Paul the Apostle – Wayne Barber/Part 7
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©1992|
|We are looking at Paul in his third missionary journey. On his first and second missionary journeys we saw Paul as being a man surrendered. We looked into what a man who is surrendered to Christ experiences. When we got into the third missionary journey, we looked first of all at how people are blessed because someone surrenders to Christ. Remember, when you surrender to Christ, when you say “yes” to Him, at that moment you are a minister; at that moment, you are a missionary, whether across the street or around the world.|
Paul: The Missionary – Part 7
Turn with me to Acts 20. You thought I was going to say Ephesians 1, I know, but you already know what we are doing. Ephesians 1:1 has a phrase in it which says, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.” That has been our spring board now for this our eighth study as we are introduce the book of Ephesians. We may get there before the Lord returns. I don’t know. We certainly are enjoying the adventure that we are in right now in the interlude.
We are looking at Paul in his third missionary journey. On his first and second missionary journeys we saw Paul as being a man surrendered. We looked into what a man who is surrendered to Christ experiences. When we got into the third missionary journey, we looked first of all at how people are blessed because someone surrenders to Christ. Remember, when you surrender to Christ, when you say “yes” to Him, at that moment you are a minister; at that moment, you are a missionary, whether across the street or around the world. Don’t ever forget that. It’s not that you cross the ocean to become a missionary. You are a missionary the moment you say “yes” to Jesus. We saw how people were blessed. At Ephesus we saw the miracles that God did. In Macedonia we saw the comfort that God brought through compassion and exhortation of Paul. We also saw at Troas how they were instructed by the Word of God.
In the last study, still in his third missionary journey, we began to look more at Paul himself, at the integrity of the man. He gets to Miletus which is south of Troas. It is actually 37 miles south of Ephesus. Now remember, Asia Minor at that time is now modern day Turkey. On your map, it is up in the right hand corner. You can see Troas on the western coast of Asia Minor. Go directly south. You will come to Ephesus. Keep going directly south, and you will come to Miletus 37 miles south, which is a seaport city. It was here that Paul called the elders of the church at Ephesus to come be with him. He didn’t have time to stop at Ephesus because he was trying to get to Jerusalem by the Feast of Pentecost. He was hurrying on that journey, and yet he wanted to meet with those elders from Ephesus.
We also saw in the last study how he shares his heart with them. In verse 18, he says, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, serving the Lord.” You see, these elders at Ephesus knew him for a period of three years. They knew him like we would know one another if we lived together and were around each other all the time. It’s kind of like the expression: Your reputation is what people think you are or what you think people think you are. Your character is what your wife and people around you know that you are.
The people in the area knew his reputation, but these elders there at Ephesus knew his character. These elders knew him all the way to his very heart, to the very root, all the way to what made up Paul. What is a genuine surrendered person to Christ? What is a genuine missionary? What is it that gives integrity to our testimony? Well, in the first phrase there, “I was with you the whole time, serving the Lord,” we saw that he was a consistent servant of Christ. He was a bond-servant, doulon. It comes from the word doulos, which means a bond-servant. In other words, what he did he did because he wanted to, not because he had to. It was his life to serve the Lord, not his job. The people who were close to him knew that.
Not only that, we saw that he was serving the Lord with all humility. Not only was he a consistent servant, he was a contrite servant. By contrite, I mean humble and broken. The word humble here is the word tapeinophrosune. It is the word that means to get down as far as you can and have that mindset about yourself and your relationship to God. It is how you think about yourself and your relationship to God. It is not necessarily what you do or don’t do. As a matter of fact, many people can do the right thing and say the right thing, but there is something missing in their attitude. There is no humility. They think of themselves more highly than they ought to think. They are puffed up. They don’t have time for other people. You see, Paul had that characteristic of humility. Not only was he a consistent servant, but he was a contrite servant.
Then verse 19 says, “and with tears.” He was a compassionate servant. It says in verse 31, “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one,” how did he do that? “with tears.” He cared about the people he ministered to. You can’t fake that. You can’t fake humility. It is either there or it’s not. Humility is not the color of the suit that you wear or how big your Bible is. Humility is an attitude that people know and sense when they are around you. If you are the big “I” and other people are “little you’s,” they can sense that about you. You may be doing it all right, but there is no humility and no love. What a beautiful picture of a man who had integrity in his testimony. Not only could he say things to others, but it was seen in his lifestyle.
Well, in this study we push on. There are two other things that I really want you to see. Remember, first of all, he was a consistent servant. Secondly, he was a contrite servant. Thirdly, he was a compassionate servant.
Fourthly, he was a contested servant. In other words, everything he did was contested and challenged by somebody. It was almost as if Paul could not get any freedom at all from people coming against his ministry. Look at what it says in verse 19: “serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews.” Now, it is important at this time to understand that word “trials.” That’s the word we became very familiar with when we were studying the epistle of James. James 1:2 says, “Count if all joy, brethren, when you encounter various trials.” I remember, when we were on that message, walking to church one day when my car would not start. Many of my church members passed by me and said, “Count it all joy, Brother Wayne.” I think they were getting back at me. I don’t know how many of them came to me and said, “Can’t we get into some other book? Everything is falling apart in my life, and you are telling me to count it all joy.” I wasn’t telling them. James was telling them to, “Count it all joy when you encounter various trials.”
Now what is a trial? The same word is used here in Acts 20:19 as is used in James 1:2. It’s the word peirasmos. It comes from the word peirazo. It has to do with anything in your life, whether minute or big in scale, that forces you to make a choice between your flesh and doing the will of God. It is any time you make a choice. That is a trial and in that trial is the temptation to bail out and not do what God wants you to do. As a matter of fact, the word peirasmos doesn’t really talk about the nature of the trial as much as it does our response to that trial. When you see the word peirasmos, you should think choice. Somebody is having to make a choice. What response are we making to the circumstances of our life? Paul says, “I was with you consistently serving the Lord with humility and with tears, but also with trials.”
Where did these trials come from? They came from the religious Jews who were hung up in the system and followed him around consistently contesting everything he did. Well, it says “Jews” which means there was more than one. Look back in Acts 19:8. Remember, he is talking about his time in Ephesus, so we’ve got to go back to Ephesus to find out what he’s talking about. It says, “And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some were becoming hardened [the word “becoming hardened” is a progressive word; the more they heard it, the harder they got in their heart] and disobedient [they were unwilling to be persuaded by what Paul was preaching], speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.”
Now what happened here? One of the first ways that these religious Jews, in the synagogue where he was reasoning with them in the Word, contested him was by publicly criticizing his message. Now, I don’t know if you can understand that or not. You do not preach or teach. I guess because I do, I understand that. When you preach your heart out and love the Lord Jesus and that happens, it affects you. It wasn’t as if they got before people and criticized him. They got before people and criticized the truth that he was declaring. There is nothing that can dig any deeper in your heart than when someone criticizes the very truth that you are seeking to proclaim.
Not only that, they also made a public mockery of it. Paul had to live with this, day by day, day in and day out. He had to face these trials. They contested him. Can you imagine? As he is preaching they are standing there saying all these things about the message that he is proclaiming.
Thirdly, they tried to plagiarize his ministry. I want you to see this. In Acts 19:11-13, something interesting happens. We have already looked at it once. “And God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.” The word “extraordinary” here means “rarely ever happens.” You can’t build a ministry on something that rarely ever happens. Why God chose to do that in Ephesus, I don’t know. The next time you watch a television program and somebody is going to send you a piece of their handkerchief, turn it off. It happened at Ephesus; it is not something people do today to mimic what God did in Ephesus.
Verse 13 goes on to say, “But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, ‘I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.’” Now, you’ve got to get in to the flavor of this thing. They are going around watching Paul. Paul is seeing incredible things happen. Demons are cast out. People are healed. These were incredible, extraordinary miracles. The sons of Sceva, a Jewish priest, started following him around and tried to mimic what Paul was doing. Is this the first time that’s ever happened to him? Oh, no. Remember when he wrote the letter to the Philippians. He said, “There are many out there preaching the gospel out of envy and strife. They are not preaching error. They are preaching the same gospel I am preaching.” Why? “Because they want my crowds. They want my ministry.” But Paul says, “Praise God, the gospel is being preached.” He didn’t care who was preaching it or why they were preaching it. God is not blessing their preaching, He is blessing the gospel that they are preaching. They weren’t preaching error. Somebody was plagiarizing his ministry.
I wonder if you understand how that is such an appropriate truth for us to understand in the 20th century. How many of us have surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ and had somebody try to criticize our message? Not only that, they begin to plagiarize and copy our ministry and everything that we are doing. You say, “Now what happened? I don’t understand that.” Are you kidding? I wonder how Dr. Stephen Olford and Adrian Rogers feel? These guys have studied and God has given them to them these messages. Then they go someplace, sit in a church and find somebody standing up and preaching the exact same thing that they have done. They use the illustrations as if they happened to them. They absolutely copy somebody else’s truth, and copy somebody else’s message. They take their outlines and their illustrations and try to transform it to somebody else. I had a man tell me one day that if Stephen Olford ever died, he would have to quit the ministry. You wouldn’t believe how many people’s studies are nothing more than a tape recorder and a pad and a pencil. All they are doing is mimicking or copying somebody else’s ministry. They are trying to get the same results that God honored in a person’s endeavor and walk with the Lord Jesus.
If that’s not enough to cause you a little bit of confusion, listen to this. This really happened. We are living in a day that you have to copyright everything. This came to my attention when someone on our staff began to write a few things. Can you believe that? We are having to copyright it. I asked somebody one day, “Why do you copyright everything? Man, this is just for the kingdom of God.” I am a little naïve and sort of a Johnny-come-lately. They told me this story. This actually happened within the past several years. A man in our country preached a seminar, and it was so good. It was borne out of his life. He didn’t think about copyrighting it. He had a ministry through a seminar and made it available to anybody that wanted it. Somebody heard it, liked it, and copyrighted it. Now the man whose heart it was borne in cannot even preach his own material. Somebody has plagiarized his ministry.
Here is the apostle Paul. He is a man who was called, “A man who consistently served the Lord.” He had to deal with these Jews, these religious people, who came along behind him, and stood up publicly and criticized everything he was saying. And if that wasn’t enough, they were also following him around trying to mimic the things he was doing so they could have the same results and produce the same crowd. That’s what he had to endure.
He said it was “trials,” which is in the plural. We don’t know all of the story. The only thing we know about it is what he went through while he was there at Ephesus. But the question came to my mind as I was studying this, first of all to my own self and then to you. What does it take to make you want to fold under the pressure of the trials that come around you, especially from religious people who are either trying to criticize your message or trying to plagiarize your ministry? I wonder.
You say, “Well, I am not in the pulpit ministry or anything else.” Now, wait a minute. Get into your own situation. Suppose somebody is using what’s going on in your life and trying to mimic it into their life so other people will think that it is theirs. They also criticize openly the very truth that you love and seek to obey daily.
Well, if that’s not enough, in 19:23-41, they discredited his motives. Now, I don’t know three more severe things than for somebody to criticize your message, plagiarize your ministry and discredit your motives. Who was doing this to Paul? It was Demetrius. Remember when we looked at chapter 19, we saw that Demetrius was the guy who went around selling little statues of Artemis, the goddess of Ephesus. Demetrius called a meeting of all the businessmen and told them, “Here is a man coming into town and all he’s trying to do is to kill our business.” That’s when they all ran into that amphitheater, 30,000 of them, and began to scream. They screamed for two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians.” Finally the mayor had to quiet the whole bunch down.
You know, it makes you wonder about all the trials that a man like Paul went through. Maybe they are not exactly like yours, but I want to tell you this, when you surrender to Christ, when you are fully obedient to what He wants in your life, there are going to be others to contest what you are doing. They are going to criticize your message. They will plagiarize your ministry. Whatever happens to you, they will repeat it. It is amazing how all this gets interwoven. They will discredit your motives.
Did that stop Paul? Look in Acts 20:20-21. Paul said, “how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” He continued to teach them publicly. The word for “publicly” there is the word demosios, which means “that which belongs to the public, a public place.” He also taught them privately from house to house. He did not stop. He didn’t go to the Greeks just because the Jews were giving him so much flack. He preached it to the Jews and preached it to the Greeks. He kept right on going regardless of how they contested what he was doing. He went right on doing what he knew God had told him to do. He was a contested servant. Yet, in the midst of all that contesting that was going on in his life, he was faithful to do what God had called him to do. Now, folks, when that kind of stuff does not alter you and you keep your mind on what God has told you to do in your life and in your walk, that’s what gives integrity to your ministry.
I guess one of the greatest experiences I had in Zimbabwe several years ago was when we went up to Victoria Falls, which is on the Zambezi River right there by Zambia. We went up through the Nawangee Game Park. That was exciting. It took us about two days to get through that park. We could drive around the corner on dirt roads and there would be an elephant standing there. That just doesn’t happen every day. It took us a while to get into a frame of mind to look for elephants instead of buses. It was just different. We saw rhinoceroses and lions. They were out in an open field. There were no fences. They have huge signs about every mile which read, “Stay in the car. Keep the windows rolled up.” If you don’t, you might become a nice meal for some animal that’s on the prowl. It took us two days to go through that hot, dusty jungle. It was just incredible.
We finally got up to Victoria Falls and went out to see the Falls. People there say, “God practiced on Niagara Falls when He got ready to make Victoria Falls.” It is the most incredible thing you have ever seen in your life. I mean over a mile long. I can’t even begin to describe it to you. As we were walking to the Falls, the thing that impressed me was not the Falls. The thing that impressed me was the statue that was there at Victoria Falls, given by the government of then Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, in tribute to a man by the name of David Livingston. He was a man who was contested on every front. He was so burdened and called that he didn’t let anything in his life, not even trials, alter him off the course. He stayed true to the things that God had put before him, regardless of his trials, regardless of the flack. As a matter of fact, if you know anything about the history of David Livingston, you know that for five years he didn’t see his wife or children. He did not even know that his father had died and been buried.
Folks, I’m telling you, you need to understand the Christ life to get the balance into your own life. You have to realize that it is not us but Christ. He’s the one that brings balance to your family. He’s the one who brings balance to your ministry. I can’t sit back on Monday and say, “If I spend ten hours with my family this week, I am going to have a godly home.” No, sir. If I surrender to Jesus, and I do whatever He tells me to do, then whatever that means, He covers the bases back in my home. Until you understand that, you are going to have a lopsided view of what being surrendered to Christ is all about.
David Livingston didn’t see his wife and children for five years. Didn’t even know his Dad had died. He came out of the jungle and went back home. He found out his Dad had died and fell down in the floor and began to weep openly. He had had such a close relationship with his Father and did not even know he had died. He went back to the jungle, but this time he took his wife with him. He was only there a short time and his wife died. Instead of coming out like most people would have done, he went deeper and deeper and deeper into the jungles, trying his best to spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you go over to that part of Africa, they know David Livingston. It is almost like the demon who said, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” He was a man called, burdened, contested, criticized, and maligned by his friends, but he stayed true to his course. He didn’t shrink back from doing that which was useful to those he was ministering to.
In the latter days of his life, he got very sick, but he would not leave the jungles he loved. They put a tent up and put a guard in front of it, out of respect to him, to let him die in that tent. The guard was there to keep the animals from getting into the tent. They said people would come from miles around just to be in the presence of a man who loved God like that. Even at the point when he could hardly talk, people would come and just stand to be in the presence of the Lord.
The guard witnessed his death. He said he heard something, a commotion, a scrambling on the cot that he was lying on and realized he had fallen down to his knees. He looked in and thought he was praying so he closed the flaps of the tent. He stayed there for a long time and realized no movement was going on inside at all and no voice could be heard. He opened up the tent and went back inside. Lo and behold, David Livingston had died prostrate in prayer beside his bed. He had always said, “When I die, I want to die on my knees talking to my Lord.”
Now, I don’t know about you, folks, but that gives a little bit of integrity to the testimony of Jesus Christ in a person’s life. You see, when God called Paul, there was no turning back. I mean, he was in it for the duration. When he got into it, not only was he consistent, not only was he contrite, not only was he compassionate, but he was also a man very contested. But in all that contesting in his life, it says, “I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable.” No matter the criticism, he stayed true to the calling that God had put in his life.
There is one more thing that I want us to share before we leave this particular subject about Paul.
Fifthly, we see that Paul was a compelled servant. Look at this. It says in verse 22, “And now [watch the phrase], behold, bound in spirit.” We need to understand the term “bound.” It’s the word deo. It is in the perfect passive sense. Perfect tense means something happened in the past that caused me to be in a state of existence in the present. When it is in the perfect tense, the word means “to be compelled to do something.” It means “bound.” It’s not “bound in spirit,” it is “bound in the Spirit.” Passive voice means, I didn’t bind myself. I’m not a self-motivator. I am bound. I have been bound since that happened in my life back there. I am under the compulsion of the Holy Spirit of God to do that God has told me to do. Paul was a man that was compelled in his service.
You know, I heard about the millionaire who was in a leper colony somewhere in another part of our world he just happened to be touring. He thought it would be interesting to see a leper colony. He went into it, and there was the most gorgeous, beautiful, blond-haired woman he had ever seen in his life working with these lepers. He said to her, “Honey, I wouldn’t do what you do for a million dollars.” She looked at him and smiled and said, “I wouldn’t either.” Well, why are you doing what you are doing? She said, “The love of Christ Jesus constraineth me.” That’s what it means to be compelled. When you are compelled, you are bound in the Spirit, passive voice. The Holy Spirit is doing something in my life.
Listen, I said in the last study, if we are going to have integrity to our testimony, Jesus must be our life, not just what we do on Sundays and Wednesdays. If we are bound in the Spirit of God, then nothing is going to alter us on the course which God has set before us, not even the unknown of what would happen.
Look at verse 22 again. “And now, behold, bound in spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem,” now watch what he says, “not knowing what will happen to me there.” The phrase means “I don’t know everything. I know a few things. I haven’t got the full picture yet.”
Go little bit further, in verse 23. What Paul did know was not good, “except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me.” You see, when a man is compelled by the Holy Spirit of God, the unknown that’s ahead of him doesn’t matter. When God has spoken to him, he does what God says. We are always going to have the unknown. We are always going to have those things we can’t put together.
When I came to Chattanooga, God compelled me to come here. I did not even know my salary. I did not know what I would be paid. All I was told was, “We will take care of you.” The church has taken care of me better than any place I have ever been in the ministry. God promised me in my heart that He would do that. He shared with me and confirmed it through the people. The thing that I had more than anything else was the compulsion of the Holy Spirit to go. That’s all I had.
You know, I hear a lot of people saying, “Well, God is calling me to do something, but I’ve got to work it all out. I don’t know what I am going to do with my kids, and I don’t know what I am going to do with my house. I don’t know what I am going to do with my money. I don’t know all these things.” You are never going to know all those things. A man compelled by the calling of the Spirit of God is a man who risks the unknown to do what God tells him to do. God takes care of the rest of it, even when it is bad.
The term “bonds” there is the same word we saw used for “bound in the Spirit.” When it is in the plural, it refers to imprisonment. Oh, that’s exciting. The word for “affliction” there is the word thlipsis. It means “suffering, pain.” It comes from the word that means to crush, the word that means to hurt to the point of excruciating pain. Paul is saying, “I don’t have the whole picture, but what I’ve got is not too good. However, I am bound in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem.” You think that doesn’t give integrity to your message?
Marilyn Lazlo was in our services a couple of weeks ago. She is a missionary in Papua New Guinea. She shared with us that she hates bugs and snakes. When she was called to go to Papua New Guinea through Wycliffe Bible Translators to translate a language nobody had even written down, she said “yes” to God. Do you think there weren’t some unknowns in that? Why in the world would somebody leave a decent job in America with all the malls and shopping and neat times we have over here and go to a God-forsaken place like Papua New Guinea? I’ll tell you. They are compelled by the Spirit of God.
Folks, we need to learn to live that way, compelled by God’s Spirit. We’re bound. Shirley, Marilyn’s sister, was worse than Marilyn. Shirley said, “I was more afraid of bugs than Marilyn was.” Shirley has been there now for 14 years. Not only that, another woman from this church feels God is putting on her heart to go and share with them in the ministry over there in Papua New Guinea. There are many unknown things, but when you are compelled by the Spirit, it doesn’t matter. It can be good. It can be bad. It doesn’t matter. You can’t let that stop you from doing what God is saying in your life. That’s the whole key.
The best biblical illustration of course, is Abraham in Genesis. In Genesis 12 God says, “Abe, buddy, I want you to get your wife and your family and don’t take anybody else, and I want you to follow Me.” “Where are we going, Lord?” “Don’t worry, I’ll let you know when we get there.” Can you imagine? Either he was a total idiot or God was doing something very special in his life. Of course, we have the Word of God to document this is God all the way.
Why do you get up and go to work every day? Why do you do what you do? What motivates you? Are you self-motivated or are you Holy Spirit-compelled to do the things that God has put before you? If God is moving you, then a little criticism and the other things that happen in your life don’t matter. You can continue to do the things that God has put before you.
Well, verse 24 is the real summation of his attitude. “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” What a mouthful! What a mouthful! The word for “life” there is not really “life,” it is “soul,” psuche. That’s the part of man that relates to the world that is around him. It appears to me what Paul is saying here and what he said in another epistle is, “I have crucified myself to the world, and the world has crucified itself unto me.” In other words, there is nothing in me that is attracted to anything that the world has to offer that would keep me from doing the things that God has put before me.
He said, “I am going to finish my course.” The term “finish” there is the verb that means “I want it to be brought to a completion.” By the way, what do you think his course was? What was his course? What is your course? Look what he says, “I may finish my course and the ministry which I received.” The course was the received ministry God had given to Paul. Remember, we don’t preach an achieved ministry, but a received ministry. What has God given you as the result of your surrender to Him? Now, is there a worthwhile thing in your life stopping that from being fully accomplished and completed as long as you are living on this earth. That is the key. Paul said “Nothing in this world attracts me. I don’t count my life for any account. Only that my ministry is brought to its finished end.”
Well, he goes on to say, “to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” Now be careful. What Paul is saying is, “I want my ministry which God has raised up in me to be brought to its fullest accomplishment, and I want that fact to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Do you know what testimony it is? The testimony, the good news, is this. Paul can say one day, “It wasn’t me, folks. It was the grace of God that this ministry was accomplished in me. It testifies to the gospel of the grace of God.”
Well, do you think his prayer was answered? Look with me in 2 Timothy 4:6. Paul is in prison about to be killed and his ministry is over. His life on earth is over, as a matter of fact. Let’s just see whether or not this consistent servant had his prayer answered, his wish, and his desire answered. Was his course finished like it should have been finished? Verse 6 there says, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering [Paul says as he is in prison in Rome], and the time of my departure has come.” He is about to die. Verse 7 says, “I have fought the good fight. I have [What?] finished the course, I have kept the faith.” Verse 8 continues, “in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will reward to me on that day; and not only to me [now watch], but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
Do you know what that does to me? That opens a door for every one of us. If we are willing to die to self, surrender to Him, allow the Holy Spirit of God to daily fill us with His power and presence, and control us, then the course that God has set us on will be brought to its accomplished end. Regardless of how bad it gets, we will leave a legacy that will give integrity to the testimony of Christians that will last until the Lord Jesus comes back to this earth. It’s possible for you, and it’s possible for me. It all goes back to one thing. Am I willing to say “yes” to Him?
Folks, listen, one of these days we are going to get serious. I don’t know when it’s going to be. Individually, daily, say “Lord, I am sick of playing these stupid games. It’s all or nothing. Lord, I want You to reign and rule in my life. I want the received ministry You have given to me to be accomplished to its fullest end. I don’t care what happens to me. I only want Jesus to be glorified. I want it to testify of the gospel of the grace of God.” That’s a man whose life has fueled the integrity to the testimony of believers even until this day.