Mission 25 – Equip “Go back to your first love”
In our last Sunday sermon, we talked of the importance to manage time to be involved in the transformation of the world. We cannot teach the world what we do not believe and practice. Many Christians are comfortable in knowing that they are assured of eternity through their faith in Jesus Christ. This is good but not good enough. This is not why you were created. You were created to be a co-worker with God and especially in these days of great deception and many alternatives that lead to the destruction of man.
As your Pastors, we are committed to teach you what the word of God says, but you must allow us to disciple and equip you so that you are prepared to defend your faith and live it for others to see. The greatest influence Jesus had on His disciples was not what He taught, but how He lived His life. Many times, He withdrew from the disciples to take solitary time and pray. After observing Him for a while, the disciples desired to be like Him, and they asked Him to teach them to pray.
Luke 11:1 “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord teach us to pray, just as John taught His disciples.” We notice that He modeled prayer and they admired Him.
It is He who gave some to be Apostles, some to be Prophets, some to be Evangelists, some to be Pastors and Teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we ALL reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become MATURE, attaining to the full measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together, by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each does its work.
Why is it that we do not want to come forward to be equipped and become co-workers with Christ?
Mathew 9:35-38 says;
Jesus went through all towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of harvest therefore to send out workers into His harvest field.”
Here is my suggestion on why we are not available or think we do not have the time to be co-workers with Christ.
- Fear: Fear is the number one culprit that keeps us away from serving Christ. We are afraid that when I get in, I will lose my individuality. What we do not realize, is that the enemy would want us to live lives without accountability so that we remain easy targets for him. Our oneness in Christ does not destroy our individuality. The Holy Spirit has given each of us special gifts for building up the church. It is important to bring them and contribute to the growth of the church. The Bible calls them “supporting ligaments.” We criticize the church from outside, yet we are not willing to come in and be part of the solution needed. We need spiritual maturity to understand that we have special gifts that are needed in the church and that we have the time if we manage it, to avail these gifts for the body of Christ. If you know your gifts, avail them and look out for opportunities. If you are not sure, come we shall help you discover them. Ask God to show you with the help of your leaders and Christian friends. We need your gifts to strengthen the church.
- Selfishness: This is related to fear. We are so much self-centered that the first question that comes into our mind when asked to create time to serve, is what is in it for me? God has distributed His gifts among us so that there will be none who will say “I AM” the one. It is only God who is I AM. Friends we need each other. That is how the kingdom of God works. We are very busy learning about TEAM in the cooperate and we do not understand that it is a Biblical principal. Jesus said to His disciples in Math 28:18-20 GO and make disciples. In other words, go and multiply. This involves Preaching, Teaching, Healing, Nurturing, Giving, Administering, Building, Encouraging, Empathizing etc. Who can as an individual be able to do all these things? God calls us as Christians, one to do one thing the other to do another. Together we can obey God more fully than any one of us can as we encourage each other. Jesus commanded His disciples in Acts 1:4 “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” He did not ask them to go home and He will contact them individually, He asked them to stay together. It is when we are in the unity of believers (The Church) that we receive the visitation of the Holy Spirit.
- Lies: Satan wants us to believe that the work of service is for some special people who are called and chosen from creation. It is a lie of the enemy. He wants to depopulate the army of God. Christ is the truth and He has called all of us into His mighty army to conquer the world. In John 14:6 He says, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” The Holy Spirit who guides the Church is the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13). Satan by contrast is the father of lies-(John 8:44). God through Christ Jesus has spoken to each one of us and demonstrated through His ministry with the disciples that He needed them, and He could not do everything alone. We need to build the church together. Stop believing the lies, you’re needed in the service of the kingdom in your church.
1 Pe 2:9-10 “But you’re a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people but now, you’re the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
Our lesson today: “Go back to your first love”
These are the words of Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hand work and your perseverance. I know you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not and have found them false. You have persevered and endured hardships for my name and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: YOU HAVE FORSAKEN YOUR FIRST LOVE
Christ commended the Ephesus church for:
- Working hard
- Resisting sin
- Critically examining the claims of the false apostles
- Enduring hardships without becoming weary.
These are good character traits for any church. Paul had himself commended this church in Eph 1:15 for its love for God and others but over time, the members became busy with their own affairs and forgot their first love.
In our first step of Christian faith, we are filled with enthusiasm. We are willing to volunteer; we have a lot of time; out of sacrifice. Unless we avail ourselves to be equipped with the knowledge of God, we soon lose the zeal.
Work for God must be motivated by our love for Him. If the motivation is something else, it will soon die out.
Do you love God with the same fervor as when you were a new Christian?
You have been a Christian for many years, yet you say that you are not able to serve; Why?
Jesus says if you are not prepared either as an individual or together as a church to light up the world, He will remove our lampstand from its place. Jesus Himself will extinguish any lamp that does not light and fulfill His purpose on earth. We are called to repent.
Our discipleship process at ICC-Imara is to:
- Connect you to God and to each other through our small groups
- Challenge you to grow in the knowledge of the word of God and to share it out with others
- Change your attitude and be transformed so that you can influence change in the marketplace.
Come let us serve the Lord, the opportunities are plenty and awaiting your obedience.
Rev. Julius Wainaina – Senior Pastor ICC Imara