Estimated reading time: 5 minute(s)
Dear brothers and sisters, I solemnly assure you that the Good News of salvation which I preach is not based on mere human reasoning or logic.
Well, yeah! That is one thing that God’s plan could never be accused of being… LOGICAL! 🙂 It seems so unbelievable, really. A being who has no beginning and end creates all that exists, and before he did that he already planned to put on skin and hang out with us for a time, until just the right time when he could die a horrendous death at our hands. For our guilt. Taking our penalty for our deviancy. THEN, that same God got up again 3 days later and as he left us, gave us a piece of him to live inside us. He lives every moment not just by our side, but INSIDE us. As close as we can be. And all of this was planned before the beginning of time.
Jesus said that most people wouldn’t die for a good man (translation: “a cool dude”) but that some might die for a very good man (translation: “a SUPER cool dude”). That is just insane. If someone else did something wrong, and the punishment was death – even if it wasn’t their fault… wasn’t malicious – would you step up and say, “Oh wait! Pick me! Pick me!!!” No. Probably not. What if it was your Mom? She counts as a “SUPER cool dude”, doesn’t she? OK… you’d definitely have to think about it if it was your MOM! But, how about your neighbor? Or a friend from college?
What about your worst enemy? The person whom everything they do seems aimed at hurting you. Would you… could you volunteer to take their just punishment?
No, Paul… we don’t think you concocted that from human reason or logic.
For my message came by a direct revelation from Jesus Christ himself. No one else taught me.
I think Paul is suggesting here that his training was quite special. No doubt, it most certainly was. He was on his way to kill some more Christians and a light knocks him off his high horse. Light. Usually, light doesn’t do that. He hears a voice, and Jesus in no uncertain terms let him know that he was wrong. So, the man then called Saul becomes the incredible apostle Paul. Changing the course of history by his now well-aimed zeal. And all of that was through a personal encounter with Jesus. Not a Christianity 101 class, or even a series of mentoring sessions with a wise aged brother in the faith. Just a little talk with Jesus. (I think that’s a song…) 🙂
Now that doesn’t happen today, right? Jesus has delegated the teaching to us, right? To those we put in leadership over ourselves?
We heard a talk on an interesting verse a while back. In 1 John 2:27 it says:
But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you all things, and what he teaches is true–it is not a lie. So continue in what he has taught you, and continue to live in Christ.
This was only a small point of that talk we were listening to, but it stood out to me. We live in a culture of experts. There are specialists in every field. “Leave it to the Pros!” After all, the pros have been to school for 180 years and have 5 degrees in each field of expertise. They have been trained by the best, and know WAY better than you do! (And maybe better than you ever could!) We even pay people to listen to us. Psychologists and Psychiatrists are a fascinating lot to me. How can you pay someone to listen to you? 🙂
Think about it. If you have a problem or a question, who do you go to? Some of you may live next door to Mr. Fix It, like me. Matt is the first person I go to. 🙂 But mostly, we talk to an expert, right? (Maybe Matt is an expert…) If something is broken, we take it to an expert to repair it. If we are broken, we go to a doctor, at least for advice. (For which we shell out $75 or so) If we have a serious spiritual question, we talk to a pastor. Right? Isn’t that what we do?
But God has offered us so much more! He has offered us HIS expert advice. There certainly is nothing wrong with seeking wisdom from others. The Bible says as much. In Proverbs we are told that it is wise to seek counsel. But we often seek it in the wrong places. We look for help from so-called experts who know nothing about us. We seek help from those we feel are authorities. John tells us that we have received the Holy Spirit. We don’t need anyone to teach us what is true. Why? Because HE does. Holy Spirit. In you.
Now that’s a crazy thought, isn’t it? In our culture of management we don’t like that idea very much. Some might say, “If you tell people that, they’re going to believe whatever they want to! ‘Well, God told me…’ You can’t tell them they don’t need to be taught! We are the experts! We have studied! We know the Scriptures! Listen to US!”
There could not have been anything worse for us than when we decided we need to take control of the church. We are brothers and sisters in God’s family. We are the body parts… he is the Head. None of us leads any part of the church. Pastors and teachers are not superior to others, they only care for and teach the other believers, who in return offer their gifts to everyone else. We all have gifts, but somehow we have either offered to our up front people the role of authority, or we have allowed those hungry for it to take it. Elders are not above the other brothers. They are to be imitated (like Paul said to Timothy, “Follow my example as I follow Christ.”) but not revered or elevated to some status outside of the body. That is not only an errant understanding of the church, but a disservice to them. They were not meant to bear such a burden. They are merely children of God like you, and me.
We want so much to do right, that we take control to make it happen. What we might do is allow God to do his work. Allow Jesus to lead his church. Not be so bent on controlling the way people think, but perhaps teach them to know and hear and listen to Holy Spirit who is IN them.
I am not thinking Paul meant all of this in the simple statement that started this, but it triggered a stream of thought. We don’t like to think that people can learn directly from God. Paul is an example. John says we all are.
For further study: Visit StudyLight.org