Summary: The Lord expects us to initiate opportunities with the power of the Spirit to bring others to a saving and growing faith in our Lord Jesus. It is not enough to passively receive what He gives freely. "Freely we have received, therefore, freely give."
Illustration: We love because He first loved us. (I JOhn 4:10)
Illustration:John Wesley traveled 250,000 miles on horseback, averaging twenty miles a day for forty years; preached 4,000 sermons; produced 400 books; knew ten languages. At eighty-three he was annoyed that he could not write more than fifteen hours a day without hurting his eyes, and at eighty-six he was ashamed he could not preach more than twice a day. He complained in his diary that there was an increasing tendency to lie in bed until 5:30 in the morning.
Illustration: Some years ago a former American astronaut took over as head of a major airline, determined to make the airline’s service the best in the industry. One day, as the new president walked through a particular department, he saw an employee resting his feet on a desk while the telephone on the desk rang incessantly. "Aren’t you going to answer that phone?" the boss demanded. "This isn’t my department," answered the employee nonchalantly, apparently not recognizing his new boss. " I work in maintenance." "Not anymore you don’t!" snapped the president.
Today in the Word, December, 1989, p. 35.
1. Jesus initiated the free gift of salvation to every person when He said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by Me." (John 14:6) The Lord expects us to initiate opportunities with the power of the Spirit to bring others to a saving and growing faith in our Lord Jesus.
It is not enough to passively receive what He gives freely. "Freely we have received, therefore, freely give."
2. Jesus took the initiative in recruiting men for evangelism and disciple-making ministries. He said, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." (Matt. 4:19)
The Lord knew that by choosing the people who He would work with gave Him a great advantage over those who waited for anyone to be the leaders of His church.
3. Jesus took the initiative in healing people. It was said of Jesus, "He went about preaching the kingdom and healing every kind of disease and sickness."
The Lord looked for ways that He could make the most of every opportunity to bringing deliverance from pain, suffering and sickness.
4. Jesus began the Christian church when He said, "I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." (Matt. 16:18) By setting in motion the Christian church, the Lord set the precedents through His disciples that are being followed 2000 years later.
Follow His example in starting new fellowships where the Spirit leads you.
5. Jesus came to the disciples after they had failed to catch any fish one night and initiated a lesson they never forgot. He said, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break." (Luke 5:4,6)
When we initiate church planting or evangelism ministries in difficult areas, the Lord blesses us beyond our human imaginations.
6. Jesus introduced the art and science of evangelism to the world with Zacchaeus when He said, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." (Luke 19:5)
The Lord taught everyone that courage and diplomacy is required of someone who wants to reach people who are generally considered unreachable.
7. Jesus triggered a worldwide movement when He promised the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come to empower them for worldwide evangelism and church growth ministries. Jesus said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
The Spirit is in the business of helping initiate outreach ministries around our world. Are we following His prompting today?
8. Jesus sparked a wave of cross-cultural ministries. Paul, the apostle picked up on Christ’s command to go into all the people groups of the world from Matthew 28:18-20 and took the gospel to numerous Gentile communities where new churches were planted and grew to its present strength today.
Paul initiated many pioneer mission ministries through courage, creativity and using the gifts that God had given him to break new ground with the gospel.
9. Jesus began the transformation in men and women perception about their roles, identities and responsibilities before God. Until Christ men and women thought of themselves and their roles more along cultural and traditional lines that spiritually based.
The Lord freed people to think, believe and obey God rather than human norms.
10. Jesus instituted the church to be His primary means by which the world would come to know how the body of Christ should serve as an example for community service, love and cooperation. Paul wrote, "God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way." (Eph. 1:22,23)