Acts 20-24; The Life of The Gospel Worker

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves [with him].  Psalms 126:5-6

When God sends you out to work in his vineyard, as He did Paul, there is much joy but also amid much sacrifice and sorrow. It is not only a sacrifice for the gospel worker, but for their family and friends as well. Still, the love of Christ who left all for us, compels us to leave all for Him.

So to the apostle Paul, praying in the temple at Jerusalem, came the message, “Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” [Acts 22:21.] So those who are called to unite with Christ must leave all in order to follow Him. Old associations must be broken up, plans of life relinquished, earthly hopes surrendered. In toil and tears, in solitude and through sacrifice, must the seed be sown.   

     Those who consecrate body, soul, and spirit to God, will constantly receive a new endowment of physical, mental, and spiritual power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the breath of His own Spirit, the life of His own life. The Holy Spirit puts forth His highest energies to work in heart and mind. The grace of God enlarges and multiplies their faculties, and every perfection of the divine nature comes to their assistance in the work of saving souls. Through co-operation with Christ, they are made complete in Him, and in their human weakness they are enabled to do the deeds of Omnipotence. 

     The Redeemer will not accept divided service. Daily the worker for God must learn the meaning of self-surrender. He must study the word of God, learning its meaning and obeying its precepts. Thus he may reach the standard of Christian excellence. Day by day God works with him, perfecting the character that is to stand in the time of final test. And day by day the believer is working out before men and angels a sublime experiment, showing what the gospel can do for fallen human beings.  –Gospel Workers 112-113.

Mark 6; Fruit of the Spirit, Lesson 3

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Mark 6 tells the same story that Matthew 14 tells. Here is a blog I already wrote a while back on Matthew 14.

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves [with him].  Psalms 126:5-6

As we look at Joy in this week’s SS lesson lets be reminded the greatest joy is in sharing Jesus with others. This is something we all can do. We may feel like we are not good enough for the job but please prayerfully consider the story of Jesus feeding the multitude:

And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.  And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. Matthew 14:14-17

 

Okay, what just happened here? The disciples knew the crowd was hungry but felt that they could not get the job done so they tell Jesus to send the crowd to the village markets where people were trained and better prepared to feed such a crowd. You know, professionals, people who are trained and do this sort of thing for a living.

Jesus tells the disciples to do it themselves. The disciples remind Jesus that they do not have adequate provisions. This is why they need to go to the professionals.

He said, Bring them hither to me.  Matthew 14:18

Okay what just happened? Jesus asked the disciples to do it and by George they are going to do it. Has God ever asked you to share the bread of life with a friend or neighbor but you decided to just leave it with the professionals instead? After all there are people who are trained and get paid by the church to do this kind of stuff. But Jesus asked you!

And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to [his] disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.  Matthew 14:19

Okay what just happened? Jesus gave the bread to the disciples so that they would now have plenty to share with the crowd. Likewise when Jesus asks you to share the bread of life with others, He first wants you to receive the bread of life from Him, and then you will have something to share with the crowd. The crowd did not need to go to the villagers. The disciples just needed to go to Jesus.

And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.  Matthew 14:20

Okay what just happened? Even with just five loaves and two small fishes the disciples accomplished everything the pros in the village markets could have done, by just doing what Jesus asked, and receiving from Him first what they needed to share with others.

God has big plans for our church this year. A crowded city is hungry for the bread of life. If you are a disciple of Christ then He is asking you to feed them. Don’t just send them to the “preofessionals”.  You can feed them! In 2010 everyone can take the bread of life from Jesus and share it with others. Everyone can give a Bible study this year. It’s so easy even I can do it! But first we must receive from Jesus and then share it with the multitude. Are you in with us on this?

Jesus trained the disciples by giving them the bread first to share with others. They needed training but they did not need to send the people somewhere else to get better service. This year our church will be offering training so that you can share the bread of life with others, so that they will not need to go somewhere else for better service. I am looking forward to working with you this year as you share the bread of life with others!

“It is not the Lord’s purpose that ministers should be left to do the greatest part of the work of sowing the seeds of truth. Men who are not called to the ministry are to be encouraged to labor for the Master according to their several ability. Hundreds of men and women now idle could do acceptable service. By carrying the truth into the homes of their friends and neighbors, they could do a great work for the Master. God is no respecter of persons. He will use humble, devoted Christians, even if they have not received so thorough an education as some others. Let such ones engage in service for Him by doing house-to-house work. Sitting by the fireside, they can– if humble, discreet, and godly–do more to meet the real needs of families than could an ordained minister.” {Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7: 21.2}

You can find more studies and devotionals at In Light of The Cross.