Monday, July 30, 2012

Throwing Pearls To The Swine

You and I both know there is a lot of crazy stuff on the Internet. It is almost laughable that people will scoff at our belief in Jesus, in a omnipotent God, in the Creator of all things, and yet believe the stars can tell them what their day will be like. There is also the strong belief that man is responsible for his own salvation. This in the face of the fact of man's history of violence and destruction. People still deny the truth of our slavery to all the wrong things, even the though we have kept a good record of all these things we have done.

It is important in a world of instant information that we get our facts from a reliable source. In an instant I can find the best banana bread recipe, how to fix my toilet, the latest Olympic medal standings and the meaning of John 3:16. It's amazing but not all sources are based on truth and fact and that is extremely important to understand. There are a lot of opinions and half truths kicking around the internet.

This was Paul's concern even in his day, that those who were young in their faith would be led astray by fine sounding words and arguments. He expressed this to the Colossians:

I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. (Colossians 2:4)

There are a lot of people who love to debate and, as far as the world is concerned, they are good at it. They are great at arguing, especially when they are not willing to allow us to use the Bible are our authorized source. But that's where we make our mistake: We try to present Jesus as some kind of history project. We present him in the same way that a Muslim presents Mohammed or someone speaks of Gandhi. The presentation of Jesus is ineffective if we are just trying to use fine-sounding arguments:

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)

We keep using words and leaving out the power. Jesus is not a dead historical figure but a present, powerful Saviour who changes and transforms lives. By his authority we heal the sick, bring sight to the blind, cause the lame to walk, cast out demons. Or at least we should, but we don't do much of it these days because we keep leaving aside the very real power that is Jesus, King and Lord over all creation. But even when we do use this power in us, the resurrection power, it doesn't mean we don't use any words:

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:
“No eye has seen,
    no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
    what God has prepared for those who love him” 
but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:6-10)

Therein lies my point. We cannot present Jesus as this world presents things and we cannot argue with the supposed wise-men of this age. Jesus is not a formula or a methodology as the world understands it and actual understanding comes via the conviction of the Holy Spirit. It is by the anointing of the Spirit that we know and understand Jesus:

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

Presenting Jesus to a person without the Spirit is fine because we do it in the power of the Holy Spirit, with signs and wonders, through a demonstration of God's power via words of knowledge into a person's life. However, we do not argue Jesus to a person without the Spirit because it is throwing pearls "before swine". They just trample those pearls into the mud because they cannot understand the value of them. People need to know Jesus beyond words, they need to see him manifested based on the Word of God.

Elegant words and fine-sounding arguments can be taught in Bible Schools and through formal education but the power of which Paul speaks only comes through the Spirit in us. We need to spend more time learning about the Spirit and how to make ourselves open to him. We need to learn to surrender ourselves so he can work through us. We need to stop with our human effort to save the world and become free agents of the Holy Spirit, spreading the power of God to the darkest regions of this world. The wisdom of this world cannot match the wisdom of our God, so it is time to set aside the pretty words, stop listening to the logic of this world and present Jesus through the Spirit in us.

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