Thought for the Week - 16th FebruaryPastor Gareth Watkins
We were invited to preach at another church. It is strange when you go somewhere you don’t know, to meet with people you don’t know in a church with many different types of people in, of various backgrounds and doctrine. A lot goes through your mind when doing works such as these, such as asking yourself, what can I possible bring to these people?
The answer is however, nothing. I can’t bring anything.
I pray that God will bring something for them, to feed them and let them be touched by the Good News of Jesus Christ. In works like these it is not in your own authority that you can go. You can’t brag about your life, church, ministry or glorify yourself; all you can do is go armed with the Good News of Jesus Christ, speaking of the confession of the things He gives you. You can only go in faith to increase their faith. Paul speaks of these things in 2 Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 10
The Spiritual War
10 Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. 2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Reality of Paul’s Authority
7 Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s. 8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed— 9 lest I seem to terrify you by letters. 10 “For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” 11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present.
Limits of Paul’s Authority
12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labours, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment.
17 But “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” 18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
Paul is saying in this passage that it is not about appearance or speech of a person, it is going out in the presence and calling of God that matters.
We read in the bible that Paul went to various places in his calling to deliver the Good News, not in his authority, but in that which Christ gave to him. Paul went in faith, to increase the faith of others; humbling himself and not going in natural confidence, but in the strength of Jesus Christ Himself. That is how Paul saw it.
The passage was fulfilled to us in its entirety, and the work was fruitful. Strongholds were broken, barriers torn down, and enemy attacks did not prevail. The power of God was felt, there was change in the place as well as inwardly in the people. It was a fruitful time.
14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ…
That Gospel of Christ can come to any generation, in any season of time, and in any country. When you bring the Good News, it can bring change to any place. The passage is calling on all of us, it is a word for all of us, and one we must be open to.