Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shine Like a City On a Hill

Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller on Table Talk Radio, Show #18, responding to the Ablaze! argument that we should be bringing in the numbers and counting:
When you argue that with someone who wants to support the Ablaze! movement, they say "Well sure they count in the Bible. For example, on the day of Pentecost we read in the Book of Acts that 2,000 people were Baptized on that single day, so there they counted how many people were Baptized." If you want to count Baptisms that's good, because when you count Baptisms you’re counting names, you’re counting people, there’s something personal there. You’re naming people. You’re not a number but a name, especially when you’re Baptized, and maybe that’s another problem of the Ablaze! movement. We have the Lord’s command on how to make disciples of all the nations. You do it by Baptism and by teaching. But the Ablaze! movement doesn’t count Baptism, or Confirmation, which is teaching, as a critical event. So that the two very things that should be at the central point of the mission of the Church – these are just left out. So really the question that the Lord has given the Church to ask is "Am I being faithful to the Lord’s Word? Am I teaching it in its truth and in it’s purity? Is the Gospel shining in its brilliant light in our midst?" And we know that if the Lord Jesus is there in the shining light of the Gospel, that the Lord would have us be a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of His people Israel. That we will shine like a city on a hill, a lamp that’s not put under the bushel. That we will grow by the gift of God, like Paul says, "I planted, Apollos watered, but it’s God who gives the growth." So we are not to be concerned with the growth, with counting, with numbering, with all of this sort of thing. What we’re to be concerned with is the truth of the Gospel, the name of Jesus, and if that’s straight, then everything else will straighten itself out. But if that’s not straight, if that’s confused, or it’s hidden, or it’s muddled, if we take the light of the Gospel and put it under a bushel then everything else will fall apart and go wrong.

...We don’t need to get fancy in the Church. Jesus knows that we’re not the brightest bulbs in the world so He keeps it simple for us. He says "Baptize and teach. Baptize and teach." And that in this Baptism and in this teaching of the Gospel the kingdom of God continues to come in our midst, and we can rejoice in it. It’s not that complicated. It’s not that fancy. We don’t need consultants or big bureaucracies to tell us this sort of thing, the Lord’s Word is plain. Baptize and teach, and rejoice in His presence and promises.


Preachrboy said...

When numbers are tallied in scripture, it is always after the fact - the disciples didn't set a goal of 2000 converts on Pentecost, but they later marveled at how God blessed them.

It's the difference between what "we will do" and "what God has done".

Anonymous said...

I love listening to Pastor Wolfmueller. But, as an aside, it was 3000 at Pentecost. Minus 12000 points.