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The Visual Bible (The Gospel of John)

The Visual Bible (Here: The Gospel of John)

The most important thing to do for every minister and servant of God is as Jesus reaffirmed,

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mt 22:37-39 ESV)

If we move the commandment which is to be found in the second place to the first place, we will surely fail. Although both commandments count as equal, we may never forget that obeying the great commandment alone empowers us to love our neighbors with that love we received from God before (Rom 5:5). Also, if we drop the first commandment and try to love others (or ourselves) on our own, we will be frustrated because of not being able to love anyone including ourselves.

Our relationship with God, sustained through continual prayer (1 Thes 5:17 ESV) is of the utmost importance if we want to do God’s will all the time, that is, if we want to serve and love others as Christ did. However, it is not an automatism to live in His presence; our Lord wants to be sought.

“I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” (Prv 8:17 ESV)

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:12-13 ESV)

Furthermore, if we want to really serve God by preaching the gospel to those whom God wants to reach, we must necessarily be qualified to love everyone. Since we cannot succeed in loving unconditionally (agape) without having been empowered by the Holy Spirit to do so, our preaching and evangelism will be as effectual as the power of the Holy Spirit which we have already received. One might also say that our preaching reveals the touchstone God applies to our lives as well, for it is written,

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Mt 7:1-5 ESV)

Great preachers over the centuries were always both Spirit-filled and lived out what they preached. There was no difference between the man on the pulpit and the husband at home. Such a life springs from Christ’s life pouring itself out of the preacher’s heart toward all those who listen to him. It is not necessary to spend hours with preparing a sermon when the Lord Himself pours out His Spirit on you so that your mind is completely emptied of your own reasonings until it has been refilled by God with that particular message He wants to be preached. It seems that the apostle Paul knew how it works since he said,

“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Cor 2:1-5 ESV)

Actually, why did Paul say that he knew nothing but Christ crucified? Sometimes people tend to think that they ought to preach the cross and nothing else. In my humble opinion which springs from my own experience, I’d argue Paul meant that he had been quasi empty-minded so that God – through His Spirit – could put into his heart and mind whatever He wished. In fact, it is ALWAYS the power of God’s Spirit which reaches human hearts through preaching (even in written form – only). Often times, particularly when people are contrite in spirit and broken-hearted, God gives grace through the preacher; those words then are more pleasing to the ear. However, in case there are religious hypocrites who listen to such a preacher, God’s Spirit will rather fill the preacher with a harsh and even mocking message in order to bring them to repentance (cf. Jesus’ words in Mt 23:13-39, for example).

In order to make a long story shorter, I’d like to point to the neglected importance of prayer which enables us to speak directly from God’s heart. Regarding this issue, the Lord urged me to write an exhortation in form of a poem which I – as an exception – decided to post on here instead of publishing it on my other blog “Susanne Schuberth’s Poetry” [if you like, see susanneschuberth.wordpress.com].


PLEASE PRAY AND PREACH

A preacher who did never pray
Would surely not have much to say
But platitudes and human stuff
Of such bullshit we had enough

No yes-man and no moralist
No self-made man evangelist
No loveless grumpy chatterbox
No faceless coward and no ox

Who’s drawn by selfishness and fame
To play that ugly demon’s game
A man who thinks that dark is light
And trusts in reason’s fooling might

With these tin soldiers, we’re fed up
Up to the brim they filled the cup
For all those hungry, thirsting souls
Who do not know what are their goals

If all those preachers don’t repent
Their preaching will come to an end
God doesn’t need such lifeless talk
He needs a man who shares His walk

Down on his knees he’ll hear His voice
That softly shuts out all that noise
Which springs from human worrying
And fear, and pain, and earthly thing

The Lord alone knows how to preach
And that our hearts are out of reach
Whenever shallow talk comes up
In churchly social gospel club

Please, pray, and preach as you are led
After your soul by God was fed
With divine wisdom and His sword
That lifts men up who know the Lord

Discernment and compassionateness
Will help you bring to end all mess
And finally all men will see
This is a man with Heaven’s key

Dear reader, feel free to weigh in and add your own thoughts so that the Body of Christ may build itself up – in love (Eph 4:16). Every commenter is welcome on my blog, that means, Christians as well as non-Christians. I will try to reply to you as the Lord leads me and I am curious to know what God is speaking through you. The only things I do not like are when someone attacks God and utters blasphemous statements or when others (esp. commenters) are being attacked. Furthermore, I am going to delete comments which flood my blogs without any reference to my articles or poems or to the replies of other commenters on here. Thank you for your understanding!

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