God Gets To Choose

God Gets To Choose

     I am one of twenty people who take the message of hope to my home town in Hampshire, England. We call ourselves ‘town pastors’, although only a few us are professional clergy. Sometimes we meet people in Alton late at night who are open and receptive to the Gospel and, of course, we attempt to be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have with gentleness and respect (paraphrasing 1 Peter 3:15). At times it seems an awesome, if not daunting responsibility. What if we make a mess of things? Of course, we do have responsibility; we should know the Gospel that Paul summarises in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. We should demonstrate the Gospel by accepting and loving those people. But we can also be reassured that, as for Lydia, it wasn’t Paul’s eloquence that moved her to faith in Christ, but God himself. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia…the Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. (Acts 16:14) Paul says of himself that many thought him a poor speaker (2 Corinthians 10:10) but as Luke reports, the response to his witness, whether poor or not, was entirely up to God – and so it is with us town pastors. It is God’s choice to reveal himself through his mighty Spirit, and that is a wonderfully gracious act for those that would ‘be sent’ to bear witness to Christ, as we are therefore released from: Concern over knowing or choosing to whom we speak – it...
Preach

Preach

Preach Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. (1 Thessalonians 2:9) The Greek word that is most often translated as ‘preach’ is κηρύσσω – kérussó (Strong’s 2784). The word in the Koine has an uncertain origin but the definition is ‘to be or act like a herald’ or ‘to proclaim’. The role of a herald has changed with time. Coming to the English language from the Old French heraut from the Frankish via herewald, literally ‘war-ruler’, in other words a martial or commander, it has three distinct contemporary meanings: 1. A messenger 2. A harbinger 3. A steward (of heraldry -a rank/position at the College of Arms) All three meanings are relevant to the ‘preacher’ of the Gospel, who is entrusted (stewardship) with a message of the coming of the Kingdom of God. In the same passage to the one above Paul says: …we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. (v4) But there is another meaning, especially given to the verb ‘to herald’ and this is ‘sing the praises of’ – this is surely what all Christians, joy-filled with the fruit of the spirit, wish to do? However, sadly this is often not the case. Nowadays, the idea that a Christian should ‘preach the Gospel’, in other words, proclaim the good news of Jesus to those not in faith that he is the Christ, has become frowned upon. In conjures images of street corner evangelists ranting at...