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A Time For Encouragement

04 May

We do a lot of serious posts on this website and sometimes because we are trying to help the faithful grown in their Christian life we forget to write some encouraging words. This is hard to do because we receive so little feedback but as we were thinking about what to write today, it was impressed upon us to encourage the those who do live as God wants and those who struggle with the changes they have to make in order to be in line with God’s word and instructions.

We will do this in several sections as we try to meet the needs of those that God knows need a word of encouragement:

#1. The Light Unto the World

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;
Many pastors and church leaders put pressure on their congregations to share the gospel and evangelize all the time well, being the light unto a dark world is not limited to doing only evangelical work. How we live is also being a light unto the dark world. As we follow God’s word correctly, how we deal with others, our families and on it goes will cast a light where no light shines.
If we remain honest, do not cheat, steal or lie, have godly integrity and character, and so on, we can rest assured that we are showing the world the good news. Being a friend when unbelievers need a friend goes a long ways in casting the light of Jesus we just have to make sure we do not compromise our faith or disobey the bible when we do that. Jesus showed us that it can be done so take heart, while you may not be good in presenting the 4 spiritual laws or some other evangelism strategy, you can do God’s work by planting seeds, by watering those seeds through godly living and obedience to the Bible.
Then when you meet resistance to your godly work, here is a verse to help you understand why that resistance i staking place or your spiritual work is not producing the results you hoped to see:
in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see thelightofthe gospel ofthe glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
#2. Winning Souls
The pressure to produce souls for Jesus is great in the Christian church. Many pastors and denominations think that is the only purpose of the church and a lot of people struggle to evangelize and take heat for not winning many people to God. Many get discouraged because they are not like those other believers who seem to win more souls than anyone else in the church.
One example to help encourage those who want to evangelize yet cannot seem to win souls is found in Noah’s life. he was a righteous man, probably more righteous than any of us, and  here is his result after preaching for approx. 100 years
who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.
Noah preached salvation while constructing the ark and his total production was 0. No one came to the ark and asked to join him and his family. No one brought their children to Noah or his family and asked to save them. In all of Noah’s righteousness, he could not win one convert. What we are sayin gis, it may no tbe you or your presentation of the gospel that hinders you producing more souls for Jesus.
Evil plays a role in stopping people from being saved; the unbelievers’ personal desires may be stopping them from converting or you may only be planting seeds or watering them and the result may come later but if you do not try then the seeds do not become planted nor watered. You never know how God uses your obedience to his commands. Results are not measured in the number of conversions one has as Jesus said, it is better to obey than sacrifice.

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own [b]reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s [c]field, God’s building. (1 Cor. 3)

Results do not show if you are God’s worker or not. Obedience does and if you are obeying God then you are as good a member of God’s kingdom as those who win hundreds to the Lord. Those who win many souls to Christ could not do so without the person who plants and waters. Now planting the seed and watering it may not be restricted to giving a person the gospel message. It can come through the good deeds we are to do as we follow Christ’s instructions.

#3.  Spiritual Gifts-

So much attention is given to evangelism that the spiritual gifts go unnoticed these days. There is just too much pressure to witness and bring a person to Jesus that the ‘making disciples’ is forgotten and ignored by the church. There are other gifts of the Spirit and if everyone evangelizes, who is going to exercise those gifts and make the new converts strong in their new Christian faith? How are the new believers going to solve problems and have their questions answered if everyone is out there evangelizing and not in the church taking care of the hard work?

It is okay not to be an evangelist or to give a gospel message to everyone you meet. Those who do not have the gift of evangelism need to focus on developing those gifts God has given them:

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith [d]by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of [e]healing [f]by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the [g]effecting of [h]miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the [i]distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. (1 Cor. 12)

Those holding the other gifts are not inferior to evangelists nor are they wrong in exercising those gifts to make the church strong and healthy. They are probably more important than the evangelist and I point out the order of importance God lists at the end of that chapter as proof for that comment:

28 And God has [r]appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then [s]miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.

Notice that evangelism is not listed there. Some may argue that apostles are evangelists but we do not see it (we are biased as I am a teacher… 🙂  )  Anyways, every gift is important to the church. There would be no evangelists if their was no one teaching them the faith correctly. There would be no evangelists if no one ministered to their spiritual needs and answered their questions.

So do not get torn up if you are not a successful evangelist, you may have other gifts God needs present in his church congregations and being good and successful at using them helps the church and helps the evangelist do their work for Christ. Yes we need to win souls but how are they going to stay in the church and the faith if there is no one else that is a member of the church?

Don’t let the pressure put you in a position God does not want you to be in. Stand firm and fill the other vacancies so that all people in the church will have their needs met. Everyone and all spiritual gifts are vital to the existence of the church congregation.

Keep your eyes on Christ, that way you will never fall. Learn from the example of Peter walking on the water. When his eyes were on Christ he stayed on top of the water but when he took them off and placed them on the waves and the storm, he began to sink.

Use those gifts you have been given for God’s glory and do not let others stress you out by pressuring you to do things you are not supposed to be doing.

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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in church, comparative religions, faith, family, General Life

 

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