Wednesday, September 25, 2013

1 Timothy 1: Commanded By Jesus

It's time for me to get back to what I do best: instruct on the Word of God. I may throw in some extra blogs from time to time but I must get back to expounding on the Word in a systematic manner. Considering the craziness that is going on, I am led to once again go through Paul's letters to Timothy. There is a lot of excellent instruction for us in this current age included in these letters.

From Paul.
God our Savior and Christ Jesus commanded me to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, who gives us hope. (1 Timothy 1:1)

Do you know who you are in Jesus and what you have been appointed to? Do you know your place in the Body of Christ? Your gifting from the Spirit? Without knowing these things how can you serve?

We don't get to do whatever we want to do or whatever we feel like doing. Our calling and place in the Body has nothing to do with talents, personality or our preference. It should never be a matter of filling out a volunteer form or us being asked what we would like to do. All of these things are divinely appointed by God. Don't think so?

The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. (1 Corinthians 12:7)

But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us. (v. 11)

But God has put all parts of our body together in the way that he decided is best. (v. 18)

Not our decision. That is why apostle Paul says with great clarity and boldness, "Jesus commanded me to be an apostle". Not Paul's decision but God's. It is the only way that he was able to run the race to completion, knowing he was appointed by Jesus for the task. It is this knowledge that causes us to go the distance.

If at any point you think that what you are doing in the Body was your choice you will also eventually believe you have the choice to walk away. Service is not easy. Carrying your cross will take everything you have to give and beyond. With it being so hard, if you believe you have a choice, you will walk away. It is only when you are "compelled" that you are willing to die in your calling. Can you express the urgency of your calling in the same manner as Paul?

I don’t have any reason to brag about preaching the good news. Preaching is something God told me to do, and if I don’t do it, I am doomed. (1 Corinthians 9:16)

In seminary I remember filling out a missions survey which was filled with questions about by likes and interests. This was suppose to tell me where I was suited to serve. Wrong! Unless I am called by God I will not serve with the power or conviction of God and I will do only a tolerable job in my flesh, which might, at the end of the day, kill me. The Body is filled with people filling positions halfheartedly, without passion because passion comes from conviction and conviction comes from knowing you are appointed to your task by Jesus.

Until we can say in truth "Jesus commanded me" we will not serve with all our passion. We will not serve with conviction. We will not serve with authority and power. When Paul spoke he knew he spoke with the authority that came with his office. We need to accept the truth:

Not everyone is an apostle. Not everyone is a prophet. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone can work miracles. Not everyone can heal the sick. Not everyone can speak different kinds of languages. Not everyone can tell what these languages mean. (1 Corinthians 12:29-30)

But everyone is appointed to something. It means that some ARE apostles; some ARE prophets; some CAN work miracles; some CAN heal; some CAN speak different kinds of languages. The Word clearly says:

Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body. (v. 27)

Every part has a function and purpose as appointed by Jesus and you are one of those parts. But which one?

That is the question that you need answered. Ask the Lord to reveal your purpose, calling and then wait on his response. He will put it on your heart, confirm it through the Word and confirm it again by what people receive in the Spirit for you. You may not like what you have been appointed to but you will feel compelled and your joy will be found in your obedience.

Are you convinced you are commanded by Jesus today?

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