Evangelistic Prayer

September 20, 2012

It is no small thing that the apostle Paul, uber church planter, would ask the churches to pray for his effectiveness in spreading the gospel.  I never had a course in logic, but I figure if Paul needed the Spirit’s help, then we do too.

Below are Paul’s evangelistic requests, summarized in four key words.  We can’t go wrong adopting his requests as our own.  We should pray for:

OPPORTUNITY

At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ. (Col 4:3)

CLARITY

[Pray] that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
(Col 4:4)

BRAVERY

[Pray] that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel. (Eph 6:19)

RECEPTIVITY

Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you. (2 Thess 3:1)

Father, please open a door for me to speak of Christ today.  And when that door opens, give me the boldness to walk through it and the ability to make the gospel clear.  Finally, grant a receptive heart in the hearer so that your word may be honored through repentance and faith.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A Moody God

September 17, 2012

Throwing the Father, Son and Spirit into a blender like this is politely called modalism by theologians.  I prefer to call it moodalism.  Moodalists think that God is one person who has three different moods (or modes, if you must).  One popular moodalist idea is that God used to feel Fatherly (in the Old Testament), tried adopting a more Sonny disposition for thirty-some years, and has since decided to become Spiritual.  You understand the attraction, of course: it keeps things from becoming too complicated.

The trouble is, once you puree the persons, it becomes impossible to taste their gospel.  If the Son is just a mood God slips in and out of, then for us to be adopted as children in the Son is no great thing: when God moves on to another mood, there will be no Son for us to be in.  And even when God is in his Son mood, there will be no Father for us to be children of. And if the Spirit is just another of his states of mind, I can only wonder what will happen when God feels like moving on.  “He fills me . . . he fills me not….”  The moodalist is left with no assurance and a deeply confused God.  Somehow the Son must be his own Father, send himself, love himself, pray to himself, seat himself at his own right hand and so on.  It all begins to look, dare I say, rather silly.

(Michael Reeves, Delighting in the Trinity, 32-33)

One thing that will stoke your worship is to grasp the difference between the triune God versus the solitary “gods” and devils of this world.  Lewis’s senior demon in The Screwtape Letters draws the contrast well.  Speaking from the perspective of Satan, Screwtape says,

We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons.  We want to suck in, He wants to give out.  We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over.
(quoted in Michael Reeves, Delighting in the Trinity, 45)

Satan and the other so-called gods of this world, in their solitariness, use creation.  Nature and people are to them tools for their own selfish ends.

God, being triune, is altogether different.  He makes sons of us because he is an eternal Father to the eternal Son.  He gives freely to us because he is a life-giving Spirit.  God is full and overflowing because from all eternity he has lived in love and joy in himself as the Three-in-One.

God doesn’t use us because, being Trinity, he doesn’t need us.  Before the world ever was, in himself, God is love.

 

God is love because God is a Trinity.

This book, then, will simply be about growing in our enjoyment of God and seeing how God’s triune being makes all his ways beautiful.

It is only when you grasp what it means for God to be a Trinity that you really sense the beauty, the overflowing kindness, the heart-grabbing loveliness of God.

Pressing into the Trinity we are doing what in Psalm 27 David said he could do all the days of his life: we are gazing upon the beauty of the Lord.

Neither a problem nor a technicality, the triune being of God is the vital oxygen of Christian life and joy.

– Michael Reeves, Delighting in the Trinity, http://amzn.to/TOw7Qb