πας ο μισων τον αδελφον αυτου ανθρωποκτονος εστιν και οιδατε οτι πας ανθρωποκτονος ουκ εχει ζωην αιωνιον εν εαυτω μενουσαν εν – τουτω εγνωκαμεν την αγαπην οτι εκεινος υπερ υμων την ψυχην αυτου εθηκεν και ημεις οφειλομεν υπερ των αδελφων τας ψυχας θειναι 1 John 3:15-16
When we speak of the Word of God, some rightly say that the name implies the Scripture. Others point out that ministering the Word of God, means, teaching and ministering the Scriptures to others. This latter idea most often takes both an evangelical direction and becomes the Great Commission, and speaks of the Gospel. Whereas, another meaning becomes The Ministry of the Word through teachings and implications that have to do with the Church.
Whilst none of this is incorrect, we have to say something as a fact. The overwhelming body of the Church does not make a proper separation between the two parts. The one part is the Gospel and speaks of Christ crucified for sin, and is the message that gives rise to a gift of faith and salvation. The other talks of Ministry and has to do with the Church and primarily has to do with the Body of Christ. One gives rise to numbers of believers, the other, to how those believers are knit together and grow into the Body of Christ. However, in saying this, (and whilst many believers would agree), we may still miss what this means.
What we miss is that it is the death of Christ in His own body that represents the meaning of how to minister the Word to the body of Christ. It is also a fact that whilst many Christians see the need to evangelise others, few ever really enter into that activity. It is also a fact that many believers see the need and meaning in part of a ministry of the Word of God to the churches, yet few ever lay hold of what that means, or how that meaning is worked out in evidential ways that can be measured. What happens, as far as evangelism is concerned, is that evangelists become seen as a Ministry of the Word, and we through some help towards them, become their supporters – by which means we imagine we have become evangelists without even opening our mouths to bear witness of Christ to others.
When it comes to the Ministry of the Word to the churches, this separation between the body and the few who minister becomes even more pronounced. So that we speak of pastors, and then we sit down and wait on these pastors to minister to us. What we miss is that we see too few new converts in our midst, and we rarely acknowledge how little the pastor has achieved in us, despite that we remain the same year on year. We cannot see that he is always constrained to present the Gospel to believers who do not need the Gospel of repentance but need to walk in the light. Or else why did the Apostle Paul speak:
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.”
If we are honest we would have to ask ourselves which believer needs to endlessly hear about their forgiveness when they should know about their fleshy lives – else not seeing the flesh, we vainly imagine we have become spiritual men. In short, we are stagnant, and so we become religious and do some practical things such as feeding the poor, and even then we may not get directly involved but hear about it in the church announcements. We tithe our money to the churches, and we imagine we have done well even though in our midst nothing changes from one decade to the next. Such a thing is utter vanity.
A Minimum Effect
The simplest way to address this condition may be to say that the term the Word of God is missed and that we have proven by our continued stagnation that we have lost what it signifies. It is also in the same meaning applied to the term, the Ministry of the Word. So when we say that the name implies the Scripture [and] others, that the Ministry of the Word means, teaching and ministering the Scriptures to others – we have disclosed a profound truth, but not understood what we have said.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
The Word of God means all that which the Father has done, intended to do and will do through Christ. And unless we lay hold of that fact we may as well throw ourselves into the gutter. As Christians, we may very well have come to believe in Christ, and we may also speak of being born again. We may even talk about the Scripture, and we may speak of the Ministry of the Word, by which meaning we are saying that Ministers teach the Scripture to believers. Yet if we have not comprehended, and so well, that Christ is the sum of the Fathers’ will and purposes, we have a mere philosophy and not Christ at all – save for in the most basic sense of being born again in our spirits.
The very minimum effect of reading the Word of God is that it ought to point us to Christ. If so, then it must be Christ as He is, and not a christ of our imaginations. If not, then we will have to face persecution when it comes and with no ability to bear with it, or else to stand in the face of its meaning. It is Christ in us and not a christ of our invention that will give us the power to walk faithfully now, and stand fearlessly in the day of intolerance that is coming upon us. If we have not seen just how vile our nation has become, how men and women have been empowered to hate us, despise us and demand that we throw Christ into the gutter, then we have missed things by a mile. Not only is that the case, but Islam, which makes of Christ a worthless and utterly useless man, also claims to be persecuted by the very same power of Government. Yet it is Islam that has removed Christ from His true meaning, and Islam that is being pressed upon us by the same men and women who despise Christianity and now increasingly occupy an influence upheld in law.
If we do not remove ourselves from mere religion, if by that we mean some good works, then, in the end, we will find that religion will destroy us. We are not called to be simply religious, which the Apostle James defines as, undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world – we are called to be a holy nation unto God. The character of which is the love of God, and our neighbour as ourselves – without fear or favour. The Scripture will give us that meaning if we lay hold of it as it is because then we will have laid hold of Christ, by the Scripture. And seeing that we are born again of His Spirit, we will indeed reveal Christ as the Scripture speaks of Him. When we do that, then we will be renewed in our minds, and Christ will be our strength and our shield, and we will learn to walk in the Spirit.