- What does God's Word tell us in Ephesians 5:15-17?
- How does this relate to our pursuit of ministry?
Because Jesus loves all that man is; spirit, soul and body, in our witnessing
we are to answer the honest questions of man. In this way we are to be available
to Jesus in any capacity concerning a present need of man, if we are able,
according to the Apostle John in the first Epistle of John 3:17-18. Because of
our limitations as a man, though, and because of the limitations of time, only
24 hours in a day, we cannot expect to be able to know everything about anything
or be able to be an expert about everything. David the Psalmist writes, "it
is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful
labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep." (Ps 127:2).
Jesus created you to be a human being. That means that Jesus created you to
get so many hours of sleep a night. If you are not called to be a full time
minister, this means you are expected to work eight hours a day at a full time
job. If your working eight hours a day and sleeping eight hours a night, that
only leaves eight hours of free time a day. If you are like any other normal
human beings, part of that free eight hours is used to eat, to relax; and if
your married, take care of home responsibilities. Finally, if your lucky you
actually only have one, two, three, or at the most four actual free hours to
work with a day or even a week depending on your circumstances. No matter how
much time you have or what profession you are in, Jesusí will for you as a
believer is to be a witness for Him, and since your free time is limited in your
ability to prepare for this, it is important we know clearly Jesusí will and
direction for us in this if we are to be most effective for Him.
One, two, three, or if your lucky four hours a night does not provide enough
time to study to be an expert on all world religions, cults, humanities,
history, juvenile restoration, student unrest, ecology, etcetera, etcetera. So
if we are to be most effective for Jesus, we need to narrow our focus of
attention; that is, find out what place of concern in ministry outreach Jesus
wants us to carry within our limited time that we have to carry it.
Discipline narrows the flow, but increases the
force. It also increases the quality which in most cases
is more important than quantity. The question is, though, how do we find the
place of ministry Jesus wants us to focus on and the amount of time He wants us
to work on it each week? We already know from Section 3 that Jesus wants us as
individuals to be available to Him to seek and to save the lost by drawing men
to Himself. We also know from Section 3 that outside of aggressive planned
Evangelism we are not to act out of our own initiative to seek and to save the
lost, but only according to Jesusí individual instructions to our lives
through the Holy Spirit. How we get that individual instruction from Jesus is
the question here.
ACCORDING TO PAULíS COMMAND
First, as we approach the Lord through worship and praise and
in Spirit and truth, we receive Jesusí individual instructions according to
Paulís command in the book of Ephesians 5:15-17,
"Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men,
but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do
not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."
Jesus clearly commands us in Scripture that we are to seek
His will for our lives in every detail and in every respect. In this context, we
are commanded to seek Jesusí will for our lives in Evangelism and His will as
to how much time He wants us to spend in it during the week.
ACCORDING TO JOHNíS PROMISE
Second, in this context, we receive Jesusí individual
instructions for our lives according to the Apostle Johnís promise in 1 John
"And this is the confidence which we have before Him,
that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that
He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have
asked from Him."
We know that it is Jesusí will that we allow Him to seek
and to save the lost through our lives by bringing men and women to Himself, and
we know that outside of aggressive planned Evangelism Jesus wants us to do this
according to His will as we are directed by Him through the Holy Spirit. This
passage above promises us that if we ask Jesus for anything that we already know
is His will for us, that we can be assured the prayer is heard and that he will
give us an answer. Jesus always answers prayers that are according to His will
according to the Apostle John.
When you have finished all of the homework assignments in
Section 10 of this textbook, which completes this Advanced School of Evangelism,
let me encourage you to then get on your knees and seek Jesus to give you
specific direction as to what His will for your life is in seeking and saving
the lost and as to how much time each week He wants you to spend in it. Jesus
said in the gospel of Luke, "He who is faithful in a very little thing is
faithful also in much. . ." (Luke 16:10). When you have been faithful in the
completion of this school of Evangelism in all that it entails, Jesus promises
clearly in His Word that He will give you more. In this context, probably the
place of ministry burden He wants you to carry.
As you approach Jesus about this at the completion of this
school of Evangelism, ask Jesus first to free you from your own ideas and your
own strife on the matter, and then ask Him according to His "command"
and "Promise" to show you what that place of burden in ministry is
that He wants you to focus on. Even though He may not give you an immediate
answer, thank Jesus for the answer according to His Word in the book of Hebrews,
"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for he who comes to God
must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."
(Heb 11:6). While you are waiting, continue your aggressive planned Evangelism
during the week. I suggest rereading Chapter 10 of Section 4 titled, "What
Is Required To Know Godís Plan For Your Life."
He may give you the answer right away, or He may give it to
you in the weeks to come. No matter when He gives it to you, be assured He will
because it is His will that you know His will and His promise is that if you ask
Him for anything according to His will He will do it. Just do not be intimidated
if Jesus does not give you an immediate answer or think that it is because of a
lack of faith. It is simply a matter of Jesusí perfect will and timing in
giving you the answer. This is an aspect of what it means to walk in the Spirit.
You may want to start by asking Jesus how much time a week He
wants you to set aside for His purpose for you in the spread of the Gospel and
research related before you ask Him specifically how He wants you to use that
time. No matter what Jesus answers you, it will not be something you cannot do.
The Bible says the wisdom from above is reasonable according to James 3:17. This
is why it is so important we ask Jesusí direction in this because only Jesus
knows our intellectual capacities and spiritual gifts and what we are best
If we choose our own direction without His counsel, we may
end up into something we were not made to handle and thus become frustrated and
maybe even give up the idea of ministry all together. It is also important that
we obey Jesusí directive in how much time we are to use a week to accomplish
this purpose, because if left to ourselves we may unintentionally avoid other
just as important areas of responsibility: family, time to relax, home
responsibilities, Church fellowship, quiet time, etcetera; and end up ruining
our testimony because our life style does not back up our message. If we say
Jesus can save a marriage, but end up in divorce ourselves because we neglect
our families to preach the Gospel, our message is not going to carry much
weight. Our lives and relationship to Jesus are as much the message as what we
profess with our mouths.
In some peopleís case if left to themselves in the use of
their free time, they would not take enough time to accomplish what Jesus wants
to accomplish through their lives in ministry outreach and release. No matter
what, let Jesus have His way in your life in this matter. Obedience glorifies
Jesus and brings men to a saving knowledge of who He is.
One final word of comment: being that Jesus led you through
this program does not mean necessarily that He has an individual specialized
program for you in ministry. If He does, by now you should know intelligently
how to approach Jesus through worship and praise and in Spirit and truth to know
what that place of ministry is and how to be a continual success in your
operating in it through relationship with Jesus.
If, as a result of completing this program, Jesus does not
give you a specific call or place of ministry, then He is leaving it up to you
to make a decision of involvement. You know it is His will for you to use your
free time to preach the Gospel, so look to see what is available and bring it to
Him in prayer. If you donít get specific direction, then Jesus is just telling
you to make a decision. He promises in Matthew 28:18-20 that he will be with you
wherever You go:
"And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ĎAll
authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. GO
THEREFORE and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to
observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age.í"
No matter what, always have at least two hours a week set aside for the
purpose of going out and doing the most loving thing you can do for another
person: to share with them the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.