Thursday, August 21, 2008

The "Lesser" Apostles

So many people want to be likened to the better-known Apostles of scripture. These include Peter The Rock, John The Beloved and Paul The Apostle Born Out of Time. All of these get the most “coverage” in the New Testament as well as in modern study and books written on the Apostles. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that either, so don’t think this is a tirade on how great these men were made out and are made out to be – because they were great men that God did His work through. In that light they should not be glorified, as no man should be – but the Lord Himself that gave these men the knowledge, boldness and understanding of His Word.

First, do you liken yourself to any of these men? Have you ever said, “God gave me the boldness of Peter and John” (Acts 4:13)? Or how about likening your situation to Paul’s thorn of the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7-10)? Have you ever acted out of emotion in haste to defend the Lord and just come an inch short of taking a mans head off (John 18:10) I’m sure many have, many will do and many will always do just that. Why is that? Because to me these Apostles that were taken from everyday life are just like us. They were workingmen that knew nothing of the Lord. That is until He called them to follow Him. They walked with the Lord, physically. Christ Himself chose them.

So what about the other Apostles? Why do people not liken themselves to them? I for one relate much more to Andrew, Jude, Thomas and even Matthias. I have never had the boldness of Peter, but I have brought men to Christ as Simon Peter’s brother Andrew did. I haven’t preached and 3000 got saved, but I have proclaimed the Word and contended for the Faith as Jude did. Well, I have even doubted as Thomas did.

I am actually content with being a “lesser” of the Lords. Just as long as I am of the Lords flock is all that matters to me. I have nothing to brag of except the Lords saving Grace, extended to a sinful man like me. I do however relate to Paul’s brokenness for sinning – I do what I don’t want to do and do not do what I should do (Romans 7:15-20). I stand broken before God, unworthy of His mercy and grace. I have done nothing to deserve His hand extending to me, His outreaching arms of love and forgiveness. I stand in awe that the Creator of the Universe knows me, chose me and forgives me. How can a person explain that? I certainly can’t, I know only Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 2:2). What a wonderful passage of scripture 1 Cor 2:1-5 is, in that passage I do relate to Paul on a personal level. I speak with much trembling and without much wisdom or ability to speak. Wow! Paul, the pen and ink that penned the Words of the Lord, much of the New Testament was fearful too? Paul didn’t know what to say either? Paul didn’t know how to speak to men or what to say? I can relate to that. But what is even greater is what God did through Paul and Paul never got a big ego about it. Paul was grounded, maybe even through his thorn of the flesh, the buffer given to him.

So what of the other Apostles do you relate? I am fine with being a Andrew or Jude. I glory in the Lord choosing me out of this World to become His child. I am about to start a study into the lesser-known Apostles. God chose them for a reason, if not then there would have been just a handful of Apostles, the better known ones – Simon Peter, John The Beloved, James, Paul.

Only one of the original 12 do I not want to be likened. You guessed him, Judas Iscariot. But we all know a Judas. I am sure we all know many Judas’ and if you think you do not, then you better make sure you are not a Judas yourself. Examine yourself (2 Cor. 13:5), make sure that you are a true child of God and not just walking a lie and doing things for a cover, while you secretly live a life betraying the Lord. Do you rest your faith in a decision and not in Christ? Do you look to your past for a proof of salvation in a prayer or a decision? Does your spiritual life consist only of an occasional visit to church on a sparse Sunday Morning or saying bless you when someone sneezes? If so then you really need to cry out to the Lord to show you His grace and to change your heart of cold stone into a heart that He can mold and conform to His desires.

Do not rest your faith in a sinner’s prayer, or 4 spiritual laws, a walk down an aisle or a preacher’s affirmation that you were saved. If after any of those things you did not become a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), you did not repent and turn from your sins you are in serious jeopardy of hellfire. Stop reading this now, stop surfing the web now and cry out to God to show you mercy and change your God hating heart. Only He can do that. Not a preacher, not a prayer, not 10 stanzas of “Just As I Am”, not being baptized, not going to church, not being a good person. Nothing but Gods grace can save you.

A great learning wxperience of the Lord's will be held on October 11th at the Robert Cherry Civic Center in Paducah KY. Beginning at 10:00 AM, there will be 3 session that outline What is Wrong With American Christianity, The Essential Elements of the Gospel and What is True Conversion. The Lord is really moving through the planning and execution of theis conference. Please make plans now to attend as space is limited. Click this paragraph for a link to the website with info on how to register and more info on the conference and the speaker, Pastor Michael Durham.

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