As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: Luke 1:70
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:21
There is a common thread throughout the Bible that is commonly overlooked. Whenever there is an important event in the interaction between God and man there is always someone who stands and rehearses the entire history of God’s dealings with man from the beginning. They take the present circumstances or happenings and eloquently and powerfully place them in the context of the whole scheme of God’s plan of redemption for mankind. Countless times the history of Israel was rehearsed before the children of Israel in the desert, and after they possessed the promised land. Then throughout all the cycles of revival and apostasy during the judges and kings of Israel and Judah, at every critical juncture there was always a prophet who would stand and present the history of God’s dealings and God’s promises and charge them to turn from their waywardness and get back in accord with God’s plan. In times of revival the same thing would happen to encourage the people to stay true to God and his Word and his ways. We come to the New Testament and we find in the first chapter of Luke the same thing when Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost and was prophesying of John and of Christ. He saw what was happening in the context of God’s whole plan since the beginning of time. Peter did the same thing on the day of Pentecost when he preached to the multitudes. Stephen did exactly the same thing when he preached that day before he was stoned to death. Paul also followed the same pattern when he preached, not only on Mars Hill, but on other occasions as well. On the road to Emmaus that day Jesus "…beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." He went to the beginning and rehearsed it all again for them in order to put the present happenings in the context of God’s whole scheme, and to make them understand.
It works. This is the way we really get understanding. This is a very important thing for us to get our minds around and apply to our own lives. Does your faith fit into God’s whole scheme of things? Do you know where you came from, where you are now, and where you are going? Is the faith you have really a part of what has been going on since the beginning of time? Would you feel a kindred spirit with Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, David, and others? Or would you soon find yourself in some sort of conflict with them?
It appears that there is a lot of religion that is just contemporary. It is isolated from the past, not very concerned with the future, and focused almost entirely on the present. This is contemporary Christianity and it is not the "faith once delivered to the saints." There is "one faith, one Lord, and one baptism." God has one plan for all of mankind. It is the same for all cultures, races, nationalities, and tongues. We are told that the great multitude in heaven will be made up of all nations, and kindreds, and tongues, and people. They were all part of the same work and plan of God. So the modern reasoning for adopting contemporary music and methods is invalid. What God has been doing since the beginning works across all boundaries of culture, race, language, and nationality. We are not to modify the message or the methods of God in order to get people to become Christians. The message of God changes people, and the method God has chosen is the preaching of the Word of God. We must be a part of what God is doing. If our faith is focused primarily on our present needs, problems, or even our present victories and successes, it is not the kind of faith we need. Faith that must accommodate changing fads, changing morals, and other opinions is not even close to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Saving faith embraces all God has done since the beginning and all that He will do in the future. Saving faith sees itself in that context, and not simply the present.
Seeing yourself as part of the family of God from the beginning to the end will carry you through some impossibly difficult things. It enlarges your vision and your understanding, and strengthens your soul and your faith in God. So few of us have the opportunity to be around strong and salty Christians who are firmly established and who inspire others to attempt great things for God. Weakness and instability are by far the more common example that most people have before them. With our view enlarged we can look to Abraham, Moses, David, all the prophets, Jesus himself, the Apostles, and all those who have also been a part of the kingdom of God through all the centuries. Many Christians today have to survive spiritually without much help from their local church or fellow Christians. But even those in the worst situations can encourage themselves in the Lord by seeing themselves as part of a much bigger scheme of things than their present circumstances.
So, like anyone who is sailing on a long journey, let us all stop often and take our bearings by looking back and then forward in God’s great plan, and realize that we are part of it.
December 22, 2011
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