Thought for May 8th. “WHICH IS ABLE TO BUILD YOU UP”
We read today of Paul’s final meeting with the Ephesian elders (Acts 20 v.18-38). These verses are a powerful testimony to what matters most in serving our Lord. First he tells them, “I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” [v.26,27] When we teach others we must do the same: this is why our daily reading of God’s word, working through the New Testament every 6 months and the Old Testament every 12, is invaluable – in helping us to absorb “the whole counsel of God.” In serving our Lord in these final days, we seek to absorb those parts which are most helpful in our understanding of that counsel.
Paul is sad, saying, ” I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away disciples after them.” [v.29,30] And so it happened – and continues down to this day – this is a major reason why it is essential to daily feed on the whole of God’s word right through the year, each year.
Paul tells them, “And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance …” [v.32] What a privilege! It is the greatest thing in life, the preparation for eternal life. We must notice it is ” the word of his grace.” We can in no way ‘earn’ salvation – to succeed in living so that we feel we ‘deserve’ a place in God’s kingdom – but we can – and should – live so that we develop a wonderful spiritual relationship with our Lord.
In completing our thoughts this morning we are drawn to the concluding words and prayer of our Lord to his disciples before his arrest. We find them in John 17 v.20-21. ” I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
And so the true original ‘church’ was established – feeding on God’s word “which is able to build (us) up and to give (us) the inheritance …” But today we live in a world which seeks, more than ever, to tear down all that is spiritual, or at least adulterate God’s words so that it conveys no message of hope for our world – or warning about what the future holds. And the world’s future is – very dark – for those who have no relationship with God: make sure you have – and you are being built up each day..