[forthright] I Dwell Among the People

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthright@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 15:53:28 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


GUEST COLUMN

I Dwell Among the People
by Michael L. King

John Henry Newton wrote, "I sought to hear the
voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, but
God declared: 'Go down again -- I dwell among the
people.'"

It is an amazing concept that God would see fit to
entrust his Word to the custodial care of "earthen
vessels" (2 Corinthians 4:7).  Each vessel is
unique and serviceable in its own way.  The
diversity of persons, not teachings, contributes
to the strength and outreach of the "body" in that
it "has many members," none of which fulfill the
same role.

Bruce Barton wrote, "If you have anything really
valuable to contribute to the world, it will come
through the expression of your own personality
..."  When one reads the 12th chapter of 1
Corinthians, inspiration is found establishing the
premise from which Mr. Barton wrote.  The
strongest asset that we have in communicating the
Gospel, not considering the Word of God itself, is
our own person.  What a challenge it is to insure
that we are the right kind of person!

What a beautiful picture Paul painted in his
letters to the Roman and Corinthian brethren
regarding the nature of the Lord's church!  That
spiritual body is but a composite of beautiful
people merging their various strengths and talents
to honor and glorify the Lord, in addition to
being a blessing to humanity.

There are no insignificant members in the body of
Christ.  Each, though some are "more uncomely," is
vital to the body (1 Corinthians 12:23).  The
inference is that those we think to be less
honorable are given more abundant honor "to that
part which lacked" (verse 24).

During the Middle Ages much emphasis was given to
the "clergy and laity" issue.  In part, the
Reformation Movement was fueled by these
distinctions.  Elders, deacons, and preachers are
not "above" anyone in the church today.  They are
merely men who have dedicated themselves to the
cause of Christ in a leadership capacity.  To
serve in this capacity is not a function of
arrogance, but of considerably increased
responsibility and answerability.  Those who
assume the responsibility of leadership and
teaching shall "receive the greater judgment"
(James 3:1).  Each member, regardless of the role
they fulfill in the body of Christ, is but a
member and is to be found "Submitting ... one to
another in the fear of God" (Ephesians 5:21).

The Lord taught in his parables that when "... ye
shall have done all those things which are
commanded you, say, we are unprofitable servants;
we have done that which was our duty to do" (Luke
17:10).  The statement has been made that "the
ground is level at the foot of the cross."  That
is where we should be, none standing taller or
more important than the next; we are all in the
presence of the Almighty and Eternal God!

True servants lose themselves in the greatest
effort known to mankind.  Peter and the apostles
were beaten by the Sanhedrin for preaching Jesus
and left "the presence of the council, rejoicing
that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for
His name" (Acts 5:41).  So, when we have finished
our life of service here on earth and honored the
commands of God, we must still see ourselves only
as "unprofitable servants," not desiring to be
exalted merely because of the accolades of our
accomplishments.

Remember, God dwells among the people, but is not
to be found in those who have exalted themselves
high on the pinnacle of self-indulgence and
recognition.  Jesus challenged the conventional by
declaring, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall
inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5).  He also
implored people to come unto him, for he was "meek
and lowly in heart" (Matthew 11:28).

In many cases, "We are the only Bible the careless
world will ever read.  What if the line is
crooked?  What if the type is blurred?"  Jesus
promised, "If I be lifted up from the earth, I
will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32).  It
stands to reason that dwelling among his people is
the means by which he can fulfill his promise.  Is
he being represented properly through your life?

Thanks to the Voice of Truth International, Vol 39, Page 41-42.

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