Stages: Spiritual Young Adult: Where is my life headed?

There is no more exciting adventure than the Christian life.  There are peaks and valleys.  There are plains and caves. And sometimes a re-focus is necessary.  If you are a Christian, where is your life headed?  How do you know what you are supposed to do? Continue reading

Stages: Spiritual Child: I am walking, now what?

Spiritual Child level

            Now that you have been a Christian for a while, you likely have the basics down.  You are focused on glorifying Jesus, growing in grace, growing with other believers, pursuing holiness and telling others about Jesus.  That is a great start.  Now what do you do? Continue reading

Stages: Spiritual Infant: I’m a Christian, now what?

            Your decision to trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior is the most important decision you have ever made.  There is no single decision more important than accepting Jesus Christ’s work on the cross for your sins. But after that decision to trust Jesus, now what happens?  This is the beginning of a great adventure and Scripture has several important key principles for you to know. Continue reading

Question: What happens if an ingredient is missing for spiritual growth?

Recently in the article, “What ingredients are necessary for spiritual growth?” there were three ingredients mentioned.  The three ingredients are: 1) God’s Word, 2) God’s Spirit and 3) human faith.  Spiritual growth is a grace action of God that is completely and totally about what the Lord Jesus Christ directs for the believer. 
What happens if one of these ingredients is missing?  Continue reading

Question: What ingredients are necessary for spiritual growth?

What ingredients are necessary for spiritual growth?

Everyone wants to grow in life.  We look at human babies and do everything we can to encourage them to grow up and not remain infantile in their actions.  The growth process is long and often arduous, but the joy of maturity and wisdom is something everyone rejoices over. As a child grows up and becomes a parent, the cycle repeat itself and a new generation is born.

God designed us to grow spiritually also.  There is one focus in growth. Peter commanded, “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” (2 Pet. 3:18)  What does that look like?

This article will focus on the ingredients for growth, not the stages of growth.1 There are three ingredients for growth. The first ingredient is the Word of God.  The Bible is the sustenance we need for growth. Jesus said, It is written, `Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.‘” (Matt. 4:4) The Word of God is to spiritual growth as bread is to physical growth. Peter declared that we should long for the milk of the Word as babes, “…as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby…” (1 Pet. 2:2)  Why should we long for it? “The Word of God is living and powerful” (Heb. 4:12). David wrote,

  • 7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
  • 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
  • 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
  • 10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. (Psa 19:7-10)

Jesus said very plainly, “Sanctify them in truth, Your Word is truth.” John 17:7

In fact, the Word of God is tested, pure and sufficient,

  • 5 Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
  • 6 Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar. (Pro. 30:5-6)

If you hide God’s Word in your heart, you will not sin against the Lord, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You! (Ps. 119:11)  Yes, the first ingredient for spiritual growth is God’s Word.

            The second ingredient for spiritual growth is God’s Spirit. God’s Spirit is necessary to guide us into the meaning and application of God’s Word. John wrote, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13) That is He will teach and guide us in how to live it out.

            Without God’s Spirit we would not be able to understand God’s Word.  Paul addressed the immature Corinthian church saying,

  • 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
  • 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
  • 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  (1 Cor. 2:12-14) 

This is not referring to new revelation, but the illuminating ministry of the Holy Spirit.  It is the Spirit’s work to enlighten what is darkened by sin.  It is the Spirit that sheds light on God’s Word, so we can understand God, know Him and enter into an intimate relationship with Him.

In fact it is the illuminating ministry of the Spirit that is necessary to understand the depth of Scripture as Paul prays,

  • 18 the eyes of your understanding1 being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
  • 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power (Eph. 1:18-19)

For it is the Spirit of the Lord who removes the darkness and gives us liberty in the light,

  • 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.
  • 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.
  • 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
  • 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Cor 3:14-17)

The second ingredient for spiritual growth is the Holy Spirit.

The third ingredient for spiritual growth is your faith.  Faith is your choice to depend on the Lord rather than yourself.  Faith is trusting in God’s will rather than your own.  Paul said, “…for whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:23) The writer to Hebrews described faith, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1) Faith is knowing that Jesus is God’s plan for salvation and the Savior of the world.  It is agreeing that Jesus is your Substitute, who paid the penalty for your sin on the cross.  And faith is trusting in Jesus as the only Savior and means of salvation. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Faith is necessary for salvation, but it is also necessary for sanctification, that is everyday living. Paul wrote, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” (Col. 2:6) In fact, it must be a moment by moment faith that rests in the Lord’s working in your life.  The writer to the Hebrews pictures this moment by moment faith-rest in Jesus as He diligently works through us. 

  • Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.
  • 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
  • 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
  • 11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. (Heb 4:1,2,10-11)

Our faith keeps us from working and allows Him to work.  It is interesting that Paul describes his labor.  Paul writes, “To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” (Col 1:29) Notice, Paul’s “work” is according to God’s working, which works, so that it is no longer Paul who works. 

When I trust in His plan by faith to implement His Wordby means of His Spirit, I will grow spiritually. A future article will reveal what happens if one of the ingredients is missing.

Question: Are rewards in heaven based on "works" in life?

 

Are rewards in heaven based on “works” in life? 

It is interesting that rewards are already “on the eternal shelf” and waiting for us to secure them.  Paul states in Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. The phrase, “has blessed us” grammatically occurs before the action of the main verb, which is found in Ephesians 1:4, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.”  The main verb occurred in eternity past as God’s sovereign choice of the believer.  Therefore, the blessings were set aside on the eternal shelf BEFORE God chose the person.  Those blessings are  just waiting to be given to the believer who accomplishes divine works.

There are two kinds of works. There are human and divine works.  Human works may be good for humanity, but are worthless for eternity sake.  Divine works are always good for earthly and eternal value.  What is the difference between human and divine works and how do these relate to eternal rewards?

Paul makes it clear that we are not saved by works, but after salvation, God designed us for works,

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:8-10)

Paul clearly states that salvation is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8), which is not based on works or what man can become related to goodness or character.  On the one hand, because of the sin nature inherited at physical birth (Rom. 5:12), man can never be good enough to be accepted by God on his own merits.  On the other hand, man can never do enough good works in order to please God.  There are not enough good works a man can do to offset the sin he inherits at physical birth and the sins which are seen in his experience. God will allow no boasting in heaven.  Only Jesus is righteous before God.

            There are only two kinds of religions in the world.  One that is based on “do,” that is, what man must “do.”  All the religions of the world fit into this category from Islam, Hinduism, Shintoism, Animism, etc. The other religion is based on “done,” that is, what Jesus has “done” for us on the cross.  Salvation is a gift received by faith alone in Christ alone.  God accepts no human works for salvation – only faith.

Yet, after salvation God designed believers for good works.  Paul uses the word “workmanship,” which literally is a word from which we get “poem.”  God wrote the poem of our lives such that we are prepared from eternity past to walk in good works. 

Paul makes the distinction between human and divine works in Scripture.  He writes,

11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.
 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
 16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Cor. 3:11-16)

The foundation is the basis upon what a believer builds for the sake of the kingdom.  The foundation is Jesus Christ.  Then Paul distinguishes between two kinds of works.  One category is “gold, silver, precious stones”and the other is “wood, hay, straw.”  Both are produced in man.  What is the difference?  Paul explains that in the passage. They will be “revealed by fire.”  How does fire distinguish between the two types of works?  The first category is purified and remains through the fire, while the second category burns up and results in ashes.  The first category is divine works, while the second category is human works.  What is the difference?

            The first category of divine works is work that God works through the believer by means of the Holy Spirit. Just like there is intrinsic value in gold and silver, there is intrinsic value of the work, because it is done by the Holy Spirit. The second category is work that the believer does on his own power, independent of the Holy Spirit. There is no intrinsic value.  In fact, Scripture calls this kind of work “filthy rags” as in Isaiah 64:6, “And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.”  The best of what we can do, on our own, is filthy rags, or literally “menstrual rags,” which means there is a deadness to the works.

The divine work has intrinsic value because it is work done by the power of the Holy Spirit under the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)  Paul further states this power is unleashed in the Christian under the direction of Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, “and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.” (Eph. 1:19)  His mighty power is unleashed by means of the Holy Spirit.

            Paul uses the description of the Holy Spirit’s power in the spiritual consequences of trusting the Lord in hope, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 15:13)  Titus (Titus 2:7, 14; 3:8, 14) exhorts believers to good works and the word for good is kalos, which means “good of intrinsic value.”  That can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit.

            Works of the Holy Spirit are rewarded as blessing in time and rewards in eternity.  Time on earth is the only time to establish rewards for eternity.  Let us depend on the Holy Spirit and let Him move through us to accomplish His good work!

 

 

 

 

Question: What is the Role of Women in Church?

What is the Role of Women in Church?

The role of women has characteristically been a question since the Garden of Eden.  When the woman, later named Eve, took the leadership role, while Adam stood by, a problem developed.  It’s not that women are not good leaders.  They are incredible and often better leaders than many men.  However, the question is “What is the role of women?” And especially, “What is the role of women in the church?”

This question is like many questions; the question can only be answered if you start with the right source or view. For example, “Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?” Or, “What music should be used to worship God?”  Or even, “Is it right for women to work outside the home?”  If you begin with man’s view, you’ll develop one kind of answer.  If you begin with God’s view, you may get another answer.

The question must be answered from Scripture. There is no question that men and women are equal in essence.  Paul wrote, …there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28) They are one in that they are equal in essence before God. When Peter wrote how a husband is to live with his wife, he wrote, “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” (1 Pet. 3:7)  Peter did not say that women were weaker than men.  He said that husbands are to live with their wives AS, or in a similar way, you would with a weaker vessel.  In other words, give her honor and treat her with respect and love.  Men and women are equal as people before God.

Yet, God gave them different roles.  Men are assigned specific leadership responsibilities.  For example, men are addressed as responsible for child training, “Fathers do not provoke your children to anger…” (Eph. 6:4).  But that doesn’t mean women won’t raise children as Timothy’s mother and grandmother raised him (2 Tim. 1:5). Women may do the bulk of child training, especially if the father travels for work or puts in exceptionally long hours. Yet, God holds fathers responsible. 

Another example is that men are addressed as those who might aspire to the position of overseer, which is the functional responsibility in the church of an elder or pastor.  Paul writes, “If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.” (1 Tim. 3:1)  The position of pastor is not open to women.  Paul makes that clear in 1 Timothy 2:12, where Paul says, “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” (1 Tim. 2:12)  The original Greek “to teach” and “to have authority” are grammatically both present infinitives, which means the woman is not to be in the position of regularly teaching men or maintaining authority over men.  If the verbs were aorist infinitives, it would mean they could not ever teach men or have any authority over men.  As Paul states it, women could teach men as an expert over a particular subject matter or report back as a missionary to a church, or serve as a chairperson of a committee, of which she is an expert, but not on an on-going basis. This does not mean women cannot teach or exercise authority.  Women are to teach younger women,

3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things–
 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.  (Titus 2:3-5)

Women also are excellent teachers of children.  At Grace, women teach boys and girls through high school and then women beyond high school. Women will speak to mixed audiences on special occasions.  Why are women restricted?  God wrote that guideline.  It is His model. 

I do not need to evade that question by providing a simplistic answer, although because “God said it” should be enough.  Paul wrote, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” (1 Ti m.2:14) Can men be deceived?  Of course, but God holds men responsible to give the answer and justification for what happens, not the woman.  Will she have to give an account?  Of course, she’ll have to give an account for herself (2 Cor. 5:10), not as the final authority for her marriage.  Who does God hold responsible for divorce? The man! Malachi records, “Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant.” (Mal. 2:14)  Are wives responsible for their marriages?  Of course (Eph. 5:33), but the onus is on the man!

            An additional example is that men are tasked by God to fight and protect women and children.  God always numbered the number of male warriors in Israel, not women.  Women were not called to fight.  Can they fight?  Like cats and dogs.  But that is not their role.  Men are to lay down their life for women, even as Jesus laid down his life for the Church. God told Moses,

2 “Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male individually,

 3 “from twenty years old and above– all who are able to go to war in Israel. You and Aaron shall number them by their armies.” (Num. 1:2-3)

Note two things.  First, Moses was to number the males, not the females.  Secondly, they were numbered and expected to be able to go to war.  Those males who were not, were not numbered.  Men are responsible for the role of protection, not women.  Are women to protect?  Of course, but it is not their responsibility.

            There are additional examples.  For example, God chose men as the writers of Scripture.  All of the priests in the Old Testament were men.  Women were not allowed to serve.  This doesn’t diminish the role of women any more than Jesus’ role of going to the cross diminishes who He is in the Trinity.

            So what is the role of men and women?  John Piper and Wayne Grudem edited an historical volume entitled, “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism.”1  They give the following definitions for biblical manhood and womanhood.  For manhood they wrote,

At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing  relationships. (p. 35)

For womanhood, they wrote,

At the heart of mature femininity is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman’s differing relationships. (p. 36)

In this excellent 566 page tome, they, word-by-word, explain these definitions and relate the roles of men and women in the home and church.  This is the best volume on the market that examines the roles of men and women, including their roles in the church. I refer you to this excellent resource.

            This begs the question, “Why did God make distinctions between the roles of men and women?”  Did God decide to put women under the thumb of men to make women miserable?  Does God not like women as much as men?  Nothing could be further from the Truth!  God is a God of order (1 Cor. 14:40).  Everything has a purpose and ultimately that purpose is to glorify God.  Consider the following thoughts.

            First, the roles of men and women mirror the roles of the Trinity.  Just as God the Son was submissive to the Father (John 5:19, 30), so the woman is submissive to the man (Eph. 5:22).  The Son is not inferior to the Father (John 10:30), but they have different roles (Luke 22:42).  The Son executes the Father’s plan in obedience to the Father’s will (Luke 2:49).  The Son doesn’t look down on Himself and was obedient to the point of death (Phil. 2:8).

            Secondly, the roles of men and women provide for structure and order. Paul commands wives to be submissive, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” (Eph. 5:22)  The word for “submit” or “be subject” is a military term, which means “to serve under” or “under authority.” The Roman centurion understood this authority (Luke 7:8). The husband doesn’t become the big Kahuna, whereby he is free to do what he wants.  That would be sin.  The husband must die to himself, his own desires, so that he can lead his wife, in order to best serve the Lord as a couple (Eph. 5:25-26).

            Thirdly, the roles of men and women provide the best environment for raising and discipling children to the next generation. Women are tremendous nurturers with children all through life, and often much better than fathers, while fathers are called on to exhort their children to godliness. Paul explains that differentiation,

7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.
 8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.
 9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.
 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe;
 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged1 every one of you, as a father does his own children, (1 Thes. 2:7-11)

            Fourthly, the roles of men and women in the church are designed to hold men responsible to the original command in the Garden “to tend and keep” and be responsible for ensuring that the church will be kept on track.  Can men lead the church off track?  Of course he can and does!  And he will be held responsible before God.  Can women lead a church to godliness, truth and growth?  Yes and there are many examples where they do.  But just because they do or it is expedient, because some women are better capable to lead and communicate, that does not make it right.  It is not any more right than numerous other roles in Scripture. For example, it was God’s choice for the Levites to serve in the tabernacle and temple, not another tribe (Ex. 38:21; Num. 1:50-53).  It was God’s choice that elders were to devote themselves to prayer and teaching the word (Acts 6:4), instead of the administrative and serving roles of the deacons.  It was God’s choice that Jesus die on the cross (Luke 22:42).  It was God’s choice that we remain on earth and be witnesses (Acts 1:8).  It is God’s choice that we suffer for doing good to exalt His name, because life is about Him, not us (1 Pet. 3:17).  It is God’s choice. 

            Women should pursue raising up women to be godly.  Paul explains what women ought to do,

3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things–
 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” (Titus 2:3-5)

This is not being done today.  There are many wonderful examples of women who are discipling other women.  There are many wonderful examples of women who care deeply about the future generations of children.  However, there are too many women who are more focused on temporal and mundane goals, rather than eternal goals.

           Women are trying to catch up and surpass men in the unimportant roles of working in the world.  There are few higher callings than to train young women to be godly, so that the Word of God not be blasphemed, as it is today.  Additionally, women should be working with children to teach them holiness, respect and diligence to understand God’s will.  What would happen if the godly women spent most of their time working with their own children and other children that are a part of their church family?  There would be such blessing our current world has never seen! Instead they are pursuing their own careers.  Where is their spiritual fruit of disciples?

            Are women intelligent?  Of course women are intelligent.  They are often more intelligent than men.  Are they good communicators?  Women are often better than men.  Are they better administrators and leaders?  Many women are much better than some of the best of men.  That isn’t the point.  What is God’s view? What does God outline in His Word? What does God say is important?  What will bring honor to God?  Will a successful career honor God like raising up disciples?  Will an ability to do whatever she wants or travel wherever she wants to go really honor God like raising up disciples?  Will an ability to have her name on the wall among the men leaders honor God like raising up disciples?  The worldly measures are so unimportant compared to raising disciples for Jesus Christ.  As Jesus said, “Not my will, but Thine be done.”
 

1Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, ed. John Piper and Wayne Grudem, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 1991.

Question: If not me, who?

If not me, who?
 

I remember some of the sermons growing up and one of the significant ones was from Isaiah 6.  My pastor, Pastor Johnson, gave a message from Isaiah 6:1-8.  It reads,

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
 3 And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”
 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
 5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.”
 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.
 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.”
 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”   (Is. 6:1-8)

It is interesting that only one attribute of God is ever mentioned three times in a row and that is God’s holiness.  It is mentioned here in Isaiah 6:3 and also Revelation 4:8.  God is holy!  And therefore He is worthy for my response to please Him in any and every way.  However, I didn’t learn that until only recently.

            When I heard the sermon on this passage, maybe 42 years ago, it was the last verse that caught my attention and the Holy Spirit used that verse and message to persuade me commit my life to the Lord Jesus Christ. I asked myself the question, “Would I be willing to say, ‘Here I am! Send me!’” to the Lord?   I had no idea what that might mean, yet I knew I really had no choice.  He is God. 

            Then I had to ask myself, “If not me, who?”  Furthermore, I needed to ask the question, “At what point would I be willing to go?”  Or, “If not now, when?”

            What about you?  Are you willing to say, “If not me, who?” and “If not now, when?”  We Christians don’t mind connectingwith other people in a home group or church service.  We don’t mind serving the Lord in a variety of ways.  We don’t mind being equipped for service and helping out either at church or another Christian brother or sister in need.  We don’t mind learning more Scripture or practical application in service.  That is all relatively easy. Here is the real question, “Where is your fruit of multiplication?” 

            These three words compose the vision statement I developed for our church last year: Connect, Equip, Multiply:

  • Connecting together to worship God                                              1 Cor. 12:19-25
  • Equipping together in grace to be more like Christ                       Eph. 4:11-14
  • Multiplying together with the gospel to reach the world               Matt 28:18-20

Here is the question you need to ask yourself, “Who is following you so that you are investing in them?”  Your investment in them will multiply and influence future generations for the kingdom.  What is your fruit? Jesus said,I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Is there multiplying fruit in your life?  Jesus also said,

19 “Go therefore1 and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matt. 28:19-20)

Are you living a safe life of connecting and being equipped?  I praise the Lord that you are connecting and being equipped! The real Christian life is in multiplying yourself!  Multiplication is essential, so that many others will transition into future generations just like a maple tree sends out thousands of seeds to plant hundreds of trees.  Seek to become equipped to disciple others to multiply your influence in the future generations.

            Ask yourself, “If not me, who?”  And “If not now, when?”