Sunday, October 26, 2014

Proclaim, Hear, Believe

What do we expect when we gather for Sunday School, Bible study, the sermon, etc.? What is our sense of anticipation if we are the ones teaching or preaching in these gatherings? Is it enough? God works mightily through the proclamation of Christ’s Word.

“When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: ‘The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe [πιστευω] and be saved [σωζω]’” (Luke 8:4-12). To hear and believe the Word of God from the heart is to be saved.

“Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, ‘Let us go over to the other side of the lake.’ So they launched out. But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. And He said to them, ‘Where is your faith [πιστις]?’ They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?’” (8:22-25). The disciples, who had heard His Word, feared. The wind and waves heard, and obeyed (the standard for being part of His family, 8:19-21).

A man notoriously filled with the Legion of hell. Now free. “The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened. Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well [σωζω] (8:35,36).

“When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith [πιστις] has made you well [σωζω]; go in peace’” (Luke 8:47,48). This is one of the ones waiting for Jesus to “return” (8:40), who had heard Him speaking in the earlier part of the chapter (8:1-22) before they’d departed for “the country of the Gerasenes.” Why did she touch Him? Because she’d heard His Word and believed.

“While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, ‘Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.’ But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, ‘Do not be afraid any longer; only believe [πιστευω], and she will be made well [σωζω]’” (8:49,50). He commanded her to arise and she lived. Death itself cannot deny His Word.

After all the proclamation, hearing, belief/faith, and salvation (“made well”), the Lord then sends the disciples out to proclaim with His own authority.

“And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. And He said to them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city. And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’ Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere” (9:1-6). As we saw from chapter 8, the “healing” was a visible illustration of the power of proclaiming “the kingdom of God,” or “preaching the gospel.” Calming wind and wave, casting out demon-armies, healing from chronic disease, and undoing death itself: as impressive as these things are, they play a supporting role in the real work. Proclamation.

Gather, hear, and believe His Word. May we expect more from its proclamation!

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