|I Corinthians 3:3 "Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in table of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.|
For the past several weeks we have been teaching a bible lesson for the Young Apostolic Students for Christ (YASC) at Wayne State University entitled; "The 67th Book." It was a lesson that God had given to us earlier this year during the Easter season to share with our Greater Grace Temple Christian Education Teen & Young Adult Dept. And, ever since then it has been something that has stuck with us and God wanted us to expand upon the lesson and formally teach it as apart of a bible class series for YASC @ WSU. I must say over the past few weeks of teaching this lesson, God has not only blessed the youth that have been apart of the class, but has also opened up a reservoir of revelation to us about His Word and how important it is for us to not just "READ" His Word, but to "LIVE" His Word.
The concept behind the lesson comes from the theme scripture in I Corinthians 3:3, where Paul is writing to the church of Corinth instructing them that they are an "...epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of the stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart." Here, the Apostle Paul is putting the church of Corinth on notice that they have a greater responsibility than just church attendance; a great responsibility than just "READING" the word of God, but they are to "LIVE" the word of God. This is what Jesus meant when he declared in Matthew 5:15, that ye are to, "let your light so shine that men might see your good works, and glorify the Father, which is in heaven." There is no way that your light can shine effectively, if you don't have God's Word down on the inside of you. If you are not living God's Word; by applying it to your everyday life, how can you be the "living epistle" that God desires for you to be?
The problem with so many people is that they are great at giving God and everyone else lip service. They can talk a good game, but when it comes to actually living what they profess, that is something they fail to do. It is said so often "Practice what you Preach," but one day on twitter I read an interesting quote which seem to be the inverse of this early quote. And, it read "Preach what you Practice." And, I believe the latter quote speaks volumes about the effects of our walk with God. The early quote admonishes the preacher to practice what you are constantly preaching. In essence, follow your own instructions, or take your own advice. And, yes this is a true statement as well. Especially, in this day and time where we are seeing preachers, ministers, evangelist and the like being exposed, and the cover being pulled back on private and secret sins that they've intentional covered from others. So, yes it is important to indeed, "Practice what you Preach." But, more importantly, I believe it is also essential to "Preach what you Practice." This again puts the responsibility right back squarely on the preacher that your words should line up with your actions. Both of these statements are emphasizing the importance of accountability not just among those who stand at the pulpits on Sunday Mornings, but even to those who sit in the pews as well. Everyone is held to the same standard of holiness, and no one is exempt because of where they may sit or happen to stand in the Kingdom of God.
Another important element that God showed us as we are teaching this lesson on Mondays, is a scripture that's often quoted and misinterpreted in Romans the 8th chapter vs 28, where Paul says, "And, we know that all things are working together for the good of them who are the called according to HIS purpose." We typically interpret that scripture to mean that every good and bad thing that happens in our life are both working together for our good. And, we extrapolate the "we" out of the scripture to be apart of the disclaimer Paul associates with being "the called according to HIS purpose." Which, again is a true statement, but everybody is not in the "we" crowd. A key component of this scripture which is often overlooked is that the "We" crowd is directly connected to "HIS" purpose. God has a purpose that requires more from us than many people are willing to give. His purpose requires us to make a sacrifice in order to walk with Him. This scripture not just speaks to the benefits or the perks that comes with walking with God, but also the mindset as well. Because in order for you to properly understand the significance of ALL things working together in my life for the good, you must have first surrendered your life entirely over to the purpose of the Lord. And, if you haven't done that, then there is no way you will ever see "good" coming from the "bad" in your life. Many people come to God with their own agenda, or with their own set of guidelines and they tell God implicitly and even explicitly this is all that I'm willing to do for you. Nothing more and nothing less, many so called "Christians" have a "Take It or Leave It" kind of attitude towards God. And, God has to fit within the parameters of what they want their relationship with him to be. But, I hear God saying that it is either"ALL or NOTHING." I want ALL of you or don't give me nothing at ALL. This speaks to the value and significance that God has placed on having a relationship with us. And, if you are not willing to do your part, then He's saying keep on doing what you want to do. You will be the loser in the end. He died just so that we could have an intimate and personal relationship with Him, and yet some still choose to give Him the cold shoulder. Go figure!
In my conclusion, my question for you today is this, "Are you the 67th book?" Are you a walking, and talking embodiment of the Word of God? Or, have you decided to make up your own rules of how to live holy? Are you interpreting and digesting God's Word in its totality or are you piece-mealing God's Word and only reading and applying those scriptures to your life that benefit you. I believe the former is actually true, the only way you can truly be the 67th Book, is if you are rightly dividing the Word of God and directly applying it to your walk with God. This is the only you can truly be the 67th book. King David said of himself, "thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee." This scripture is a demonstration of the importance King David placed upon the Word of God for his life.
My question to you is simple, is God's Word that important to you?
Pastor Michael S. Nimmons
P.S. Join us next Monday as we continue this lesson entitled; "The 67th Book" at Wayne State University, State Hall Room 116 at 7pm.