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Posts Tagged ‘preach’

I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I  am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.- Romans 1:14-16

Paul spoke plainly.  The Book of Romans is one of those epistles where Paul lays the foundation for a firm faith in the everlasting covenant offered to the believer through Jesus the Christ.  He shared the immense and extensive benefits afforded to the believer in and follower of Christ.  But also includes the worker’s mission, ministry and message.

The worker has a mission.

As a messenger of Christ, Paul was certain and assured of his mission.  He was to share the message with the Jews first, then he carried it to the Gentiles. 

His mission affirmed that he had no reason to be ashamed of his calling and its work.

The worker had a ministry.

Paul’s ministry went beyond merely preaching.  In Antioch, he and Barnabas stayed on for an extended period of time and taught the people.  He wrote extensively to the believers abroad, encouraging and edifying them through his epistles.  He spread the Good News throughout Asia Minor, Greece and other regions on his missionary journeys.

He let his ministry keep him from working with any degree of shame.

The worker had a message.

We cannot deliver our message if we feel shame about it.  We must be convinced of its relevance and necessity in order to extend the reach of the Word into all if the earth.  No hidden doubts can remain covered when others listen to us and watch us.  Our doubts will emerge somehow and at some point. 

We should be able to say like Paul that we are “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”

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“We have to take initiative where we are, not where we have not yet been.” – Oswald Chambers

Imagine helping everyone else except for those whom you love.  You offer strangers and others more than your own children and loved ones, even your closest friends.  That would sound sort of strange, right? That would make you seem like some sort of hypocrite.

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. – Matthew 26:11 (NLT)

We need to stop overlooking the needs that go unaddressed right around us daily instead of seeking to go off to some distant land and do the same good that we never ever attempted at home.  We should go abroad and carry the Good News of Jesus Christ.  That is certainly the truth.  However, we do not need to leave needs unmet right at our own doorstep.

What was it that James said about true religion?

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. – James 1:27 (KJV)

We need to start right where we are.  We need to start doing good works right where we live every single day.  We need to do our part to keep things in order right where we live.  Our works should start with what we have done on our home turf.  Then, as we build up those around us by equipping and empowering them, we can branch out from there.

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” – Acts 1:4 (NIV)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Acts 1:8 (NIV)

Until the Lord directs you, don’t leave where you are today.  Get busy doing His work with His Word right there.  Stay on task.  Once He has developed you, He will direct you.  When He has readied you for branching out, He will tap you for further service.  He wants you working on His good works in His name.  Your best bet is to start where He has planted you.  He has put you here for a reason.

You may not be able to go to the ends of the world and do every good work, but you have somewhere to start.  You something to offer.  You can get started right here.  You can grow as you do good.  Let doing good works do you some good, too.  Let it be right where you are today.

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2 Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
   For the LORD has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
   but they have rebelled against me.
3 The ox knows its master,
   the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
   my people do not understand.”
– Isaiah 1:1-3 (NIV)

 

The prophet is a messenger from God.  He shares the Lord’s message for the Lord’s people.  He echoes the words of God for His people.  He embodies the message.  He spreads the message.  He pleads with the people to turn back to God and make things right with God.

The prophet’s assignment may be for a season or a lifetime.  The prophet may see the people undergo countless tests and trials that can bring him to tears.  Or, he can pronounce the coming of judgment on the horizon.  The prophet might remind or rebuke.  He might offer hope or damnation.  It’s not up to the prophet.  It’s all in the hands of God.

The prophet stands before the people, but He is God’s man.  He calls upon the people to live holy lives dedicated and devoted to God.  He is heard by some, but he surely is hated and despised by many.

Ask Jeremiah.  Check with Isaiah.  See what Ezekiel or Joel would say.  Go to Haggai or Zephaniah.  Each one of these and others will share the challenge of being the prophet of God.  Obviously, there is nothing minor about being a prophet in biblical times or nowadays.

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“I fear there are some who preach with the view of amusing men, and as long as people can be gathered in crowds, and their ears can be tickled, and they can retire pleased with what they have heard, the orator is content, and folds his hands, and goes back self-satisfied.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. – Colossians 2:8 (NIV)

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. – 2 Timothy 4:3 (NIV)

Oftentimes, the warning of sound doctrine is shared with ministers and pastors, even missionaries, upon ordination.  Hands are laid upon these individuals and they are anointed and appointed for service.   As leaders, those teaching the Bible and indoctrinating new believers into the faith, you will see the importance of sound doctrine serving as the foundation for all that you teach others.  I think we all get that, too.

As the worship leader…?

As the choir director…?

As the minister of music…?

Yep. Yes. Yeah. Uh-huh.  Yep.  You better believe it, brothers and sisters.  We at least owe God that much when say that we are ministering in His Spirit in what we call praise and worship.  Our praise and worship selections should minister to others beyond sounding good and making others feel good.  The selections better speak of how good and how great God is to us.

Let us not fall prey to the trap of appealing to and impressing people.  We do not want to send mixed signals in the house of God.  We want sound doctrine to go along with strong voices and skilled instrumentation. 

If it isn’t biblical, how can it be part of your praise? If God doesn’t do that or do that the way that we’ve been singing it, how does that fit into our worship? We need to get with the church staff and leaders who know the Bible better than us, then assemble the music department from top to bottom so that we can teach how to minister through music and song, praise and worship, with a biblical base and a sound doctrinal foundation.  Someone other than just the drummer and piano player ought to research the songs being played throughout the service.              

It is about worship.  It sets the stage for the Word to be preached.  It ushers souls to the point of readiness to receive the Word through preaching.  It is vital to the weary soul who needs to have his or her hardened heart to be broken up and softened in order for the Word to take root.

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In 1967, our vision was to reach Los Angeles. This vision broadened to include California, then all of America, then the entire world.  – from The History of Victory Outreach International

As Christians, we are to be in a position of ambassadors of Christ to others.  We can be a bridge between people and the Savior.  We need to be messengers who share the message of the Good News about the victory that is complete in Christ.

Victory Outreach started with a novel concept.  They sought to reach the city of Los Angeles with the gospel.  That grew and expanded since 1967. 

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. – Acts 1:8 (ESV)

What if you simply set your focus on reaching a city or region for Christ, spreading the news about the victory that is available through Him? It is possible.  It is doable.  It provides us with a focal point for the work of the ministry.  We can do more for the Lord with a focus that can help us grow from there.  We can be voices of His victory on the street corners of metropolitans like Los Angeles or we can speak loudly about His victory in a rustic church out in a rural area.  Location matters as a starting point.  Location should not stifle us from doing the work of the ministry.

Where is your Jerusalem? What serves as your home base or headquarters? Start right there.

What is your Judea or Samaria? Identify surrounding areas near your locale to spread the news of Christ’s victory.  Use these as key points on your map of ministry.  These will serve as the points where you have identified the need for both the presence and preaching of gospel-believing people.

. . . and to the end of the earth

God will send you where He has for you to serve Him.  He may start you out in one place, but He may send you further and further away from “home.” He wants to use you.  He start you out right where you are and grow you right before the eyes of your family and friends.  He could also send you away to develop you far away from all that you have known.  He just wants you to serve as a voice of His victory and the victory that you have in this life through Him.

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“Ministers are servants.”- C.H. Spurgeon

Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace,
which was given me by the working of his power
.
– Ephesians 3:7 (ESV)

Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. – Exodus 30:30 (NIV)

Ministers are servants of the Lord.   They are called by God to serve God.  Ministers answer their calling by answering to God.  Paul addressed such a notion in his epistle to the Galatians when he wrote: I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up.  I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:11-12, NIV).

 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ
– Galatians 1:12 (NIV)

Where you get your message from makes a difference.  If it came from man, then man could dictate and determine what the message should be and how it should be delivered.  Yet, since it comes from God, man has nothing to say about it that should make a difference.  Protocol and deference make for some troubling encounters when we put them before the priority of what God says to us.  Where our message stems from makes a huge difference in how we deliver and disseminate our message.

13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. 20 (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.) 21 Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. 23 But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God in me. – Galatians 1:13-24 (NKJV)

What you do with the message makes a big difference, too.  Paul went forth with his message and did something with it.  He worked with the Word.  He told the Corinthians how he did not approach them in eloquence of speech but simply preached Christ.  He had a message and a mission, and he stuck to his guns with both.

Ministers have serious work to do with God’s people.  Ministers are called to minister, to serve.  When we serve as ministers, we serve the Lord with our fullest and finest.  We give it our all and we give it all over to God.  As we give it our all, we give all praise, honor and glory to God.  We put everything into God’s hands, even ourselves, fully trusting Him to lead us and guide us as we seek to do His work.

Ministers are servants.

Read more about the priesthood in Exodus 28 & 29.

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Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach.
Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
– 1 Corinthians 9:16 (NIV)

 

The shame is on us as believers.

Yeah, I know.  You might disagree with me.  You may say that I am on one.  You can even say that I am headed down the wrong road.

You can argue against what I have to say all that you want to, folks.

You cannot argue against God or His Word.

For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.- Acts 4:20 (NIV)

And the gospel must first be published among all nations. – Mark 13:10 (NIV)

And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where. – Luke 9:6 (NIV)

And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.- Acts 8:25 (NIV)

And there they preached the gospel. – Acts 14:7 (NIV)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.- Romans 1:16 (NIV)

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 1 Corinthians 1:17 (NIV)

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. – 1 Peter 1:25 (NIV)

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