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To Whom Do You Think Goes The Chief Honor Of Heaven?
"The chief honour of heaven is reserved for those who have been wise in effecting the conversion of souls to righteousness." - Pulpit Commentary - Old Testament
"True Wisdom is seen in success in 'turning many to righteousness' "
- Pulpit Commentary - Old Testament
"A true prophet must be sent by God with a word from God. A true prophet of God calls people to repentance of sin or evil and to renewed faith."
- Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary
"Any one who points out a present wrong in our lives that needs to be put right immediately, is to that extent a prophet of God..."
- Pulpit Commentary - Old Testament
"The salvation of a wandering brother should always be a high priority in the Christian community."
- The Full Life Study Bible
There is a work that is very commendable. That work is coverting men to the worship of the true God and to the ways of Christianity. It is bringing sinners to the knowledge of the truth.
There are a group of people who are deserving of commendation in the Body of Christ. They are the ones who have been the means of bringing sinners to the knowledge of the truth. They are the instruments in turning men to God...leading and directing souls to the righteousness of Christ...and putting others on the right path.
Daniel 12:3 refers to them in this way - "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. "
One such "wise" man was John the Baptist. In Luke 1:16, we read the prophetic word outlining his life and ministry - "And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God." He was indeed considered to be a perfect example of a religious and moral reformer. He was truly a means in the hand of God of turning many from sin. Through his preaching, he awakened them to a true sense of it and a desire for righteousness. By preaching repentance, he called them from their evil ways and persuaded them to forsake them. What enabled him to witness fearlessly for God as he did...to be bold in reproving sin...and to be zealous for the truth was that he followed after the model of the Prophet Elijah - "And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord"(Luke 1:17).
The Apostle James spoke of those who would have this same ministry in turning sinners from their wicked path or the error of their ways... restoring backsliders...or reclaiming those who had been led into evil. He referred to them in this way - "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins."(James 5:19-20). There is no work that is more acceptable to God than this one - none that will be followed with higher rewards.
Several Scriptures delineate this awesome work of God in turning sinners from the error of their ways -
Galatians 4:19 says - "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you."
Galatians 6:1 says - "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
2 Timothy 2:25-26 says - "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
Actually, this should be the work of every one professing to be called by God in His service. This is brought out very clearly in Jeremiah 23:22 which says - "But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings." Those who say that they are called by God to do a work for Him must make the conversion of souls their business. This must be their aim in all of their preaching. They must do all that they can to turn people from their evil ways and the particular evil of their doings.
In 1 Kings 18:37, we read that God is indeed at work when this happens - "Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that Thou art the LORD God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again."
Those who follow His leading in this great work will never be able to say that their work was "in vain" as implied by the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:16 - "Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain." The holy lives of their disciples will be the fullest proof that they were faithful preachers in the cause of Christ.
Are all Preachers wise in effecting the conversion of souls to righteousness? Are all preaching a Gospel - the Gospel of the Lord Jesus - which turns men from sin and idols to total allegiance to Him and Him alone?
Unfortunately, there are those who are actually preventing people from repentance and turning from their sins.
You ask - how can that be? If we see that God is the power behind hearts turning back to Him - and He is - then who is working in those who tell the people that they - are saved in their sins without repentance...have peace though they go on in their sinful ways...and are promised life, peace, and prosperity - even though they be emboldened to go on in their wicked ways and not return from sin?
You guessed it - Satan!
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, both Prophets - Jeremiah and Ezekiel - addressed the False Preachers who were "strengthening the hands of evildoers" rather than calling them to repentance -
Jeremiah 23:14 says - "I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem a horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah."
Ezekiel 13:22 says - "Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life."
Once again, we give you the quote from the Pulpit Commentary - "The chief honour of heaven is reserved for those who have been wise in effecting the conversion of souls to righteousness."
In a day when so many are seeking after honor and recognition, just how many Preachers do you suppose will receive "the chief honour of heaven" - as mentioned here - because they have made it their business to turn men and women from their sinful, evil ways?
Unless things drastically change in the Church of today, there will not be many.
What about you?
Is your name on the "reservation list"?
May God Bless His Word.