Saturday, January 14, 2012
A couple of Sundays ago the Lord led me to share a scripture in 2 Corinthians that I believe pertains to CentrePoint and parts of the church at large. Often we search and search for new things to do when we really ought to be doing what we've been instructed to do in the first place.
Let me share with you how it reads in The Message Bible.
2 Corinthians 8-9 I'm not trying to order you around against your will. But by bringing in the Macedonians' enthusiasm as a stimulus to your love, I am hoping to bring the best out of you. You are familiar with the generosity of our Master, Jesus Christ. Rich as he was, he gave it all away for us—in one stroke he became poor and we became rich.
10-16 So here's what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart's been in the right place all along. You've got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can't. The heart regulates the hands. This isn't so others can take it easy while you sweat it out. No, you're shoulder to shoulder with them all the way, your surplus matching their deficit, their surplus matching your deficit. In the end you come out even. As it is written,
Nothing left over to the one with the most,
Nothing lacking to the one with the least.
This passage led me back to where the Lord had us discovering how to become fishers of men. It's so nice to talk about the scripture but it's a much better thing to see the scripture come to life.
So now here we are in 2012 and what does the Lord have us do? Go back to where we started the year before but with exuberance and a strong will to finish what we started. So for CentrePoint it's about becoming fishers of men.
Where we spent a little time last Sunday was in Mark's gospel in the 6th chapter. Our primary reference was in verses 7-13 where Jesus sent the twelve out two by two to preach the word and cast out unclean spirits.
Mark 6:7 And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. 8 He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts— 9 but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics.
10 Also He said to them, “In whatever place you enter a house, stay there till you depart from that place. 11 And whoever[a] will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them.[b] Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!”
12 So they went out and preached that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.
What is key for us as believers in this era is to utilize the word in methods that are different from the disciples of Jesus' time. We're in an age of technology and I highly doubt if the Lord is opposed to believers heralding the gospel via the means that are available to us. The great thing the disciples and we have in common is we love Jesus just like they did, we have testimonies just like they did and we are called to go into all the world just like they were. The advantage is we have access to technology that allows us to reach the world like they never could.
You want to talk about responsibility? We have a responsibility to carry out the work of preaching the gospel. That's just a few of us, that's all of us. Rather we think we're called or not, it our responsibility as believers to do the work of an evangelist and make full proof of our ministries.
Timothy said it best.
2 Tim 4:1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at[a] His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
I sometimes feel like Jeremiah the weeping prophet. Crying over the lives of believers who refuse to do what God has instructed. Nevertheless, my assignment is clear. I will continue to compel believers to testify about the goodness of God. I will offer the resources that give assistance to those who are uncomfortable taking the necessary steps to share their faith.
I've heard it preached by more than a few preachers that we are living in a "saints revival." The saints of God will lead this revival. In the marketplace, in their neighborhoods, over the airwaves, basically everywhere the saints gather is an opportunity for the gospel to be shared.
While there are churches around the world prospering there are literally thousands of churches closing every week. Even though churches are closing, there is no excuse for the gospel not to continue to be preached. We're in an era where so many people have been saved for such a long time and know the goodness of God that just this remnant alone can turn the world right side up with the truth that is within them.
Get ready church. It's time for your light to shine. It's time for you to be used by the Lord. Like 2 Corinthians said, all it takes is a willing mind. We know God is able and you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you but do you have a willing mind?