I Became A Servant

Sunday, October 12, 2014, 6:26 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “In Keeping Them.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 3 (NIV).

My (Our) Calling

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

Each one of us who is in Christ Jesus, by God’s grace through faith, has been called of God to belong to Jesus Christ, to be God’s holy people, and according to God’s purpose. We are called to one hope, which is faith in Jesus Christ, and to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. We are also called into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are called to live in the grace of Christ, to be free in Christ from slavery to sin, and called to the hope of our heavenly dwelling. We are also called to eternal life, and to a holy life; called out of darkness into his wonderful light, and called to suffer for doing good and to endure it. And, we are called to live God-empowered godly lives, to be faithful followers of Christ, and we are called to peace [Source: Various NT scriptures].

We are also commissioned by God to be Christ’s Holy-Spirit-empowered witnesses to the ends of the earth, and, on the authority of Christ, to make disciples (followers) of Christ of peoples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all that Jesus Christ has commanded us. As well, we are to be his light to the world and the salt of the earth in spreading the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ by life example, in word, and in deed everywhere he leads us and he takes us. And, we are to love the people of this world with God’s love, as well as we are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ in like manner.

We are to be partakers in the Body of Christ in helping to encourage, cheer, strengthen, exhort, counsel, instruct, urge, warn, enlighten and give hope to our fellow believers in Christ, and in ministering to their legitimate needs. We do all this in the power of the Spirit within us, through the ministry of the gifts of the Spirit given to each one of us for the common good, and through fulfilling the part within the body the Spirit has assigned each one of us to be and to do. Yet, these gifts and these body “parts” are not of human origin, nor are they assigned by humans, so we must be in fellowship with our Lord, listening to his voice, and obeying what he shows us if we want to hear his voice clearly, and know what our gifts are, and what he has assigned us to do and to be within the Body of Christ.

As I was having my time this morning with my Lord in the Word and in prayer, he reminded me of his calling upon my life specifically. I am to follow his teachings and I am to follow him wherever he leads me in helping those who are in slavery to sin to be set free from their chains. I am to show compassion to people who are hurting and to minister to their legitimate needs. I am to help those, who in their attempts to live uprightly, or to appear uprightly, are operating in human flesh. They need to see that it is only by aligning ourselves with Christ, his word, and his principles for godly living; it is only with him as our foundation and our support; and it is only in his power and strength within us that we are able to live uprightly. And, I am to use whatever gifts he has given me for his honor and glory and to help others, and to do so humbly and reverently, giving God all the praise.

My (Our) Perspective

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.

We don’t take on this responsibility to be servants of the Lord and ministers of his gospel in our own human flesh, though many have. We become his servants and messengers only through the calling of God on our lives, by the gifting of God’s grace by his Spirit, and through the working of his Spirit in our lives in spiritual ways. For instance, I don’t do what I do each day because some humans asked me to do this or because one day I woke up and just decided that I was going to do this each day. This specific calling of God on my life was not at all on my radar at the moment he called me. I was in his Word daily, in tune to the voice of his Spirit, listening to him speak, and obeying what he said to me to the best of my understanding, so I was ready to hear and to follow, i.e. I was receptive to his call, but this was not something I chose to do of my own thinking or decision or will.

When God calls us to a specific area of ministry, and we know this is his voice, and this is what we are supposed to do, we should respond to that call humbly, realizing that we are not worthy to be called to such an awesome task and responsibility.

For example, when God called me by his Spirit to the ministry with which I am now involved, I knew I was not worthy for such a task, as I knew the things I had done in my past. I was just so grateful for God’s forgiveness, for his restoration, and that he would even want to use me again. So, I was in awe of him, and I was humbled by his love for me, and by his grace to me. I knew full well that I was not being called to this because I had always lived an exemplary life, but because of his grace to me, and because I had humbled myself in confession and repentance, and I had chosen to walk in faithful obedience to him once again, so I was willing to be used of him for his purposes and for his glory.

My (Our) Concern

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God’s intent was that, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known, though not only for the benefit of rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, but for the praise of God’s glory, for the salvation of human lives, and for the nurturing, encouragement and strengthening of the body of Christ. This commission of God to the church is not to be accomplished, nor can it be, in the flesh of human beings, but only in the power and working of the Spirit of God, who is within us.

Yet, so much of today’s church, particularly here in America, operates almost entirely in the flesh of humans, with human strength, and with the wisdom of this world. Marketing schemes, movies, secularism, humanistic teaching and philosophy, sensuality, appealing to the flesh of human beings, trickery, lies, deceptions, and manipulations of people’s emotions have replaced the power of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, the Word of God and the awe, respect, reverence and glory of God within the church. Almost everything which goes on in the name of God in today’s modernized “worship” services is completely orchestrated by human beings to appeal to the flesh of other human beings.

Yet, for all their human efforts of trying to act or appear righteous, many of these churches and church leaders, who are supposedly ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, are not living uprightly, and they are not leading their congregants to live uprightly. They are on sinking sand, they are being tossed back and forth by various winds of doctrine, and they are not trusting in the Solid Rock. Thus, the Word of God and Christ Jesus himself are not their source of strength, support, wisdom and counsel. Because they are operating in the flesh, they have diluted the gospel of Christ to make it more appealing and acceptable to the world, so they are not teaching that we must die to sin, be transformed of the Holy Spirit, and live holy lives pleasing to God.

So, God has placed this concern within my heart, and he has called me to speak with the church concerning his calling upon their lives, and to show them that the way to holiness is only through the cross of Christ, death to sin, transformation of the Spirit, and Spirit-empowered godly and upright living. The only way in which the church can fulfill her God-given mission and responsibility to make known the manifold wisdom of God is to cease reliance upon humans, marketing schemes, human methods for reaching the world, and dependence upon human strength and wisdom. We, as the church, must forsake our idols and we must return to reliance upon our Lord, and to trust in HIM, his strength, his support, his wisdom, and the foundation of the Word of God. We must align ourselves with Christ, with his word, with his teachings, with his morals and with his purposes for our lives.

My (Our) Attitude

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

When we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, become members of the Body of Christ with other believers, are called of God to live holy lives, and are called to his service, and when we follow him in obedience in becoming ministers of his gospel, we will suffer for the sake of his name, for our testimonies for him, and for the sake of the gospel. Even fellow believers in Christ, or those who profess his name, will reject us, falsely accuse us, ostracize us, ridicule us, hate us, shun us, certainly not choose us for ministry to the body, and may even reject or disbelieve God’s calling upon our lives. So, we may get excluded from the fellowship of the church, we may even be asked to leave, or we may be kicked out because our body part doesn’t fit in with humans’ marketing schemes.

Yet, we are to not let that discourage us or to weaken us in our faith or to get us to give up and fade into the background. God has chosen us even when mankind has rejected us. Amen! We are to continue in our walks of faith, convinced of the Spirit in our calling, faithful in service to our Lord, filled with his Spirit, empowered by his love, and we are to keep pressing on in doing what he has called us to do.

We may get down sometimes emotionally, but we need to get back up, move beyond our feelings, and to not let the opinions, rejection or mistreatment of others dishearten us and keep us from doing what we are called of God to do. We need to follow His word, follow Christ’s leading and do what he says. We need to daily put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us. We need to realize this world is not our permanent home, but we are just here temporarily, so we need to keep our focus on Jesus and not on this world. And, in all that God accomplishes in and through our lives, we are to give him all the praise and glory. Amen!

In Keeping Them / An Original Work / June 3, 2014
Based off Ps. 111:10; 19:7-11

Stand in awe of your Lord.
Harken to His teachings.
Follow where He leads you.
Live for Him today.

Through Him you gain wisdom;
Knowledge; understanding.
To my Lord belongs all
Worship and my praise.

Perfect is the Word,
Refreshing souls in His love.
His commands are faithful,
Guiding us each day.

Joy comes to the heart of
Those who love His teachings;
Follow His instructions.
He will light their way.

Abide in the Lord, and
Obey His commandments.
His Word is more precious
Than all of our gold.

By His Word He warns us,
Comforts, and implores us.
When we follow His Word,
There is great reward.