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Partners in Advancing the Gospel

We, believers, must cooperate with and contribute toward the advancement of the Gospel:

In every prayer of mine I always make my entreaty and petition for you all with joy (delight). 5 [I thank my God] for your fellowship (your sympathetic cooperation and contributions and partnership) in advancing the good news (the Gospel) from the first day [you heard it] until now.  Philippians 1:4-5 AMP

Paul is writes this letter to the Philippians and tells them that he thanks God for their fellowship – sympathetic cooperation and contributions and partnership – with him in the Gospel. The Greek word translated “fellowship” is “koinonia”, which means: fellowship; partnership; participation; communion; communication; distribution; contribution; to communicate; (financial) benefaction. Their partnership and contributions helped to advance the Gospel.

Don’t advance your own interests – advance the Gospel:

For the others all seek [to advance] their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ (the Messiah). 22 But Timothy’s tested worth you know, how as a son with his father he has toiled with me zealously in [serving and helping to advance] the good news (the Gospel).  Philippians 2:21-22 AMP

Many Christians are no better than the heathen, when it comes to advancing the Gospel; because they are so busy serving themselves and advancing their own interests that the Gospel is neglected. As believers, we have a responsibility toward the Gospel – to advance the Gospel. No one else is going to do it. If we don’t do it, it won’t be done. We have to lay aside all selfishness and self-promotion and make God’s plans and will and desires, our priority.

Rejoice in the Lord and let your genuine unselfishness be seen by all:

Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice! 5 Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon].  Philippians 4:4-5 AMP

Do not fret or worry about one thing – but tell your Father what you want and need – and His peace will garrison your heart and mind:

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. 7 And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 AMP

Fix your mind only on positive, godly, good things; model your way of life on the word of God and God’s peace will be with you:

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. 9 Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you.  Philippians 4:8-9 AMP

Make sure that you do not neglect the Gospel or those who preach the Gospel – be a partner in advancing the Gospel with your resources of time, abilities and substance:

I was made very happy in the Lord that now you have revived your interest in my welfare after so long a time; you were indeed thinking of me, but you had no opportunity to show it.  Philippians 4:10 AMP

But it was right and commendable and noble of you to contribute for my needs and to share my difficulties with me. 15 And you Philippians yourselves well know that in the early days of the Gospel ministry, when I left Macedonia, no church (assembly) entered into partnership with me and opened up [a debit and credit] account in giving and receiving except you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent [me contributions] for my needs, not only once but a second time. Philippians 4:14-16 AMP

Learn how to be content in any and all circumstances – be self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency:

Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. 12 I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. 13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].  Philippians 4:11-13 AMP

Your offering is a sweet smell to the Father and results in a harvest of blessing that is accumulating to your account:

Not that I seek or am eager for [your] gift, but I do seek and am eager for the fruit which increases to your credit [the harvest of blessing that is accumulating to your account]. 18 But I have [your full payment] and more; I have everything I need and am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent me. [They are the] fragrant odor of an offering and sacrifice which God welcomes and in which He delights.  Philippians 4:17-18 AMP

When you participate in advancing the Gospel with your finances, there is fruit that accumulates to your account – a harvest of blessing. Your offering and your sacrifice is a sweet smell that rises up to the throne of God and which He welcomes and in which He delights.

And the Father will liberally supply your every need – according to HIS riches in glory:

And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19 AMP

O Give Thanks Unto the Lord

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

2 O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.

3 O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.

4 To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.

5 To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.

6 To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.

7 To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:

8 The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:

9 The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.

10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:

11 And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:

12 With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.

13 To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:

14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:

15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.

16 To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.

17 To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:

18 And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:

19 Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever:

20 And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever:

21 And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:

22 Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever.

23 Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:

24 And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.

25 Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.

26 O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalms 136:1-26 KJV

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever.

The repetitive theme of this psalm is God’s mercy – His mercy, His loving kindness and His faithful love – that endures forever! This psalm might have been a responsive reading, where the congregation repeated the phrase together at the end of each sentence. The repetition makes this important lesson to sink in and become real to the worshipers. God is a God of love, mercy, kindness, and faithfulness. Obviously God wants us to know that He IS good and that His love for us and toward us will never run out; it is a river – a well, springing up – that never will run dry.

O give thanks to the God of gods, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever.

He is the God – Elohiym – over all other gods. Elohiym is actually “Gods” and refers to the Trinity – three in one.

O give thanks to the Lord of lords, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever.

He is the Lord – Adoniym – of lords. He is the Sovereign of sovereigns; Master of masters; and Ruler of rulers.

Because of His mercy and loving kindness:

-He does great wonders

He is always working on our behalf with signs and wonders and miraculous answers.

-By wisdom and understanding, He made the heavens, He stretched out the earth upon the waters, and He made the great lights – the sun, moon and stars.

All creation is a testament to God that He is our creator and that He is in charge and in control.

-He delivers His people – saves and protects them.

He smote (struck) Egypt’s firstborn; He brought out Israel from among them with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm; He divided the Red Sea into parts and made Israel to pass through the midst of it, but shook off and overthrew Pharaoh and his host into the Red Sea; He led His people through the wilderness. He can deliver YOU from ANY situation, no matter how impossible the situation.

-He defeated great kings and gave their land to Israel and to their descendants.

He smote great kings; He smote great kings, Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan; and gave their land as a heritage, even a heritage to Israel His servant. No man – no matter how powerful – can prevail against God’s obedient children. Who can stand against you if God is for you? Whatever God gives you, He means for you to keep and to pass down to your children’s children. God does not give and then take away. He gives it to us and expects us to administer it wisely, in the fear of God; but if we do not remain committed to Him, we could potentially lose all He has given. Stay in God’s will and don’t allow the enemy to rob from you. God’s blessing is a blessing that remains.

-He earnestly remembered us in our low estate and imprinted us on His heart, and rescued us from our enemies.

Even if we don’t know it, God is always watching over us. He never leaves us; never forgets about us; is always working on a plan of deliverance. How awesome is it that He has imprinted us on His own heart! He is the one who rescues us from our enemies. Look to Him; trust in Him; He will not fail you. He will not allow the enemy to win. When Israel was between the Red Sea and Pharaoh and his armies, they were terrified, but God split the Red Sea and took them through it – then He drowned the whole Egyptian army in it. The three Hebrew boys were thrown into the fire, but only those who threw them in were burned up. They came through without even the smell of smoke on their clothes.

-He gives food to all flesh.

God feeds all His creation. He rains on the just and the unjust. He provides for all. How good and merciful He is!

O give thanks to the God of heaven, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!

Jesus of Nazareth

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost

and with power: who went about doing good, and healing

all that were oppressed of the devil for God was with him.

ACTS 10:38

 

I have good news for you: God is good; Jesus is good. God

wants to bless you! Jesus wants to bless you! People ask me,

“What’s all this joy in your meetings? Why joy? What is the purpose?

Don’t you know it’s the Holy Spirit, not the joy spirit?”

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, although it is not the only fruit

of the Spirit.

 

When the Holy Spirit does His work in your life,

you will have all nine fruits of the Spirit: love, joy; peace,

patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control

(see Galatians 5:22-23 NIV). Joy is noticeable, however,

because it is very much an outward expression others can see.

Jesus brings joy. When Jesus shows up, He says to you,

“Be of good cheer.”

 

When Jesus shows up, He says, “Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!” When Jesus

shows up, He says, “Be strong.” In the book of Acts, chapter 8, we see

that when Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Jesus Christ

to them, there was great joy in the city. What happens when Jesus shows up?

There is great joy! A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance.

PROVERBS 15:13 AMP

 

Someone wrote, “But Rodney; Jesus didn’t jump up and

down, do cartwheels, and run around the place.” Maybe Jesus

didn’t, but people He touched did. They went around walking and

leaping and praising God! Oh, hallelujah!

 

Another person said, “You don’t have to get so emotional.”

I’m telling you right now, when Jesus touches you, you want

to shout it from the rooftops! If you say you had an encounter

with the Living God and are not stirred in your heart all the way

through your emotions — then I question whether you had a real

touch.

 

Only people who have not had a personal encounter with

the power and presence of God tell us that we should not have an

emotional response to the reality of the touch of God in and on

our lives. God is real, Jesus is real, the Holy Spirit is real, and if

I meet them face-to-face — I am going to know about it and so is

everybody else!

 

If you can have an emotional response to something other

than the Lord, such as a spouse, a child, a sporting event, a great

triumph, or a great tragedy — then it’s only logical that your

emotions would respond to the love and power of God in your

life. Emotions are not all bad.

 

Emotions which come out of your carnal nature, such as

bitterness and lust, should be controlled and eliminated by the

power of God. Our emotions, like the other areas of our life,

should be controlled by our spirit and the Holy Spirit — not

by our flesh and our sin. But to express good emotions is

normal and healthy.

 

And my language and my message were not set forth in

persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but

they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power

[a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me

and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions

and thus persuading them].

1 CORINTHIANS 2:4 AMP (EMPHASIS MINE)

 

According to the Gospel, when Jesus walks in the door,

He meets your every need. As the Holy Spirit moves on people in

our meetings, many times they are filled with joy. Critics have

said, “Well, it doesn’t really seem there’s any purpose in what’s

happening in your meetings, because nobody’s life depends upon

receiving joy.”

 

The problem is that people are always looking for some

great significance and reading other things into everything Jesus

did. But the desire of Jesus’ heart was simply to meet people’s

needs, whatever they might be; to show us that God has provided

for us in every situation.

The Church – A Fellowship of Believers

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

The mission of the local church is: Preaching and teaching; Making disciples; Fellowship; Worship; Missions and evangelism; Maturity of the believer; Ministry in the home; Ministry to material needs.

Fellowship:

God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  1 Corinthians 1:9 KJV

Jesus Christ, by His sacrifice, has made it possible for man to be restored back into relationship and fellowship with God, the Father. When a man or woman accepts the free gift of salvation, he or she is now both a child, and a friend, of God. They are family. This fellowship with Jesus, Paul calls a “mystery” (Ephesians 3:8-12), but it gives us special privileges – in Jesus Christ we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him – we have the right to freely come into the presence of God Himself!

The cup of blessing [of wine at the Lord’s Supper] upon which we ask [God’s] blessing, does it not mean [that in drinking it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the blood of Christ (the Messiah)? The bread which we break, does it not mean [that in eating it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the body of Christ?  17 For we [no matter how] numerous we are, are one body, because we all partake of the one Bread [the One Whom the communion bread represents].  
1 Corinthians 10:16-17 AMP

We believers, though many, are all one body – the Body of Christ. One of the functions of the Church is to facilitate, sustain and maintain fellowship between believers. The word translated “fellowship” is “koinonia”, which means partnership; participation; communicate or communication; communion. We have been brought into communion with Jesus Christ and we have also been brought into communion with each other as the Body of Christ. Romans 12:5 AMP says, “So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another].” Whether we like it or not, we are dependent on each other – we need each other.

And they were giving constant attention to the teaching of the apostles and to that which they held in common with them, and to the breaking of the bread and to the gatherings where prayers to God were offered. And a reverential fear came upon every soul. And many miracles that excited amazement and attesting miracles were performed by the apostles. And all those who believed were gathered together as a unit and were holding all things in joint-participation, and were selling their houses and lands and other possessions and kept on distributing them to all, according as anyone was having a need. And daily they continued to remain in the temple, in perfect unanimity, breaking bread at home, partaking of food together in gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having the good will of the people. And the Lord kept on adding to them daily those who were being saved.
  Acts 2:42-47 Kenneth S. Wuest

Often when people use the word “fellowship” they relate it to games, dining, and social interaction. There is nothing wrong with such fellowship, when they conform to biblical ethics, but the word “koinonia” is so much more powerful than that. The Early Church met together for fellowship – for instruction in the Word of God, for prayer, to eat together, to partake of communion, and to worship God (Acts 2:42) – to fellowship in the Gospel and grow together in the Lord (Philippians 1:3-6). Paul testifies that even though James, Peter and John were called to preach to the Jews, and he and Barnabas were called to preach to the Gentiles, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Paul and Barnabas. They offered them all their friendship and support – out of respect for God and His will for all of them (Galatians 2:7-9). The Early Church were united together and had all things in common – they shared ungrudgingly whatever they had – food, clothing, shelter – with each other. Even the persecuted Macedonians, although not wealthy, begged Paul to be able to fellowship with the saints in Jerusalem through their giving (2 Corinthians 8:3-4).

These believers all chose to fellowship with one another because of their covenant with God and each other as the Body. A covenant relationship is one where you commit to fellowship with someone and to love them and bless them based on submission and obedience to God’s Word and not just because you feel like it or not. We are all going to be in heaven together and that means overlooking our differences. We can even agree to disagree, but we don’t have to be disagreeable!

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  Philippians 2:1-4 NKJV

Where people are touched by the power of God and truly filled with the Holy Spirit, there will be harmony and fellowship. When we have unbroken fellowship with God then we will have harmony and fellowship in the Body of Christ. When our fellowship with God is lacking then there will be discord and strife. Discord and strife arises when people behave like the devil – when they are worldly, carnal, selfish and arrogant.

If we have genuine fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ, we will walk in the truth and we will walk in the love of God toward each other. If we do not walk in love, we show ourselves to be liars – we are not in fellowship with God at all (1 John 1:1-7). Thank God for His blood that washes us clean and gives us another chance to do right. Thank God for His forgiveness. When we realize that we are nothing without Him and we humble ourselves to accept His love and mercy for ourselves, then it is not so difficult to love and show grace to a neighbor. God’s love makes it possible for His precious Church to fellowship with Him and fellowship with each other.

Ledgends in Their Own Mind

Another minister informed me – comparing his

ministry to the ministry of another – that his ministry

was a Cadillac and the other was a Yugo. I thought to

myself, then I must be the hubcap on the Yugo. One

preacher informed a friend of mine that he was one of the

top five speakers in the world today. I thought to myself,

I must be one of the bottom five.

 

It is not what you have done or achieved in man’s

eyes that counts; it is faithfulness to the call of God.

When I stand before my heavenly Father I desire to hear

Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.

Enter into the joy of the Lord.” I don’t want to hear, “Well

done, thou good and successful servant You have already

received your reward, it’s the praise of men.”

 

The Danger of Forgetting Where You’ve Come From

 

Is it not amazing that God visits an ordinary

individual and anoints him? The man rises out of the dust

to achieve greatness in God. Later when asked what was

the key to his success, he gives a ten-point guideline to

would-be followers about the secret to success.

But it had nothing to do with the ten points. It was

the touch of God in the individual’s life which resulted in

the call. He remained faithful to fulfill the call and

succeeded. It is as simple as that.

 

It Doesn’t Come Overnight

 

Success does not come overnight; it is formed in

the fires of life. In that crucible theories become proven

and foundations are laid. Usually those who rise

overnight, fall before daybreak.

Some look at the success that we’ve had in the

evangelistic field in recent times in South Africa and the

United States (and in comparison to others we have not

even begun yet), and they will say to me, “Your ministry

shot up overnight.” All I can tell them is that it’s been the

longest night of my life.

 

The Importance of Worship

 

Jesus said, “The hour cometh, and now is, when

the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and

in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him”

(John 4:23). Worship is so important, not just

corporately; but also privately. As we begin to worship

Him, the presence of the Lord will come upon us.

The scripture says in Psalm 91:1, “He that

dwelleth in the secret place of the most High will abide

under the shadow of the Almighty.” Worship is that

secret place. We need to develop a lifestyle of prayer. We

need to develop a lifestyle of worship.

 

Integrity in Life and Ministry

 

It is very important to be oneself. We are living in

a day and age when there is so much pressure to follow

the crowd and be an echo instead of being a voice. I

believe God wants to raise up voices in these last days.

He wants those who will speak as an oracle of God.

There is a lack of integrity in the ministry today. I

believe if we would be used of God on a continual basis,

we need to develop character in the area of integrity.

We live in a day when men have very little

integrity, not only in the world but also in the Church.

The scripture says, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the

Lord? Or shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean

hands, and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:3, 4). It is sad to think

that in the Church today there is a lack of integrity.

People say what they want and then forget completely

what they said. Some even deny that they said or

promised anything.

 

The motto I have adopted in the ministry is,

“Expect nothing from anyone, but commit yourself to be

a giver.” The Bible says God will honor a man who

swears to his own hurt (Psalm 15:4). Many times when I

am promised things from men of God, I don’t get excited

until I see it happen. It is sad that you cannot trust

someone’s word. The lack of integrity has plagued the

ministry for many years, from the Elmer Gantry of

Hollywood to real life, modem day televangelism.

 

Man Looks on the Outside, God Looks on the Heart

 

And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt

thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from

reigning over Israel? Fill thine horn with oil, and go, I

will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have

provided me a king among his sons.

 

And Samuel said, How can I go? If Saul hear it, he

will kill me. And the Lord said, Take an heifer with

thee, and say I am come to sacrifice to the Lord.

And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee

what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him

whom I name unto thee.

 

And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came

to Bethlehem, And the elders of the town trembled at

his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably?

And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto

the Lord: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the

sacrifice.

 

And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them

to the sacrifice.

 

And it came to pass, when they were come, that he

looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed

is before him.

 

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his

countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I

have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth;

for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the

Lord looketh on the heart.

 

Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before

Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen

this.

 

Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said,

Neither hath the Lord chosen this.

 

Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before

Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath

not chosen these.

 

And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children?

And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and,

behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto

Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till

he come hither.

 

And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy

and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to

look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this

is he.

 

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in

the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord

came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel

rose up, and went to Ramah.

 

1 Samuel 16:1-13

FINDING PURPOSE

My Mission
Foundation Scriptures: Romans 12:1-21

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. 3 For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him. 4 For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use, 5 So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another]. 6 Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: [He whose gift is] prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith; 7[He whose gift is] practical service, let him give himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching; 8 He who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; he who does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness. 9[Let your] love be sincere (a real thing); hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness], but hold fast to that which is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another. 11 Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord. 12 Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of God’s people [sharing in the necessities of the saints]; pursue the practice of hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is honest and proper and noble [aiming to be above reproach] in the sight of everyone. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord. 20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. 21 Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good.  Romans 12:1-21 AMP

1.  Finding Your Individual Purpose for Your Life Begins with Total Surrender to the Lordship of Jesus.

Romans 12:1-2
Presenting your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Not conformed to this world—transformed by the renewing of your mind—in order that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
You want the perfect will of God for your life, not just the permissive or permissible will of God.
Many people live and die without ever finding God’s purpose for their lives.

2.  This Purpose or Calling is in Proportion to the Grace Given You by God to Fulfill Your Life’s Mission.

Romans 12:3-8
Don’t overestimate yourself. God has dealt to everyone the measure of faith according to his/her call and purpose. (To whom much is given, much is required—Luke 12:48.)
Verse 6: We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us—in order to fulfill God’s plan.

3.  With the Grace Comes the God-given Desire that Must be Pursued in Order to Fulfill the Plan.

Psalms 37:4 AMP­—Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.
Put God first.
Isaiah 58:14 AMP—Then will you delight yourself in the Lord, and I will make you to ride on the high places of the earth, and I will feed you with the heritage [promised for you] of Jacob your father; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.  
This always flows forth out of us abiding in the Vine—being connected. He is the Vine, we are the branches. As we stay connected to Him, we produce fruit and our fruit remains, proving we are God’s children (John 15).
This GRACE will cause you to come through the hardest places and yet still shine.

4. Facts About Me that I Need to Know in Order to Fulfill my Eternal Destiny.

As a child of God—God is on my side.
Everything I need to walk in victory is mine:

  • The Word
  • The Name
  • The Blood
  • The Angels
  • The Holy Spirit

I am to be fruitful and to look for fruit in my life.
I must stay focused on my path—my journey.
It will all count in eternity.

The Man Behind the Myth

Why did God have to do it that way? Ever since Adam

sinned in the Garden of Eden, man had been separated from God

by his sin. So God needed a sinless man to pay the price for sinful

mankind. Only a man who was without sin could pay the

penalty for sinful man. God and man came together in one person

—Jesus Christ — in order to cut an unbreakable covenant

between God and man.

 

Jesus said that He would give Himself. “I’m the one. I

will become a man and pay the price for man’s sin so man can

have the choice to come back to the Father.” So the Word came

into the womb of a virgin, and nine months later Jesus came

forth just like a regular baby. Now, the baby Jesus didn’t fly

around the crib, you know! He had diapers. He had to cut His

baby teeth. He did all this and everything any other child would

do.

 

Just think about Jesus’ boyhood. What was it like for

Him growing up in an ordinary family with brothers and sisters

and a mother and father? What was it like for them and for Him,

knowing that He had a supernatural mission, that He came from

heaven to the earth to die for the sin of mankind?

 

When Jesus was a young man, twelve years of age, He

and His family went to the temple in Jerusalem to pay their

taxes. Joseph and Mary were already heading home when they

realized He was missing. So, they went back to Jerusalem. They

found Him in the temple, discussing the things of God with the

priests. When they discovered Him they were angry, asking Him

where He had been. He said, “Did you not know that I must be

about My Father’s business?” (See Luke 2:49.)

 

Jesus knew what His mission was. Even as a young boy,

he knew He had to be about His heavenly Father’s business.

Somebody would say, “But Your father’s business is working in

the carpentry shop. What do You mean, You’re about Your

Father’s business?” The young Jesus had to live like a regular

human among regular people — all the while knowing He was

different — VERY— different!

 

What was it like for Him as a teenager? Imagine all the

pressures of growing up and coming to adulthood that teenagers

have. There must have been pressure that He faced when the

young girls showed interest in Him. The Bible tells us that Jesus

was tempted in all the ways that we are, yet He was without sin.

(See Hebrews 4:15.) If you look at history you will find that the

 

Jews during this time period would get married young. Many of

the young boys were trained in the family business by the age of

thirteen, and some of them had their wives chosen for them by

their parents years in advance.

 

You wonder what other people were thinking about Jesus.

“Maybe there is something wrong with Him. He shows no interest

in women.” When He was twentynine years old and not married, you can

understand why people might have thought there was something wrong

with Him!

 

On top of that, Jesus kept talking about the fact that His kingdom

was not on this earth. Where did He come from? Was He from another planet?

 

He was not interested in political things and didn’t really care who was

in power. He had no hatred for anyone, including the government of the day.

 

He could have grown up with a chip on his shoulder because, when he

was just a toddler, all the little Hebrew boys in Bethlehem, twoyears-

old and younger, had been slaughtered by Herod — who

was trying to kill the “King of the Jews.” Yet Jesus never said,

“I’ll overthrow these Jewish traitors and Roman dogs. We’ll raise

up an army and take them out.” Not once did He ever mention it.

 

He must have seemed odd, different in many ways from His

brothers and sisters, and He was not interested in following His

earthly father’s footsteps either.

 

But all these pressures were forming Him and shaping

Him, preparing Him for the greatest mission ever known to man.

Jesus’ eternal purpose was greater than just what was happening

Beyond Ourselves

The apostle Paul accepted what it intended to be pushed to the boundaries of his life.

According to his letters, he knew a lot about difficulty, trouble, and trial. But he was most well informed about the final significance of all those distressing experiences glorifying Jesus thru his weakness. We do not wish to feel helpless or beyond control of our own lives. What we will be able to learn from Paul and from our own experiences is the preface to great strength is great weakness. A vital lesson of the Christian life is that our weakest moments those times we feel the most desperate are the times when God is free to do His best work by enabling and reinforcing us.

In those circumstances during which we murmur, God, I can’t go on, we are granted the best providing and the best enabling to suffer and endure. Human nature cries out for strength, bravery, and adequacy to meet each challenge in life. Therefore , many of us dodge fiery trials and valley experiences at any price so they won’t have to experience weakness. They tell themselves that they can handle life on their own terms and that their own strength is satisfactory. But we will never understand the mystical empowerment to go past our own boundaries unless we experience it for ourselves. The sole way to have conviction about the adequacy of Christ in our lives is to experience weakness and the strength that sprouts from it. Regardless of what is occurring in our lives, there’s power available to the children of God.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our bro, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all of the saints which are in all Achaia. Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Sanctified be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be in a position to comfort them which are in any difficulty, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be troubled, it is for your consolation and deliverance, which is effectual in the long-lasting of the same sufferings which we also suffer : or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and deliverance. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. For we wouldn’t, brethren, have you blind to our difficulty which came to us in the East, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life.

But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead. Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver : in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us. Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the present bestowed on us by the way of many people thanks could be given by many on our behalf. For our rejoicing is this, the affidavit of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly knowledge, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation on the planet, and more extravagantly to you-ward. For we write none other stuff unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge ; and I trust ye shall recognize even to the end. As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus. And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye may have a 2nd benefit. And to go by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea. When I thus was therefore minded, did I use lightness? Or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? But as God is true, our word toward you wasn’t yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, wasn’t yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all of the guarantees of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God.

Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. Likewise I call God for a record on my soul, that to spare you I came not at the present unto Corinth. Not for that we have dominion over your religion, but are assistants of your joy : for by religion ye stand. One more thing.

TWO KINGDOMS – TWO TREASURES – YOUR CHOICE

MY TREASURE
Foundation Scriptures: Matthew 6:19-24

Do not gather and heap up and store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal. 20 But gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor worm consume and destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal; 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your entire body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is unsound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the very light in you [your conscience] is darkened, how dense is that darkness! 24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in).  Matthew 6:19-24 AMP

1. Jesus speaks about the believer’s proper conduct in relationship to money and possessions.

Martin Luther said: I have held many things in my hand and I have lost them all. But whatever I placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.
A. W. Tozer posed four questions we should all ask ourselves:
What do we value most?
What would we most hate to lose?
What do our thoughts turn to most frequently when we are free to think of what we will?
What affords us the greatest pleasure?
Earthly or Heavenly treasure:
When spent on earthly treasure, money is only of temporary value.
When spent on heavenly treasure, money takes on eternal value.

2. Jesus wants us to choose our treasury – where we make our deposits.

If it is an earthly treasury, it will be lost when we die.
If it is a heavenly treasury, it will be ours for eternity.

3. Jesus is saying that amassing wealth isn’t morally wrong – it’s just a poor investment.

Moths, rust and thieves imperil your earthly treasure and in the end, everything will be consumed by fire anyway. (2 Peter 3:7)
John Wesley said: I value all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity.
David Livingstone said: I place no value on anything I possess, except in relation to the Kingdom of God.

4. Discovering true wealth.

Matthew 13:44 AMP – The kingdom of heaven is like something precious buried in a field, which a man found and hid again; then in his joy he goes and sells all he has and buys that field.
What we keep, we lose. What we give up and share and do, in Christ’s Name, will ultimately come back to us in heaven.
If we store up heavenly treasures, they will never stop paying dividends!
Ecclesiastes 5:15 AMP – As [the man] came forth from his mother’s womb, so he will go again, naked as he came; and he will take away nothing for all his labor which he can carry in his hand.
Psalms 49:16-20 NAS – Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich, When the glory of his house is increased; 17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away; His glory will not descend after him. 18 Though while he lives he congratulates himself–And though men praise you when you do well for yourself–19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; They shall never see the light. 20 Man in his pomp, yet without understanding, Is like the beasts that perish.

5. What is your treasure?

House; car; boat; library; gun collection; art; coins; gold; jewels?
Savings; retirement program; insurance policies; annuities; real estate; commodities; shares?
1 Timothy 6:18-19 AMP – [Charge them] to do good, to be rich in good works, to be liberal and generous of heart, ready to share [with others], 19 In this way laying up for themselves [the riches that endure forever as] a good foundation for the future, so that they may grasp that which is life indeed.
Philippians 4:17 AMP – Not that I seek or am eager for [your] gift, but I do seek and am eager for the fruit which increases to your credit [the harvest of blessing that is accumulating to your account].

6. Where is your heart?

Show me your check book, your credit card statements, your cash receipts and I will show you where your heart is!
You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve both God AND mammon. It is impossible. Loving and being devoted to one means that you automatically hate and despise the other.

NB. Will you choose a life wasted in pursuit of wealth on earth, or a life invested in the pursuit of wealth in heaven?

The Culture of the Kingdom

[And] there will be tribulation and anguish and calamity and constraint for every soul of man who [habitually] does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile). 10 But glory and honor and [heart] peace shall be awarded to everyone who [habitually] does good, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile). 11 For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another]. Romans 2:9-11 AMP

Jesus came to make all men equal in faith. No one man, or nation, is better than another in God’s eyes. All men stand naked before God. He knows everything about them – the good and the bad; and each one must come to God on the basis of faith – and not personal worthiness – because they have none of it.

For he is not a [real] Jew who is only one outwardly and publicly, nor is [true] circumcision something external and physical. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and [true] circumcision is of the heart, a spiritual and not a literal [matter]. His praise is not from men but from God. Romans 2:28-29 AMP

It is not the things we do outwardly that give us status with God, but it is the issues of the heart. To be a Jew “inwardly” is to believe in, and to submit to, God, and have faith like faithful Abraham.

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:11-14 NKJV

There is no way to please God in the flesh, so your genetics and your heritage do not impress God. You cannot claim any special privileges because of your blood or your culture. Neither will you be turned away, merely on the basis of your lack of these things. Every man and woman must come to God on the basis of faith and covenant, humbly and thankfully receiving the grace purchased with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29 NKJV

Every person on the earth – no matter what their lineage, their station in life, or their sex – must come, and can come, to God on the same basis – faith in Jesus Christ.

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:14-18 NKJV

For through Jesus Christ, both Jews and Gentiles have access by one Spirit to the Father.

We preach Christ (the Messiah) crucified, [preaching which] to the Jews is a scandal and an offensive stumbling block [that springs a snare or trap], and to the Gentiles it is absurd and utterly unphilosophical nonsense. 24 But to those who are called, whether Jew or Greek (Gentile), Christ [is] the Power of God and the Wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 AMP

Trying to find God through your culture will not work and you cannot make your culture the reason why you cannot bow your knee to the King of kings. Every man, from every culture WILL bow to Him at the end. It is better to do it willingly now. You have to find Him in HIS culture and make His culture, your culture.

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. 8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. Colossians 3:1-11 NKJV

People use excuses for sin and ungodliness, believing that they can continue in certain practices, because it is “our culture”. However, the Word of God tells us that we are to drop everything from our “culture” that does not line up with the Word of God. We have a new culture – the culture of the Kingdom of God and of His son, Jesus Christ. We do not walk, talk, or act like anything else, but a blood-washed, born again, holy, child of God!