PART 5 GOD OF THE LIVING
JESUS CHANGED EVERYTHING: JESUS IS ENOUGH
NARRATOR: When things do not go our way, we often fail to realize, that God demonstrates His love for us by correcting us, in His desire for us to know Truth. He sent His Son to us and sacrificed His life for this purpose. Many believe that knowing part of the Truth is enough to just get on with their lives, as they see fit, and wait to go to Heaven.
However, when people try to go on with their lives, they find there are many little details left behind that keep them from changing, growing and embracing the Truth. Most often, people around them don’t want to address these troubling details, because they would rather avoid “confrontation,” as they see it. We throw out the “Love your neighbor, as yourself” and instead of addressing the details, we choose to leave people in ignorance and sin and fool ourselves into believing we’re being kind and considerate, while keeping the peace. Meanwhile, the little details you ignored start to tear relationships apart; tear families apart; tear church congregations apart; set people against you; divide your family; keep you up at night; and keep most of the world on medications.
To make matters worse, our failure to be “our brother’s keeper,” allows places of worship to become places of conflict and strife. A place of worship should never be a place where individuals can set up their own autocratic governments, yet, that is what often happens, when everyone is not following the Mind of Christ. None the less, everyone stands on the assurance the we have Jesus and that’s enough.
Yes, Jesus is ENOUGH. However, for too long Believers have only been taught to be worshipers of God and not to LIVE Jesus, thus, leaving out Truth, empowerment and accountability. This is why Darkness has spread and in many cases prevails.
God led Merle to this topic when he spoke at Luke’s graduation prayer breakfast.
Merle: My Brothers and Sisters, Jesus IS enough, when we allow ourselves to BECOME like Jesus and not use Him as a maintenance man to clean up our mistakes and problems we have created. Jesus is enough to teach us how to conquer the world and sin. GLORY to GOD!
As God’s shepherds we must take into consideration that many Believers have not had the training or spiritual background that some of us have had, which sometimes can be more of a hindrance than a help. We must humble ourselves and not expect them to be like us and know what we know. If we can’t be patient, loving, understanding and humble, then we don’t know ENOUGH about Jesus ourselves and haven’t learned to abide in Him.
Jesus is the only man who can perfect us, but, MY having Jesus just for myself is NOT ENOUGH! To solve MY problems is not enough! Jesus is counting on me and you, for He has made us a LIGHT, that must shine, leading others to the pathway to The Truth, The Way and the Life!
Therefore, I must not only worship, I must become LIKE Him to be a True Worshiper of God, who can worship in Spirit and Truth; a vessel and effective member of the Body of Christ; a disciple spreading the Good News, building the Kingdom; and a servant preparing the way for Jesus’ return.
Jesus is counting on us to be fruitful and diligent workers in the field, fertilizing the ground, planting the seed, tending the crops, bringing in the harvest, providing bread to the hungry and water to the thirsty, watching over the flock, finding the lost and helping to build His Kingdom. It is like having an endless and ever changing job description that sometimes appears to be too much to handle. But, God knows how much we can bear. He will measure what is enough, send us help, give us wisdom to delegate duties, patience and strength to endure, courage to walk by faith and not by sight, and accept His Holy Will, when we have done all that we can do.
All of this may sound like a lot, but, again, remember, God never gives us more than we can bear and He has given you His Holy Spirit to help teach and guide you.
Knowing what you would need, Jesus has prepared for your training and on-going ministry.We must be mindful of Ephesians 4 proclaiming the Five-fold Ministry Jesus sent to help prepare the Saints; apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists and teachers; none above the other, for each of us is to look at another man as being better than ourselves.
Philippians 2:3 King James Version
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Therefore, we must humble ourselves and know that we can never stop learning and growing. We must work together to learn from one another, to equip the Saints, to be Watchmen and Soldiers of the Cross, upholding Christ’s Victory over Darkness, bringing HOLINESS, RIGHTEOUSNESS AND INCREASE to the Kingdom, COMMITTED TO DISCIPLESHIP; doing ALL things IN LOVE, WITH LOVE that others may see the GLORIFICATION OF GOD and follow.
But, let us keep it REAL–REALISTIC! God didn’t say it would be easy. What will you say to the Smiths, whose baby has cancer? –Or the Jones who lost their teenage son in a car accident? What can you DO when there is political and racial unrest in your district and the people need guidance and direction? How can you support families of servicemen and women and mothers and fathers who see their sons and daughters go off to war? –When gang violence is a threat to the mortality rate of your young people? There are elderly who have no one to make sure they eat, bathe, take their medications and help them take care of their home. There is never enough time for you and your staff to visit all the sick. Sometimes there are more calls in the middle of the night because of crises, than many doctors have. How will you help feed the hungry at home AND abroad. How can you take care of financial responsibilities without pressuring and over-burdening the people? How can you help make the people FRUITFUL and ACCOUNTABLE to be an effective part of The Body of Christ? How do you incorporate teaching into busy lives? And the most important question of all, how do you help people to understand that it’s not just about them, but about DISCIPLESHIP for the KINGDOM and the glorification of GOD? It’s about LOVING AND PLEASING GOD.
And, the list of responsibilities goes on and on. But, we must see them as more than RESPONSIBILITIES. They are OPPORTUNITIES to take people to God. People NEED you to represent the presence of God, when it is hard for them to look beyond their present circumstances to see Him and connect with Him. We must be BOLD, never wavering in HOLINESS and RIGHTEOUSNESS. Yet, still, we must be COMPASSIONATE and LOVING to watch over God’s sheep.
And yes, there will be many Believers who have the attitude and spirit of rebellion and defiance, born out of pride; thinking they are already ‘grown’ . However, they have stopped growing, stunted by their pride, and no one can tell them anything. They’ve been in the church for years. They know all about the Bible. They’re a deacon or deaconess, a Sunday School teacher, a mother of the church, a missionary, a board member, a priest, pastor,etc. They have a title and credentials and a pew they dedicated with their name on it. Still… after all of that time spent, sitting in that pew, praising God, they really don’t know God at all and haven’t learned to become like Him, because they haven’t tried to humble themselves, love their neighbor, or allow God’s Holy Spirit to perfect their love. Yes…THEY need you, too.
There will be people who feel that the church belongs to them because they or their family helped to build it, or they are a large financial contributor. While everyone else will want to feel like they belong and they are important. They have chosen to worship a building instead of worshipping the God who provided the building and their salvation.
My advice to you is this: NEVER FORGET WHO THE SHEEP BELONG TO! DO NOT BE AFRAID TO MAKE PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE! FEAR IS NOT OF GOD! Therefore, you must be made perfect in LOVE! –For love conquers fear! God is their MASTER as He is yours. WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO GOD! And the Master desires that none of His sheep should perish or be lost.
You are not running a popularity contest or trying to meet quotas. You should not treat your CALLING like a JOB and live in fear of losing your job. You must never compromise the Truth to keep your position or fill the church with members, and thereby become a HIRELING, selling your soul to the highest bidder.
You are not running a business or an institution. You are watching over a family, the Children of God and the Body of Christ. EACH member is important! The WORD OF GOD is the AUTHORITY over the church and not any man-made rules or doctrine.
God will sift the wheat from the tares. If we LIVE by HIS WORD it will draw men or repel men. At the same time, a shepherd cannot be afraid to be BOLD in the face of evil and let Darkness harm or corrupt God’s sheep. There are times when we must BOLDLY CAST OUT EVIL!
YES! Jesus IS enough for those who open their heart to Him; follow Him; and have been reborn, with the Mind of Christ. But, for those who simply want to call Him up on the main line and tell Him what they want, He will never be all that He could be for them, until they surrender all and allow Him to empower them. This is when you must decide if you truly love God and His people, for you will deal with a multitude of sin and darkness.
Never forget that THERE IS A WAR GOING ON, ON EARTH AND IN HEAVEN! We, too are SOLDIERS OF THE CROSS.
I hope I haven’t made you change your mind. You’ve got your work cut out for you, as they say. However, God has prepared you and He will KEEP preparing you as long as you stay humble and put Him and the Kingdom FIRST!
God is a god of details. The adversary is counting on your overlooking the details. God is counting on you to trust Him in giving them the proper attention.
MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS! CHILDREN OF GOD! SERVANTS OF YAHWEH! FOLLOWERS AND AMBASSADORS OF JESUS! SAINTS:
CARRY YOUR CROSS, WEAR YOUR ARMOUR, BE EMPOWERED, BEAR GOOD FRUIT, BE BLESSED AND STAND!
Narrator: Luke graduated with honors and stayed to be one of Merle’s associate pastors, while he worked on his master’s degree. Wherein, happy to have his student and friend at his side, Dr. Schmidt wasted no time in making Luke his graduate assistant.
Luke was glad he stayed around. Papa V, as Luke had taken to calling Merle, became ill for a long period of time. Luke and the other associate pastors had taken over a lot of his duties.
Bee was beside herself with worry. She started coming to church more often. Luke was happy to see her take part, but he knew much of the reason for her presence was her concern for Merle’s health. Whatever the reason, with Bee around, they were more of a family.
Mama V fussed over the church babies and made everybody feel special, just like she did at the wedding chapel. She was happier than Luke had seen her in a long time. At times, Merle couldn’t stop smiling, knowing she was close by. Luke loved seeing them together more. In his heart, he prayed God would send him a wife and they would love one another through good times and bad times, just like Papa V and Mama V always did.
SELF REFLECTION: A Look in the Mirror
Once again, when we look at Jesus’ parables, He is challenging us to examine where our heart lies. Closely examining your heart, answer the questions below.
DISCUSS your answers with a mature Believer who can guide you in your spiritual relationship with Jesus and our Father, and/or have group discussions to learn from those who have different experiences and perspectives.
QUESTIONS: Write down your questions and discuss them with a mature Believer or submit them to this blog.
- When you perceive things as going wrong in your life, do you ever think that it may be God’s Will for you?
- At times, it is difficult for us to accept that what we want is not God’s will for us. Have you ever tried to MAKE things work the way you want them to go? –Or MAKE a relationship work?
- If we continue to try to make things work that are not God’s Will for us, we are in bondage to a lie. God’s desire for us is to know Truth. Has there ever been a time when you learned the Truth about a person or situation? Did it free you from bondage and/or an unhealthy relationship?
- There is a difference in being confrontational, critical and judgmental and imparting Truth to change someone’s life. If we are to help one another accept Truth, we must change our heart first to love others in perfect love. We must desire to have fruitful relationships so that others know we love them and want the best for them. Are you likely to accept the Truth if someone is confrontational, argumentative and critical of you?–if they judge how you look or where you come from?
- The institutionalization of the church and the omission or insignificance of the Five-Fold Ministry within most churches has placed many clergy and ministers in the precarious position of being treated as employees instead of being recognized as shepherds and servants called by God. One might debate that it has also affected the quality and integrity of those in ministry today. The status of an employee or brand has allowed many in ministry to become rich and famous. Does this make some people doubt their sincerity and integrity? Why?
- Should they be judged by their wealth and fame or by the FRUIT which they bear?
- Christ commissioned His Followers to go out, spread the Good News of the Kingdom and make Disciples. Are you ready for TRUTH in YOUR life? Why or why not?
- Do you look to others to feed you the Truth?
- Can we find Truth for ourselves within God’s Word and also ask God’s Holy Spirit to reveal Truth to us?
- In what ways has God used you to bring Truth into the lives of others?
- Do you have to be a minister for God to use you to minister to others, when and as needed?
- Should we uphold and align ourselves with those who love lies and love to deceive others?
- Should we marginalize those who are unknowingly caught up in the lies of the world ?
- As Ambassadors of Christ do we not ALL have an anointing to spread the Truth and make Disciples?
- Should we let man-made rules, ideology and agendas, override the TRUTH of God?
- Will you STAND UP AND DEFEND God’s TRUTH whenever and wherever it is challenged?
Philippians 2 King James Version (KJV)
2 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.
20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.
21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.
22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.
23 Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.
24 But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.
25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
26 For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.
27 For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.
29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:
30 Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.