“Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.” (II Corinthians 3:2).
Look at any page of your Bible, God’s Holy Word! When you observe that little piece of paper, it was once apart of a tree in a forest. It was planted as a seed in the ground and from that seed grew a tree. That tree not doubt withstood many a storm.
I wonder how many hurricanic winds blew across and against the tree from which that one piece of paper came? I wonder how many storms that little piece of paper has weathered? I wonder how many times tornadic winds came and almost blew the tree down that finally gave us that piece of paper on which Scripture is printed? I wonder haw many gusts of wind and thunderstorms that little piece of paper has endured?
You see, we did not receive the Gospel on paper easily for someone had to plant a seed, the seed had germinate, had to grow, and then withstand all of the elements of rough weather. However, something else happened to that tree, for it had to be cut down. There will be no Epistle without the tree being cut down. We would not have the Epistle from which I read without the tree being cut down.
That is not all! It then had to be processed into paper. Then it had to be purchased. Someone had to pay the cost of the Epistle. That is not all! It had to be owned by the purchaser. That is not all! There had to be some type of a printing press that took what was on the machine on to that piece of paper. A printing machine of some type had to make its impression on that piece of paper.
The truth is that piece of paper is an impression. Then this piece of paper becomes an Epistle that I can read.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).
Think about what it cost for you to hold in your hand a piece of paper with Scripture! It took planting! It took growing! It took withstanding many a storm! If it had not withstood the storm it would not be here on that piece of paper you hold called Scripture.
Then the tree was cut down. It had to die! It was then processed, purchased, owned, printed on, and then and only then could it be read.
The Apostle Paul wrote the church at Corinth and said, “You are my epistle”. Now, just as this epistle we call Scripture did not come cheaply, neither will it be a cheap purchase if you and I become God’s Epistle.
“You are the only Gospel this careless world will read. You are the sinner’s Gospel. You are the scoffers creed. Hey, you are the Lord’s last message written in deed and word. What if the line is crooked, what if the print is blurred! What if our hands are busy with other works than His? What if our feet are leading where sin’s allurement is? What if our tongues are speaking of things that Christ would spurn. How can we hope to aid Him and hasten His return?”
We can take filth, blood, and garbage and smear the piece of paper containing the Scripture and though the Epistle is there, you wont be able to read it. That is why we ought to live clean lives. We are His Epistles! That is why we ought not to live like the world lives for we are His Epistle.
The world doesn’t like the words I read off of that piece of paper. In fact, the big battle in America today is over the inspiration of those very words that exist in our hands today. The issue is not over women’s rights. The issue is over is the King James Bible inspired or not! The issue is not over abortion but rather is the King James Bible contains preserved inspiration!
The battle being fought today is against the King James Epistle being preserved inspiration. The world doesn’t like what is written in the King James Epistle and unfortunately some fundamental know-it-alls with their egos being bigger than their brain, like little children, ridicule those of us who believe by faith that God did preserve His Words and they did not lose any inspiration at all!
The question today is not whether the world likes you or not for the question is concerning the message that Jesus wants sent to the world being sent clearly by your life. You are His Epistle. I am His Epistle not written on tablets of stone or tablets of paper.
Please follow my reasoning! A seed was planted in Paul. It was planted by at the death of Stephen. The Apostle Paul was a young man known as Saul of Tarsus. He was holding the coats of those who killed the deacon Stephen. He watched Stephen die. He heard his great sermon while being persecuted and martyred. He heard him say that he saw Heaven open and Jesus standing at the right of God the Father.
The Apostle Paul saw Stephen die and heard him say, “Lay not this sin to their charge” to God. At that very moment something pricked the Apostle Paul. Do you know why. because Stephen was an Epistle revealing what God wanted Paul to see?
Paul had read the Epistle of Stephen, not on tablets of stone or pieces of paper, and not with the ink. But, with the Saviour Himself imprinted into a Baptist Deacon who died preaching and was martyred.
He was a clear message from God and Paul could not remove Stephen from his mind. A seed was planted in Paul and it was Stephen’s sermon and Stephen’s death!
That is not all just for the Apostle Paul in order to become an Epistle weathered many a storm. If you are going to be a great Christian you are going to have to weather some storms. You are not going to go through life, eat, drink, and be merry, and have a big time with no enemies, no battles, or no fights!
The greatest churches that have ever existed have weathered the storms and the greatest Christians who have ever live have weathered the storms.
Read “Pilgrim’s Progress” written by John Bunyan. He had a seed planted. He grew and he also weathered some storms thus we have “Pilgrim’s Progress”. There is no other way! You and I must weather the storms!
Dad, you must weather the storms. Mom, you must weather the storms. Son, you must weather the storms. Daughter, you must weather the storms. Young preacher, you must weather the storms. College students, you must weather the storms.
II Corinthians 6:4-5 says, “…in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,… and “In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watching’s, in fastings;….”
What was God doing? God was making an Epistle not written in stone, or paper, or with ink. God was making an Epistle out of the Apostle Paul and no Epistle can come if the tree continues to just grow. Thus, the Apostle Paul was cut down!
He died as a martyr and today the Apostle Paul is considered the greatest Christian who ever lived. It was not because he was a good-looking man for the truth is he was not. He was a little man with bad eyesight. His speech was contemptible, maybe a squeaky irritating voice. Maybe he had a speech impediment, or maybe tongue tied, or maybe a cleft pallet, or worse than that maybe he had a northern accent!
The Apostle Paul is considered today to be the greatest Christian who ever lived! Why, because he weathered the storms and he could not have become an Epistle without weathering the storms.
She was a great songwriter and became an Epistle. Why, because though she was blind she weathered the storms.
Must I be carried to the skies?
On flowery beds of ease
While others fought to win the prize
And sailed through bloody seas
No, I must fight if I am to gain
Increase my courage Lord
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain
Supported by thy word
The truth is this Christian life is not a life of playing “paddy cake”. This is a battle! God did not call us to a pink tea and lemonade party. God called us to spiritual warfare!
Paul said we are soldiers of the cross and if you and I are to be Epistles we must weather the storms. Do not be surprised when the liberal media whether over the air or in print attack Christians and their values. When God’s people mean business about God’s business of winning souls to Christ it will irritate this world!
CHARLES H. SPURGEON
The prince of preachers he is called. He was the great preacher not because of his sermons, but because of his life. He suffered! He weathered storms! He died to himself! His life was not his own! He gave his life to Christ as well as his soul. He became an Epistle!
If this great missionary had just surrendered to the mission field and gone to Africa to build a little church building no one would have bothered him and no one would have ever known him.
However, a seed was planted in him. He was pressed to win Africa to Christ, and when he did, the storms came. He weathered them and thus he became an Epistle. He motivated and encouraged millions and millions of Christians through the years.
Paul had a seed planted in him. Paul grew. Paul weathered the storms. Paul died to self. Paul was purchased and owned by a greater.
One of the great philosophical debates today is whether or not you have a right to your own life or not. The world says, “I am my own man!” However, God says, “Ye are not your own. Ye are bought with a price” (I Corinthians 6:19-20).
So many others I could write of such as Evangelist Lester Roloff, Dr. John R. Rice, Dr. Lee Roberson, Dr. Jack Hyles, Dr. Tom Malone, Dr. Curtis Hutson, Evangelist Carl Hatch, etc., but a great preacher is not necessarily an Epistle.
An Epistle must have a seed planted. An Epistle must grow. An Epistle must weather the storms. An Epistle must die to self and an Epistle must be owned by a greater.