As The Utterances of God
1 Peter 4:10-11
Jesus expects me to be a good influence in the world around me. There are two
parts to Jesus' formulae for doing this. He said,
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good
works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16).
The first part is that we do and say the things God expects us to do and say.
We respond to life's blessings and ordeals the way we, as disciples of Jesus
Christ, are instructed to. We build our characters in a godly direction each
day through practicing both "practicing what we preach" and preaching what is
true. That is how we let our light shine in an often dark world, and the
darker the day, the brighter true lights will shine forth.
The second part is to glorify God. We understand that whatever good is
accomplished in God's name is for the purpose of bringing Him glory. It's not
all about me, but about Him. Everything I have, including skills and
opportunities and time itself, is not my own but given by God. It is only by
the grace of God I can do any worthwhile thing. Without Him I would be
literally nothing. My goal needs to be to bring God glory. What do I have to
offer the world? Only that which has been granted to me by God. Apart from
that, I have nothing, so when I do rise above the fray and accomplish
something that makes me feel good or useful, while it is a time to rejoice and
to share a sense of accomplishment, the glory belongs to God because I have
only used what He first gave me.
Now, consider how Peterís words relate to all this. To please God we need to
be lights, that is, to seek out and take advantage of opportunities to be of
useful service. But we need to do this as we respect Godís rule and authority
over our lives.
10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it
in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God;
whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God
supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to
whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1
Speaking as the Utterances of God
It is important that when we speak concerning spiritual, moral and doctrinal
matters that we do so with God's approval. (1 John 4:4-6; 1 Corinthians
2:10-13). If we have the respect and reverence for God and His word that we
ought to have, then we will humble ourselves under Him and submit to Him as
God (1 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Peter 5:6). To lack this respect is to greatly
endanger our relationship with God.
There can be all kinds of appearances of holiness and righteousness without
real reverence for God. Just because something is religious does not mean it
is true or right (Matthew 23:23,24; 27-28).
For example, one local pastor recently said concerning the legalization of
"gay marriage" that gays should be given the same rights as heterosexuals in
this matter. "We should be accepting of all peoples", she said. Many think
that the age-old definition of what constitutes a marriage needs to be changed
to accommodate "gay marriageĒ.
We certainly do need to love and respect all people, but do we not also need
to respect the word of God? If I speak as the utterances of God, and if
someone asks me what constitutes "marriage", how would I answer? If I respect
God, and accept the Lordship of Jesus with reverence, would I not offer the
same definition as He does (see Matthew 19:4-6 for Jesusí definition of
marriage). Something other than this arrangement is not what God calls
marriage, and if I am to "speak as the utterances of God" then I don't either.
Loving Service According to our Ability
A parrot can quote God. I am nothing much more than that if I find myself
"parroting" but not practicing the utterances of God. I can become just an
empty sound (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). If I know and speak the truth, but am
cold, unloving, suspicious or selfish in my daily manner of living, then I
have not arrived at the kind of discipleship where the Lord desires for me to
There is room for both loving service as well as respect for Godís authority
in every aspect of life. Speaking the truth is to be done in love, but it must
be spoken, not hidden, and the two need not be incompatible (Ephesians
4:15-16; 22-24; 26; 29; GAL 6:10).
God has given us abilities, gifts and strengths. We ought not to waste them
(Hebrews 6:11-12). We are not responsible for that which is beyond the
abilities that God has given us (2 Corinthians 10:13-14; 17-18). All the good
we can do is only possible because of the One who has given us our abilities
and opportunities. (1 Corinthians 3:5-7; 4:2; 7).
That God May Be Glorified
God is glorified by the things which originate with Him - To disobey God does
not bring Him glory (Colossians 3:17)! We must neither deny our ability to
avoid responsibility (False humility is often an excuse for spiritual neglect
and laziness) nor use a God-given ability to act where we ought not. Just
because I can do something does not mean I necessarily ought to do it! Neither
of these will bring God glory!
God is glorified by our righteous and loving treatment of one another. To be
together and speak with one voice - God's utterance - is to bring God glory
(Romans 15:5-7). This is the commandment of Jesus (John 15:8; 12-14).
These two texts (Matthew 5:16 and 1 Peter 4:10-11) show us the need for both
loving, active service and a deep respect for God's authority. The end result
of this will be to one day share the glory of God in ways we can now scarcely
imagine! This is our hope and we would like all to share it with us. It is
available in Jesus Christ.
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 19.9; September 2012