Our Job

The fulfillment of the job is up to you. The grace and strength and blessing is up to God. Put those two factors together and you have victory and blessing and completion.


Scripture: Acts 15, Colossians 4

Transcript

Alright, thank you very much. And hello, friends, how are you? Well, I’m glad to be back with you and grateful, may I say, for the privilege of opening the word of God to you, and trying to put a handle on it so you can get hold of it for yourself. My purpose in these broadcasts is just to put a handle on the Word of God so that you can get hold of it for yourself and apply it to your own life. You see, the Bible is true, unto all eternity, it’s true, it’s God’s holy infallible word, and it’s true whether or not any of us reads or believes it, but it becomes of value to you when you get hold of its truth, and make it your very own. That’s my purpose, therefore, in coming to you day by day, by means of these broadcasts. Now, Paul and Barnabas are on their way back now to Antioch in Syria, and they’ve gone through all of Pisidia, and they’ve come down to Pamphylia, then they came to Attalia, and thence it says they sailed to Antioch from whence they’d been recommended. They didn’t skip any place but one. They never went back to Paphos.

I don’t know why, but they didn’t, you know, in the isle of Cyprus. They went through the isle of Cyprus, but they didn’t go back to it again. Now, Barnabas went back later on. Barnabas went back later on, and he took with him John Mark, you remember? Well, we’ll get into that a little later on here in the Book of Acts in chapter 15. And Barnabas, it says, went to Cyprus. He took Mark with him and went to Cyprus. So he went back and ministered to the deputy and Sergius Paulus and the rest of them. But on this trip, they didn’t go back. Now, what do you make of that? Well, I make of it this, that in some cases, where the gospel is given, it may be the only opportunity that people have to hear about the Lord Jesus Christ. So I say, when you preach, preach as though it were your very last time to speak, because some day it will be, and preach as though it were the last time that people could hear about the Lord Jesus. For some it is the last time.

You see, any congregation that you might address will never be assembled in exactly the same way again. Somebody will be away, someone will be ill, someone will die, and so on. And so, as you preach, my preacher friend. As you you teach your Sunday school lesson, dear friend, as you minister to people, do remember that for somebody, it’s the last time or the only time that they will ever hear about the Lord Jesus Christ. That gives an importance, you see, to what you have to say. You’re not gonna mumble it, and you’re not going to be sloppy about your preparation, and you’re not going to slough off the importance of it, but you’re going to consider this a most important activity, because you are talking as a dying man to dying men. You’re talking to people who may never have another chance to hear of Jesus, and you’re speaking with the solid, although disturbing, knowledge that this may be your last opportunity to speak of Christ, and therefore, you wanna do it as good as you can.

Dr. Edmund of sainted memory, as you know, some of you, went into the presence of the Lord from the platform of the chapel at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He was speaking about his meeting with Emperor Haile Selassie, and he was speaking about what it meant to meet the king and what it meant to step into the presence of the king, and just as he was speaking about that, he fell backward, having suffered a massive heart attack and was gone. So going into the presence of the king while speaking about the King of Kings, think of that. Well, if you could write the scenario for your own home-going, you’d choose something like that, wouldn’t you? Well, of course, we can’t tell when and how our blessed Lord may call us, but we are certain that if the Lord Jesus tell us he’s coming, there will come a day and an hour when we will have preached that last sermon, we will have taught that last Sunday School lesson, we will have sung that last solo, we will have done the last good deed that we will ever do in Jesus’ name, on this earth.

It’ll be all over. There won’t be any way to go back and do it over again, you won’t be able to say, “Oh, wait just a moment, I wanna go back and try that again.” Oh, no. And so, it’s important, isn’t it, that you do your very best, for Jesus, every time you have opportunity. They didn’t go back to Cyprus, they didn’t go back to Paphos, they didn’t go back to say hello to Sergius Paulus, and there were some people who heard the message when they went through once who never heard it again.

So, be faithful, won’t you, and some who are listening to me today, who may not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and your Lord, please remember, you don’t have any lease on life, you don’t have any guarantee that if you put off accepting the Lord Jesus as your Savior that you will ever have another chance to do so. So please, open your life to him just now and say, “Come into my heart, Lord Jesus and save me.” He will, he will. Well, it says they went from Perga to Attalia and then sailed to Antioch, from where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.

You send a missionary out, you know, and you say, “Well, God bless you now, God speed, God be with you ’til we meet again.” And because some of us have been on the mission field, you know what they’re up against, the culture shock that comes from going from one country to another, the language barrier, they have to learn a brand new language and all of the idioms and so on. And I heard somebody over the radio the other day, a missionary, saying that in New Guinea, you can speak about, “It’s raining,” and you can say, “I built a house,” and it depends upon just the inflection you use. The same word but just the inflection. And so, all of these different tones. In Cantonese there are seven tones. And in other languages, there are even more tones, and you have to be careful about them, you have to learn the language, and there’s a different culture, and there’s different diet, and there’s different illnesses.

You’ve learned how to cope with the common cold and other recurring illnesses in your way of living. But now there are all these different other bugs that you can catch, you know, and a different type of housing in Japan, the walls are paper thin and you shiver and you’re cold and all of that. And honestly, I never was able to get used to eating that Japanese lunch where that poor defenseless little fish looked up at me with his pitiful eyes, and I just didn’t have the heart. They call that an obento, I think, in Japanese, don’t they? Rice and fish and a piece of pickle and so on. And you get hungry enough, you’ll eat anything, of course. And I learned, I learned to pick away at it, but honest, I just never quite got used to it.

And in the Philippines, of course, there’s a delicacy. They offered it to me once when I was there. It’s called balut. Any of you Filipinos remember that? Oh, the Philippine islands are wonderful, wonderful islands, and they are precious people, the Filipinos, I love them. But I just wasn’t quite able to get used to that delicacy. They call it a delicacy, anyway. And so you have different foods and different ailments and different customs and different language, and the work, the actual work that you do is quite different oftentimes from Christian work to which you became accustomed in your own country. The meetings run differently, they… Well, they are different. I recall, for instance, my very first meeting in Japan, this was in 1948, and we’d come in, and Smith Sensei, Gertrude Webster Smith, they called her Smith Sensei, the Sensei is an honorable, like doctor, we would have it here.

And so, Smith Sensei took us out to this meeting, and there were all of the officials, she had invited different ones and the officials from the town and the city, and each one made a speech and the thing went on interminably, and then they sang and they sang the Japanese words to What a Friend We Have in Jesus. They sang all the verses, and then the leader said, “Now let’s sing it again.” And they sang it again, all the verses, and then after they’d finished singing all the verses for the second time, the leader said, “Now let’s sing it again.” And they sang all the verses for the third time. And that process itself took about 25 minutes, and I thought, “My goodness, what kind of a meeting is this, singing the same song over, all the verses, singing it so slowly, taking all this time and all these speeches and so on and so on.” Well, it was different, it was just the meeting just was a little different from the way you and I might have run it.

And then the attitude of the nationals toward you and me, a foreigner, is different, just as you would feel sort of strange to someone coming from another country and trying to convert you to a different religion. That’s the way you would look at it. And so the attitude of the nationals is different, and they look at you with some reserve at least, to put it mildly. And so you’ve got your work cut out for you, haven’t you, and you wonder when you send a missionary out, I’m coming back to my original point now, you thought I forgot, but I didn’t. You wonder when you send a missionary out, “Well, I wonder if he’ll make the grade.”

Well, as a matter of fact, for the most part, the missionaries I have met in my travels around the world have been the best people in the world. God sends his best people to the field. These are noble, self-sacrificing, thoughtful, brilliant, hard-working people for the most part. And I’ll tell you why it’s so. It says they sailed to Antioch from whence they had been commended to the grace of God, for the work which they fulfilled. Now, doing the work is your part, but giving you grace to do it is God’s part, and there is a wonderful missionary combination that works either at home or abroad to fulfill the will of God, and this is something on which you can count, dear friend, yes, you can. It said, “From Antioch they had been commended to the grace of God.” Now, these people at Antioch, you remember, at Antioch had prayed over them with fasting and laid their hands on them and sent them away. And it says in Acts 13, “They were sent forth by the Holy Ghost.”

Let me tell you, whenever God the Holy Spirit commissions you and sends you forth, you can be sure of success. The second element was that they had been sent forth by the Holy Spirit and commended to the grace of God, so that it was God’s grace operating whether they were being stoned or run out of town or hailed and lauded as deities come down to earth or whatever, it was God’s grace that was at work in their lives. And then there was this final factor, it says, which they fulfilled. Now, that’s something that God will never do for you, He’ll give you grace enough and strength enough and blessing enough and power enough, but you have to fulfill your ministry. This is why Paul says in Colossians 4, “Say to Archippus, ‘Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received of our Lord Jesus Christ, that thou fulfill it.'” It is possible to have received a ministry, and then not fulfill it, just to sit around and just let it mold, so to speak.

So, make sure today, dear friend, of two things: First, that you are really trusting the grace of God and the God of grace in your life, so that gives you the power and the resources necessary to do His will. Second, be sure that you are doing a thorough job of obeying His will and fulfilling your ministry. The fulfillment of the job is up to you, the grace and strength and blessing is up to God. Put those two factors together, and you have victory and blessing and completion.

Dear Father, thank you for your abundant grace and the precious Holy Spirit who enables us to do thy will. Now I pray that Thou would make us faithful in fulfilling Thy commands all day long. I ask in the name of the Lord Jesus, amen. Amen. God bless you, dear friend, all the way.

That’s all for now, till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!



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