Monday, January 3, 2022

Moving Forward

 Now that 2021 is history, we need to look ahead. But for us to do this we must assess or examine ourselves to see if we have accomplished or completed the mission in which the Lord has called us to and or what, if anything that we have built. The apostle Paul tells us, "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?" (2 Corinthians 13:5) and "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss..." (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

So what is the litmus test to show us these things? First, we must look at our own life. Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5) What is the fruit that has been produced in your life? First, has your knowledge of God's Word grown opening you to a greater realm of faith and revelation of spiritual things? This is probably the most important thing for believers. Throughout the Epistles we see that believers are exhorted to grow in the knowledge of God and our Lord Jesus Christ. The knowledge that believers are to come into is not a mental accent but that of revelation knowledge, that is, a full or complete knowledge which can only come by-way of the great teacher, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17), "...The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things..." (John 14:26) "...who will guide you into all truth..." (John 16:13)

Next, have you acted upon the knowledge that you have received through God's Word? True Bible faith does not come because we believe God's Word. Believing God's Word will only build a capacity for faith. Faith is only built when we believe and act upon the Word. As we do this the Word becomes a part of our daily use being reflected in our conduct and speech. As faith grows, Satan's dominion and or deception that he tries to impose upon us weakens. Circumstances are less formidable because, fear, doubt and unbelief are destroyed. We also learn to possess and take advantage of our rights and privileges provided for us by the Father through Jesus Christ.

Now that we are believing and acting upon God's Word, growing in faith, what have we built or are building? One of the things to keep in mind when building the church (Jesus builds His church through us) is to be careful that we do not get caught in the mindset that quantity (numbers) is a true representation of fruit. Many church leaders have fallen prey to such without the slightest inclination that they have compromised quality. What this means is believing that numbers equals success can be misleading. The fact is, the success of Jesus ministry was five people at the cross, (John 19:25-26) one hundred twenty (Acts 1:15) in an upper room and finally five hundred others that saw Him after the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:6). This is the result of His three and one half years of ministry, ministering to multitudes.

There is certainly nothing wrong with a large congregation. However, when ten or twenty percent of the congregation is doing the work of ministry while the other eighty or ninety percent are consumers, then it should be apparent that there is a lack of spiritual growth or quality. When church leaders need to fill a ministry position in the church and find it necessary to petition the denomination headquarters or place an add in the local newspaper to do so, once again we see a lack of quality. This is not building with gold, silver and precious stones, but with wood, hay and straw that will eventually be tested with fire. Being a former firefighter, I can assure you that wood, hay and straw make for a blazing fire.

The church has the mandate to "Go make disciples." Disciples will do their share of the ministry that the Lord has called then to. Disciples make a strong infrastructure on which to add or multiply the number of believers. So as we have now entered 2022, let's let the Holy Spirit build the church through us using the building plan that we have, God's Word, the Bible. Let's move into a greater realm of faith, which will cause eighty or ninety percent of the believers doing the work of ministry as the other ten or twenty percent are being equipped for the work of ministry. Let us not repeat any of the previously years, but be "transformed into His image" (2 Corinthians 3:18). Let us go on to perfection (Hebrews 6:1)

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