Luke 12:35 “Be dressed, ready for service, and have your lamps shining.”
Have you ever felt that although you are a Christian, you feel you haven't been asked to witness for Jesus like disciples before you or even pastors and missionaries you know? Maybe you have reservations that hold you back from fully sharing the gospel. I have news for us all. No matter who we are, when we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are called into service to do His will- 1 Peter 2:9-10. Jesus called each of us to a holy life on the cross. He saved us because of His own purpose and grace. Since the beginning of time God has called us to bring light to a world in darkness through the gospel- 2 Timothy 1:10.
Let’s begin with a story of Jesus and His time on earth. Jesus is walking by the Sea of Galilee and spots Simon Peter and Andrew working on their fishing boats. Jesus calls out to them saying, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” We also read in Luke 5:10 Jesus tells Simon Peter, “Do not be afraid; From now on you'll be catching men.”
A few things catch my attention here. First, we cannot be a soul-winner for Jesus unless we take the first step; ‘Follow Jesus.’ Second, when we accept Jesus’ invitation, we are choosing to help bring people into the Kingdom of God and into a relationship with Jesus. Lastly, we must believe God knows when we are ready to become fishers of men. He calls on those whose hearts are full of love for Him and His Word- John 15:16. To be a fisherman for Jesus we must listen for God's call, allow Him to teach and equip us and pray that God will lead those in need of the gospel to us, in His time not ours. God knows the hearts of men and truly understands when they are ready. Our job is to prepare ourselves with knowledge of His Word and open our hearts to God's guidance.
“Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned them.”- 1 Corinthians 7:17 Once we've accepted Jesus in our lives and to rule in our hearts, the Holy Spirit comes upon each Christian giving them the power to be a witness for Jesus- Acts 1:8. We all have been given gifts/talents to use as we have been called to do. When we have fully embraced the Holy Spirit and our walk with Jesus, that fire in us should easily spill over for others to see and hear about Jesus.
We know Jesus spoke in parables so people could understand more easily what He was teaching. When we start witnessing for Jesus, we will encounter many types of people and how they respond to the good news. As followers of Jesus, we need to always pray that He goes before us and with us, that His Word is accepted and when it isn't, pray that we are filled with the right words of encouragement. I love how Paul puts our job as a witness into perspective. “I planted the seeds, Apollos watered it, but God makes it grow… For we are coworkers and God service, you are in God's field, God's building.”- 1 Corinthians 3:6-9.
Let’s look again at a parable Jesus shares while teaching us about sharing the gospel. A farmer goes out to plant his seeds. While planting some seeds fell by the road and birds came and ate it all up. Some seeds fell in rocky ground with little dirt. The seed grew fast but there wasn't much dirt and when the sun came up it dried up the seeds because of the lack of roots. Some seeds fell among thorns and weeds and the good plants were choked out. Some seeds fell on good ground and grew and produced crops of plenty.
God is the farmer and calls us all to help in spreading the seeds which is God's Word, the gospel, the good news. The seeds on the hard ground represent someone with a hard heart full of sin. They hear God's Word but won't accept it and satan, like a bird, uses the opportunity to snatch them away from growing. The seeds on the stony ground with little dirt are people who show interest in the gospel, they have an immediate joy and fire to join and sharing the good news. Yet when trials or hardship come their faith is not yet strong enough to help them stand and they quickly get discouraged and dry up. The seeds among thorns are people who receive the gospel, but they have too many other distractions in life- worries, riches, lust, etc. These things take over their minds and hearts and they cannot grow in the truth of God's Word. The seed on good soil is someone who has heard and received the Word of God and allows it to take root and grow in their lives. This person represents true salvation and bears good fruit.
Jesus is telling us how important it is for our hearts and lives when we read, hear, and study His Word. Only we can decide how we let the seeds fall in our lives. Each day we need to ask the Lord to examine our hearts and minds to see if our roots are growing in Him- Psalm 26:2. When we let Jesus in to create in us a new heart- Psalm 51:10, we can grow deep roots because we become planted in the rich soil of His Word. From that we will have an abundant ‘crop’ of peace, blessings, joy, and love. Our deep roots in Jesus will help us make better choices and guide our decisions to reflect Jesus.
It is great to be a blessing to be a vessel that the Lord uses to help lead a lost soul back to His fold. When we become fishers of men, we can find a peace and comfort in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Like fishermen find joy with each bass or angle fish caught, angels share our triumph when we help return even one lost soul to Jesus-
Jesus says in Luke 10:2 and Matthew 9:37-38 that the harvest (people) is ready but only a few workers are here to help harvest them. Our prayer should always be “Here I am Lord, send me.”- Isaiah 6:8.
The Word of God is a priceless treasure. It’s true, and it will always be true; it’s enough, and it will always be enough; it’s unchanging, yet it is living and able to speak to each of us. So why should we read the Bible? To learn who God is, know him better, and recognize his voice, to gain wisdom, learn what’s right, correct wrong thinking, and receive guidance, Tto see and follow Jesus. Let's continue our study with 1 Corinthians 15:1-28.
Study 23- 1 Corinthians 15:1-28- https://www.docdroid.net/1DBrrw3/1-corinthians-study-23-docx
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