This past Tuesday I had occasion to minister the Word of God at the Pavilion in Ocean Grove. I found this time to be an exceptional opportunity to share God’s Word in a different setting. I was delightfully blessed by Rick Poole’s playing the guitar, singing and song leading and especially encouraged by my friends from NDC who came to join us for this unique night of ministry. I spoke of God’s grace as seen in the 2nd chapter of Ephesians (see my blog “Still Amazed by Grace”). I shared about the fact that we are saved by grace through faith and there’s no room for boasting about our works. Paul then says in verse 10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do” (NIV). To illustrate, I talked about some of the good works God has prepared for me to do in my service for Christ. I talked about lifting up the name of Jesus outside the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and going to the uttermost parts of India to minister in churches and villages. And now I’ve had the privilege to share at Ocean Grove.
The thought occurred to me after my sharing, “was I boasting?” just like verse 9 says not to do? I don’t think I was as I wasn’t talking about my good works as the basis of my salvation but that my good works have been opportunities (some rather unique) to be God’s workmanship sharing the glory and honor that belong to Christ alone. I also reflected on Jesus’ words in the 5th chapter of Matthew’s gospel where Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (v.14, 16 NIV). I wasn’t boasting about my works as the basis of my salvation but rather as the basis of God’s call on my life and His workmanship in and through me.
The question of my boasting was still on my mind when I was having my morning devotions on Wednesday morning. God seemed to speak right into my thoughts with the passage in Jeremiah that I happened to be reading for my read through the Bible discipline that I have. In the 9th chapter I read these words – “This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth for in these I delight”, declares the Lord (v. 23, 24 NIV). Oh, by the way, have I told you recently how incredible and amazing it is to have a personal relationship with the God of the universe who has revealed Himself to us through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ? I’m still awe-struck that the creator of the universe allows me the privilege of telling people about the unbelievable gift of salvation found in Jesus Christ alone.
For God’s Glory,
Pastor Rich Sivo