International Edition of Dutch Magazine 'VOLG' (december 2011)
Evangelical E-mail Magazine of Dutch Foundation Support Christian Ministries
1. The power of the Word of God
2. Exposition of a text
3. Christmas greetings and blessings
4. About the Foundation Support Christian Ministries
1. The power of the Word of God
Message for the Christmas Season
Teun. J. de Ruiter, Global Pastor, Counsellor and Teacher (The Netherlands)
It is no myth
As I read Luke 1:37, "No word with God shall be without power," in the 'Amplified Version' of the Bible, one of the most intimate, miraculous and important passages of the whole Bible is opened before me: The announcement of the birth of Jesus Christ.
The annunciation to Mary of the coming of Jesus Christ is only found in the Gospel of Luke. Luke was a physician and got converted through the preaching of the apostle Paul. After his conversion Luke became a companion of the apostle on some of his missionary journeys. When we read the book of the Acts of the Apostles you will notice that in the travelling stories of Paul 'we' and 'they' are used intermittently.
The mother of Jesus, Mary, must have told him that great and very personal story how she, as a young woman. received Jesus into her womb. At that time Mary had possibly reached the age around the sixties. With physician Luke she could speak confidentially about that very unique experience as a young woman. She knew that it was important for the faith in Jesus, her son that people would know from a professional physician that Jesus had a supernatural, divine identity.
We should listen with great respect to this sacred story. The story is put in clear, plain wording and does not give an artificial impression. There is really no reason to doubt the integrity of the writer in writing it or to regard it as made up, or as a myth circulating in the early Church, as some 'learned' theologians do now believe. Of course, we know that there were pagan stories of virgin births of sons of gods in those days, but we do not need to conclude that this story in Luke is of the same category. Many historical researches of the Gospels are convinced that they are trustworthy in the facts and data of the life of Christ. Of course, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit each writer gave personal impressions of the life and ministry of Jesus. Some had been actual witnesses of His ministry; they had even accompanied Him. Luke wrote years later, basing his Gospel on a thorough investigation, (read Luke 1:1-4). I do not hesitate to say that in the final and conclusive analysis only stubborn unbelief shall regard the miraculous conception of Jesus as a myth, possibly created - as is suggested - in the second or third century as a product of an extreme glorification of the person of Christ.
The word became flesh
Mary was willing to receive the miracle of the fruit of the Spirit in her womb. She must have realized that she put her reputation as a decent and morally pure woman at stake in opening herself for this mysterious and unique happening. There must have been a lot of gossip about her in Nazareth and only Joseph, her fiancee knew what had really happened, having been informed by an angel about it. However, she was honoured for her obedience and nobody would have ever heard of this woman in Nazareth if she had not been receptive. But now her name is remembered and honoured.
The testimony of the Gospel has stood firm throughout the ages: Jesus was begotten of the Holy Spirit of God, the invisible person and power of the Almighty God. Mary had the thrill of feeling the Word of God coming alive and growing in her body. The word of God became flesh, wrote the apostle John in chapter 1, verse 1 of his Gospel and how true this was in the experience of Mary during the ninth months she carried the child.
Every Word of God has power
Please notice what the angel Gabriel exactly said. According to the original Greek he made the statement, "no word with God shall be without power." He did not say that only the word he spoke to Mary would have power, but every word of God that proceeds out His mouth. Isaiah, the great prophet under the Old Covenant knew this already. He declared that no word of God would return to Him void, without its purposed effect, (Isaiah 55:11).
Many people testify that they received direct words from God. Sometimes it came as an audible voice, sometimes in a dream or vision. And sometimes a word in the Bible was impressed with great force upon their heart and they perceived that the Spirit of God was speaking to them through the written word.
The apostle Paul had experienced the power of the word of God. The word of Jesus Christ and His message had changed his life dramatically and permanent. I quote from Romans 1:16: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. For the Jew first and also for the Greek." Paul knew personally the truth of what he wrote.
The soul-cleansing power of the Word of God
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews confirms in chapter 4:12,13 that the word of God has great power to discern in the heart of man that which is good and that which is bad. Not only that, that word of God has also the power to separate the good from the bad and to uncover the inner forces, thoughts and motivations. This is what he wrote: "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." I could compare the word of God with the sharp surgical blade, with which the surgeon cuts away a malignant growth. It usually is painful to the patient, but it is necessary if he wants to live.
Who will not agree with me that this power of the word of God is very necessary in these days? Believers need to be cleansed from the deep-rooted evil. Sin invades in the church through the evil and unclean spirits of the world.
I do also observe that in some Christian movements the message of the healing power of the word of God for the physical body is receiving more emphasis than its power to heal from the evil in the heart and mind. It tells me that many believers are more focused on physical than on spiritual issues and, of course, from a natural human standpoint that is quite understandable. Please do not misunderstand me; I know that there is divine healing power for the physical body and God wants to demonstrate His power in our bodies. But we should remember that a physical healing is a sign of the more essential healing, that of the spirit and the soul. The Gospel of John reveals the deeper issues of the message of Christ and therefore he wrote about the healing miracles as 'signs.' And signs always point to more important issues. The healings of Christ pointed as signs first to His unique function as the promised Messiah, the Son of God and secondly to the necessity of the salvation of the human soul.
It is high time that the power of the word of God of which Hebrews 4:12,13 and other Scriptures are speaking, will get its freedom to be operative and that its power will be used in anointed, authoritative preaching. Genuine Christian Revivals have always started with preaching against the evils in the lives of believers and society, uncovering sin, naming and condemning it clearly and then presenting Christ as the saving, healing, heavenly surgeon through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let us pray that in this Advent and Christmas season, God's word will be allowed to do a deep, cleansing, sanctifying and healing work in the deep regions of the human soul and of the church, the spiritual body of Christ. Jesus Christ, our heavenly surgeon is always ready, His Word has still power.
2. Exposition of a text
John 1:1, 'In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.'
The apostle John was already very old when he wrote this Gospel. Undoubtedly had he been in touch with the Greek culture and philosophy and also studied the Greek theories about God (Theos), the origin of creation and the Word (Logos). The Greek philosophers were deep thinkers and understood that a long time ago the kosmos must have had and still has a ordening, creative source. This original force or principle, the ground of all that exists, was called logos. The Greek came however not much further in their thinking than that there had been and still was an original force that had created everything and still keeps it going on. One of the great questions they could not answer was: "Where, what or who is that logos?" Some suggested that it was present in all matter and therefore somebody raised the theory of the 'monads.' These monads were - according to some - the smallest units of matter and life and should have a soul and even possessed intelligence. These monads, so they supposed, where somewhere in the universe, radiated life, matter and energies and could not be known by man.
As an Israelite the apostle John believed in the Most High God, the creator and maintainer of everything in heaven and on earth. With this faith he was brought up and when he became a believer in Jesus, he believed Him to be the Son of God. And as the Son of God He created everything and therefore He was the Logos (the Word).
3. Christmas Greetings and Blessings
We greet and bless every reader of this magazine, wherever you may be on this planet, at home or abroad, this Christmas Season: May the Lord give you peace and happiness.
We also take this opportunity to wish you a blessed 2012. May the Lord continue to bless and guide you every day. The Bibleverse that is impressed upon our mind for 2012 is 1 Corinthians 15:58,
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye
know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
4. About the Dutch Foundation Support Christian Ministries
(a non-profit foundation and as such recognized by the Dutch Tax Office)
This Foundation has been founded by the son of Teun and Tessa de Ruiter, to support them in the last phase of their life and ministry. In 2011 Teun resigned at the age of 73 as pastor of the local Pentecostal Church in Hilversum, Holland. He and his wife Tessa served there as pastors for twenty years after their 27 years of ministry in the Bible College. They do now no longer receive a regular income. That's why we have founded this foundation. We gladly receive any donation for them in the account of the foundation 'Support Christian Ministries,' in Leusden, Holland. The account is 188.8.131.523 and the IBAN code is NL70ABNA0447111973.
Contact or Information? E-mail...Volg Support Christian Ministries