17 Aug 2014
August 16, 2014
Immediately Go Preach
Acts 9: 19b - 20
Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is indeed the Son of God!"
Do you remember we learned...."The Messiah you are looking for is Jesus." from Acts 5:42? Now Saul is saying, "He is indeed the Son of God!" And he immediately began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues. He certainly didn't stop there.
There are many who will tell you that you must go to seminary to be able to preach the Gospel and that man has to ordain you to preach. But that is not what we learned last week. We learned that Jesus said that Saul was his chosen instrument to take his message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. Jesus chooses who will go forth....not a seminary....not even the church who makes the call to say 'come'.
In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus said to his disciples, "I have been given complete authority in Heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you." Many people choose to stop at the word Spirit in the next to the last sentence. They forget to read the last sentence. Jesus said to teach these new disciples....not the next batch of specially chosen group of guys called apostles. The word ALL is implied here folks. ALL people who choose to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, accept him as their Savior, and make them Lord of their life are commanded to 'go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.'
The apostles/disciples were given a command. If they are to follow the command, and 'teach these new disciples to obey all the commands' he has given them, then we, as Christians, are to follow THAT command as well. This is not rocket science. It's a 'no brainer'.
Turn with me to 2 Corinthians 4:13. Here we learn that Paul (who was previously named Saul....the one and the same we are learning about/from now) or Timothy said, 'But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, "I believed in God, and so I speak." This is a reference from Psalm 116:10.
Do you believe in God? Are you preaching about Jesus, THE Messiah, Savior, Lord for all? Do you have the same kind of faith the psalmist, Saul/Paul, Timothy....and many other Christians have had over the course of documented Christian history? If not, why not? Is Satan getting in your way....or just the Christian community that lords mandates over people instead of preaching that the Lord gives commands for ALL people with a loving embrace? I very nearly put Christian in quotes, but I reconsidered. Perhaps there are many who have received water baptism only, which would keep them from fully understanding Scripture as a result of not receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. See 1 John 2:26-27.
"Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere; go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born."
So, Jesus has chosen us. And we are commanded to go forth preaching him immediately upon receiving him into our lives and after baptism of water AND of Spirit. Now let's look at 2 Corinthians 1:21-22. Paul or Timothy said, 'It is God who gives us, along with you [say ALONG WITH YOU....ALL of us], the ability to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment of everything he will give us.' That's 'ordination' to the world of Christians. Those who demand you must be seminary taught and man ordained. Yet, here we clearly learn that GOD commissions us and identifies us, and, Jesus chooses us and commands us to obey all his commands....to name a few: 'go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit' and teach new disciples to obey all the commands Jesus gives. Like Saul, we, too, are to take the message 'The Messiah you are seeking is Jesus' and 'he IS the Son of God' to the Gentiles, and kings, as well as to the people of Israel, with the Holy Spirit, and same kind of faith as the psalmist....and Saul/Paul....and many many others.
And guess what else? Turn back to Matthew 28:18. Jesus confers....gives us his complete authority in heaven and on earth to do what he tells us to do. He says he has been given complete authority in heaven and on earth, and then commands us to go and make disciples of all the nations (just as he was doing before he left us), baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (also what he was doing). He further gives us the command and authority to teach these new disciples to obey all the commands he has given us. So they get to do what we do, that Jesus did, also.
So, not only do we have Jesus choosing us and commanding us to 'go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit', but we also learn that 'it is God who gives us the ability to stand firm for Christ', 'he has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment of everything he will give us', who will teach us all things, and what he teaches is true.
Why would he do this? To help us obey him, going forth as we are commanded....immediately....for and with the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Why should we do this? To secure our salvation....to reach the mark for the prize of the high calling of God....to receive eternal life. Phil 3:14. To bring others to God through Christ Jesus. 'We know that the same God who raised our Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself along with you. All of these things are for your benefit. and as God's grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.' 2 Corinthians 4:14-15.
And that, dear friends, is what life should ultimately be all about....giving God more glory. Only then will we be received into heaven, his arms, and given eternal life with Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let Us Pray
Father God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, thank you for showing me the 'wisdom and scope of God's plan' as Paul prayed in his prayer for spiritual empowerment, (Ephesians 3:14-21). May I, and all others 'going forth', fall to our knees' in prayer to you to receive mighty inner strength through Holy Spirit. Fill me, and others, with the fullness of life and power that comes from you, God. May I, and others, be able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. And as we do this, may you, God, be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Thank you! I praise you! I love you! Amen.
Grateful for God's lesson today?
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Let us hear from Paul as he prays:
When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT
Scroll down to read Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving...'The Unforced Rhythms of Grace'.
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"Go and make disciples out of all the nations
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this:
I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
There is no better time than now to let God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit know how grateful you are for them being there for you, all they have done for you and will do, and, show thankfulness for being fed the Word of God, so you can know and obey him.
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One last thing....
Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving
'The Unforced Rhythms of Grace'
"Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: "Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You've concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that's the way you like to work."
Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. "The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father - Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I'm not keeping it to myself; I'm ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen."
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn how to live freely and lightly.
Matthew 11: 25-30
And the people said,
I now write most prayers in the position of ' I ' (first person) because most people are sitting at their computer alone, not in groups, and it allows those reading and praying to personalize the prayer as coming from them going to God. Variations may appear on holidays when families may wish to use the prayer provided. I encourage you to pray your own prayers as well.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
NOTE: I said it long ago, but let me say it again. If you are wanting to lead a group, start a church, or are confined in an institution, or live in a country where the Gospel is not preached, and you don't know what to say or how to say it, and yet feel led to share, teach, or preach, besides just reading straight out of the Bible and sharing what God puts on your heart, please feel free to share any or all of what I've written, if it will help you, as long as you include where it comes from, due to copyright laws. Jesus gave God's love and healing freely, as well as his message. Our responsibility is to get the Word out to those who need to hear it. If what I've written....by the power and direction of the Holy Spirit....or what he has said through me....has helped you, it may help others that you know. You are welcome to share it. God calls all of us to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. Please share it with the fullness of love that God, Jesus, Holy Spirit....and I....have given it. Amen!
Bible Authors and Minister