The work of a man of God is stupendous in comparison to any other work. It is a labor that calls for a greater sacrifice and because of such calling it is assigned greater responsibility. A man of God is like a watchman made ready (or chosen) to blow the trumpet at the sign of danger. It is necessary that all those who preach the gospel be such a watchman. Yet, not all who preach the gospel, especially in the present days, are men of God. A man of God is one who is understood to proclaim not only the blessings and the joy of the Lord, but also the warnings that come from Him. He should be able to warn the sinner of his sin and the righteous when he commits sin. He should have studied sin and understood righteousness to be able to warn. Because of the sin present in this world, even among God’s people, there are more warnings necessitated to keep God’s people in purity. The warnings of the Lord are the key to life. The longer His people are in purity the greater the understanding of His blessings and joy. When a man is warned by a man of God regarding his sin and he turns from it by heeding the warning, he first receives his life as blessing from the Lord. In this is the joy of the Lord. In such joy there are many blessings for him. For this reason, a preacher of the gospel must be in a position to understand the warnings from the Lord “and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people” (Ezek. 33:3).
The ground on which a man of God stands carries great appraisal. The judgment of God begins from him. If he does not warn the people just as the Lord desires and at the time He desires, then he is bound to pay the price. On the other hand, if he warns the people, whether they heed or not, he delivers his life. Truly, he stands on a dangerous ground wherein he must perform the duty he is called for. On the contrary, what is the fate of those who had not been called or who are not men of God and yet, speak the word that came from the mouth of God? They have been appraised, since they themselves have provided evidence against them. A preacher is not a man of God when he cannot understand His warnings. He is not a man of God, if he cannot warn the people just as the Lord desires and at the time He desires. He will not see the sword coming and becomes a means to destroy himself and his work. Therefore, it is more than imperative that a man preaching the gospel of Christ has the mind of Christ. Such a man will be guided both by the word and the Spirit to complete His duty. “O Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like a luxuriant cypress; From Me comes your fruit” (Hos. 14:8).
Many are they that missed this point. They are preaching the kingdom of God apart from the fruit that comes from God. They are fruitless, since they do not seek God for an answer; their spirit does not seek His guardianship. Though the word is present, its power, purpose and wisdom are not fully revealed to a man until its Originator finds it acceptable. Hence, the darkness of the churches of Christ and of God is becoming evident day after day. They have established themselves according to the flesh. Their doctrines and teachings have become the proof of their establishment. God has nothing to do with idols or any more of them, since He was never the originator of them. Similarly, He has nothing to do with the doctrines and teachings He did not create or the presence of any more of them. Can a man know God through his idols? Even so, the men fail to preach, teach or revere God with teachings that are not of heaven. If idols can be burned and they turn to ashes, even so will these doctrines. For instance, if a preacher has denied the work of the Spirit of God just as it was mentioned in the word and performed in the church from the beginning, then he has made denial as his idol. Such an idol will turn to ashes when burned, and as to what would happen to those that carried the idol is imaginable.
All those that made denial as their idol have made it using the word itself. Such idolatry is greater sin. It is a greater sin, since they have abused the blessings and the joy of the Lord. If a man is warned by the Lord through His servant to repent of his sin and he heeds the warning, the portions that follow his repentance are a blessing and joy of the Lord. And when some have denied a portion, they rejected the manner in which the Lord adds or restores a person to His body. They have committed greater sin. However, it will certainly be a joy to the Lord if those who carry the idol of denial heed His voice. For this to take place they must first become incorruptible believers of Him. Then they shall know how to thank the Lord and why. “Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:3). If you are one of those that consider Jesus washing the feet of His disciples as a sign for greater humility and that it does not actually necessitate our repeating it, then you should grasp the wisdom for the present day from the work of Mary. Whether you imply or actually practice washing feet the question that remains is how have you thanked the Lord and to what extent have you gone to thank Him? Mary went to the extent she knew and could. Yet, she did not thank Jesus without a powerful reason, which was the raising of Lazarus from the dead with power and authority. Her magnanimity of that knowledge is known by the extent of her gratitude shown toward the Lord. She heard His teachings about Him, His Father and His kingdom. She obviously believed Him to a great extent or else she would not have been His follower, anointed the Lord earlier with ointment and wiped His feet with her hair. But, when the moment came and her following of Christ has given her great astonishment and satisfaction, and joy regarding her brother, she could not resist herself from anointing Jesus’ feet with a very costly perfume. She was not instructed to do so, but it naturally sprung up from her heart. Such was and is the relationship that Jesus holds with His believers, and His believers know how to thank Him.
On the contrary, if one has not received from Jesus to the extent of being astonished, how does he or she thank the Lord? There are matters to which believers thank the Lord, but to thank Him from astonishment, satisfaction and joy demands greater works of the Lord. Greater works of the Lord demand deeper belief in Him. Such belief holds us firm in the Lord and is the source for working out our salvation. Now, no work of Satan can falter us. Even if he rains fire from the skies we shall not be moved. “The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification” (Rom. 5:16). In this is true wisdom i.e. to understand the nature and the effect of the free gift. The free gift which was given to us through Christ is a gift of righteousness. Since no sin was found in Jesus, the gift i.e. the salvation He offered to mankind is of righteousness. Therefore, the effect of such a gift will also be righteous in nature. What resulted through Adam was condemnation and works of death. However, through Christ has resulted salvation and works of life. While the works of death are of sin, the works of life are of the Spirit. Therefore, the effect of the free gift (salvation) in us is the demonstration of the Spirit of Christ resulting in justification. Works of the Spirit demand belief in one Man, Jesus Christ and greater works of the Lord undeniably demands deeper faith in Him; or else, none can workout their salvation. Those who claim to be working out their salvation, and yet, are unbelieving toward the nature and effect of the free gift of God in the believers have been far from the light. “For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night” (1 Thess. 5:7). Common sense teaches that all men sleep at night and if they get drunk, they are drunk at night. In spite of this, if our belief in the free gift of God is as good as being asleep or getting drunk, our salvation is as good as dead.
People that believe in the free gift of God and in the effect it produces are the chosen of God. They are called to perform the work of the Lord. This is made evident from this verse. “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen” (1 Pet. 1:1). They make greater sacrifices to receive greater rewards, even to carry upon themselves the greater responsibility. They are chosen by their belief in His Son; they shall receive an imperishable inheritance. By their belief they are protected by the power of God for the glory that will be revealed at the right time. Of these God creates men and women for Him. Their work is stupendous. Hence, the power, purpose and wisdom of the word of God will be fully given to them to exhort, encourage and lead believers to the Lord as is seen in the case of Peter. In this manner the work which the Lord Jesus Christ has begun continues to expand and flourish. No doctrine or system can stop it. For even if there are doctrines with the power of the gates of Hades, they will not overpower the men of God; neither shall they prevail upon the believers. Both the power of Hades and the doctrines shall be destroyed. God wants His people to understand this and for this reason it is written, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John” (Rev. 1:1). What God has communicated is undeniable. There shall surely come a time when all the doctrines that are not of God and the idols of denial are burned to ashes.