Read: Ephesians 4:11 to 16
We first believe when we are regenerated by the Spirit of God. In our regeneration, God gives us the power to believe. He wonderfully changes our hearts from being unbelieving and rebellious, to being repentant and believing. God works in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, renewing our minds, and giving us new understanding so that we can receive His truth. The heart is the spiritual center of man. When God regenerates us, He gives us a new heart. He makes us willing and active in our own faith. All of these are wonderful aspects of God’s work when He gives us the gift of true faith.
When we are born again, we are babes in Christ who must be fed and nourished by the Word of God. We must grow to maturity in the faith. We must be made strong and steadfast in the faith, able to face opposition and to distinguish the truth from the many false teachings that are in the world. We need to be edified, to be built up in the faith. Eph 4:13 speaks of growing up in “the stature of the fullness of Christ:”
Faith is not a mere passing emotion or momentary exciting experience. Our faith must be founded on the knowledge of the truth of God. If this is not the case with us, then according to the words of the apostle in Eph 4: 14, we will always be children, ‘”tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” To avoid this tragic end, so common in the lives of many professing Christians, we must be made strong in the faith.
The preaching of the Word is not only the means whereby we are first called to faith, it is also the means God continually uses to build us up and make us strong in our faith. We must be strong in our faith so that we might be able to endure the temptations of sins, the trials that God sends us in our lives, and doubts and fears common to the Christian life. We must be strong in the knowledge of the truth of the Word of God so that we are not deceived and led away again from the Lord. The way of the devil is to deceive and thereby to lead astray those who once believed, by leading them away from faith in God and Jesus Christ.
Our faith in God and the knowledge of His truth must equip us for a life of good works whereby we serve our Lord and glorify Him in every part of our life.
The means of grace are therefore very important for the Christian. He or she must not despise them in his/her life. If anyone does this, he/she will inevitably become weak, unstable, and vulnerable to the work of the devil to destroy him/her.
In Eph 4, we are told that the exalted Lord of His church gave to her, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. All of these men were given the solemn duty of preaching the Word of God in order to strengthen the faith of the saints of God, to equip them fully for their Christian life, and for their calling in turn to edify one another in the love of Christ, building each other up in the knowledge and love of the truth of the Word of God.
We are greatly in need of the means of grace and should attend to them faithfully, especially by going to church every Lord’s Day.
Rev. Arie denHartog (Wife: Sherry)
Ordained: October 1974
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1974; Foreign Missionary, Singapore - 1979; Randolph, WI - 1987; Redlands, CA - 1990; Minister-on-Loan, Singapore - 2001; Southwest, Grandville, MI - 2005Website: www.southwestprc.org/
Address4895 Ivanrest Ave. SW
State or ProvinceMichigan
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