|Posted on May 1, 2018 at 12:30 AM|
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
(1Thessalonians 2:13 NKJ)
On Sunday we looked at Luke 1:1-4 and how Luke wrote the gospel to give Theophilus and others certainty about God’s fulfillment of His promises in the person and work of Jesus Christ. However, Luke knew that it would be through His writing of the gospel, and Theophilus reading the Word, that God would use these means to give him such certainty.
God is sovereign over all things and able to bring about His will at will, just as Ephesians 1:11b tells us, “who works all things according to the counsel of His will”, and Psalm 135:6, “6 Whatever the LORD pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places.” However, the sovereign God of the universe chooses to use means to accomplish His will. For example, God chose to use the means of the gospel of Luke to bolster the faith of many so that they would have certainty. God uses the words of men (the written or proclaimed Word), inspired by the Holy Spirit, to give understanding by God, Jesus, and/or the Holy Spirit so that people will comprehend the Scriptures. Consider the passage read at the end of Sunday’s message in Luke 24:44-45, “44 Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.”
We read of Jesus plainly stating that this is exactly what God does with Peter. Jesus asks two questions of His disciples, first, “Who do men say that I am?”, and second, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter acknowledges that Jesus is, “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” With so many rejecting who Jesus is, why such a different view believed and professed by Peter? Jesus answers that question for us in Matthew 16:17, “Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” From the preaching and teaching of the truth concerning Jesus, by Jesus, God the Father revealed the truth to Peter in such a way that he understood who Jesus was.
Though men are in such a condition that they are deaf and blind to God, God is pleased to do a miracle through the preaching of His Word, “In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, And the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness." (Isaiah 29:18 NKJ) Luke, Theophilus, the unnamed disciple, Cleopas, Peter, and all who believe required God to do this mighty work in our understanding that we might comprehend the Scriptures. Paul knew this, and thought it was so important to know that he shared how God powerfully works through His Word in us in 1 Thessalonians 2:13. The word for ‘effectively works’ is mostly used in the Scripture to describe a supernatural work done by God. Here, Paul states that he and others proclaimed the Word to the Thessalonians, the Thessalonians heard the words of men but God supernaturally gave them ability to understand them as truly the words of God.
This ought to be of great encouragement to us.
First, if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ we ought to be thankful that God thought of us such that He miraculously worked in us so that we would understand the Scripture and receive it as true, as the Word of God. Hear the words spoken to Peter as though they were spoken to you, ‘Blessed are you, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’
Second, this ought to give us great encouragement as we share very difficult truths with the lost. The spiritually deaf need to hear, and God can give them hearing as we speak the gospel. We can share the ‘words of the book’, what is called foolish by the blind, but we know God who is able and does give them eyes to see.
Third, we ought to all the more seek to keep the Word before our children. If God gives understanding and supernaturally works through His Word we can see why God said to teach it diligently to them, when we sit, when we walk, when we lie down, when we rise up, why the Word ought to be always on our minds and ever before our eyes and theirs.
So, yes, God is sovereign, but He chooses to use you and me (ordinary means) to share His gospel with others so that through these means, God gives understanding (extraordinary means) to the minds of men, women, and children to comprehend the words as truth, as His Word, that we all would be certain!
Soli Deo Gloria,