Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I Endure Everything For Them

God has brought us into partnership with him and his mission. I can't explain why, it is just what he has chosen to do. I heard recently from the apostle over my church, "We can't do anything without God and God won't do anything without us". The Church is vital for the mission and we are members of that Church.

I dislike the fact that I always have to clarify this point but here we go again. We are not working for our salvation. That was all done by Jesus and there is nothing left to be done. However, there is a ton of work to be done so that Jesus is lifted up in order that people may come to him. Why else would Jesus tell his disciples to ask for more workers, because the harvest is plentiful and the labourers are few? There is a work to be done and, as citizens of this great Kingdom, we are the labourers.

Apostle Paul said this:

"Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory." (2 Timothy 2:10)

A couple of points to clarify. Let's start with the elect. We are part of the elect. The elect are those who have made or will make the decision to accept the sacrifice of Jesus and make him Lord of their lives. We are the ones who have become citizen's of the Kingdom, who have died to self and made alive in Jesus, who have been made into a new creation. The elect are not pre-destined in the sense some understand it. There are not limits placed on our choices. It is only a matter of God's foreknowledge. Not being limited to our time and space, God knows the decisions we will make. Just because he has the foreknowledge does not rob us of our freedom to make or not make a decision. So the elect are simply those God has a foreknowledge of the decision they will make for Jesus.

The other point we have to clarify is that we don't have this foreknowledge. Because we don't have it means that we must make the most of every opportunity with every person we will meet. It means that we have to work hard and endure whatever we must to make sure that everyone has the opportunity of being part of the elect.If people decide against Jesus it is the freedom of their choice, but at least we know we have done what we can to lift up Jesus to them.

This is why Paul said he was willing to endure everything and I think by his life we can see that these were not empty words. He was willing to endure everything because he knew that it was no longer about him but about the salvation of the world. He already had everything he could possibly want in Jesus. With nothing else left to desire, Paul was able to pour out his life so that others might live.

Imagine approaching each day with this same attitude: "Jesus, what happens to me today does not matter, just show me where you want to use me". If you get spat on then you get spat on. If you get punched then you get punched. If you get to lead a soul to Jesus then, all glory to God, that is another soul saved from the endless torment of hell.

"Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect."

The harvest is plentiful and the labourers are few because they are too busy pampering themselves in their quiet religion. Time is running out. What are you more concerned about today? What occupies your prayers? Your own needs or those who need Jesus? Are you willing to endure everything for the sake of another person's salvation?

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