"Now get up and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you" Acts 26:4-18
Complicate the simple! We’ve mastered this art, (or vice). The gracious and privileged assignments God has for us are no exception. So many times, we shackle ourselves by over-structuring and over programming. Some of us may be wired to over-analyze. In our sincerity (or fear), our service or ministry to the Lord and to others is always 'somewhere in the future'... thus our evangelism takes a back seat to the temporal. Non fruit- bearing believers become frustrated, then fatigued... then friction rings our doorbell and factions (or taking sides) creeps into the fellowship of believers. And complicated lives complicate others.
Some of us may be wanting more clarity, 'to really hear from God', someone said. While this is commendable, it could also be a crutch. Oh, we'll get to it, but not right now. Yet God has spoken (the Bible) and continues to speak (via His church leaders). One of the major points of application we recently preached was 'Purpose to Work for God while you wait on God'.
To encourage you, let's revisit and attempt to unpack Paul’s conversion experience. I want to be bold in suggesting that we have a simple and very Biblical way to be healthy and effective in our local and global witness.
“When thus occupied, as I journeyed...", Paul, the Apostle tells us,… I saw a light…” (26:12-13). He was busy, like all of us, but something interrupted his life. Paul’s life and destiny were about to change. My friends, God at times may see fit to arrange providentially ‘a falling to the ground’ experience for us. Note this: “when we all fell to the ground, I heard a voice” (v.14). When God is focused on you, many may fall all around you (or be resisted), and not hear. But you will! That not bad. It's good! And it isn't intended to overwhelm you with guilt, but rather to quicken within you a sense of opportunity and privilege.
When Paul tells us ‘He saw a light’, three great truths come forth:
1.) He was confronted with the truth - “I am Jesus”. (v.15)
2.) He would then be changed with the truth - “I have appeared to you with this purpose”. (v.16)
3.) He was now ready to be commissioned with the truth - “I now send you”. (v.17)
In my effort to keep it uncluttered, but hopefully not oversimplified, please allow me to walk us through this testimony, or "for this purpose".
We discover the purpose for our salvation experience. Yes, all believers will end up in heaven. And it's a definite we won't go to hell (See Bible). The question before us is, What about right now? Jesus tells Paul (and us), "But rise and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose" (v.16). (NKJV)
Two wonderful facts:
We discover we're saved in order to serve - “to make you a minister”.
He will make you an effective minister, but you've got to do your part. Allow the leaders of your church to equip you for ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16). Then purpose to find your place of service in the church and in the world. He wants you to redeem your time on earth, so that you might live and leave a good testimony. He wants you to learn how to use your time, talents and your treasures for His kingdom purposes. Believe me, the rest of life will fall in place (Matthew 6:33)!
We discover we're saved to be a "witness".
Therefore, live-out your new life in Christ but also practice telling others of the wonderful things he has done for you (Mark 5:19-20). Someone once said, "Open your mouth!" You'll be amazed with what the Holy Spirit will remind you to say (Luke 12:12). Listen, just about now, the fear factor will keep in. So Jesus promises He will be with us as we face 'internal opposition' and 'external persecution' (v.17). And "the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say" (Luke 12:12).
By the way, this is a great way to keep your walk with Christ vibrant and fresh. As you witness, you'll be living and sharing “not only the things which you have seen, but also the things in which Christ will appear to you” (v.16). Talk about experiencing God on a daily basis! This is a sure way for Jesus to work 'through us diffusing the fragrance of His knowledge in every place" (2 Corinthians 2:14).
Posted on Fri, July 17, 2015
by Sam Petitfils