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Vieraskieliset / In-english

The significance of the read and preached word of God

Siionin Lähetyslehti
Vieraskieliset / In-english
24.11.2015 12.00

Juttua muokattu:

1.1. 23:21
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The first Chris­ti­an Pen­te­cost mar­ked a tur­ning point in the his­to­ry of sal­va­ti­on. Je­sus ope­ned the minds of the dis­cip­les to un­ders­tand the Scrip­tu­res. The prop­he­cies of the Scrip­tu­res – the Law of Mo­ses, the books of the prop­hets, and the Psalms – and the pro­mi­se gi­ven by Je­sus to His dis­cip­les were ful­fil­led in the pou­ring out of the Holy Spi­rit. The dis­cip­les were gi­ven a task: “And that re­pen­tan­ce and re­mis­si­on of sins should be pre­ac­hed in his name among all na­ti­ons, be­gin­ning at Je­ru­sa­lem.” (Luk 24:47)

The ser­mon about Christ – the gos­pel about the re­sur­rec­ted Je­sus Christ – be­gan to have a po­wer­ful ef­fect. Pe­ter’s Pen­te­cost ser­mon, which was ba­sed on the prop­he­cies of the prop­hets, strong­ly touc­hed the he­arts of the he­a­rers of the word. The Spi­rit of God cau­sed the ser­vi­ce gu­ests to ask the apost­les: “Men and breth­ren, what shall we do?” (Act 2:37) Three thou­sand lis­te­ners “glad­ly” re­cei­ved Pe­ter’s words and per­so­nal­ly be­lie­ved the gos­pel. The sac­ra­ment of bap­tism rein­for­ced the con­tent of Pe­ter’s ser­mon and joi­ned them to the con­ti­nuo­us care of the cong­re­ga­ti­on. The first cong­re­ga­ti­on of the New Co­ve­nant was born in Je­ru­sa­lem (Act 2:14–41).

Mar­tin Lut­her has said: “The word of God can­not exist wit­hout the pe­op­le of God.” God con­ti­nuo­us­ly in­te­racts with His own through His word. The Scrip­tu­res – the writ­ten word of God – are a fruit of this in­te­rac­ti­on. The hid­den God has spo­ken to His ser­vants through His Spi­rit: “For the prop­he­cy came not in old time by the will of man: but the holy men of God spake as they were mo­ved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Pet 1:21)

The word of God is an un­pe­ris­hab­le tre­a­su­re

In the be­gin­ning of time God cre­a­ted eve­ryt­hing by His word. One day He will al­so end this earth­ly time by His word. Thus, our world is cons­tant­ly being car­ried by His word. This is why we can desc­ri­be the word of God as un­pe­ris­hab­le. This was al­so con­fir­med by Je­sus Christ in His te­ac­hings: “He­a­ven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Mat 24:35)

For us the word of God is an un­pe­ris­hab­le tre­a­su­re be­cau­se God has re­ve­a­led Him­self to us in it. We do not have a deaf or dumb God. He who is hid­den from our ey­es is a spe­a­king God. The wri­ter of the let­ter to the Heb­rews desc­ri­bes the speech of the triu­ne God: “God, who at sund­ry ti­mes and in di­vers man­ners spake in time past un­to the fat­hers by the prop­hets, hath in these last days spo­ken un­to us by his Son, whom he hath ap­poin­ted heir of all things, by whom al­so he made the worlds.” (Heb 1:1–2)

The New Tes­ta­ment’s Apost­le Pe­ter com­pa­res the word of prop­he­cy to a lamp shi­ning in the dark, which sheds light on the path and shows the way (2 Pet 1:19). The light of the word of God en­ligh­tens the mu­tu­al path of the pe­op­le of God, the faith and life of the cong­re­ga­ti­on, and each and eve­ry child of God’s own en­de­a­vor of faith. The Psalm wri­ter ad­mi­res this light, ha­ving ex­pe­rien­ced it him­self: “Thy word is a lamp un­to my feet, and a light un­to my path.” (Psa 119:105) Li­ke­wi­se he ad­mi­res the bles­sed por­ti­on of a righ­te­ous per­son, be­cau­se his “de­light is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he me­di­ta­te day and night.” (Psa 1:2)

Christ is the Lord and King of the Scrip­tu­res

The main thread in the Old Tes­ta­ment scrip­tu­res is the pro­mi­se of the Mes­si­ah, Christ. The New Tes­ta­ment spe­aks about the ful­fil­l­ment of God’s pro­mi­ses in Je­sus Christ. Ear­ly Chris­ti­an pre­ac­hing al­so fol­lo­wed this for­mat. This can be cle­ar­ly seen in the ser­mons and parts of ser­mons kept by the apost­les that have been re­cor­ded in the New Tes­ta­ment. The same had come true in the Lord’s own proc­la­ma­ti­on, be­gin­ning from the very first mo­ments of His pub­lic mi­nist­ry.

The Scrip­tu­res are me­ant to be a text­book for faith and life. John, the wri­ter of the fourth gos­pel, gi­ves his re­a­son for wri­ting at the end of his gos­pel book: “But these are writ­ten, that ye might be­lie­ve that Je­sus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that be­lie­ving ye might have life through his name.” (Joh 20:31)

In his let­ter the Apost­le Paul re­minds the Co­rint­hi­an Chris­ti­ans about how the gos­pel he pre­ac­hed ap­p­ro­ac­hed those in Co­rinth who re­cei­ved it and be­lie­ved it: “And I, breth­ren, when I came to you, came not with ex­cel­len­cy of speech or of wis­dom, dec­la­ring un­to you the tes­ti­mo­ny of God. For I de­ter­mi­ned not to know any thing among you, save Je­sus Christ, and him cru­ci­fied.” (1 Cor 2:1–2)

It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber, re­gar­ding the proc­la­ma­ti­on of the apost­les and the ear­ly cong­re­ga­ti­on, what is re­ve­a­led in St. Luke’s de­pic­ti­on of the end of Paul’s work in the Acts of the Apost­les: “Pre­ac­hing the king­dom of God, and te­ac­hing those things which con­cern the Lord Je­sus Christ, with all con­fi­den­ce, no man for­bid­ding him.” (Act 28:31)

The gos­pel gi­ves birth to faith

The ba­sic te­ac­hing con­tai­ned in the tenth chap­ter of Paul’s let­ter to the Ro­mans is of­ten ci­ted in the ser­mons of our Chris­ti­a­ni­ty: “So then faith co­meth by he­a­ring, and he­a­ring by the word of God.” (Rom 10:17) Ac­cor­ding to Mar­tin Lut­her’s trans­la­ti­on, “faith co­mes by the pre­ac­hed word.”

The pre­ac­hing of the word – the proc­la­ma­ti­on of the gos­pel – has uni­que sig­ni­fi­can­ce as a tool of the Holy Spi­rit. The gos­pel proc­lai­med from the king­dom of God gi­ves birth to faith whe­re­ver the Spi­rit of God has pre­pa­red a per­son’s he­art to re­cei­ve it by faith.

Pre­ac­hing is not a per­so­nal mat­ter; it is a mat­ter of God and His cong­re­ga­ti­on. A pre­ac­her is a work­ma­te of God and an am­bas­sa­dor of Christ. God’s cong­re­ga­ti­on cal­ls up and sends pe­op­le to car­ry out this task. When the Spi­rit of God through the cong­re­ga­ti­on cal­ls to car­ry out the task of a ser­vant of the word in God’s cong­re­ga­ti­on, it is good to be obe­dient to that call. May Apost­le Paul’s “ac­count” of his proc­la­ma­ti­on of the gos­pel inst­ruct us: “For though I pre­ach the gos­pel, I have not­hing to glory of: for ne­ces­si­ty is laid upon me; yea, woe is un­to me, if I pre­ach not the gos­pel!” (1 Cor 9:16)

In his let­ters Apost­le Paul spe­aks of the of­fi­ce of the New Tes­ta­ment and the of­fi­ce of ato­ne­ment. As mem­bers of the ro­yal priest­hood, all child­ren of God are par­ti­ci­pants of this of­fi­ce. Eve­ry be­lie­ver is a priest on the ba­sis of his or her faith. It is the cal­ling of eve­ry be­lie­ver to proc­laim “prai­ses of him who hath cal­led you out of dark­ness in­to his mar­ve­lous light” (1 Pet 2:9).

In the he­art and mouth of eve­ry be­lie­ver is the ser­mon of faith by which a slave of sin can be re­le­a­sed in­to the free­dom of God’s child­ren. Eve­ry be­lie­ver has been put to ad­mi­nis­ter this of­fi­ce. The dee­pest me­a­ning of the word proc­lai­med by the Holy Spi­rit – the gos­pel of the king­dom of God – is that it gi­ves birth to faith in a per­son’s he­art and joins the be­lie­ver to the fa­mi­ly of God, in­to the care of the cong­re­ga­ti­on mot­her.

In the school of the word

Be­fo­re the mir­ror of the word – both writ­ten and pre­ac­hed – a per­son can be­gin fee­ling his or her guilt be­fo­re God. Re­a­li­zing this does not re­le­a­se that per­son from the bur­den of guilt. This re­qui­res the po­wer of the keys that the Holy Spi­rit uses through God’s own. Je­sus gave this dec­ree when he said to His dis­cip­les: “Re­cei­ve ye the Holy Ghost: whose so­e­ver sins ye re­mit, they are re­mit­ted un­to them; and whose so­e­ver sins ye re­tain, they are re­tai­ned.” (Joh 20:23)

Ac­cor­ding to Mar­tin Lut­her’s exp­la­na­ti­on of the third ar­tic­le of the Creed in the Small Ca­tec­hism, a Chris­ti­an cons­tant­ly needs the work of the Holy Spi­rit to pre­ser­ve faith: the Holy Spi­rit sanc­ti­fies and pre­ser­ves both in­di­vi­du­al Chris­ti­ans and the whole cong­re­ga­ti­on of God in the true faith. To che­rish our faith – the most im­por­tant mat­ter in our life – we need the fel­lows­hip of God’s cong­re­ga­ti­on. St. Luke has left a touc­hing ima­ge of the ear­ly cong­re­ga­ti­on in Je­ru­sa­lem in the Acts of the Apost­les, which is the first church his­to­ry: “And they con­ti­nu­ed sted­fast­ly in the apost­les’ doct­ri­ne and fel­lows­hip, and in bre­a­king of bread, and in pra­yers.” (Act 2:42)

This ide­al ima­ge was en­dan­ge­red al­re­a­dy du­ring the time of the New Co­ve­nant. That is why the apost­le re­min­ded: “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 fo­cus of the apost­le’s ex­hor­ta­ti­on is on en­cou­ra­ging one anot­her. We know from ex­pe­rien­ce how our soul is ref­res­hed when we hear the word of God. The food of the gos­pel nou­ris­hes our poor soul.

Text: Timo Rii­hi­mä­ki

Trans­la­ti­on: KK

Sour­ce: Kes­tää­kö per­he?, Ajan­koh­tais­ta 2009

Jul­kais­tu eng­lan­nin­kie­li­ses­sä kie­li­liit­tees­sä 24.11.2015.

26.5.2022

Tämä Jeesus, joka otettiin teidän luotanne taivaaseen, tulee kerran takaisin, samalla tavoin kuin näitte hänen taivaaseen menevän. Ap. t. 1:11

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