Friday, October 13, 2017
Both the Old and New Testaments conclude with details of God’s “book” in which are written the names of those who belong to Him. This truth should compel every Christian to “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Cor. 13:5).
“Then those who feared the Lord [“often” KJV] spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and meditate on His name. ‘They shall be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘on the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.’ Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Mal. 3:16–18).
The born again heart will “often” speak of God and His Christ, “For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). And Jesus said that, “if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40). Those who fear the Lord, meaning to love and revere Him and His Word, speak to one another “often” about the truths and applications of His Word.
From ancient times this was characteristic of those who truly feared the Lord God, who said, “these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:6–7).
How much more, then, is this characteristic true of those who have been spiritually rejuvenated by the power of the Holy Spirit. How can one born again by faith in Christ keep silent? He can’t. Talking and sharing with one another truths of God in Christ from when we first believed to His return for the saints is God-honoring, faith-building and life-preserving.
Should our conversation, however, get hijacked by the enemy to wallow in doctrines, traditions and wishful thinking of men, God’s unchangeable truths no longer protect, preserve and guide one into His truths, but away from it. Words from our mouth reveal our heart, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:37). Therefore, do our words agree with God’s Word?
Note the benefits of speaking God’s Word with one another: “a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name. ‘They shall be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 3:16–17). Like myself, I know you want to be in God’s “book of remembrance”, for “’They shall be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘on the day that I make them My jewels’” (Mal. 3:17), which occurs “at the last day” (John 6:40), at “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6), “when the Lord Himself will descend from heaven” (1 Thess. 4:16).
However, to take away or diminish the Word of the Lord not only dishonors God, but destroys; the worst part of which is God’s promise, saying, “if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophesy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev. 22:19). God could not “take away” ones “part from the Book of Life” unless ones name was not previously written therein.
Further, God warns those who would change His Word by adding to it what isn’t there, saying, “If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book” (Rev. 22:18). Yet, in much of today’s church many leaders, pastors and teachers add things to God’s Word that are simply not there, teaching assumptions and traditions.
For every church leader, pastor, deacon, elder, teacher and worker, such departure demands self-examination, because, “you are not your own. For you were bought at a price” (1 Cor. 6:19–20), which is the price of the precious redeeming blood of Jesus Christ. We, like Christ’s apostles are called to be “slaves” and “bondservants” of Christ, defending and teaching the testimony of God.
God’s Word did not originate with us, but we “are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us” (2 Cor. 5:20). Thus, God commands us to teach “them to observe [obey] all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20), that we separate from traditions and doctrines of men that add to or take away from truth, “making the word of God of no effect” (Mark 7:13).
If an official inquiry were made of your life, is there sufficient evidence to convict you of being an ambassador of God’s Word, holding it above reproach or contradiction? Is your name written in God’s “book of remembrance” (Mal. 3:16)? And are you certain that God will not take away your part “from the Book of Life”, or “the things which are written in this book” on the basis that you have not taken “away from the words of the book of this prophesy” (Rev. 22:19)?
“Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before him for those who fear the Lord and meditate on His name” (Mal. 3:16). Remember, the Word of God did not originate with us, but God is “pleading through us”, that is, we who have been born again, to defend and teach all things that He taught.
Marlin J. Yoder