Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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February 22 – The Word Of God Increasing

“And the Word of God was increasing. And the number of the disciples in Jerusalem was multiplying exceedingly; even a great crowd of the priests obeyed the faith.”  Acts 6:7

Devotional Thought For The Day

Generally in the Gospel accounts [and also in much of the prophetic literature of the Old Testament] people in the “religious establishment” [priests and full-time religious workers] are opposed to the Word of God, aligned with the will of the political leadership [the rich and powerful], and unwilling to enter the kingdom of God through repentance and faith.  Several years ago I heard about a book that was titled “Can Pastors Also Be Saved?”  There is much about “religiosity” that is inimical to genuine humble repentance and faith and trust in One Savior, Lord, and Master – the Lord Jesus Christ.  That is why this report, that “even a great crowd of the priests obeyed the faith” is so astounding, remarkable, and pleasing. It is important to note the power at work in accomplishing this miracle – “the Word of God was increasing and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem was multiplying exceedingly.”  This too is a rather remarkable and astonishing report since the observation of Jesus is what generally prevails in regard to the success of the kingdom:  “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”  [Matt. 7:13,14]  Jesus immediately adds one of the principle reasons for this dismal reality:  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”  [Matt. 7:15]

So we should all be aware that the sinful propensities of mankind also infiltrate and permeate the life of the church.  Most people are aware that their pastors are sinful human beings just like the rest of us.  The scriptural observations that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” and that “there is not a just man upon the earth that doeth good and sinneth not” [Rom. 3:23; Eccl. 7:20] also apply to pastors [as they do to all of us!].  Likewise, our sinful nature is infected with the same tendencies to pervert and corrupt the life of the church into “religion” – as we observe in descriptions of the Old Testament leaders and the religious establishment of Jesus’ day.  The temptations are many to focus on all kinds of other “activities” rather than the Word of God – which alone has power to increase and multiply the “number of disciples . . . who obey the faith.”  We ourselves are averse to allowing the Word of God to govern all things in our lives – and find many more appealing ways to decide important aspects of faith and life.  We seek to influence pastors to “go along” with us, perhaps even using our money and influence to coerce or entice them – and many pastors capitulate.  When they do so, they may become part of the “ravenous wolves” – agents of the enemy, and no longer servants of the Word of God.  Perhaps nothing is as dismal as a “church” and “ministry” which claims and uses God’s Name when they have in fact abandoned God’s Word which alone builds God’s kingdom!

So for pastors and leaders within the church, nothing is more critical than allowing the Word of God [Holy Scripture, the Bible] to capture our hearts and minds, keeping us in humble repentance and firm and genuine faith in the gracious mercy, forgiveness, and love of God in Christ Jesus – the obedience of faith.  For the life and health of the real church, nothing is more critical than keeping the Word of God [which is this Gospel] as the central thing in the life of the church [really, the only thing!].  Whether or not the number of disciples is increased and multiplied is God’s business: “no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit” [1 Cor. 12:3] – and this happens only by means of the Word of God, for “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” [Rom. 10:17]  So our prayer, and our chief priority must always be that the Word of God be increasing in our midst.

There are many perilous dynamics that can derail the life of the church, perverting and corrupting even the hearts and minds of the leaders.  Thankfully God’s power continues through His Word, and the miracles of faith and discipleship continue to be produced within the church.  May this be our simple and single desire for ourselves and for our church!

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, thanks and praise be to You that Your Word has power to break through all of the barriers to repentance and faith that exist in our hearts and minds – many of which are “religious,” so that by Your grace we too have come to know and believe Your great love for us, and have been incorporated into the obedience of faith.  Grant that Your kingdom continue to come to us, and within our congregations.  Preserve all of Your priests, even Your pastors, in this repentance and faith.  Amen.