Friday, March 4, 2016

“Wealthy Paupers”

  "Wealthy Paupers"

   The Apostle Paul went forth with the proper attitude of humility, and the proper confidence of faith.

   "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8).

   "This grace given."  In the wonder of such freely given favor in the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul recognized how little he deserved the privilege of preaching among the Gentiles.  Indeed, any believer who communicates the Gospel must feel ourselves unworthy to bear the sacred Name, even as Isaiah the prophet confessed, "Woe is me, for I am undone!  For I am a man of unclean lips" (Isaiah 6:5).  The Lord redeemed Isaiah - "Thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged" - but the man of God doubtless joined Paul in the ongoing realization that only God's grace made possible the utterance of His truth (Isaiah 6:7).  "By the grace of God I am what I am" declared the Apostle, whom God counted worthy because and only because Paul trusted in the imputed worthiness of Christ (I Corinthians 15:10; I Timothy 1:12).

   With such a heart of the undeservedly blessed pauper, the Christian goes forth to bear and proclaim "unsearchable riches" promised to the hearts of all who believe.  As the old saying goes, "Witnessing involves one beggar telling another where to find bread."  We are privileged to experience and then express the vast spiritual wealth of our Savior - "the heir of all things" - as "joint heirs with Christ" (Hebrews 1:2; Romans 8:17).  We proclaim that "His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (II Peter 1:3).  Indeed, we may and must declare that the Lord Jesus supplies the answer, the solution, the provision, and the grace for every human question, need, emptiness, and challenge of our hearts - "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).  To all who trust Him, He does not disappoint - "They cried unto Thee, and were delivered: they trusted in Thee, and were not confounded" (Psalm 22:5).  Thus, we unequivocally declare "unsearchable riches" and "all spiritual blessings in the Heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).  

    When traveling to services or writing these messages, two thoughts most pervade my consciousness.  First, I marvel at the wonder of such an all sufficient Savior who is "able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20).  Then it occurs to me how completely unworthy I am of so blessed an opportunity.  I feel both sensibilities even now as I type these words.  I know you feel the same, and this moment provides yet another altar at which we may bow to rejoice in unsearchable riches, and to acknowledge the wonder of grace whereby paupers redeemed proclaim plentiful riches…  

"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich."
(II Corinthians 8:9)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
(Psalm 31:24)

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