Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
There's a fascinating link between the Book of Revelation and the Gospel of John that is intriguing. The former tells of God's final "Voice from heaven" that will sound in the heart of a vast number around the world to "come out of Babylon." They will respond in that last hour, symbolized as "a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues," who hear the Voice because in some way they already "follow the Lamb [the crucified Christ] wherever He goes" (18:4; 7:9; 14:4). They are already responsive to each nuance of divine leading they can sense. They love truth.
The link with John's Gospel is in 10:1-16 where Jesus lets us in on His secret: He has people everywhere who are His hidden "sheep" who "know His voice" and respond whenever He can find a human agent to proclaim the truth so clearly that honest people recognize that "Voice." To borrow Luther's crude phrase, these who proclaim the gospel don't "taste of the dish" (would you serve your guests from a dish that still has the remnants of its former cooking sticking to it?). When our preaching is marred by "self," we repulse rather than attract these "sheep."
The presence of self-love seen in the agent constitutes the "messenger," "a thief and a robber," "climbing up some other way" into Christ's "sheepfold." His true sheep run as fast as they can the other way (they "flee from a stranger"). And possibly the church wonders why they are not winning more souls, and why their efforts to "lighten the earth with glory" seem so stymied.
The picture in the Bible is clear: God has faithful people buried in Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, yes, maybe all the "isms" of the world, including atheism, who are not heart-satisfied where they are; they hunger for something they haven't yet found. When truth and that truth-seeker meet, nothing in earth or heaven will keep them apart.
The challenge to God's "remnant church" of these last days is: clear away the confusion that muffles the sound of that "Voice from heaven." What's on God's agenda for His church is thrilling.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 21, 2004.
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