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APPREHENDED FOR SERVICE

Every believer would love to hear the words ‘The Lord’s hand is upon you.’ Because that would mean that the Lord’s blessings, protection, favor and every good thing that He has to give, are flowing into the believer’s life thru His mighty hand.

But do we ever stop to consider the other side of that coin, which is that the Lord’s hand being upon a believer also means that He has ‘got His hand on’ the believer, or that He has ‘laid hold of’ the believer?

Now why would the Lord lay hold of a believer?

Knowing the answer to this question is the ultimate goal that Apostle Paul sought to attain as a follower of Jesus-Christ. He declared this in Philippians 3:12, where he said:

“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” (KJV)

So Paul had come to understand that God had apprehended – laid hold of – him for a very specific purpose. Therefore, he made it his life goal to lay hold of that purpose! To discover that purpose and fulfill it!

Here’s a larger quote of Paul’s powerful and memorable declaration:

“That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:10-14, KJV.

Our great God NEVER does anything without a clear and strong purpose. So if He decided to lay hold of someone, it’s ALWAYS for a very specific and worthy purpose. Paul understood this, especially considering the unusual way in which Christ literally apprehended him while he was on his way to Damascus. So he figured that the only life worth living for him would be that one life that God had planned for him to live from the moment He apprehended him onward. The only purpose for his life would be to serve the Lord in the ways that the Lord had intended for him to serve Him; to accomplish whatever tasks the Lord would want him to accomplish.

It is this understanding that drove Paul day in and day out, and helped him to live such a successful life as a servant of our Lord Jesus-Christ. Verse 12, quoted above, summarizes Paul’s reason for living as a believer. He had gotten the clear understanding and had accepted the idea that there was a specific reason for which Christ had saved him and brought Him into His kingdom and workforce. EVERY WORKER IN AN ORGANIZATION HAS A SPECIFIC TASK FOR WHICH HE WAS HIRED, AND MUST STRIVE TO DO ONLY ONE THING IN THAT ORGANIZATION, WHICH IS FULFILL THAT TASK.

The problem with Christianity these days is that most believers want the hand of the Lord to be upon them only for the purpose of bestowing His blessings upon them, and they would rather not think of the fact that it also means that they have been apprehended – laid hold of – by the Lord in order for Him to use them to perform some very specific tasks in his kingdom.

The parable of the talents teach us a very crucial lesson on this issue (see Matthew 25:14-30). Like each of those servants who were given at least one talent by which they were expected to be productive unto their master, so has our Lord given EVERY SINGLE believer at least one type of gift, or talent, by which we are to serve Him and help build His kingdom.

So here’s what getting saved basically means: It means being called to serve! Salvation is a call to service in the kingdom of God. It means that when a person gets saved, God basically gets ahold of him, and says to him ‘come and serve Me’, and He then assigns some specific task to him, AND EMPOWERS HIM – gives him the gifts, talents, grace, power – to fulfill that task.

And here’s one of the major reasons we go to church: To come into the Lord’s presence, where we get to receive more and more of His power, grace and gifts. What for??? TO SERVE HIM!!! So imagine not putting all the anointing that we receive to work!!! That’s akin to not using the talents that we receive from the Lord. God forbid!

Which is I why I URGE you, in the words of Paul in verse 15 quoted above: “Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude!” Have this attitude that was in Paul, which is born out of a total conviction that your life will have been lived in vain if you fail to achieve ALL that God has purposed to use you to accomplish in this world. DO NOT LEAVE TO CHANCE THE SUCCESSFUL FULFILLMENT OF GOD’S PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE! Rather, like Paul and like every successful servant of God dead or alive, DETERMINE to achieve ALL that God has put in you to achieve in this world to His glory! LET THAT BE YOUR SOLE REASON TO LIVE IN THIS WORLD!

As the parable of the talents shows, some of us are endowed with more than one talent or gift. Therefore, seeking the reason for which you were apprehended by God means seeking to know in what ways (PLURAL) He has gifted you for His service. It means seeking to serve in as many areas of service as possible.

Therefore, brethren please be wise and:

–   See your service unto the Lord as an employment in His Kingdom. The way you see yourself as an employee at your workplace, which drives you to do well in your job, is the way you need to see yourself being employed in God’s vineyard. That way you can be more serious about the fact that you have a job to do in His kingdom, and take that job seriously. If you serve in any capacity at your local church, for instance, render that service as you would at your paying job. Show up on time; be determined to do your best. SERVE WITH FEAR! We are afraid to disappoint our earthly superiors at work because we know there would be consequences. We must fear the Lord even more, and serve Him with trembling, knowing that our services are being recorded in heaven, and that we will one day have to answer for it.

–   Be mindful of the fact that there’s a reward for your services from heaven, not from the senior pastor of the church, or the leader of the Christian ministry where you’re serving. See God as your employer would DOES reward your services.

– But most of all, LET US SERVE HIM WITH LOVE AND DEVOTION! Let us do it because He is God, and deserves our love and worship, and SERVING HIM IS A POWERFUL FORM OF WORSHIP! It is a powerful way of telling Him: You are my God, my Master and Owner!

Yes, we have to make money in order to meet our financial responsibilities in life. So we must work for a living, and this can make it very difficult to also devote ourselves to serving the Lord in some way. But Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and with God this is all the more true! If you hunger to serve the Lord, HE WILL help you find a way to serve Him despite your burdensome life. And if you serve Him under very hard circumstances, the greater will be His reward upon your life! So drop whatever excuses you have been making for not serving the Lord in some way. Determine that you will play a role in advancing His kingdom on earth! Look within you and figure out what you would like to be doing for Him! You’ll be amazed to find that He’s been waiting for you to simply start serving Him in that way!

May our great God richly bless your life as you endeavor to pursue and achieve that for which He apprehended you, to His glory! Amen!

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Posted by on March 29, 2014 in SHORT MESSAGES

 

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ARE YOU REALLY IN THE LORD’S SERVICE?

Picture a man who goes to work at a construction site, and goes straight to the foreman, gets assigned to a job detail, and gets to work. At the end of the day, he gets no salary for his work. Why? Because he was never hired for the job in the first place. He had failed to first of all go to the Human Resources department to apply for the job and get hired. This is similar to serving in the Lord’s vineyard without ever getting hired first. Without first becoming a servant of His. Meaning, without first receiving Him as one’s Savior and Lord.

Service in the kingdom is paramount in Christianity, as believers are saved to serve the King of kings in His kingdom. We are saved from serving in the devil’s kingdom to serving in the Lord’s kingdom. Therefore, serving in the Lord’s ‘vineyard’, wherever that may be – at a church as a worker, on the missions field, on the evangelism team, thru your own personal ministry, etc. – is a must for a believer. Every believer is ‘called’ to serve in some very specific capacity in the kingdom.

But salvation is what qualifies an individual to earn a reward for serving in the Lord’s kingdom. This is a crucial matter because like our imaginary construction worker, so many people that are serving the Lord in one way or the other, will do all that work just to end up hearing the Lord say to them “…I never knew you. Depart from me, you that work iniquity!” (Matthew 7:23).

What went wrong for such people? The answer is simply that they were never really saved from sin while they served the Lord. One of the greatest tragedies in this world is the fact that the Church is full of believers who have compromised their salvation so that in the Lord’s eyes, there’s no difference between them and the unsaved, as they still indulge in all the sinful activities they’re supposed to have been saved from. The big question then is: Are most believers truly saved? After receiving the Lord and getting saved from sin, did they remain free from sin or have most gone back to living in sin, even though they are strong and very active members of a church?

Some of the scariest passages of Scriptures are where the Lord denies entry into heaven to people who thought for sure that they merited to get into heaven because of the service they rendered unto Him on earth. So it is VERY POSSIBLE to serve in the Lord’s vineyard WITHOUT ACTUALLY being in His service. Why? Because the kind of service that He requires first and foremost is not being rendered by the believer. And what kind of service is that? Spiritual service. Service done within oneself. Our relationship with the Lord is based within our beings, in our hearts and in our spirits because that is:

– Where we belong to Him, or not.
– Where we love Him, or not.
– Where we keep ourselves pure and holy, or not.
– Where we obey and keep His commandments, or not.
– Where we love all men, or not.

It is in our hearts and spirits that we decided that we wanted to accept the Lord Jesus as our Lord and savior, and that is where we decide everyday whether we want to remain His property by deciding to keep ourselves holy unto Him and faithfully following His commands. Therefore, it is in our hearts and spirits that we decided whether to remain employed in His vineyard, or not. Because the day we go back to sin, we go back to serving Satan, and all the service we render unto the Lord are not recognized by the Lord. So many will kill themselves trying to serve the Lord with all their might, showing up for choir practice rain or shine, spending long hours walking the streets passing out gospel tracts, cleaning up the church and making sure the senior pastors’ needs are met, etc… But if they do all this while being imperfect in their hearts towards the Lord, while living in some sin, while having lost their salvation…. ‘Depart from me…’ is what they might hear in the end. God forbid!

Many serve because they heard a message on ‘service’ that moved them into deciding to serve. Some serve to be seen as faithful workers in the church. Some do because they truly want to serve the Lord. All that is commendable here on earth. But to the Boss in heaven, all that is insignificant if we don’t first of all serve Him in Spirit and in truth! The Boss Himself made this clear when He said:

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spiritand they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24 (KJV)

If your life doesn’t give Him glory, your services couldn’t possibly give Him glory. If He hasn’t accepted you, how would He accept your services?

Therefore, brethren, I urge you to reaffirm your commitment to living a life that is pleasing to the Father by serving Him in the way that truly matters to Him, by having a genuine Father-son/daughter relationship with Him, and walking in His holiness and righteousness. That is what He truly desires and wants from us. Ask the Lord to rekindle your passion for His holiness and righteousness, and determine to never go back to living in sin. Live a life that makes you always ready to meet the Lord, so that when you do, it will be to hear Him say to you: “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in READINESS CHECK!

 

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