In the third part of the New year series titled "First day of the first month," we come to the following Cs...

"He had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel." (Ezra 7:9-10)

This one is one for those on the road of ministry already. Go no further than the great Jewish reformer Ezra...if you are looking for inspiration to take a New Year resolution on adding some badly-needed punch to your sermons.

Not only is Bible inspired by God (2 Tim 3:16), the order in it is also God-inspired. It's "study" should be followed by "living" in accordance with it, before "teaching" of the same to others, takes place. Say Fellow-servant in God's vineyard, is your life a "pattern" of God's word, even before its "proclamation." Wanna be a powerful Cannon in preaching Canon, then practice it first before proclaiming it. What about our Saviour Jesus? Let the Scripture take over...

"In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach." (Acts 1:1)

Notice how "do" comes before "teach." No wonder, at his baptism, even before he had preached a single sermon or performed a single miracle, there was a heavenly commendation: "And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'"

No wonder again, there was so much of power and authority in His sermons, as the ever-truthful Scripture underscores...

"When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching for he taught with real authority -- quite unlike their teachers of religious law." (Matt 7:28-29)

Chance

"and by the first day of the first month they finished dealing with all the men who had married foreign women." (Ezra 10:17)

Make note, fellow servants of God what price powerful preaching, if it doesn't lead to "alteration of situation" for good. Ezra brought about a reformation in the Jewish society "infected" as it was in his times of Jewish men marrying ungodly wives (a sure recipe for disaster...remember King Solomon's fall from Grace -- See 1 Kings 11:1-4), thanks to his New Year resolution of sincere "study," "observance" and "teaching" of God's Word.

Fast forward to 16th Century AD and what have you, a careful study of Scripture (Romans 1:17 to be more precise) by one man -- Martin Luther -- leads to Reformation of the Church bringing it out of the clutches of Dark ages, when Papacy reigned in false pomp and glory.

What I am saying here applies to all Christians both Clergy and Laity. Are you keen to discern who is an apostle and who is an apostate? Then be well-grounded in Canon (synonym of it is a ruler which helps you draw a straight line)!!! You can immediately identify a false teacher, because his teachings will not be in sync with the inerrant Scripture. No wonder a Biblical Scholar remarked, "If you do not know how a straight line looks, how would you identify a crooked line."

If you are aspiring to be the one, who accurately divides the Word of God (1 Tim 2:15), claim this promise...

"'As for me, this is my covenant with them,' says the LORD. 'My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my Words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants--from this time on and forever,' says the LORD." (Isaiah 59:21)

God's Word and God's Spirit are like two conjoined blades of a Scissor, helping our mind, soul and spirit to "cut" (remove) unbiblical claims and "retain" the unalloyed truth of the Scriptures.

Prayer: Father, what wonderful resources, You in Your infinite love and grace have given to Your Children -- Your Word and Spirit -- to help us walk uprightly in the path which You set before us. We magnify You once again in Jesus' Name.

Suresh Manoharan
An unprofitable servant
J and SM Ministries

To access the entire "The First Day of the First Month" mini-series, please click here.)