Theology Piety and Practice August 14 2011
Last week I began a series on Christian growth. The question was: How do Christians grow? There are a few different ways to answer this question. For example, we could look at the ground reasons for Christian growth. We could look at the means of grace such as prayer, Bible reading, hearing sermons, fellowship, or the sacraments. Or we could examine the Bible for methods of executing these in decency and in order. Before we begin, let me just say that these things are all connected. The Bible has certain way of doing things that fit with the message. The message prefers a certain medium. The purpose, means to accomplish that purpose, method by which that means is employed, and substance of what is taught are all connected.
If someone were to give you a box that had red wrapping paper, reindeer stickers, and ribbon and bows you would be justified in assuming that you were being given a Christmas gift. But what if you opened what you thought was a present and inside was just a bunch of old tax forms. Not only would it be disappointing, it would be sort of disturbing as to why someone would use such a medium to give you tax forms. The medium does not fit the message.
Similarly, God has appointed appropriate mediums through which he communicates with us. These fit the way he works, the way we grow, and the intended result he desires to bring about. Word, prayer, and sacrament are so important because God is a speaking God. The medium he uses is conversation. This is why our order of worship is a dialogue between God and his people. He calls us, we respond in song, and pray. He confronts us with His Law, and we confess our sins. We trust in the Lord Jesus, so he assures us of our pardon. We pray to him, sing his praise, and he speaks to us in His word, and then we go forth and live in faith and hope of that word. There is a logical order that sounds like a conversation. God speaks. We respond.
God works through speech. He created the world through the word of his power. The redemption was accomplished by the Son of God, who John called “The Word.” (John 1:1). Word is the medium, and this is why word is the way God grows us up.
May his speech not go out void, but have its mighty effect upon us through the Holy Spirit! –Ben Rochester