Monday, January 1, 2018

Ordinary People for an Extraordinary God










And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:49)









                       
It is by God that we live, move and have our very being and it is through His Holy Spirit that we participate and fulfill His will.  

For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.  Acts 17:28

Who does God use to fulfill His purpose? What type of man or woman does He call to extend the Gospel to the nations of the world?

The gospel contains some of the answers to these questions. In this scripture we find the women who were followers of Jesus going to the tomb to anoint His dead body. When they arrived at the tomb they found...

. . . a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment, and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted; Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth which was crucified; He is risen: He is not here; behold the place where they laid Him. (Mark 16:5-6)

The women went to share the good news with the disciples. Even though Jesus had appeared in visible form to Mary Magdalene, the disciples would not believe He had been resurrected 

And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. (Mark 16:11) 

Later Jesus appeared to two of the disciples as they were walking in the country. When they told the other disciples, they did not believe them 

After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.  (Mark 16:12-13)

Finally Jesus appeared to the disciples and...

Upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen. (Mark 16:14)

Right after He spoke to them of their unbelief Jesus said:

Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.  (Mark 16:15)

Surely He must have made a mistake! These were the people who had gone to anoint a dead body instead of celebrating His resurrection. These were the very men who slept during His greatest hour of crisis, denied Him, and hid in fear.

Jesus spent three years preparing these men for His death and resurrection, yet they deserted Him in the hour of crisis and refused to believe eye witness reports of His resurrection. One minute Jesus is correcting them because of their unbelief. The next, He is challenging them with the vision of the spiritual harvest fields in the nations of the world.

How could He possibly leave the future of the Gospel in the hands of these disciples?

Because He was not looking at them as they were. He was not looking at their past performance or their present condition. He was seeing them as they would become when endued by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God is not looking at our past, our failures, our doubts, or unbelief. He is looking at what He knows we can become through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s take a look at some of the men God used down through history to fulfill His purposes:

ABRAHAM:

Abraham was to be the father of many nations. When he received this revelation from God, he fell on his face as God spoke of his extraordinary plan to him: 

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.  And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.  And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying . . .  (Genesis 17:1-3)

Later, this great man of faith lied to the enemy and claimed Sara was his sister because he feared for his life. In spite of this, Abraham was called the "friend of God" and the “father of faith” and became the father of many nations.


JACOB:

God made a choice between Jacob, a man who desired the birthright so much he would cheat for it, and Esau, who so lightly regarded it that he would forfeit it for a bowl of soup. Yet he used Jacob to bring forth the nation of Israel.

MOSES:

His disobedience kept him from the Promised Land, yet he liberated two million people from bondage in Egypt and led them through the wilderness according to the plan of God.

DAVID:

He took another man's wife and murdered the man to cover his sin, yet he was called "a man after God's own heart" and God gave Him the kingdom.

GIDEON:

Gideon was harvesting wheat and hiding for fear of the enemy when God called Him to be the deliverer of Israel (Judges 6).

Paul:

Apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul, was a great persecutor of the early Christian body.  And yet after he was endued with the power of the holy spirit, he said:

Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.   Acts 20:23-24


As you can see, God uses ordinary people to fulfill His will:

♥     When Jesus performed His first miracle of turning water into wine, He asked ordinary men to fill ordinary water pots. 

    When He multiplied bread and fish He gave it to ordinary men who then fed the multitude. 

    When Jesus was about to perform what was perhaps the greatest miracle in His ministry, that of raising Lazarus from the dead, He depended on men to move the stone from the entrance of the grave. Didn't the same God who raised Lazarus have the power to remove the stone from the entrance?

Yes, but God has always used men to fulfill His plan. His methods are men. God calls ordinary men and makes them extraordinary. He moves men and women from spectators to participators in His plan.
  • All ordinary people who thought they couldn't be used of God...
  • All ordinary people who thought they couldn't be part of a miracle...
  • All who have denied and failed Him...
God is not looking at our past or present performance. He is not seeing us as we view our self or even as others view us. He is looking at us as we will become as we accept the challenge to go to the harvest fields of the world. He is seeing you as you will be when endued with the power of the Holy Spirit.

God is not depending on your faith, education, talents, or your level of spirituality. He is not depending on anything that you are. He is depending on what He knows you can become if you will surrender your life totally to His will and purposes.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
 Romans 12:2

The world of the early church was not reached through great preaching. It was reached by men and women who were as human as we are but they turned their eyes from their own failures and caught the vision of the harvest. They realized that when they were weak in the natural, they were strong through the spirit of God. God declared:

. . . My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
 (II Corinthians 12:9)

(Biblical Studies)


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