If we are Christians and believe what Christ Jesus did for us on Calvary then our devotion to the God that Jesus serves and IS should be unwavering. We should love God above everything and everyone else. Why should we love God? Not because God sent the holy sacrifice of Jesus but because God loves us even in our fallen, unloving, unrighteous state that we CHOSE. Paul was a man who had persecuted the believers even unto death but after Christ opened his eyes and understanding on the road to Damascus God used him as an evangelist and to write most of the New Testament. This is just a little side note here; did you ever wonder what God was doing when he used Paul to write Holy Scripture? The answer is simple, the rest of the disciples were simple fishermen and tax collectors but Paul was a Pharisee that knew scripture. Paul would be able to “see” Christ throughout scripture. Many people think they don’t know any of the Old Testament but if they have read Romans or just about any other scripture written by Paul they know lot more of what the Old Testament has to say concerning the Christ than they think. Paul quoted passages from the Old Testament all through his writing of the epistles. God also knew that as actively as Paul pursued the believers, thinking he knew God’s mind, God could use him just as effectively to build the kingdom of God once his mind was opened to God.
1 Corinthians 9:21-23
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Paul was a fruitful effective tool in the hand of God. In a few minutes I am going to ask people if they would like to be a tool in the hand of God, but before I do I am going to explain a little about counting the cost. Paul went through a lot while building the churches in service to God. Let’s look at some of them;
2 Corinthians 11:24-28
New King James Version (NKJV)
24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.(195 lashes with a whip) 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
So, how has your Christian life been? All I am saying is we must be proclaiming the good news to the world. There are people leaving this planet everyday going into Hell simply because no one has told them that God loves them and wants to share life with them. I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to go to Hell away from God’s love.
There are two toolboxes that represents our church today. One is a church where the Holy Spirit is active and reaching out to the world that it may bring people to Christ, and the other the Holy Spirit has been “shut out” because of tradition and appearance. I am asked which church is being used? Now if you look at the hammer here it has been used you will see wear. Look at the face of the hammer. It is pitted and worn. How did it get that way? It was used to build something. The life of a tool is a violent thing. Every time the hammer hits the nail the nail hits the hammer in return. There have been times when I was building something and the tool I was using broke. I had to get another tool to replace the one that had spent its all doing the job. Did that make the hammer any less value? No, it had run its course. The hammer had done the job it had been designed to do. The saw is made to cut through wood. You can look at the wood as the lost world’s misconceptions about God. The mature Christians, those that have sharpened the blade studying God’s word and showing the joy of the Lord in their lives, are the blade the Holy Spirit uses to cut away those misconceptions of the world about God.
You ask, what if the world rejects your message? Well, in the words of Jesus, and I am paraphrasing here, expect to be rejected. They rejected Christ and mocked him and many from the world will reject God also. If people think badly of you, so what? If they choose the wide path that is their choice because God gave them a choice but you have shared the gospel and it is up to the Holy Spirit to draw them. I pray when my time on earth is over I am a broken tool in the hand of God, a tool that has been used up and spent for the purpose of God.
Well you notice I haven’t even mentioned the “other church”. What will I find there? Everything will be in order, no grit of grime, nothing that isn’t shiny because it isn’t used. The really sad thing is most of the time the ones that “play church” always feel OK about themselves because no one has told them how fulfilling it is to be used to the glory of God. The pews in their church have not a stain or snag one, the carpets in their church has no wear and tear showing because there is no life there.
We need to be reaching the world and our community with God’s love. There are so many hurting and lost people within 5 miles of almost any church in America and the church is not reaching out to them. So, let me ask you to hold your hands out in front of you and realize you are looking at God’s hands because they were bought with a price. Use your hands to build God’s Kingdom surrender them to God’s purpose, but before you do consider the cost. There will be a day in the not too distant future we may be forced to make a public choice and that choice may cost us our very lives. I have decided before hand what my choice is and to God be the glory.