Acts 13:1-5 & 44-49
[a] Our thoughts today are turned towards our missionaries, and the sacrificial and selfless service which they expend for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
[b] Our gifts in the alter services today, will go to support the work of our missionaries.
[c] Our financial support for them, is a way of sharing in their call!
[d] A young woman puzzled about the call of God once asked Ron Davies, a missionary home on furlough, "Please Mr Davies, what is a call?" His face lit up. He beamed at her and took up his Bible. Turning the pages of it, he found Mark 16:15, showed it to her, and read aloud the words, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature!" "The call! That is the call," he said. He went on,
"God expects every Christian to go somewhere with the Gospel. All you have to do is to find out just where He wants you to go. It may be here in your own home town, or it may be He wants you to go to Africa, to China or Kashmir. If you are a Christian, you must preach Christ somewhere!" (The Christianís Daily Challenge p298)
Maybe our call is not to go to another country, Maybe God has called us for a work much nearer home! But that does not mean it is any less important!
[a] However, we think especially today of those who have left home and family, loved ones and friends, and ventured out into the unknown in the knowledge that God would be with them!
[b] To a degree they hold the same pioneering spirit as people like David Livingstone before them - or if we go even further back - Paul and Baranabas.
[c] They have responded to the Heavenly vision, like Paul, when he got the message "Come over to Macedonia and help us!"
[d] William Booth viewed the Salvation Army as "A MISSION TO THE UN- CONVERTED!" HE VIEWED EVERY SALVATIONIST AS A MISSIONARY TAKING THE MESSAGE OF SALVATION TO A DYING WORLD!
[*] The made a devastating statement which every Salvationist in todayís Army should take to heart! He said;
"When the Salvation Army ceases to be a militant body of red hot men and women whose supreme business is the saving of souls, I hope it will vanish utterly!"
[e] You can be sure he never envisaged a people without a mission.
You can be sure he never envisaged a people who would flock to a band festival, or songster programme, but were not interested enough to gather and pray for souls, or go out into the open-air, or meet together to study Godís Word!
IN OUR YEARS OF OFFICERSHIP, WEíVE SEEN THEM ALL - IN ABUNDANCE!!
[f] Weíve even seen people who met together each week, supposedly for worship, but actually, with the main aim of either having a good squabble over trivialities, or making a big thing of ignoring each other, thus destroying any spiritual climate in which God could work.
[g] There have been times, in the midst of it all, Iíve almost felt it a mockery to preach the Gospel of Love, knowing full well, that the Holy Spirit of God was grieved, and couldnít do His work!!
[*] At one such corps, we had over 80 in a Sunday meeting, 100 in the Sunday School, and every section, both senior and YP, that you could think of!
That same corps is now struggling to stay open, with a couple of dozen folk.
What happened?? Their squabbles with each other became more important than the work of the Kingdom - more important than soul saving!!
[h] I would tremble before God, if I felt I had such a thing on my conscience! ONE DAY GOD WILL REQUIRE AN ANSWER FOR THE SABOTAGE OF HIS WORK!! There will be those who will stand before him, their heads bowed in shame and remorse - but it will be too late.
IF ONLY SOME OF THOSE PEOPLE COULD HAVE REALISED - IT IS NOT ENOUGH GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS!! IF OUR HEART IS NOT RIGHT, IF OUR MOTIVES ARE NOT PURE - ITíS POINTLESS!!
[a] The whole Salvation Army strategy coming into the new Millennium is that we are to catch the vision, and be mission minded, and concentrate on outreach from our Corps.
[b] For that, the spiritual base of a Corps must be firm and secure.
[c] And for that, we must be UNITED IN LOVE the one for the other!
[d] We must have eradicated all pettiness from our lives!
[e] We must LOVE THE LOST enough to sacrifice time in UNITED PRAYER, and enjoy each others company well enough to MEET IN FELLOWSHIP!
[f] Throughout the whole Church today, the DEVIL is working extremely hard to DESTROY GODS WORK! Through HURT, DISHEARTENMENT, SPLITS, DISINTEREST, A THOUGHTLESS WORD, UNKINDNESS, NOT TAKING ACCOUNT OF THE EFFECT OF AN ACTION ON THE LIVES AND SOULS OF OTHERS. ITíS ALL BEEN HAPPENING!
[g] In one appointment, there was nearby, a spiritually alive, and quickly growing, Church (Rhema). Suddenly, splashed across the pages of the Sunday papers, was a picture of the minister, and how he had been guilty of sexual misconduct. The church immediately shut down, and eternity alone will reveal the number of people hurt and affected spiritually, through that breakup! Look at the harm to Godís Kingdom!
[h] I was speaking to a lady involved in ministry in another church, shortly afterwards, and she was reminding me of the fact that occult practitioners in that area were praying fervently to the devil, for the downfall of Christian leaders and their congregations!!
IT IS NO SECRET THAT IT HAS BEEN HAPPENING FOR SOME TIME IN THIS AREA!
In fact, I learned only a couple of days ago, that arrangements are in place, for the Port Glasgow Town Hall, to be hired once a month for occult gatherings!
[i] It is seldom matched by the prayers and actions of Godís people!!
THE DEVIL IS AN EXPERT AT HIS JOB! HE ALWAYS HITS WHERE IT HURTS MOST!
[a] You may remember that it was Barnabas who took the bull by the horns and introduced the newly converted Saul of Tarsus to the Apostles at Jerusalem. They were frightened, doubting the reality of his Salvation!
[b] Incidentally, Barnabas is credited by many, to be the writer to the Hebrews. His background would have made him perfect for this, as he had been a levite, steeped in Jewish history and tradition, and Hebrews is full of Old Testament material, to illustrate faith through Abrahamís example, the High Priesthood of Christ, and so much more.
[c] Paul found in Barnabas, a kindred spirit, in feeling the call to take the Gospel to the Gentiles, the non Jews. They stood side by side at the Council of Jerusalem, to defend this fact, and make clear that to be a Christian, a Gentile did not also have to become a Jew!
[d] Barnabas was Markís uncle, and after he and Paul went their separate ways, continued his missionary journeys with Mark. Tradition tells us he was martyred in Cyprus.
[a] One of the problems that most of us face, is the feeling that someone else can always do things better than we can!
[b] We lose sight of the fact, that the same God Who enabled them, can also enable us!!
[c] Dr Albert Schweitzer returned to Africa in 1924, and in spite of floods, pestilence, and a lack of trained assistants, built a hospital, equipped to provide care for thousands of natives,including 300 lepers.
[d] You see, if we provide the commitment, God will provide the rest!
[f] The Missionary, Hudson Taylor wrote the following:
"I do not know that we are told anywhere in the Bible to try to do
anything. ĎWe must try to do the best we caní, is a very common
expression; but I remember some years ago after a remark of that kind,
looking very carefully through the New Testament to see under what
circumstances the disciples were told to TRY and do anything. I was
surprised that I did not find ANY instance! Then I went through the Old
Testament with the same result. There are many commands apparently
impossible to obey, but they are all definite commands.
God gives His Spirit, not to those who long for Him, not to those who
pray for Him, not to those who desire to be filled always; but He does
give His Holy Spirit to them that OBEY HIM."
(The Christianís Daily Challenge page 122)
MEETING PLAN FOR HOLINESS MEETING
Song 815†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (TUNE 785)
Prayer Chorus - All that I am
Song 829†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (TUNE 628)
COLLECTION & ANNOUNCEMENTS
TESTIMONIES & CHORUSES
SONG 832 ALTER SERVICE††††††††††††††††††††††† (TUNE 452)
BIBLE READING -
Prayer Chorus - All that I am
Song 584†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (TUNE 374)