October 16

Today's Bible Reading
     I Kings 19
     I Thessalonians 2
     Daniel 1
     Psalm 105
“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”  (I Thessalonians 2: 13)
            The theme of the entire book of l Thessalonians is maximumChristianity. Paul is exhorting the believers at Thessalonica to give their utmost for the Lord. In the early part of this chapter, he gives us the lengthy defense of his mission, method, and manner. He tells them that it is his responsibility to deliver the message, but it is theirs to listen, to really hear it, and to respond to it. The preacher can do his job, but if the people fail to do their job, the message has not really been delivered to a lost world. Jesus said on several occasions, “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear.” In Revelation 2-3, He made that statement to each one of the Seven Churches. Jesus also said, “Take heed how you hear.” It is important, not just that you listen, but that you actually hear the message of the Gospel and put it into practice in your daily life.
            I am amused by the story of an old couple who were both having problems with their hearing. The husband said, “Mother, I'm proud of you.”  She said, “What did you say?”  He said, “I'm proud of you.” That dialogue went back and forth for several minutes, and finally she said, “Yeah,and I'm tired of you too.” It makes a difference what you really hear. That seems to be about the sameresponse that many people give to the truth of God's Word. One lady said to her pastor at church, “Pastor, I love to hear you preach; you get things out of your text that aren't even there.”  Now that may be true about some preachers. There is a combination of the man of God preaching the truth of God's Word, and the response of God's people to it that will make a difference in today's world.
            Some folks come to church only as spectators, and then hurry on to what they have to do.  That is not what God intended at all.  We have many spectators, some participators, but few gladiatorsin the service of the Lord.
            In our memory verse, Paul is talking about two groups of people in the church. Some only hear the truth while others receive the Word of God and effectively carry it out in the world. He uses two different words in the original text for the word that is translated “receive”.
            One of these words is appollunbanowhich means “to receive with the ears of the mind.” The other word he uses is dechamiwhich means “to embrace or receive with your heart and to welcome within yourself.” In other words, it is possible to receive with your head and not your heart. We must be committed to the Word of God, but perhaps not as much as the young man who had been called to preach.
            He was preaching one of his first sermons and failed to realize that a page was missing from his Bible. He read at the bottom of one page and continued at the top of the next page. He read this: “And Shem, Ham, and Japheth were” - then he looked at the top of the next page, “300 cubits long.” Well, he said, “Let me read that again.”  After he read it again, he said, “Folks, I've never seen that in the Bible, but if God said it, I believe it.” Well, we chuckle at that, but the truth is, we need to have that much confidence in the Word of God.
            I've noticed that when you pour milk into an empty bowl, it will splatter unless you are very careful; but when there is already something in the bowl, there is no splatter. You need faith in your bowl so that when the Word of God comes in, it will not splatter out.  The question today is, ''Areyou ready to really hear the Word of God and respond to it in your life?  What good is God's Word without those who hear it and activate it in their daily walk?
            The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or Mormons as we know them, have grown rapidly from 1.4 million adherents in 1960 to more than 12 million in 2014.The short-term missionary work of the Mormons puts evangelical churches to shame. Many parts of Polynesia are rapidly becoming majority Mormon, and growth in Latin America is remarkable. Mormon missionaries numbered about 60,000 at the tum of the century, working in 150 nations. Pray that there will be an awakening among this cult as to the truth of God's Word.