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Living and Lasting

1 Peter 1:24-25
For, ‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures for ever.’ And this is the word that was preached to you. (NIVUK)

Commercialism encourages us to seize the moment and clinch the deal.  We admire the successful, who win the wealth which others lose.  Human knowledge, intelligence, business and management skills are valued in order to win a strategic advantage.  But such gains are as fragile as we are; each person’s contribution is soon replaced by another’s.  The truth is that none of us is here for very long, and few will remember us after we are gone (Psalm 103:15-16).  Much of what we work for will disintegrate, and whatever does remain will become the property of others.  Although this is not the sort of thing that appears on company reports, it is as true as today's verse!

By contrast, God's Word never changes.  It always remains fresh, vital, active, powerful, and (while used extensively to benefit many) never loses its potency (Hebrews 4:12).  The ministry of churches and missions investing the Word of God into people's hearts may be carried forwards by a succession of godly people, but it is God's Word which has the cutting edge (Hebrews 4:12) and does the work.  Even when the Word is ignored for years, when people start to listen it still changes lives to God's glory. God's Word is not for human beings to build their own empires, but for God to build His own kingdom.

Preaching is a special type of communication.  It means to announce something important and explain it publicly, with the intention to persuade, urge and warn - so that people will take action.  This may happen in churches but most people who need to hear the gospel do not go to church.  ‘Preaching’ also includes the many conversations Christians have with unbelievers about Christ.  Although the word ‘preaching’ now seems to have a negative connotation in the West, it is the apostolic word for communicating the gospel and encouraging a response (2 Timothy 4:2). It does not rely on a pulpit or lectern, but a heart which is convinced that God’s Word is true and is not ashamed to explain the gospel (Romans 1:16).   

However foolish the gospel may appear, those who receive it are transformed by the power of God. Preaching the gospel in churches and missions will bring people to Christ.  So will the one-to-one conversations where a believer explains how Jesus has changed their life.  Do your friends and colleagues know the authentic Gospel?  Why not arrange to read and discuss it together, or with a group of others at work. If you are unsure of how to explain it, click www.crosscheck.org.uk and share it with others.  Seize the moment for Christ’s sake; God's Word is giving people new life all over the world right now.

Prayer 
Almighty God. It is wonderful to know that You still speak through the Bible to convict sinners and bring them into Your kingdom. Please forgive me for being ashamed of the gospel, being fearful of others and not believing that You can use me to announce Your truth. Help me to honour the potency of Your Word, and the eternal spiritual needs of my friends, and to expect that You will work in their lives as I share it with them. But in whatever way I work with You, may I never take the glory for what You are doing in building Your kingdom through Your Word. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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