Wouldn’t it be great if every Christian could be as articulate and knowledgeable about the truths of the Christian gospel as their well-educated pastor? We rightly honor the men and women who have gone to seminary, engaged with other bright and Jesus-loving professors, who understand much more of the depth and impact of what God has done in Jesus. Like most things, the more you know about the gospel of Jesus, the better it gets.
“… and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 3:9-10 ESV)
So, the job of telling the good and important information about Jesus turns out to be an intense duty. The gospel about Jesus is part of God’s previously-unknown-information (“mystery”) plan that has been around forever. Then the apostle Paul tells us that the obvious wisdom of God would be proclaimed, by way of the human church, to ‘heavenly realms and authorities.’
As I’ve shared before, this is the dignity, privilege, and worth of God’s image: humanity. That is all of us. Believers in Christ, having been redeemed – being put back where we belong in a right relationship with God – we then tell heaven what God has done and how it is wise.
Contrary to some strains within Christianity, we are not worms; though we were made of the same stuff. As God’s “image,” we were made to be God’s ruling representatives on this world – God’s “icons.”
That’s a tall order and a big responsibility – and we seem so unprepared to take it on. Especially in comparison with Jesus who we are supposed to be representing. Still, while we may be weak, slow, stupid, and broken – we know God’s love, mercy, reconciliation, and wisdom. That’s our advantage.
Do you know the difference between an “expert” and an “authority?” And expert knows and understands the theoretical and intellectual information. They have read, studied, and perhaps even observed. They know a lot about a subject.
An “authority” is different. An authority may not know as much as the expert, but they have practiced the subject. They have lived it. They can speak from the authority of their personal experience.
When I was born, there was one expert and one authority in the room. The expert was the Obstetrician. He was a medical doctor who knew a lot about giving birth. Also in the room was an authority, my mother. She was actually experiencing childbirth. Her obstetrician was an expert, but he would never be an authority!
And that is our story, as well, when it comes to the gospel. Sometimes we get intimidated because we don’t know as much about the gospel as our seminary-educated pastor. But. We have actually experienced the grace of God in our lives because of what Jesus has done. We know the gospel! Maybe not as ‘experts,’ but certainly as ‘authorities’ and we can tell what we know.