Are We Helping or Hindering the Message of the Gospel in Other’s Ears?

Songdove Books - cloak

John Avery - The Name Quest“The Name Quest” by John Avery, Pg 189
“God answers all those who call on Him in simple faith, even if their faith derives from what someone else has told them.”

Matthew 28:19-20  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

John 20:29  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

John Avery’s statement on page 189 of his latest book, “The Name Quest” points out two things about God and faith that are integral to the Church’s obedience to and growth as a result of the Great Commission given in Matthew 28:19,20.  John uses the illustration of Jacob in this portion of his book, but another illustration could also be that of Elisha after Elijah was taken up into heaven.

2 Kings 2:14  And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.

Songdove Books - Lush RiverAs mentioned by John in his book on the names of God, Elisha in this instance is using a third-party term for God, “The LORD God of Elijah”.  By this time Elisha had been a prophet’s apprentice at Elijah’s side for some time.  He’d seen God do many things and been party to many words being delivered here and there.  But when it came time to put his faith to the test, or as Elisha thought of it, put God to the test, he used a very impersonal reference to God.  This not only illustrates God’s willingness to meet each of us where we are at, but it also shows a sad state of affairs within the ranks of those who call themselves God’s children, and worse, those who count themselves among God’s leaders and teachers.

First, as I’ve pointed out in my series and in various blog posts over the years since then, all God is waiting for is willingness.  When we show even a small but honest desire to cooperate with His desires for our lives, things happen!  God steps into action on our behalf, and if we are paying attention, we’ll get blown away!  It doesn’t matter how far or how near we are to God, what matters is that we want to step His way.  The moment we do that, God is right there.  In this manner, God is far more willing to meet us 3/4’s of the way than we ever will be meeting Him that remaining 1/4.  The moment any human being shows that sliver of heart-felt desire to come, God is already there making the way for that person to come down the home stretch.  This should have every single one of us rushing out to meet God, but sadly, there are those within the Church who still are at arm’s length.

Songdove Books - cloakWhich brings me to my second point.  Elisha typifies many believers who do genuinely know God and walk in His ways, but who are doing so at arm’s length.  They know God on a scholarly level perhaps, or the business-like practical level of bringing needs and expecting God to meet those needs. . . But on the relational level they are distant.  When the moment comes to see just where their faith truly lies, we find out it was in the person they looked up to as mentor, rather than God.  Such people call on God to move as He did for so-and-so, rather than calling on God to move here and now because of their own relationship with Him.  God is longing for a deeper, more intimate relationship with His children.  The heavenly Bridegroom is longing for His Bride to drop her hands and let Him come in close to her.  God longs for personal relationship with every single one of us and it saddens Him that so many continue to keep Him at arms’ length even after all He’s done for them.

Lastly, John’s final statement in the quote from his book above needs addressing.  If we are going to be truly obedient followers of Christ and spread the Good News as He has called us to, the faith of others will be, in a way, derived from what we have told them.  The Holy Spirit is the One who instills faith unto Salvation, but we can hinder or encourage His work by how we live the Gospel to those around us.  Are we getting in the way of and squelching the Holy Spirit’s work by offering a kind of faith that does not lead to relationship with God?  Or are we aiding the Holy Spirit’s work by displaying the kind of faith that encourages a relationship with God?  What kind of faith will others derive from our testimony?  What kind of faith will others derive from what they see of us and our walk with God?  There is a saying out there, “You are the only Bible some people will ever read”.  How does your Bible read?  Does it say God will meet you no matter how low you fall?  Does it say God will not come near unless you clean up first?  Does it say that God is near to the broken-hearted?  Does it say God only helps those who help themselves?  Some of those questions lead to healthy answers and some of those questions don’t.  Do you know which is which?  Do those who look at you know which is which?  Does your life match up with the message of the Gospel?

Thank God that Jesus knew the rest of us down through 2000 years of time would hear of God and begin our journey of faith based on what others told us.  Praise God that He is willing to reach out to that level of faith in order to draw near to us and make that faith our own.  Praise God for mentors who point us to the source of all power and grace, God the Father Himself.  But let us move past those through whom we heard.  Let us look beyond our mentors to the One they endeavored to point us to.  It’s fine to begin one’s journey of faith based on what they were told.  But eventually, God wants a first-hand, face-to-face relationship with each one of us, separate from those who brought us to Him.  Where are you on this journey?

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: