About 350 old ages ago, there was a shipload of travelers who landed on the north-eastern seashore of America. The first twelvemonth they were at that place, they established a town. The following twelvemonth, they elected a town authorities. The 3rd twelvemonth, the town authorities planned to construct a route five stat mis westward into the wilderness.
In the 4th twelvemonth, the people tried to impeach their town authorities because they thought it was a waste of public financess to construct a route five stat mis westward into a wilderness. Who needed to travel at that place anyhow?
It seems unbelievable to me that here was a group of people who had the vision to see three thousand stat mis across an ocean and overcome great adversities to acquire here. But so, in merely a few old ages, they were n’t able to see even five stat mis out of town. They had lost their pioneering vision.
GNB has come a long manner in 50 old ages. We ‘ve even come a long manner in the few months that I ‘ve been here, and for that I praise the Lord. But there is a danger that we can lose our open uping vision if we ‘re non careful. I do n’t desire that to go on. I guess that you do n’t desire that to go on n your Church. And you decidedly do n’t desire it to go on in your ain life. Surely, we want to maintain traveling frontward, effectual, utile, making something withour lives which is worth it for clip and infinity.
I want us to look at what I believe to be a important transition as we prepare to believe about our hereafter and how we pray to progress in the intents of God for us and the people we rub shoulders with twenty-four hours by twenty-four hours.
Back to Doug for the Bible reading.
This is 1 Corinthians 16:5, “ Now I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia ( for I am go throughing through Macedonia ) . But it may be that I will stay, or even spend the winter with you, that you may direct me on my journey, wherever I go. For I do non wish to see you now on the manner ; but I hope to remain a piece with you, if the Lord permits. But I will loiter in Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great and effectual door has opened to me, and there are many antagonists. Now if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fright ; for he does the work of the Lord, as I besides do. Therefore let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace, that he may come to me ; for I am waiting for him with the brethren. ”
This transition comes at the really close of Paul ‘s first missive to the Corinthians. There ‘s non a batch of learning or cheering here. It ‘s largely personal material about what Paul ‘s programs were and how those programs affected the Corinthians. But, even so, I think there ‘s a batch we can larn because the things Paul is composing approximately here have to make with the work of the Lord. As Paul says of Timothy in this transition, “ he does the work of the Lord, as I besides do. ”
That ‘s what GNB is here for. We ‘re non here merely for the societal value. We ‘re here because we want to make the work of the Lord. We ‘re here to be reminded of what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:58, “ Therefore, my darling brethren, be steadfast, immoveable, ever abounding in the work of the Lord, cognizing that your labor is non in vain in the Lord. ”
And you are to in your Church.
The thought of “ abounding ” carries with it the thought of transcending the demands, or overruning. In Ephesians 1:7, the word is used of God “ showering ” on us “ the wealths of his grace ” . Our money, clip, energy, endowments, organic structures, heads and liquors should be invested in something that in some manner contributes to the work of the Lord. And if we ‘re willing to make that, Paul assures us that our “ labor is non in vain ” .
So what does Paul hold to state here approximately how he did the Lord ‘s work? How do we pray about future service for God? How can we be a spouse together with God in what He is desiring to accomplish? How do we walk through a hebdomad in touch with Him and utile for His Kingdom?
( 1st. ) PRAY WITH VISION
“ Now I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia ( for I am go throughing through Macedonia ) ” Says Paul.
Paul knew where he was headed, he knew what it was he wanted to carry through. As we do our work for the Lord, it is indispensable that we have a vision for the hereafter, both as an administration and as persons. One of the first stairss in carry throughing a undertaking is being able to visualize it, to conceive of what can be done, to put ends to work toward.
And a Christian who is motivated by a desire to make the will of God will ever see demands that are non yet filled and chances that are non yet met. He ca n’t assist but be after in front, looking for more ways to function.
In the book Alice in Wonderland, there is a great conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat. Alice asks him, “ Would you state me, please, which manner I should travel? ” The Cheshire cat says, “ That depends a good trade on where you want to acquire to. ” Alice says, “ I do n’t much care whereaˆ¦.. ” The cat says, “ Then it does n’t count which manner you go. ” She says, “ aˆ¦.so long as I get someplace. ” The Cheshire cat says, “ Oh, you ‘re certain to make that, if you merely walk plenty. ”
It ‘s a great observation. If we do n’t hold a vision of where we want to travel, so it truly does n’t count which way we head. Before we do anything else, we ‘ve got to cognize where you want to travel.
Planing agencies believing before moving ; it means looking in front and fixing for the hereafter ; puting out in progress the route to be followed ; believing about what and how the occupation should be done.
That describes really good what Paul is making here.
Paul wrote I Corinthians at the terminal of a three-year stay in Ephesus. But even while he was busy in Ephesus, he was be aftering the following stairss in his ministry — what he would make in Macedonia, in Corinth, and so Jerusalem. To make the work of the Lord efficaciously, we need to be after out our scheme, to look in front with a sense of vision. Where do we be after to be a twelvemonth down the route? We are believing and praying about this. What do we be after to carry through for the Lord?
Equally far as his ain public assistance and satisfaction were concerned, Paul said, I have learned in whatever province I am, to be content. ”
But he was ne’er content with what he had already accomplished. He ever saw more work waiting to be done, more souls waiting to be saved, more Christians waiting to be edified and encouraged.
Paul was haunted by distant parts, that he ne’er saw a ship at ground tackle but what he wished to board it to transport the good intelligence to people across the H2O, and that he ne’er saw a mountain scope but he wanted to traverse it to construct up the saints. He was ever be aftering what he wanted to make next.
Several old ages after he wrote I Corinthians, Paul wrote a missive to the church at Rome. Near the terminal of that missive, he mentioned twice that, after he visited Rome, he planned to travel to Spain. Spain was a booming and influential state of the Roman Empire. But every bit far as we know the Gospel had non yet reached Spain, and Paul was dying to prophesy at that place. That was his program.
He wrote the missive to the Romans while he was at Corinth picking up the aggregation that he mentioned in 1 Corinthians 16. Again, we see that while he was dependably working where he was, Paul was prayerfully be aftering and fixing for what he would make next.
Like a General analyzing a map to find where the following conflict should be fought, Paul was invariably appraising the lands around him to see where he should get down his following attempt for the Lord. We are making this at GNB. And really shortly we will run into as a staff to set up how we can make our practical ends for the twelvemonth in front.
It ‘s been said that, “ If you do n’t construct palaces in the air you wo n’t construct anything on the land. ” That ‘s merely another manner of stating we have to look in front and to be after in front before we can carry through anything.
The first measure in making the Lord ‘s work is to be after what we want to make and what we need to make, and so work toward that end. As I sometimes say at Church Leader Seminars, “ Plan your work, so work your program. ”
Paul shows us here that praying with vision is portion of making the Lord ‘s work the Lord ‘s manner.
( 2nd. ) Praying With FLEXIBILITY
Frank Lloyd Wright is likely the most celebrated designer there has of all time been. And his most celebrated edifice was the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. In 1916, he was commissioned to plan a hotel which would be capable of lasting an temblor. When the designer visited Japan to see where the Imperial Hotel was to be built, he was shocked to happen lone about eight pess of Earth on the site. Beneath that was 60 pess of soft clay that slipped and shook like jelly. Every trial hole he dug filled up instantly with H2O. Most work forces would hold given up. But non Frank Lloyd Wright. Since the hotel was traveling to rest on fluid land, Wright decided to construct it like a ship. Alternatively of seeking to maintain the construction from traveling during a temblor, he incorporated characteristics that would let the hotel to sit out the daze without harm.
On September 1, 1923, his design was put to the trial. Tokyo had a great temblor. Almost every edifice in the metropolis collapsed and 140,000 people died. But the Imperial Hotel was wholly undamaged. The Imperial Hotel stood, because it was able to set itself to the shudders of the Earth. There is value in being flexible.
Notice what Paul said:
“ But it may be that I will stay, or even spend the winter with you, that you may direct me on my journey, wherever I go. ”
While it ‘s of import that we have vision and we plan in front what we will be making and how we ‘re traveling to make it, it ‘s besides of import that we be flexible. Our programs should ever be capable to the Lord ‘s alteration. The hereafter does n’t ever come together the manner we think it will. Our original apprehension of what God wants may non hold been wholly right or complete, or his programs for us may alter. This has surely happened with some of my programme thoughts ( and that ‘s okay by me ) . In any instance, we should ever measure up our purposes as James told us to state, “ If the Lord volitions, we shall populate and make this or that. ”
Even though Paul had a good program in head and a strong personal desire to see Corinth after go throughing through Macedonia, he went on to state that “ it may be ” that he would stay with the Christians at that place, “ or even spend the winter ” . His linguistic communication, along with poetry 7 where he says, “ if the Lord permits ” express Paul ‘s concern that his ain programs and believing non become inflexible, because he did n’t cognize what the Lord had in head for him.
It was n’t that Paul was being volatile or indecisive, as some of the Corinthians subsequently accused him of being, but he was being realistic and low. He was realistic because he knew that there are far excessively many things in life that are wholly out of our control. He was low because he knew that God has the absolute power and right to alter any individual ‘s programs whenever and nevertheless he chooses.
As Solomon put it, “ A adult male ‘s bosom plans his manner, but the Lord directs his stairss. ”
Modifying Paul ‘s trip to Corinth was n’t the first clip God had adjusted his programs. On his 2nd missional journey, Paul, Silas and Timothy were going in Asia Minor prophesying the Gospel. “ After they had come to Mysia, they tried to travel into Bithynia, but the Spirit did non allow them. ”
What ‘s that all about?
Paul had some programs, but God was altering his programs. Paul wanted to travel into Bithynia to prophesy, but alternatively God sent him into an wholly new field, Macedonia, where he had the chance to be the first adult male to prophesy the Gospel in Europe.
We need to pray and move with vision, yes, but we besides need a flexibleness that says, “ I ‘m willing to accept whatever the Lord has in head for me even if it means altering my programs down the route. ”
( 3rd. ) ACCEPTANCE OF OPPOSITION AS A CHALLENGE
“ For a great and effectual door has opened to me, and there are many antagonists. ”
Whatever you try to make for the Lord, there will be jobs and resistance of some kind. We must anticipate this with GNB. Satan will see to it. And in your church excessively!
G. Campbell Morgan one time said, “ If you have no resistance in the topographic point you serve, you ‘re functioning in the incorrect topographic point. ”
Paul was n’t intimidated by resistance. He seemed even to boom on it, possibly because he realized that the Satan ‘s greatest resistance is to the Lord ‘s greatest work. The fact that there were many antagonists of the Gospel in Ephesus merely meant to him that “ a great and effectual door has opened ” .
It was n’t that Paul considered resistance as of no effect or concern. He was far from naif. He did n’t undervalue or dismiss the strength or possible danger of his antagonists.
Ephesus had a great system of organized devotion, centred in the celebrated temple of Diana or Artemis. In Ephesus lived Demetrius who made Ag graven images and sold them for net income. When the Gospel was proclaimed and people became Christians, they stopped idolizing graven images, and Demetrius went out of concern. So he became an opposition of the Gospel, and started oppressing Paul. Not merely were at that place many heathens in Ephesus, but at that place was a strong eventuality of Jews. It may good be that there was no other New Testament church that had more direct resistance than the 1 at Ephesus.
But, to Paul, that great resistance presented great chance.
Of his experience in Ephesus, Paul subsequently wrote, “ For we do non desire you to be nescient, brethren, of our problem which came to us at Asia: that we were burdened beyond step, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of decease in ourselves, that we should non swear in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a decease ; in whom we trust that he will still present us. ”
Paul said, “ Things got tough on us while we were at Ephesus, but that merely made us depend more and more on the Lord. ” And in malice of that ferocious resistance — in fact, partially because of it — “ the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed. ”
In Acts 4, the apostles were confronting persecution from the Judaic governments. Peter and John were threatened by the Sanhedrin non to state anything more about Jesus. And when Peter and John got back with the remainder of the apostles, they had a supplication. Now if we were in that state of affairs and we were holding a supplication, I can merely approximately warrant what our supplication would be: “ Lord, delight take away the persecution so we can prophesy your Gospel in peace! ”
But that was n’t the supplication of these adherents. Alternatively they prayed, “ Lord, look on their menaces, and grant to your retainers that with all daring they may talk your word. ” Not, “ Lord, take away all our jobs. ” But, “ Lord, give us the strength we need to run into our jobs and non give up. ”
So if your work for the Lord has encountered some jobs, do n’t throw up your custodies and quit. Troubles in life can either cause you to lose your faith, or to utilize your faith. If things get tough, merely be cognizant that Satan is traveling to make his most to deter those who are making the most for the Lord. We need to larn to accept resistance as a challenge, a stepping-stone to greater chances, and non as a hinderance.
( 4th. ) Team SPIRIT
“ Now if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fright ; for he does the work of the Lord, as I besides do. Therefore let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace, that he may come to me ; for I am waiting for him with the brethren. ”
Paul was a squad worker. Even though he was an apostle and he was privileged to have disclosures from the Lord, he ever worked closely with other Christians in whatever he did. He was n’t a ace, lording it over those “ below ” him.
Paul had sent Timothy to Macedonia and so Timothy was to travel down to Corinth, possibly transporting this missive, to remind the Christians there of the manner they should be acting. Paul was concerned that Timothy might be ignored or mistreated. The Corinthians were proud, self-sufficing and strong-minded. Since they so strongly resisted Paul ‘s authorization, it was likely that they would n’t pay much attending to Timothy either.
So Paul admonished the Corinthians to handle Timothy with regard. Timothy was a retainer of God and a sure and respected fellow worker of Paul ‘s. “ He is making the Lord ‘s work, as I besides do. ” Paul was an apostle and was Timothy ‘s male parent in the religion, yet he considered his immature friend to be equal in the religion and because Timothy was making the Lord ‘s work, he was worthy of regard and honor, merely as was Paul was.
In the studies of the missional journeys in the book of Acts, we read of Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Silas, Paul and Luke, Paul and Timothy, Paul and Mark. Except when prevented by being in prison, Paul was ever working with person else. I teach through the Book of Romans in a Bible School in Sweden of all time twelvemonth. I have long been impressed at how Paul devotes the last chapter to commending a long list of colleagues, 24 persons and two full families, in the work of the Lord.
Paul non merely acknowledged his dependance on the Lord, but besides his dependance on other Christians. In no manner did he believe of himself as self-sufficient. And that ‘s the manner it ‘s supposed to be in the organic structure of Christ. There are no aces in GNB. And whatever our single undertakings may be, when the Lord ‘s work is done in the Lord ‘s manner, it will ever be done with a spirit of integrity, teamwork, and common dependance. We have a good squad here at Bawtry. We need to maintain developing a sense of squad with the Board, Associates, Presenters and Volunteer Support Staff. You need the same thing in your Church. Pray for us. We ‘ll pray for you.
Here are 4 of import things to retrieve as we do the Lord ‘s work: Vision,
ACCEPTANCE OF OPPOSITION,
and TEAM SPIRIT.
Remember them in supplication and act upon them.
It should n’t be surprising that we see all four of those elements present in what I consider to be one of the greatest leaders in all the Bible — Nehemiah.
Nehemiah was the 1 who led the Jews in reconstructing the walls of Jerusalem after their return from imprisonment.
His program started with a vision of what he wanted to carry through. He planned out what needed to be done and what he wanted to make and so he took his petition to King Artaxerxes. When he arrived in Jerusalem, Nehemiah spent three darks analyzing the walls, seeing what needed to be done.
But things did n’t work out rather like Nehemiah planned as he met some resistance. The Samaritans laughed at the Jews and threatened to do war against them, but Nehemiah refused to discontinue. Alternatively he had half the work forces constructing the wall while the other half stood guard. And, likely the greatest factor in their success was the squad spirit. “ For the people had a head to work. ”
Not a bad illustration for us, rock by rock. Vision, flexibleness, credence of resistance, and squad spirit.
I want to shut with a part of a supplication uttered by Sir Francis Drake many old ages ago.
“ Disturb us, Lord, when we are excessively good pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed excessively small, when we arrive safely because we have sailed excessively close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, to make bold more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will demo your command ; where losing sight of land, we shall happen the stars. We ask you to force back the skylines of our hopes ; and to force into the hereafter in strength, bravery, hope, and love. ”
Amons. You have been listening to Dr. Derek Stringer on Word Alive produced by Good News Broadcasting.
( Own words – series available on Cadmium or cassette. If you have an electronic mail we can direct the transcript to you. We besides have other messages available through electronic mail. Sounding Out etc.
There is more in this current series to come.
Following – Helping Through Prayer. . . do n’t you want to truly assist other people to the upper limit? You can as you pray efficaciously )