Friday, November 25, 2016

The best kind of communication .......... Parables 515

June 18, 1996

E-mail (short for electronic mail sent through computer modem) is revolutionizing communication. This week, I received messages from friends in Edmonton, Camrose and Papua New Guinea, a company representative in Toronto and several people and organizations in various places in the United States.

Some of these people I know personally but even though we have a face-to-face relationship, e-mail is more convenient than a telephone. Our schedules seldom match so rather than interrupt each other’s work, we can read and answer messages as time permits.

Some who send me e-mail are also members of the same writing group, or they work for a company with whom I do business. For instance, one e-mail was from a person who responded to my order for a software upgrade. She said it would arrive soon and it did.

Sometimes people connect through e-mail, develop a relationship, eventually meet face-to-face and get married. Intimate relationship building by e-mail would be risky by itself (too much can be masked) but such marriages illustrate e-mail can be used for more than business.

Obviously, e-mail has limitations. We do not use it for everything nor can we use it by itself to verify the reality or integrity of someone on the other end. Perhaps that is one good reason God did not wait for electronic inventions like e-mail, telephones or fax machines in order to reveal Himself to us. Instead, He worked through real people. Hebrews 1:1 says, “In the past, God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways...”

God spoke and the prophets wrote; one reason why the Bible is called the “Word of God.” While some say the Bible is written by men only, God ensured these authors were godly men who obeyed the His revelation and faithfully recorded it. Through them, generations have received His message and the Bible remains number one on best seller lists.

God did not reveal everything in written form. Hebrews 1:1 finishes, “...but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son.” Jesus is the ultimate communication from God, “...the Word made flesh.... the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.”

In recent years, some argue that Jesus is only an idea, a representation of the truth about God, a nice thought but He did not really exist. Others say if He did exist, He was only a man and the stories are exaggerated; no one could have done the deeds attributed to Him.

However, as the written Word survives and thrives, so Jesus also outlasts those who deny Him. He remains the central figure of history, the one whose name and deeds are told and retold over and over. If what He did was mere exaggeration, why do the stories persist? In contrast, will the amazing stunts of modern illusionists be retold two thousand years from now? Could anyone eventually reverse these stories claiming elephants actually did vanish? Hardly.

I must admit that once I was not so sure about the reality of Jesus. Sometimes He seemed a myth, but in time, He convinced me, not with arguments but with a combination of His written Word and my own experiences.

His Word says, “I (Jesus) am returning to Him who sent me...(the Father) and I will send Him (Holy Spirit) to you. When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin...”

Jesus promised that God’s Spirit would convince each person of their sinfulness. No sane individual would invent such a conviction, particularly because it includes personal and eternal condemnation. Only a higher authority can override our insistence on our own goodness.

Then, just as Jesus promised, the Spirit came and convicted me. This event plus His promise convinced me that Jesus is an actual person. God did exactly what He said He would.

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