Devoted to the Word of God
While the Spirit-filled events of Pentecost and the resulting ministry were extraordinary, the apostles and their followers did not begin saying afterward, Well, now the Spirit of God teaches me; therefore, I don’t need to listen to anybody else. Instead, when filled with the Holy Spirit, they were all ears for the authoritative preaching and teaching of God’s word. This teaches us an important lesson: the Spirit of God always leads the people of God to devote themselves to the word of God.
This is why the book of Acts is full of the centrality of preaching. The apostles recognized that God’s supreme instrument for renewing His people in the image of His Son was and is through His word, as His Spirit works through it. Here in Acts 6 we see an example of the priority and protection the apostles gave to those called and equipped to teach. The apostles recognized the sobering importance of being entrusted as servants to bring before the people the very words of God Himself.
The Old Testament books refer to the “oracles” of the prophets; this word can also be translated as “burden” (see, for instance, Isaiah 13:1, KJV). It describes a weight upon the heart and mind that comes about because of the awesome responsibility of speaking God’s truth to people. Back in the nineteenth century C.H. Spurgeon acknowledged this burden by declaring his pulpit to be more influential than the throne of the king of England, for he brought a message from the throne of God to that pulpit and delivered the truth of Christian doctrine.
We must pray for and protect those called to teach the truths of Scripture, whether to a congregation, or to little children, or in any other context. It is no small thing to stand regularly between a holy God and His people, declaring His word. It is a heavy burden as well as a wonderful privilege.
In addition to praying for our teachers and preachers, we must also be humble and eager to sit and learn under the authoritative teaching of God’s word. Such an example of devotion was set by the early church in their dedication to the apostles’ teaching (Acts 2:42). Contemporary devotion ought to look the same; we must be committed to teaching that is based on the New Testament truths revealed to the apostles and built upon the foundations of Old Testament doctrine. We must not be spending all our time snacking on the fast food of box sets that soak up our time, TV networks that confirm what we already think, and books or video games that offer escape from the real world. Instead, we need to feast on the word of God. Let that be your spiritual food and you will find each day that the Spirit of God leads you deeper into the truths and the joys within it.
81My soul longs for your salvation;
I hope in your word.
82My eyes long for your promise;
I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
83For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
84How long must your servant endure?7
When will you judge those who persecute me?
85The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;
they do not live according to your law.
86All your commandments are sure;
they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
87They have almost made an end of me on earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88In your steadfast love give me life,
that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.
89Forever, O Lord, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.
92If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.
94I am yours; save me,
for I have sought your precepts.
95The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
but I consider your testimonies.
96I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad.
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