May the glory of the Lord Jesus be ever more manifest in your life as you consistently reach for his heart and hold fast to him.
I once said in a Bible teaching that the only way in which I (a four-year college point guard) have surpassed the Apostle Paul is that he never experienced the unmitigated exhilaration of bringing the basketball up the floor on a fast break. In the USA, it’s time for “March Madness,” our national collegiate basketball tournament. Basketball is life on a 94 x 50 rectangle, and a major key to success is a team’s transition game, that is, how quickly and how well do they all change from defense to offense, and vice versa.
Hardwood nomenclature has evolved through the years. For example, when I played, a “facial” took place only in a beauty parlor. Now it means a defensive player jamming an opponent’s shot back in his face. Today, when the opposing team puts up an errant shot and you grab the rebound and head up court, you instantly survey the floor and, if you see that you have more players running ahead of the ball than the other team, you yell, “NUMBERS!” to alert your teammates that you have a momentary advantage and they must hustle to make the most of it.
Sad to say, “NUMBERS” is something we Christians will never yell as we participate as spiritual “athletes” (more literally, warriors) striving to bring glory to our Captain, Jesus Christ. Some time ago I saw statistics numbering all the world’s religions, and those categorized as “Bible-believing” Christians total are a very, very small “minority group” among the 7 billion earth dwellers.
If we try to make an honest, biblically-educated estimate of what percentage of those designated as “Bible-believing” have been taught the Truth of God’s wonderful Word in regard to its key components necessary for understanding it and living it, do you think it is even 250 thousand people? After all, how many sources are there from which they could have learned it in the last 50 years?
But let’s say there are 250 thousand Christians who do grasp basic truths like who is Jesus, the administrations in Scripture, what is salvation, what happens at death, is God in control, the Giver and the gift, etc., etc. If my math is correct, that means if you attended a basketball game with 30,000 people, you might well be the only one who knows the Word you know. Would you call that a witnessing opportunity? Just give me the mike at halftime; I know I could do better than Madonna at the Super Bowl!
What if, when the lights went down for the introduction of the players, you were glowing like Moses when he came down from Mt. Sinai after meeting with Yahweh? Would anyone notice you? Moses was manifesting the glory of Yahweh, and that is what Jesus manifested during his earthly ministry. One lexical definition of the Greek word for “glory” is: “not the object itself, but the appearance of the object that attracts attention.”
Think about it: Jesus looked like everyone else, physically. It wasn’t that he attracted attention by having six arms. It was his words and deeds that astonished people: “We’ve never seen a man like this!” Even though he was a minority of one, Jesus did make, and has since made, a life-changing impact on large “NUMBERS” of people. Yet, when the chips were down, nearly everyone deserted him.
Early in Paul’s ministry, he too saw some “NUMBERS.”
8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. 11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
Yet, by the time Paul had been imprisoned in Rome and was writing his second, and last, letter to Timothy, he could count on only a handful of believers.
2 Timothy 1:13-15
13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.
It sounds like most of those Christians who were once “in the game” had become spectators. Instead of being shoulder-to-shoulder with one another in the trenches of life making an impact upon others, they were isolated and inert. But I’m sure, had it been available, they would have been on “Facebook. “if they could have. Hello-o? The real Facebook is you as a living epistle being face-to-face and heart-to-heart, first with the Lord Jesus, then with other Christians “on a mission from God,” and then with those who need the Word you have. That way you could have real “comm-UNI-cation,” that is, you could become one with them for mutual benefit.
Today, Satan is influencing the world away from meaningful, face-to-face, heart-to-heart human interaction. Instead of going out to play together, many kids sit at home texting with their next-door neighbor. Though helpful at times, texting is producing a world of sore-thumbed people. Hey, that means you, like Jesus, can “stick out like a healed thumb”! You can be a bright light in a carpal tunnel of darkness. Cha-ching!
The Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth is the only thing that will change a person’s heart and life. I think I too often take for granted how incredible it really is to hold in my hands and put my eyes on the words in the sacred, God-breathed document penned so long ago by “holy men of God.” Many people since then have paid the price of death for standing for the one true God by even owning a Bible.
In some countries today, Christians pass around and memorize one page at a time knowing they will be killed if found out. Based upon how my actions evidence my life’s priorities, it is sobering to ask myself how real the following verse is to me: “Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts” (Jer. 15:16—NKJV).
While we were filming One Day With The Creator last July in Florida, the “theme song” we played (and cried through) each morning at our team prayer meeting was Ancient Words, by Michael W. Smith. Here’s the chorus:
Ancient words, ever true,
Changing me and changing you.
We have come with open hearts,
Oh let the ancient words impart.
How does someone learn the mathematics required to put a man on the moon—and bring him back? Obviously, nothing takes the place of the foundational knowledge (1+1=2, and so on) necessary to understand the advanced math required to accomplish something so spectacular.The latter makes no sense without the former. Likewise, when it comes to a person learning those “ancient words” to the end of applying them in his life, nothing can take the place of a systematic course of study. Can you say, “One Day With The Creator”? Sure you can.
God designed His Word to be taught by people to people, and there are still some people on earth who are genuinely hungry for Truth. He knows who (and where) they are, and it is up to us to do our part by reaching out to them via every means we can. Yes, this includes doing so in cyber space via the Internet, but the real work of discipling someone is done face-to-face and heart-to-heart.
We hope you will use the tools we are providing for you, like The End Times class now available, and One Day With The Creator, coming later this year, to share the treasure of God’s Truth with those searching for it. Motivating your friends to sit through The End Times video will give you the opportunity to elaborate for them on many vital biblical topics. The more you share, the more you learn.
The Word makes it clear that God is very adept at working with a small minority to make a big impact on a lot of people. Well, those of us working together in The Living Truth Fellowship are definitely a minority, and maybe He can do something great with us. We too can attract attention by manifesting the glory of our Lord Jesus and loving people with his love. When we “…set apart [sanctify] Christ as Lord…,” we can be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks us a reason for the hope we have (1 Pet. 3:15). Amen.