Imagine an hour alone with St. Peter. You go to your quiet room and let him speak to you. The conversation begins by you asking, “Peter, in your years of ministry, what was your greatest source of power in building God’s Kingdom?”
Peter replies without hesitation, “The Law and Gospel were our only power in bringing people to a living faith in Christ, our Savior and Lord. One of my best examples of this would be to point you back to Pentecost Sunday.
“You will recall from the story recorded in Acts 2 that there were many people in Jerusalem on that day. They were Jewish people from all over the world celebrating one of their holidays. We disciples began to speak in strange languages so that each one heard the message in his own tongue. The people wanted to know what was happening. Some made fun of them and said, ÔThey have had too much wine.’
“Then I stood up and said to the crowd, ÔThey are not drunk. Let me tell you visitors to Jerusalem what happened fifty days ago. This man, named Jesus, was handed over to the scribes and Pharisees by Pontius Pilate. Then, after an unfair trial, with the help of wicked men, they put Jesus to death by nailing him to a cross. However, God raised Him from the dead, for it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.’
“ÔHe is exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit. That is what Jesus has poured out on us now.’
“When these people heard my sermon they asked, ÔWhat shall we do?’ and I replied, ÔRepent and be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Save yourself from this crooked generation.’ And about 3,000 were baptized.
“This is an example of the power of God’s Word. The Word has power within it to turn your life around.
“It is the Word of God that builds Christ’s Church in every age and among all kinds of people. Look at some of the great examples you have in your own country. That is why I called your attention to the Prophet Isaiah’s great book.
“ÔAll men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the
grass of the field;
The grass withers and
but the Word of the Lord
With these closing words, Peter left you alone to think about the power of God’s Word in your life and the lives of others.
It is that Word that has taught me that I am created in God’s image. The Word taught me that, when I sinned, I was separated from God, but my Father sent His Son to die for me, and when I trust Jesus as my Savior, I am forgiven and enter into a personal relationship with my Creator.
I never get the full meaning of this relationship, but is glorious just to sit alone in Christ’s presence. And it was also exciting to see how God had used the talents of others in building the Kingdom.
One day I had the experience of visiting the F. Melius Christianson compound in Door County, Wisconsin. As I walked over this beautiful piece of property with the granddaughter of this famous musician, she shared with me some of her memories. Then we came to a building where Christianson did much of his work. I asked her if this might be the very place where he wrote his arrangement of the great anthem, Beautiful Savior. She replied that it could well be on that very spot God inspired him to do this great work which has changed the lives of thousands of people.
God’s Word has a creative power.
Here is another personal example. One of our grandsons works in Chicago. He often worship often at the Moody Bible Church. This is the church where Dwight L. Moody preached for many years and hundreds of people came to know Christ after listening to his sermons. Tim, my grandson, told me that the Word of God is still preached there each Sunday by another powerful preacher, Erwin Leuthser. It is one place you can go in Chicago where the Gospel can reach out and touch you. Just sitting there in this worship service is an experience.
It is that Word that is the power of the Church.
One of my prayers is then, when pointing to our church building in Cedar Falls, people will know that this is a place where they can go to hear the story of Jesus Christ. It is where thousands of people have met Him as their Savior and Lord.
When we see what God’s Word has done, and is doing, in the lives of so many people, it is sad to see what people attempt to do to this Word to make it more acceptable to our culture, which is here today and gone tomorrow.
St. Peter says, “The Word of the Lord stands forever.”
Deny this truth and the Church will cease to be the Church.