The Spoken Word
Acts 15:21 For in every city, for generations past, Moses has had those who proclaim him, for he has been read aloud every sabbath in the synagogues.”
This one little sentence reveals the evangelistic hope of the spoken Word of God. The apostles had gathered in Jerusalem for their first council meeting. It was a serious discussion because there were many who were accepting Jesus Christ who were not Jews. Of course, the Jewish Christians were following all of the law of Moses for they had done this from their birth. However, they wondered what in the world to do with these Gentiles, for whom the Law of Moses would be foreign. After much debate and discussion they decided that they would focus on the basics. They would not require everything of the Gentiles that had been expected of the Jews, for they recognized that even by following all the rules, they were not saved. Paul reminded them that it was the grace of God that saved them all, Jew and Gentile alike. But then we come to this final sentence about the issue. The idea that there were those outside of the Jewish faith coming to a knowledge and acceptance of God was not new. We get a hint that because God's Word was spoken aloud every Sabbath, there were those who had heard it. Not just Jews, but those who passed by could have heard the Word. They had been captured by what they heard and they had turned to God simply by hearing the Word spoken aloud.
Sometimes, today, I wonder if we appreciate the power of the spoken Word? We live in a day and age where we try to craft the "worship" experience around so many different elements that, at times, the Word becomes lost. Have you ever been to a worship service where the Word is never preached? Where no one even reads any scripture? Sadly, this can become the case. The truth is that there is power in the Word. The enemy would want us to hide the word in the background because he knows the power of the Word.
We become concerned with the style of worship and our "seeker-sensitive" format and yet, here we discover that there are people who have turned to God simply because they walked by the synagogue on a hot sabbath day when the windows are open and heard the Word being read. There's really nothing clever about that, is there? Except that it reveals to us the power of God, who, through his grace is doing all that he can to draw all men unto himself. And therein lies the key. He is drawing all of humanity to himself, not to our churches, not to our venues. When the Word is read or spoken, it draws people to the author, God himself. That is his desire.
What would happen if we gave more space for the reading of the Word in our own lives on a daily basis, and corporately in the worship setting. Maybe we, too, would experience more accidental conversions. There is power in his Word!
Lord, please help me to be faithful your written word and may it be a central feature of my life on a daily basis. Amen.