be ye have tas­ted that the Lord is gra­ci­ous.” (1 Pet. 2:2-3).

What is lis­te­ning to God’s word?

God ma­ni­fests him­self to all pe­op­le in his cre­a­ti­on work (Rom. 1:19-20), in the pha­ses of na­ti­ons, in hu­man des­ti­ny and cons­cien­ce (Rom. 2:14-15). So­met­hing el­se is still nee­ded for sal­va­ti­on: God’s spe­ci­al proc­la­ma­ti­on which is told about in the holy Bib­le and the mes­sa­ge of Je­sus Christ pre­ac­hed by the Holy Spi­rit. The word is Je­sus him­self (John 1).

He­a­ring God’s word is to come near to Je­sus and hear of him. Je­sus li­ves re­sur­rec­ted as the Lord in the cong­re­ga­ti­on which God’s Holy Spi­rit has as­semb­led.

The Bib­le ex­horts to lis­ten to the word

Throug­hout the Bib­le, the ex­hor­ta­ti­on to hear the word is emp­ha­si­zed. In the wri­tings of the prop­hets, God cal­ls his pe­op­le to hear his word. This word inc­lu­des com­fort and a pro­mi­se of God’s ca­re­ta­king, but al­so, of­ten a judg­ment to those who have left him. In Prop­het Isai­ah’s book, God com­forts his pe­op­le: “He­ar­ken to me, ye that fol­low af­ter righ­te­ous­ness, ye that seek the LORD: look un­to the rock when­ce ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit when­ce ye are dig­ged.” (Isa. 51:1)

Lis­te­ning to God’s word al­so inc­lu­des se­arc­hing for fel­lows­hip from the one and on­ly true God: “Hear, O Is­ra­el: The LORD our God is one LORD” (Deut. 6:4). In the gos­pels, Je­sus of­ten ends his ser­mons with the cry “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Math. 13:9). The apost­le Paul wrote about he­a­ring to the Ro­mans: “So then faith co­meth by he­a­ring, and he­a­ring by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17). So he­a­ring God’s word is con­nec­ted to the proc­la­ma­ti­on of the word. This is why it is im­por­tant to gat­her to­get­her to lis­ten to what God wis­hes to say through his Spi­rit.

The Holy Spi­rit brings forth faith

Mar­tin Lut­her wrote of the work of the Holy Spi­rit: “For neit­her you nor I could ever know anyt­hing of Christ, or be­lie­ve on Him, and ob­tain Him for our Lord, un­less it were of­fe­red to us and gran­ted to our he­arts by the Holy Ghost through the pre­ac­hing of the Gos­pel.” (Lar­ge Ca­tec­hism : Ar­tic­le 3).

Cur­rent tech­no­lo­gy, such as the in­ter­net, ma­kes the he­a­ring of God’s word pos­sib­le even when it would not nor­mal­ly be pos­sib­le. So­me­ti­mes we may be hou­se-bound so that we are not ab­le to gat­her with the be­lie­vers.

In be­gin­ning Chris­ti­a­ni­ty, gat­he­ring to­get­her had an im­por­tant place. ”And they con­ti­nu­ed ste­ad­fast­ly in the apost­les’ doct­ri­ne and fel­lows­hip, and in bre­a­king of bread, and in pra­yers. And they, con­ti­nuing dai­ly with one ac­cord in the temp­le.” (Acts 2:42, 46). When the ear­ly cong­re­ga­ti­on had dif­fi­cult qu­es­ti­ons, the cong­re­ga­ti­on gat­he­red to­get­her to dis­cuss (i.e. Acts 15). Al­so, we child­ren of God no­wa­da­ys so­me­ti­mes need joint dis­cus­si­on oc­ca­si­ons.

The Bib­le ex­horts to nur­tu­re the fel­lows­hip of the cong­re­ga­ti­on. “Not for­sa­king the as­semb­ling of our­sel­ves to­get­her, as the man­ner of some is; but ex­hor­ting one anot­her: and so much the more, as ye see the day ap­p­ro­ac­hing.” (Heb. 10:25). The be­lie­vers should al­wa­ys en­cou­ra­ge each ot­her to come to the he­a­ring of the word so the con­nec­ti­on to the Word – to Christ – would re­main and grow.

When I as­ked my child­ren why it is good to go lis­ten to God’s word, they ans­we­red: “So that we would stay in faith and get to he­a­ven!” That is it: that we would one day re­ach the des­ti­na­ti­on.

Text Mark­ku Kan­ni­ai­nen

Trans­la­ti­on A. H.

Pub­lis­hed Sii­o­nin Lä­he­tys­leh­ti 6/2013

Jul­kais­tu eng­lan­nin­kie­li­ses­sä kie­li­liit­tees­sä 11/2014.