Last week I shared a quote from A. W. Tozer on my Facebook page because it spoke a word of truth into the volatile week. This quote was shared often, so it seemed to resonate with many. A. W. Tozer said, “While it looks like things are out of control, behind the scenes there is a God who has not surrendered his authority.”
I’m pretty sure that however you vote, you would consider last week’s news to be difficult to comprehend. I think the only one who was not surprised and shocked by the news from Afghanistan was God. It gave me comfort to remember that God has “not surrendered his authority.”
The righteous live by faith
The righteous have always lived by faith. Last week I read a plea from a missionary who is hiding in Kabul. She wrote that she didn’t think she would be alive in two weeks because she was being hunted by the Taliban. She is a missionary who teaches Muslim women to read and teaches them they have a God who loves them and finds them worthy in every way.
In a couple of weeks, the Bible study I spent most of my summer working on will begin. I spent months learning how to understand and teach the book of Romans. I often call Romans “Paul’s masterpiece.” He wrote it near the end of his life and ministry after decades of missionary work. Paul spent his life establishing churches in parts of the world that were antagonistic to his teaching.
The theme of the book of Romans is found in chapter 1 and is a theme I believe God is calling all of us to consider for our own lives and ministries. Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith’” (Romans 1:16–17).
Christians like this missionary define what it means to live by faith, unashamed of the gospel. They know the gospel is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes. Those who have been made righteous will live by faith now, and eternally. Join me in asking the Lord to miraculously save the missionaries and enable their work to continue.
I believe in the power of the gospel too. But, I am blessed to accomplish my ministry safely. I can openly teach every verse of the book of Romans without fear of harm. In Afghanistan, those missionaries can be killed for doing what I am free to do in America.
Teaching God’s word is my greatest privilege, and I am not ashamed to teach others what the Bible says is true. Not everything I teach this year will be considered “politically or socially” correct. But, I’m not ashamed to believe the Bible is the truth our culture most needs to hear.
The righteous, in every country, live by faith. I will teach each word of Paul’s letter because in it Paul reveals the gospel message, which is the message of salvation for everyone. Next spring, I fully expect that Paul’s letter will have brought others to salvation in Christ, just as it has for more than two thousand years.
A. W. Tozer said it well: “God has not surrendered his authority.” I am unashamed of the gospel message. I will not surrender God’s authoritative word to cultural opinions.
You are invited
I recognize that I have been called to teach the Bible. It isn’t what I do; it is what the Spirit of God has chosen to do through me. Some will think that last statement sounds a bit arrogant, but the truth is exactly the opposite. The reason I teach is that when I get it right, I’m not the one teaching—the Spirit of Jesus is teaching. I can’t describe it any other way.
I want to invite you to join our group in the study of Romans in a couple of weeks. You can sign up for the videos, and they are free. The book has a suggested price because we need to repay the ministry for the cost of producing, printing, and shipping it. It is our goal to give Bible study to as many as possible, even in places of the world that don’t encourage or support Christianity.
I can’t think of a more important time to study Paul’s letter to Rome. We all need to remember we were called to be a holy people, made righteous through our faith in Jesus Christ.
Trained in God’s authoritative word
I’m not sure how many of the Afghan refugees will live near you, but I know that Dallas, my home city, is scheduled to receive a crowd. In addition, our southern border has been a crossing ground for tens of thousands.
Many despair that fact. At times, I have too. But, then I think about Paul and the missionaries who will likely die for teaching their faith. I imagine any of them would look at the comfort I enjoy as I teach God’s word to others and consider me blessed. I can hear Paul saying, “You mean God is bringing them to you?”
Paul wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power for salvation to everyone who believes.” I am privileged to teach Paul’s masterpiece, the book of Romans this year. I can honestly say that if you will study his letter, you will know what to believe and why to believe it.
Are we willing to be God’s missionaries to the world, especially to the ones who are arriving in our own country, even our own neighborhoods? God is on his throne and has allowed things to happen as they have. Why? How does God plan to accomplish Romans 8:28 through your life?
Who are His missionaries?
How could this country change the world? I think it’s important to remember God didn’t give a country that job.
How could God’s people change the world? Just like Paul did—one soul at a time.
We aren’t responsible for the thousands, but we are responsible to God for each person he calls us to. Some will be Americans and some will not. But, that isn’t the point. God didn’t call us to make more Americans; he did call us to make disciples of all nations.
Do you feel unable to share your faith? Are you afraid you can’t answer people’s questions? Then come study the book of Romans. Paul answers almost every faith question in his letter. None of us are able to be missionaries apart from his Spirit. But remember: every Christian has the same Holy Spirit that God has given to those brave missionaries in Afghanistan and other parts of this world. Every Christian has the same Holy Spirit that empowered Paul’s ministry.
Paul would say we are lucky to be able to share God’s word and still sleep safely in our beds each night.
I pray that when next April ends and we have studied the final lesson from Romans, there will be an army of the faithful who are unashamed of God’s truth and ready to teach it when called. I pray that God will bless and protect the teaching of his word. The gospel message is the power of salvation to everyone who believes.
It may look like things are out of control, but God has not surrendered his authority. Let’s not surrender our calling either. You are a missionary, and the need is growing. Choose today whom you are going to serve. Join with God’s people across the centuries who have said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lᴏʀᴅ” (Joshua 24:15).
God is our highest authority.