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As leaders we are called to lead people in knowing God and in becoming true testimonies as sons and daughters of God in all things. We cannot teach people to know God, but we can lead them in their process of connection with Him and in their process of responding to Him in all things. I believe that the voice of God is a very personal thing. It is the internal voice of Holy Spirit speaking to each one’s heart. The Holy Spirit is the voice, but we are responsible to discern His voice above the voice of self and other voices that seek to influence us in our world. The Scripture is a wonderful gift. It is a witness to the internal voice of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. It is not our teacher, but it is a true witness to the character, nature, way, power, and authority of our Teacher. As leaders we must lead others in reading the Scriptures well in conjunction with connecting intimately to the Holy Spirit in their hearts. When reading the Scriptures, we must look at Scripture in the context of all of truth. Truth is the person God, but Scripture is an informational truth of the Truth of God expressed. The New Testament Scriptures are filled with quotations of Old Testament Scriptures. The Old Testament is a shadow of truths found in the New Testament and the context of their quotations set a foundation for understanding their context for application in our own lives. Those Scripture quotes are usually written in oblique text in our Bible. When reading our Scriptures, we must pay attention to the oblique text! Without paying attention to the oblique text, we have no reference for what Holy Spirit is trying to reveal to us. Several examples of this are found in Romans chapter 10.
Romans 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
These verses are often used to inspire someone to confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Although there is a certain measure of truth in that application of this Scripture, these verses are talking about something much more. In order to understand these verses written by Paul, we must also read the verses written by Moses. Paul was quoting the words of Moses that pertained to the ability of God’s people to walk and live in the Promised Land given to them by God. These verses are not about a confession that grants us entrance to heaven when we die. They are verses that pertain to a heavenly testimony within our lives in this world.
Deuteronomy 30:11 “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.
God’s promise was that He would be with His people on a daily basis and that He would make it possible to walk in the life He had promised. This pertains to confessing from our hearts that God is our God. It pertains to conclusive evidence that reveals an outward testimony that we are God’s people. It also pertains to a daily reality of living together with God in all things. It is not some testimony that is yet to come from heaven. It is not the result of a further sacrifice of the flesh. It is the testimony of Christ within the believer. The testimony of Christ in us in our daily lives is a witness to those around us in our world, even as Christ in the former converted gentiles of Rome were a witness to the Jews of their day.
Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”
Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
The feet of the believers in Paul’s day were the voice that announced the salvation of God to the Jews and the Gentiles of their day. The feet of the believers were not just the word that they preached, but the testimony of the word that they were becoming because of Christ in them. This is the true message of Christ to our world as well.
Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?”
Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
The good news of Jesus was good news for the completion of the Old Covenant, and that good news was Christ in the church because of the sacrifice of Jesus for us all. That news had been prophesied by the prophet Isaiah concerning the one who would be the atonement for us all.
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”
Psalms 19:4 Their line (sound) has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, 5 which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. 6 Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The context of Psalms 19 is that creation was the word of God to people in the Old Covenant, but they would not hear. The context of Romans chapter 10 is that our lives are a testimony to those of the Old Covenant by our changed lives in Christ. The internal voice of God changes us that our lives might be a testimony to those around us and inspire them to receive Christ.
As you can see, it is important that we pay attention to the quoted words of Scripture to understand the context of God’s word to our hearts today. As leaders we must inspire those we lead to read God’s word well.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson
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