Today promises to be one of the great highlights of my career in ministry. As a part of a special worship service at our church this morning, I’ll have the distinct privilege of reading from a 1611 First Edition, First Printing King James Pulpit Bible. I’m told there are fewer than 50 of these original printings in the world. Call me a geek, I guess, but I kinda get goosebumps when I think that I get to read from this same Bible that so many others have read from over the centuries. I wonder how many people have heard the Living Word proclaimed from this very Bible. And today, that number will grow yet again…
Our worship planning committee gave me license to choose what text I wanted to read. I thought long and hard about what passage of Scripture would be appropriate to read from this ancient book on this special occasion. A lot of great texts came to mind (Psalm 23, Isaiah 53, Philippians 2, Colossians 1), but at the end of the day, Romans 8 just wouldn’t let go of me. I guess if I had but one message to preach, it’d be this. So today, I’ll have the honor of proclaiming the words of life that Paul penned so many years ago.
May these ancient words allow for a hearing of the Living Word in our midst this day:
28: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29: For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30: Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31: What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32: He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
33: Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
34: Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36: As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37: Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38: For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39: Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.