1 Thessalonians 2:4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. NKJV
The Mark Of The Lion
After an almost complete collapse in the sale of eggs in 1956, the British Egg Marketing Board was set up to promote this most natural of food sources by purchasing all the eggs produced in the UK, grading them to a national standard and then stamping them with a lion logo as a testimony to that high quality which would be seen by the customer, and so communicate to them that this egg was safe, that this egg was disease free, that this egg was even above the expected legal standards! Yes, this egg was approved!
In our text for tonight, Paul says that he and his team are lion stamped, approved eggs. The face of their sky has been seen and discerned, yes, even like five new yoke of oxen, they have been yoked and driven, pushed and pulled, and found to still plough a straight line! They have been thoroughly examined under the grading microscope of God and being found free of falseness, free of disease and free of self-seeking guile, have thus been retained in His service as a most excellent product. God so believed in them, that he entrusted the Gospel to them.
In God’s economy, before any apostolic entrusting, there comes a trying, a testing, a grading and a stamping. Much of what we see today (and it’s not new) of people who count themselves as apostles, as folk entrusted with special knowledge, even Divine favour, fire, gifts and new spiritual insight are nothing short of rotten eggs! They are ungraded, and upon examination bear no mark of the lion they say they represent, but rather they bear the odour of a deceptive and pocket-lining guile.
- God’s school colours are black and blue, look for those colours.
- God graduates don’t give two hoots for the favour of men and the backing of names. Look for that.
- All of God’s approved men bear the mark of being with the Lion. So, look for the claw marks, the punctured flesh, especially around the back of the neck, the limp, indeed, look for any evidence of the heavenly damage, if you will.
- Finally, and this is important, all of God’s approved men, have been taught by heaven just how to roar. Listen for that roar in their powerful proclamation.
Listen: - We never used words to butter you up. No one knows that better than you. And God knows we never used words as a smoke screen to take advantage of you. Even though we had some standing as Christ's apostles, we never threw our weight around or tried to come across as important, with you or anyone else. We weren't aloof with you. We took you just as you were. We were never patronizing, never condescending, but we cared for you the way a mother cares for her children. We loved you dearly. Not content to just pass on the Message, we wanted to give you our hearts. And we did. You remember us in those days, friends, working our fingers to the bone, up half the night, moonlighting so you wouldn't have the burden of supporting us while we proclaimed God's Message to you. You saw with your own eyes how discreet and courteous we were among you, with keen sensitivity to you as fellow believers. And God knows we weren't freeloaders! You experienced it all firsthand. With each of you we were like a father with his child, holding your hand, whispering encouragement, showing you step-by-step how to live well before God, who called us into his own kingdom, into this delightful life. (1 Thessalonians 2:5-12 -from THE MESSAGE: by Eugene H. Peterson.)
Pray:- Lord, give me a nose for bad eggs, even before they are cracked open. Lord, help me to discern the mark of the Lion on those you have approved and entrusted with Your good news. In Jesus name I pray, amen.