Monday, September 6, 2010

What the ministry of the Word does.

And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Acts 20:32

Paul spoke these words to the Ephesian elders as he left them to return to Jerusalem. His stirring charge to them is a classic on pastoral ministry and care. But his belief in God's ability to keep them made this departure easier to bear. He commended them to God and to God's Word. He knew that the Word of God would continue to help them grow and mature in Christian faith and leadership. He knew that by having elders who were mature and growing in their relationship with Christ in this way, the church would also grow and mature.

The ministry of the Word of God does several things. It builds us up. Paul believes that part of the reason believers should be understanding the scriptures is that it leads to truths that encourage us, strengthen us, and lead us on to maturity. The Word of God builds us up. The context is community. The teaching of the Bible will build up the community of the church. It will help us all grow.

The ministry of the Word of God gives us an inheritance. The first effect, building us up, tells us what we will be doing. By giving us an inheritance, the Bible tells us where we will be going. It is a way to know that all the details of my life are pointed by God in a definite direction. Eternity is a destination with God forever. And ultimately learning the truths of scripture prepares me for the experience that I was created for... my privilege before the world began.

The final thing Paul mentions is sanctification. The scripture give us a relationship with other believers who are also being made more holy by exposure to and obedience of the Word of God. Again, sanctification like edification has a culture in which it thrives with mutual believers. It is a mutual expression in the Body of Christ. The church is supposed to be a place where holy lives are lived for the glory of the Lord.

This quick sketch by Paul confirms that commitment to reading, understanding, and studying the scriptures is important. It is crucial to Christian growth because it leads to edification, sanctification, and ultimately the experience of our glorification with Christ and God the Father forever.

- Posted with my iPad. The Apple Kool-Aide tastes fine.

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