Come, Stay, & Go: Part IIIWe now look at Christ’s command to go… Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. As the Church, we’ve been given the Great Commission and it is here we are called to go. However, the question arises, what are we to do as we go? Obviously, we are to preach. Notice, the Greek word kay-roos’-so, which is translated “preach” means to herald as a public crier, to proclaim divine truth. Though the modern apostate church, careful never to offend, cautiously counsels us, “don’t be preachy, just let your life provoke questions” , it is clear, if we are to fulfill Christ’s command, it will be necessary that we speak. In fact, if we fail to speak, God’s mind will be obscured to our generation, a sobering and fearful prospect indeed. 1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God… If we fail to speak, then God’s mind will be obscured in our generation. A sobering prospect indeed. Romans 10:14How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Nineveh must have her Jonah. Cornelius must have his Peter. Hence, we are to speak and we are to speak exclusively for God. Yet, for this commandment to be fulfilled there are certain things that must take place. It is more than a matter of repeating carefully crafted statements and phrases. We must truly possess the mind of God. We must have a timely Word, not merely Biblical facts, but the living Word of God relevant to the audience at hand. Proverbs 15:23 …a word spoken in due season, how good is it! We must truly be a sanctified channel of the Holy Ghost and the Word of God.
WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO BE THE VESSEL OF THE LORD1 Peter 4:10As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. The vessel God uses is yielded, willing, and prepared to present the mind of God. Matthew 10:8…freely ye have received, freely give. Think about it, some human vessel prayed for us, preached to us, and denied themselves for us. Hence, we are obligated to likewise be a vessel of blessing. What we received is what we needed, not necessarily what we wanted. So also, we are debtors to present Christ no matter how hated or how misunderstood we will be. Remember, saint of God, we are not called to convince men we love them, only to love them. There is a vast difference. Romans 1:14-15 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. Consider the ministry of John the Baptist whom God initially chose to introduce Israel to Jesus. Hear the introduction to the prophesy of His ministry by the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah 40:1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. John ministered to Israel in a day when she was sorely oppressed by the Roman Empire. It was a day of calamity, a day of vexation and trouble. However, what was the “comfort” John preached to His troubled nation? Luke 3:7-9…O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 9And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. We do well to remember God’s definition of comfort and man’s definition of comfort are vastly different. Moreover, notice how John boldly linked Israel’s trouble with her moral condition. Generally speaking, the last thing men want to hear in times of trouble is reproof for their sin. Hence, it is always unpopular to confront sinners with the truth. Jeremiah 6:10 To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it. Yet, like the prophet Ezekiel was told, whether they forbear or whether they hear, speak, and tell them thus saith the Lord. As God judges America for her sins, will he find a mouthpiece to voice His truth? Isaiah 26:9 …when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Considering recent events in our nation, I believe God’s hand is revealed, but will His mouth speak? Indeed, He has a suitable rod but will he have a holy mouthpiece? We must remember, the greatest hour for the prophet of old was often in times of national calamity. Ezekiel 33:6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.
WE MUST PERCEIVE THE WORD OF THE LORD1 Peter 4:11a If any man speak… We must have ears to hear God’s Word for our generation. Ezekiel 3:17Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. We cannot speak what we do not first hear. Hearing and speaking are inherently linked. Infants must first listen before they will ever speak. In the natural, a man that loses the ability to hear will soon have great difficulty speaking. We must first be tried by the Word before we are given authority to speak the Word. We cannot demand men go where we ourselves refuse to go. We must be led by the Spirit so as to possess a Word for those with whom we come in contact.
THUS, WE OURSELVES MUST BE CONFORMED TO THE WORD1 Peter 4:11b If any man speak… The vessel of honor, the vessel God can use to speak, has been purged, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use. Without an intense desire to rightly represent Christ this is impossible. Only a deep burden to make Christ known will motivate a man to allow the Spirit of God to expose the subtleties of the self-life. We see such a burden evident in the Apostle Paul. Romans 9:1-3 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh… We’re not going to be that vessel merely because we go. Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. True ministry is the Holy Ghost flowing through our person, through our spirit and touching those in darkness. John 7:37-38 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. This is why a right spirit is so important, but as I’ve said many times, you cannot teach somebody how to acquire a “right spirit.” Col. 4:6Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Men must so desire to truly represent Jesus that they are driven to seek God for an intense purging so as to be such a vessel. In the crucible of persecution, under the intense pressure of total rejection, the true motives of our heart will often be exposed. If we are self-conscious of our reputations or how others may perceive us, then there is still a work of the cross to be done. Self, if alive, will be provoked to respond with defensiveness while the Holy Ghost calmly and firmly delivers the truth in Christ. God alone can expose this posture of heart in us. Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. If we refuse to allow the work of the cross to be completed, then every effort to reform or otherwise compensate for self will fail. We are yet alive and we will ultimately present a mixture of self and Christ.
“Self must not only be dead, but buried out of sight, for the stench of the unburiedself-life will frighten souls away from Jesus.” -John HydeGod cannot bless our efforts with heavenly authority until all of self is exposed and rendered inoperative by the cross: sanctification. Direct, even harsh words, are in order for our generation. Nevertheless, we must realize that only a broken man will be a suitable vessel to utter such words. God will never allow an unbroken man to deliver a message that is meant to bruise and to break.
We MUST DECLARE GOD’S WORD
1 Peter 4:11c If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God… The Word of God is the only remedy for the problems of mankind. Psalm 46:6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. Our opinions will help no one. Humanistic sympathy offers only a false and temporary comfort. Jeremiah 8:11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. The true vessel of God presents Christ, the Word of God, and it is effectual. Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Jeremiah 23:22 But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. Only the anointed Word of the Lord has power to deal with the hearts of men. Psalm 147:15, 18 He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly…18He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow. Isaiah 30:30 And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.