By Seth Brown, Adult Connection Pastor
In this current season Faith Bible Church is joyfully celebrating Dr. Mark Hitchcock and his 25 years as our Senior Pastor. During that time “Pastor Mark” has led this church well and preached the Word of God faithfully, and this body is thankful for having been consistently and steadily fed the truth of God’s Word. No doubt we could rightly be called “hearers of the Word”.
However, with this gift of consuming the Word of God comes the responsibility of also being “doers of the Word” as James plainly states (James 1:22). Likewise, Jesus rightly pointed out that “everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24) and “if you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17).
By His grace, God has provided His Word to His people – to be heard through public proclamation and to be read and studied individually – in order for us to delight in His statutes and not forget His Word. Then, as God deals bountifully with us, we may live and keep His word (Psalm 119:16-17).
But our responsibility does not stop there.
Twice in the first nine verses of Ezra 7 we read that “the hand of the Lord his God was on” Ezra (Ezra 7:6, 9). Then we read WHY: “Ezra had set his heart to STUDY the Law of the Lord, and to DO IT and to TEACH His statutes and rules in Israel” (Ezra 7:10). This single verse sums up Ezra’s life: He consumed God’s word by his study of it, he went about doing God’s word in how he lived, and He invested His life in other people by teaching God’s word.
As people who desire to love God and to love those with whom we are in community, this ought to sum up our lives as well. In fact, when we are rightly doing God’s Word we are actually investing in other people – whether we realize it or not. Jesus said that believers are “the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden”, and He goes on to tell those who follow Him to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14,16).
In much the same way, Paul implored the Philippians to “practice [the] things” which they had “learned and received and heard and seen” in him (Philippians 4:9) – the inference being that Paul’s ministry was rooted in how he lived in community with others. That is why doing God’s Word and investing in others should never feel like a burden but rather something to be celebrated and embraced as those who passionately desire to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
In closing, there is no doubt that doing God’s Word and intentionally investing in others takes a lot of effort, demands an amount of time we do not think we have, and calls us to personal sacrifice and surrender. Even still, Faith Bible Church should want nothing more than to be known as a people who are not simply satisfied with consuming God’s Word but are only fully satisfied when we are going and making disciples and teaching those in our lives to observe all God has commanded us (Matthew 28:19-20).