Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I spoke with a young person recently who was, as it were, spiritually starstruck. He had been in contact with someone who knew and often fellowshipped with several famous contemporary Christian communicators, and who obviously dropped the names on a regular basis. You could see the wonder in the young believers's eyes as he spoke of the matter, and he clearly expected me to bask with him in the shared glory.

I couldn't do so, although I well understand the temptation. We are living in days when names and human personages are marketed in Christendom no less than in the world. This is a far cry from the days of the New Testament when the apostles, rather than attaining to fame and honor, became "the offscouring of all things," that is, they became dirt to be rubbed off (I Corinthians 4:13). It is also a far cry from our eternal future when the sole heavenly passion of our purified hearts will be to honor the name and person of the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone suffered and died for our sins.

Certainly it is acceptable to appreciate those who bless us with the Word of God. It is not acceptable, however, to forget that the teacher or preacher who helps us is just as much in need for continual grace and mercy as we are. More vividly, we must never directly or tacitly glorify anyone whose sins made necessary the tortured forsakenness and death of the Lord Jesus on the cross. The authentic communicator will speak, write, and act in a manner that ensures we do not do so, and will seek to hide his own name and person in order to exalt his Lord. He will hope to be forgotten, as was the dew that brought God's manna to the children of Israel (Exodus 16:14). He will often look at his hands, and see no nailprints on them. He will constantly affirm within his own heart and mind that any good thing that comes from him is not of him. He will recognize the inherent danger in affirmation and acclamation, and view both in the awareness that grave temptation often accompanies them. Most of all, he will aggressively seek ways and words to ensure that he does not become a source of idolatry to unsuspecting saints who forget that the lust of their flesh is always seeking to worship any and everything other than the living God.

In every human field and endeavor, communicators are believed to have ascended to a plane of knowledge and being that separates them from the masses. While the former may be true in some cases, the latter is not, particularly in spiritual terms. "In Him, we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). We do well to remember this, and also to pray for those who teach and preach the Word of God. In times such as these, they will need continual reminders that the light which shines through them is not of them. They will require much remembrance that their sins led to the horror, agony, forsakenness, and death of Calvary. And we will need to remember this also.

"And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him. And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends. And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man."
(Acts 10:23-26)

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