Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Shut Up / Speak Up

On the train, Monday afternoon. We sat on Platform 2 at Reading waiting to leave for Basingstoke for 25 minutes. My journey had a 28 minute connection window at Basingstoke for Portsmouth. While we waited our driver insisted on telling us that "I'm sorry for the delay, I don't know why. And I've check with lots of other people, and they don't know either..." Later my Basingstoke-Portsmouth train also suffered, at Micheldever we were informed that "I think that odd sound was one of our engines failing". I'm not sure I wanted to know in either case. Some people just can't help their verbal diarrhea.

Monday night, preached at University of Portsmouth Christian Union. My first trip to Portsmouth since Natwest put me up in the Marriot & Hilton for a week's induction 2.5 years ago. Was good to spend the evening with the guys there - an extended time of worship followed by my talk. After which I had to run for the train. The return journey was less eventful.

It was great to speak to them from 2 Timothy 4, on the priority of "Preaching the Word", and the need to do so together. Attempting to show them that God's call on their lives is to live in view of the coming judge and to love his coming. In view of this we must preach the word because the world hates the truth and loves itself, to preach the Word to them. The war is won, and there are battles to fight - not with violence, but by plain, clear, faithful speaking of the Word.

But why does the world hate the truth? On the train I was reading the end of D.Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Romans 2v1-3v20. God has really been challenging me on this over the last few days (also connected to preparing 1 Corinthians 1v18-25 for church). The world hates the truth because the truth silences its excuses. The gospel stops every mouth. In the message of the Cross God speaks and tells us to shut up and stop trying to justify ourselves.

Our sinful instincts immediately seek to defend us when our guilt is exposed. We protest. We come up with incredible justifications for our behaviour. Adam & Eve did it, and we are no better today. In the face of this God says "Shut up". Stop your whining, stop your pitiful excuses. Shut up and listen.

The message of the cross is foolishness to the world, its absurd. But believing in it is the only way to silence our excuses. And once believed our mouths are open with new words - what can we do but speak about this message to the world? It is the one thing that the world needs to hear above all else.

Shut up! Speak Up!