Monday, October 17, 2011
Do you know that every single day you are alive on earth, you owe at least someone the preaching of the Gospel? That’s right. For every day you wake up and discover that you’re still on planet earth and still breathing, you’re a debtor! The earlier we understand this, the more fruitful and productive we’ll become here on earth. In Romans 1:14–17, Paul made an amazing declaration towards the Gospel mandate. He says “I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” (NKJV). Paul was simply saying “I’m owing everyone the Gospel.” Our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, Himself was also compelled by this sense of indebtedness during His life and ministry on earth. Mark 1:38 says “But He said to them, "Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” (NKJV). Paul, by divine revelation, understood the heart of Jesus in reality and function in it.
I noticed that whenever the Lord lays it upon my heart or stirs up my heart towards reaching out with the Gospel to any land or community, I often feel this sense of indebtedness towards that community until I actually preach the Gospel to them. I just literarily feel that I owe them something that I must pay. And after I have preached the Gospel to them, no matter their response to it – whether positive or negative – I experience an unusual outburst of joy within me as though I had just paid a heavy debt. I believe it is the Holy Spirit who creates this sense on indebtedness in us to enable us fulfil our part in the Gospel mandate. The truth is that we’re going to give account to Jesus on that great day when we stand before Him. He will ask us about how faithful we have been to the task He gave us and how obedient we have been to His instructions. Every believer has been entrusted with the supreme task of preaching the Gospel to everyone who will listen. We owe the world the Gospel!
If the Body of Christ will faithfully play her role of taking the Gospel (Good news) of the Kingdom of God everywhere just like the journalist spreads the daily news, there’s going to be an amazing spread of the Gospel all over the world in a short time. We must be faithful to the Master because we love Him and because we love and care about the people He has sent us to. How true are the Holy Ghost-inspired words of Paul the Apostle: “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.” (1 Cor. 9:16,17,19). Also in Acts 20:26 Paul says “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.” Are you free from the blood of your neighbour, friend, colleague, etc? Have you preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them? PREACH THE WORD!
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Influence is the effect what we do have on other people especially those connected to us in one way or the other. Relationships or associations spread the chain of influence. In every relationship the law of influence is at work. That’s why we must watch out for wrong influencers. Dr. John C. Maxwell says ‘leadership is influence’. Leadership is another vehicle by which influence spreads. We might not all be leaders in that sense but every believer is a leader in one way or the other. In fact everyone is a leader in the area he or she excels. We are either influencing or being influenced. Influence could be direct or indirect. There are so many people today who are being influenced directly or indirectly without being aware of it. It appears influence is subtle a times. It could be silent but yet strong. It may take some time to build up, but then it becomes so glaring. Influence is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things – living extraordinary lives! It’s about doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way! Jesus Christ is our perfect example of a life of influence.
The influence of the Holy Spirit is the greatest influence in the world. The Holy Spirit is the One who makes the Saints people of influence through living the Kingdom life and the preaching of the Gospel. To be a great Kingdom influences on earth, we must not be people who only preach the Gospel but don’t live the Kingdom life or live the Kingdom life but don’t preach the Gospel. The two must be in place for a life of influence to become a reality. This was what made John the Baptist so different. John the Baptist was a great man – the greatest man born of a woman (Matthew 11:11). It is true because Jesus said so. For so many years, I’ve be thinking about John the Baptist. What made him so great? Why was he so different? How could city people be so stirred by the words of this man that they left the cites and made their way for the wilderness? I thought it should be vice versa! What amazed me most was that John the Baptist never performed a single miracle (John 10:41), but he was a wonder. He so commanded the attention of the whole nation to the point that even the authorities wanted to know who he was and everyone sought for his counsel. Wow! I want you to catch the spirit of this piece. Jesus said about John the Baptist that he was a burning and a shining light (John 5:35). What a life! I believe John’s secret was in his understanding the way of the Holy Spirit and how to yield to Him. In fact John was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb! Can you beat that? I tell you, if you listen to the Holy Spirit, He will make you an influence.
You don’t need to have money before you can become an influence. You don’t need to be popular before you can become an influence. You don’t need to go to school before you can become an influence. You don’t need to be the president of a nation before you can become an influence. Just be different! Do things differently. Influence is about making a difference. (Daniel 1:8). Through influence, kings can be brought into subjection. Small people can shake kingdoms through influence as in the case of Daniel. You can’t help but be different when you walk with the Holy Spirit. I also considered the life of a great man of our time – Billy Graham. Mr. Graham has made so much difference in the world that it is almost impossible for him not to be known in any nation. What made him so different? Why did he have such a command in America and other parts of the world? Of course, there are many preachers who do the same things he does but why is he so different? I was amazed when I discovered from one of Kathryn Kuhlman’s writings that Billy Graham doesn’t function in the power gifts (healing, miracles & special faith). I wondered how he commanded such great attention – I don’t think it’s by human efforts.
Jesus said a lot about influence. He taught that influence could start out as a seed but no sooner does it produce an amazing harvest (Matthew 13:33). This applies to both positive and negative influences. Jesus also taught that believers are the light, salt and yeast of the world (Matt. 5:13-16; 13:33). You can’t be ignorant of the absence of salt in a meal. You can’t be ignorant of the absence of light in a room. You can’t be ignorant of the presence of yeast in a loaf of bread. This simply means that Jesus never expected believers to live secret lives or to live as secret disciples. In fact He said “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). It is time for this dark world to see the marvellous light we bear! John 1:5 says “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Before Jesus ascended into heaven, His last words were “But ye shall receive power [the ability to influence], after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses [influencers] unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). This was exactly what Jesus did during His ministry on earth. Apostle Peter said this of Him “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38). This is influence! I believe Jesus’ prayer life played a great role in establishing His influence upon men everywhere He went (See Mark 1:35). We must learn from the Master – He’s our perfect example!
In a nut shell, the Great Commission Jesus gave to the Church is to go into the entire world, [Business, Religious, Academic, Fashion, Sport etc worlds] and influence the people with the Kingdom life by both living the Kingdom life and preaching the Good News of the Kingdom. I make bold to say, until the world start being influenced by the Kingdom life that we possess as believers, we are far from fulfilling the Great Commission! The Gospel is the power [influence] of God that brings people to the point of salvation. Living for the Gospel is simply living a life of Kingdom influence. A man of influence cannot hide and cannot be hidden because he’s so different. If the difference between us and the world cannot be easily identified, then we’re not really influencing the world. It is time for Believers everywhere to begin to take the divine influence into every place we find ourselves – that’s why we’re there. It appears we’re too quiet about this Gospel. We must be noisy about the Gospel because everyone everywhere must hear it. We can’t afford to fail the Master. Let’s shout it out on the housetop, in the market place, in our neighbourhood…everywhere that Jesus Christ is the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life. With this message we can influence the world and in turn become men and women of influence! Let God use you to display Himself to the world!