I KNOW THAT!
Jesus in Luke 10:23-24 tells his followers that they are the envy of the ages. Kings and prophets and wise men sought but didn't find—it wasn't given to them to know the things his disciples had seen and heard and had begun to understand.
Such seeing, such hearing is what created the NT church—it was the creative power of God.
Were such truths and experiences given to these followers because they were so noble-hearted, so devoted to God, so pious and intelligent that he might take them into his confidence?
We know better; but we also know that God opens and prepares hearts to see and hear what it is that he has to show and say. [You'll remember that that's what is said of Lydia in Acts 16:14. God opened her heart.] We also know that Lydia's heart was opened and the Ethiopian's eyes were opened when they were gospelled.
Is this trust not an astonishing gift God gave to these very ordinary people? To be taken into someone's confidence, to have someone unburden his or her heart, to have someone choose you and entrust to you a message they haven't given to another soul is a marvellous privilege. Something happens to a person so privileged. If they realize what has happened they have a new vision of who they are and how they're viewed by a significant other. At the same time they are called to offer an appropriate response to the commission.
Such a gift creates not only a new vision—it creates a crisis in the soul.
The kind of response depends on the nature of the truth shared and how well the trusted one has grasped the message.
[If that's true—if that's anywhere even near the truth—how should I preach and teach? What should my ceaseless message be? How should I prepare and prayerfully reflect that I myself might know and feel the call of the Message that I might share it with those God has trusted me to teach and influence? What will they constantly hear from me? What should they constantly hear from me? What is it that even the teeming millions beyond the boundaries of the covenant need the NT Church to hear?]
And how will we respond to what God has "whispered in our ears"? If it's given to be kept secret will we not purpose and work to please the one who has entrusted us with it? But if it's given to be carried to a world will we keep it to ourselves or offer it only to those we love and who love us?
Such a spellbinding confiding happened to some ordinary people and they were told to make it known throughout the world and they made it known to us! That message given to them and from them to us is of such glory that it affects the very stars and the empty corridors of limitless space since it's about the Creator and, more to the point for humans, it makes us look at ourselves and at the teeming millions, groaning in their poverty, in their darkness, in their agony under injustice, generation after generation and it says things about them and about us because the message is about a Creator not as an indifferent Creator but as a Father and as a Deliverer in relentless pursuit of humans to be his Companions in the liberation of planet earth.
Had Jesus said the Holy Father meant it only for us, for our nearest and dearest and he meant it for our personal pleasure and assurance maybe we could gather and be content to speak only to and about one another, maybe we could feel satisfied with delightful tid-bits and topics, interesting sidelights and suggestive thoughts on how to fine-tune our spiritual condition and increase our pleasure at God's presence in our lives or be happy with quite enlightening information fragments gathered from Google and religious writers and served up in the weekly lectures. Such gatherings where no one is confronted by the relentless God who so loves a desperately enslaved and abused human family that he came racing out of haven stripping off his glory as he came to their rescue. Or must we not speak of such things regularly in case it disturbs us and raises us out of our slumber or takes the pleasure out of our pleasure.
Is that what He said? Did he say this Story of fathomless and relentless love was given to us alone and for our private pleasure and enrichment? Is that what the groaning generations wandering in their sadness and darkness—is that what they think he said? Is that what they think he said because that's what we His friends seem to say as we in our assemblies preach and teach and sing and pray and give week after week after month after year after decade after generation? Is that what our assemblies want? Is that what they want because that's where our leaders lead us?
[Holy One, we ask you fervently to give us leaders filled with the vision of your glory to show it to us; the Church so needs it and the sad and sinful human family can't live without it.]
It's almost ridiculous for me to say I don't know how to guarantee the Church's awakening to all this. Of course I don't! I don't write articles or books or study guides on how to get your church to grow [truly grow rather than swell] and I don't do it for reasons too obvious to spell out. Bless me, if I knew a way to guarantee deliverance from the happy daze out into a happy wide-eyed state of service to God for his beloved rebel, the world, I'd try it out on me first; me first!
I know this, what I hear preached and taught all over the place won't get it done! I know that the biblical witness everywhere shows that gospelling—OT and NT—makes the difference where a difference can be made.
Philip opened his mouth and spoke unto him Jesus [Acts 8:35]. I know that!
Simon preached himself [Acts 8:9] but when people heard Philip preach Jesus Christ [8:12] they turned from Simon. I know that!
When the Thessalonians heard the gospel of God they turned from worthless idols and false gods [1 Thessalonians 1:6, 8; 2:4, 13]. I know that!
When the sun comes up people tend to put out their little candles. I know that!