The challenge for a preacher is to communicate clearly, constantly trying to unpack scripture in such a way that all might understand and receive it, whatever the educational background. This is our great responsibility and our privilege.
This is the reason I have particularly enjoyed the book I have been reading God and Us by Keith Warrington. I can recommend it.
This is a straightforward book, uncomplicated, yet evidently the product of a sharp mind.
Keith has managed to produce a book which is devoid of jargon. It would make an excellent gift for the non-church person or a new Christian. Good too for small group use, as discussion questions are included in each chapter.
Of God he says,
One of the reasons God is so different is that he cannot improve himself or be improved; he can’t get better or worse; he can’t be developed or refined; he’s already ideal, and always has been and always will be.
His comments on eternity are so good I must quote. Speaking of God living in eternity he writes,
Rather than seeking to identify details of the life to be experienced after death, it is more productive to recognise that, whatever it will be like, it is that for which believers have been created. Eternity is not the full-time whistle; it’s when the fulfilment actually begins. Eternity is not the end of time; it’s the start of endless time. It’s not the final scene; it’s not the moment of applause. Eternity is the start of the performance of our lives. Believers are ushered through this life for the purpose of eternity, destined for eternity. Eternity is not the reward for life on earth; it’s not the bonus; it’s the reason for our creation. life on this earth is not the reason for our salvation; it’s just the entrance porch, the waiting-room, the gateway to our destiny, which is eternity.
So much for the oft quoted, â€œThis life is not a rehearsal.â€
Keith wonderfully speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer.
Paul makes a strange statement in Romans 8:26: ‘the Spirit .. .intercedes for us’. That the Spirit prays for us is encouraging, because it’s good to be aware that the Spirit is on our side. But the Spirit is God. So is God praying to himself? The Spirit can’t be reminding God about my situation, because the Spirit is God. He can’t be asking God for extra resources because, as God, he has them all already.
Paul is painting a picture with words to explore the fact that the Spirit in us works in partnership with the Father to support us in all our situations, not just when life is at its lowest but throughout all our days; when nightmares control our next steps; through the storms when all we can taste is our tears; in the hurricane when we hunt for a haven; and also when we can see a golden horizon, when dreams come true and life is too wonderful for words. God is there not just when we need him but also when we don’t seem to. The Spirit is speaking out loud for our benefit so that we can hear his heartbeat for us.
The word used by Paul to describe the way the Spirit helps us is rare and includes the idea of support or partnership. He doesn’t just help us from above, but comes alongside us and is with us; he steps into our shoes; not just once but continually and continuously. This is not support from a distance, not help from another world, but closer than a whisper.
Keith’s chapter entitled â€œHe’s All Powerful and We Are Notâ€ is one of the best responses to the problem of suffering I have read. Keith’s words are sound and concise. He manages to keep clear of the sort of trite answers often passed around, offering superficial comfort based upon false hope.
As I said, I recommend this book. Get it, read it then give it away. Pass on the blessing.