~ Agathos Church is a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio. This blog post is an adapted excerpt from a sermon by Pastor Brad Ettore. You can hear the whole sermon, Give Yourself to the Work of The Lord, from by clicking here.
Part of the Role of a Teacher
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 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; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. . . .” (2 Tim. 4:1-4)
It is not out-of-line for a teacher of the Word to convince, rebuke, and exhort. We need to be careful that we do not have “itching ears” that want to push parts of the Word out. We need to push ourselves into conformity with the Word. If there is an aspect of the Word that is quickening to you, take it in and adjust your heart to receive it if necessary! If you are already “there” with that concept, simply praise God and keep believing like that! We are the ones that need adjusting – not the Word! Don’t push away the Word if it gets uncomfortable – we need to let the Word speak to us and burn anything out of our thinking that is not of Him!
One Commission, One Command
We have been given one commission from the Lord. And one command from the Lord. The commission is to go into all the World and make disciples! Matthew 28 says “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20) The only commandment we have from God is to LOVE PEOPLE! Remember, love is not a feeling. We are not called to have feelings for everyone . . . we are called to act a certain way towards everyone. Love is a verb, not a noun. Love does something!
Why are we so caught up with the silly things of life that do NOTHING for advancing the Kingdom of God?!??! Many of us spend more time looking into the mirror in our bathroom than we do looking into the mirror of the Word of God! Many of us spend more time in a gym than we do in prayer! We look into the magazines. We give so much attention to so many things and so little attention to serving the Lord. Our lives should be about knowing the truths of the Kingdom of God, living out those truths, and sharing those truths with a lost and hurting world. Jesus came to set us free – and we have been liberated from the grasp of this World, but He didn’t liberate us so we would go back into the same rut that we were in previous to accepting Him! The Christian life should not be “business as usual!”
Jesus said to His disciples “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matt. 16:24) Jesus says to “disown” ourselves! Follow Him!
We tend to be so full of self! The reason we care about how people may respond to us sharing the gospel is because we are full of self! Jesus told us the first order of business was to deny self . . . kick it to the curb! Die to yourself! You can kick a dead man, spit on a dead man, do whatever you want to a dead man . . . and do you know that the dead man will do? NOTHING . . . He is dead!
We don’t respond with the other cheek because we are all about us – not all about Jesus. Jesus was not about Himself . . . He was about the Father’s business. He did not take offense at the Pharisees trying to trick Him. He did not take offense at others trying to stone Him – or even others crucifying Him. He only was angry with the money changers in the temple – because they were keeping people from worshiping God. Jesus did not have an agenda, He had a Father. He had a leader. God’s Will was Jesus’ agenda. Plain and simple.
Our Workplace: Rich Soil
One place we can fulfill the commission and command of God in our workplace. We can be used mightly right where we are!
Eph. 6:5-8 “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.”
God’s Will is that we would do our work as unto Him – with sincerity of heart. Bless those who are around you! Love them! Don’t engage in their conversations that are ugly, but also don’t disengage your heart of love towards them! Love them! Your love will provide an avenue for God’s light to shine through! If Satan can’t get you to engage in ugliness, then he will try to shove you onto the other side of the road and get you into self-righteousness. Don’t engage with sin, but do engage with the sinner. Here’s a way to not get into self righteousness . . . just ask yourself a question: “did Jesus die for them?” Regardless of how dark their actions are, we do not want to be found opposing that which Jesus died to build back up! And self-righteousness does just that – it causes us to become against people instead of simply not participating in sin. God needs us to pull them out of that place of sin – and we can’t do that if we disengage from them.
The House of God
Another place we can fulfill the commission and command of God in our church. Look at how God speaks about “the house of God” below! (emphasis mine)
1 Chron. 9:26 “ For in this trusted office were four chief gatekeepers; they were Levites. And they had charge over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God.”
1 Chron 25:6 “ All these were under the direction of their father for the music in the house of the Lord, with cymbals, stringed instruments, and harps, for the service of the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman were under the authority of the king.”
Neh 13:11 “So I contended with the rulers, and said, ‘Why is the house of God forsaken?’ And I gathered them together and set them in their place.”
Eccl. 5:1 “Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.”
Matthew 12:3-4 “ But He said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?'”
Heb. 10:19-22 “ Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
The House of God is the place where people would go to hear the Word of the Lord. Our church is the House of God! We have an incredible, rich opportunity to literally come to God’s House – every Sunday! God calls it His House! We should be running to the House of God every Sunday – to worship the King of Kings with all of our heart and hear the Living Word from the Bible! In most churches, 15% of congregants do 100% of the work. That is the national average. That’s not right! We have an opportunity to serve God – we should be running to church!
A Quality Decision
We need to make a quality decision “Lord, I will serve Your people.” The Bible says “how can you say ‘I love God’ and hate your brother?” If you don’t love him who you can see, how can you love Him who you cannot see? “What you did it to the least of these, you did it to Me.” Jesus died for the people we are giving a cup of cold water to – He loves us for that! We tend to tell God we love Him, and walk right past those in need. God is not here for us to physically love Him; we love Him by loving those that He loves! God is a good Father and a wise one too. He will send increase to those who are ready for it!
We need to have a change of heart! We need to look in at our hearts and ask “where am I in serving God?” Remember what Jesus promised . . . if we will lay down our lives and serve Him, we will find the greatest life on planet earth! This is GOOD NEWS! Even if it burns, let it burn! God wants all of us to be ready to serve Him! Give yourself to serving the Lord!