They bring absolutes


     There are eight or nine authors (though dead) who still speak today. Their names are Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James and Jude. Who wrote Hebrews is uncertain. Their words, with the exception of the Old Testament writers, were inspired by God in ways that no others were, 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16. Peter was my teacher tonight. I learned from Matthew Tuesday night. Their role as Apostles must be guarded by the church.

     Over us all is God whether we’re talking A.D. or B.C. Under the Apostles are now all the prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists equipped in every generation and place. We need only their instruction. In Christ, each one is directly influenced by the Apostles themselves. We all read the same books. Saints tonight in A.D. 2012 need the same perfecting as those in A.D. 40. The teachings and/or writings of the Apostles are our means, Ephesians 4:11-12. It’s not that James or John is active in our hearts and minds as we read today, no. They’re not involved with us personally. It’s God the Holy Spirit alone who shows us that their words are of God and beyond men’s words. Nonetheless, I follow the teachings of men chosen by my Lord as disciples while at work, in their boats, or in their homes. They were real men in history, and they’re a special part of my everyday life today. One day I’ll shake hands with them in the custom of our new homeland. They wrote or orally dictated their teaching to someone with parchment and quill. I’m sure they did it in both the daytime and in the nighttime. They had to pause during those times to eat, pray, shop, talk to the wife, worship or sleep. They were just like I am now yet spoke words that cannot be dismissed by anyone who wishes to know God as Father.

     As men, they have an esteemed place among us that’s rivaled by no other man. I want to honor that. If all doctrinal laborers today are to be held in double honor (1 Timothy 5:17) how much more the Apostles? If I disagree with them on a definitive of God or gospel, these mere men, it is to my own eternal peril, 1 Corinthians 14:37; John 17:6-20; Ephesians 2:19-20; Galatians 1:8-9; John 13:20; 2 Peter 3:16; Jude 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:15, et al. No man today has this place apart from them.

     Most physicists would pine at the chance to study under the likes of a Stephen Hawking or an Albert Einstein. These are men they consider closest to that which drives one to such interests, yet all they have are the wisdom of men. How much more should I rejoice to study under the brightest minds of eternal wisdom? Speaking of the Old Testament writers for a moment, how grateful should I be that Solomon wrote to me as one who pursued everything on this earth that feigned happiness and found it all useless? Ecclesiastes 2:1-26. What can I learn from him under his God? What honor I have that the wisdom of Moses and the elders of Israel are recorded for me in the Torah? What a privileged life I live to have received from Jeremiah the prophet that we should both glory in our knowledge of God alone? Jeremiah 9:23-24. Thank You, Lord, for these men.

     Greater still are those who walked with Jesus. They are the highest and lowest of us all. All that drives men to truth once walked among them in their towns, preached near the elementary schools they used to go to, and taught in their synagogues. Float as a fly on the boat with Paul in Acts 27 that night in the Adriatic deep. Peer into his eyes. An angel spoke to him that night. What sort of man is this? Who is this man that you can read from tonight? What place does he have in your world? What an honor to love what he loved and to hear what God has given him! (Galatians 1:11-12).

     What I’m saying isn’t to elevate any of these great men beyond their proper place. We dare not pray to saints. They are incommunicado. They were all men who would rebuke me sharply should I hold them as anything other than leaders in my faith. No, I worship God alone by His delight! I trust in the 66 books of the holy Scriptures that teach me of the soon returning only God, a triune God who covenants with His people, became a virgin born sinless Man that died on a cross, rose up again and ascended to heaven and brings great grace to contrite sinners as a free gift culminated on a hill near Jerusalem. I know all this exclusively from the writings of those mere men chosen thousands of years ago.

     The position of the New Testament Apostles is to be safeguarded in the church. There are no more! I know several men who call themselves Apostles today. They’re greatly mistaken.

     I can study tonight under the most influential men in history. They won’t bring me philosophy or speculation. They bring absolutes. Their wisdom isn’t their own; neither is mine.


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