Friday, December 1, 2023

 The Privilege
Power of the gospel

Bob Briner

I Thessalonians 2:4

“To be put in trust with the gospel” – Entrusting man with the gospel was perhaps the greatest responsibility God ever gave to him, while at the same time, it was perhaps one of the greatest privileges. The Apostle Paul was very glad for the ministry he had been given.

To Paul, it was indeed a privilege, the very highest vocation. “Ye remember…our labor and travail…we preached unto you the gospel of God…how holy and justly and unblameable we behaved ourselves…we exhorted, comforted and charged every one of you” – I Thess. 2:9-11.

Paul expresses to Timothy his pleasure that he was called to be a minister of the gospel, I Tim. 1:11-12, “Which was committed to my trust.” Here is the word “trust” again that we read in I Thess. 2:4. The Greek reads “Entrusted” which means to charge to a specified office. In verse 12 of I Tim. 1, Paul tells of his enabling. “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me.” Paul says in I Cor. 15:10, “Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

Paul would agree certainly with Jesus when He said in John 14:10, “The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works.” Just as Jesus, in His humanity became that vessel through which God the Father could work, Paul became a vessel through which Christ could work. We do the same as we yield to His enabling. The apostle says, “I can do all things through Christ.” We whole heartedly agree!

Paul says, “He counted me faithful” I Tim. 1:12. Note, the apostle says, “counted” not “Made” and this is suggestive of Grace. God “called those things which be not as though they were.” He sees the end from the beginning.

The last part of verse 12 reads, “Putting me in the ministry.” If we are successful in one ministry the Lord gives us, it’s because He does the “Putting” Col. 1:25-29. Paul’s “putting” is first noted in Acts 9:15, “For he is a chose vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles.”

“Even so we speak” – Paul said, “For necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel” I Cor. 9:16. We are admonished to be prepared to give out the Word; Col. 4:6; I Pet. 3:15. Paul tells Timothy: “The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” II Tim. 2:2. “Even so we speak” – So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.” Rom. 1:15. Paul loved his vocation!

“Not as pleasing men, but God” – C.E.O.’s of large corporations make huge compensations because they have what one would call “great responsibility.” They must please customers, employees and stockholders, but they answer only to man. They that are entrusted with the gospel, of course, answer to God. He is the One they want to please. Col. 1:10 and I John 3:22.

“Which trieth our hearts” – One translation says, “But to please God, who is testing my motives.” When the Pharisees put Jesus to the test to see if He would heal on the Sabbath, we read “But He knew their thoughts” Luke 6:8.

When feeding the 5,000, Jesus did not say, “How shall we feed them?” He said, “Whence shall we buy bread?” In John 6:6 we read, “And this he said to prove him” for he himself knew what he would do.” Jesus knew Philip would count his money. “For your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” Matt. 6:8. He knows our thoughts and motives, past, present and future.

We read of the power of God’s Word in Psalm 33:9, “ For he spake, and it was done.” Peter had fished all night and caught nothing. Jesus said to him “Launch out unto the deep, and let down your nets.” Peter responds by saying, “At thy word I will let down the net” Luke 5:5. The centurion told Jesus in Matthew 8:8, “speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.” We read in Genesis, all of  God’s works, He merely spoke into existence. Paul speaks of the power of God’s Word in Rom. 1:16, “For it is the power of God unto Salvation.”

“Even so we speak.” – We hesitate oftentimes to give others the Word of God – perhaps because Satan may tell us, “They won’t listen to you” or “They will only ridicule you.” This may be true in the natural, but the gospel is not natural, it is supernatural! May the Holy Spirit cause us to remember the difference and to boldly proclaim the gospel. We too, as Paul, are glad that God has entrusted us with the gospel and “so we speak.” We pass it on! Not to please men, but God – who knows our motives and “trieth our hearts.”

The gospel tells us that we are not alone in our spiritual battles, but that the Lord is with us. He is on our side, it’s His battle and He makes us winners!

If God be for us, who can be against us?”