[forthright] Losing Our Voices

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthright@...>
Date: Tue, 02 May 2006 16:21:18 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Square One

Losing Our Voices
by Richard Mansel

I recently suffered through a bout of laryngitis
and a cold. This kept me from preaching, teaching,
and worshiping with my brethren. Things taken for
granted suddenly took on new life. Frustration
reigned supreme as simple tasks became menacing
foes.

My missing voice has mostly returned, but the
sobering nature of the ordeal remains. For nearly
twenty years, I have lived by my voice in radio,
teaching, and preaching. A permanent loss would
lead to paths I dare not contemplate. We
appreciate something even more when it is not
around.

Sadly, my preaching was silenced by laryngitis.
Physical illnesses are an inevitable part of life.
Even the work of God sometimes suffers. We become
limited in what we can do. I feel for those whose
physical condition does not allow them to serve
God in the same ways they have grown accustomed
to.

Too often, though, preaching is silenced by a much
more dangerous foe. Preaching becomes compromised
by timidity when we fear men more than God. Paul
pleaded with Timothy to "Preach the word!" (2
Timothy 4:2, NKJV). Men, he warned, will "turn
their ears away from the truth, and be turned
aside to fables" (2 Timothy 4:4). God's message
becomes much less important than the feelings of
the audience. Preaching becomes appeasing and
Jesus is forgotten.

Sometimes, the church loses its voice in reaching
out to those who are suffering. Christ has given
us a charge to be his helping hands to the
unfortunate (Matthew 25:34-46). He gives us an
example to serve others (John 13:4-11). We must
never stop reaching out to those with broken
families and lives. People are out there that we
can lift up out of despair and bring  to Christ.
We just have to open our eyes and see people as
God has asked us to.

Sometimes the church loses its voice and begins
preaching another gospel (Galatians 1:8). In the
interest of attracting great numbers by any means
necessary, they leave the teachings of God and
instead teach the doctrines of men. Some
elderships have told their congregations that they
will be abandoning the doctrines the church has
always taught and will instead be turning to the
doctrines of men. It is an evil thing. We must
only speak the "oracles of God" because in them
resides eternal life (1 Peter 4:11; Romans 10:17).

Jeremiah tried to lose his voice for God. He grew
so frustrated at the persecutions and stubborn
ears of the people of God that he decided he would
no longer "make mention" of God nor "speak anymore
in His name" (Jeremiah 20:9). Yet, the word of God
was so intense within him that it became a "fire
in his bones" that he could no longer hold back
(Jeremiah 20:9). We must be so saturated with the
word of God that it will not allow our voices to
be silenced.

Let us affirm that we will never lose our voices
for God. That we will never lay down the truth of
the gospel for the itching ears of men. That we
will stand firm against all the fiery darts of the
wicked (Ephesians 6:16). We are told that Christ's
kingdom will never be destroyed and that his voice
will never be stopped (Matthew 16:18). We must be
just as resolved. Souls depend on it.

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