We are All Necessary

Paul (earlier called Saul) was a Pharisee and a persecutor and a murderer of Christians before Jesus called him to faith in Himself. In fact, he was on his way to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests to persecute, imprison and/or to put to death the saints of God (Christians) when Jesus stopped him, and when he called him to be a follower of Christ and a servant of the Lord and of his gospel of salvation.

And, before any of us come to faith in Jesus Christ, we are bound in sin, controlled by our sin nature and by Satan, until Jesus saves us and sets us free from our slavery to sin and gives us new life in Him to be lived to him and to his righteousness (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).

For, not one of us is righteous in our own merit. Not one of us can do anything to be acceptable to God in our own effort. No matter how much zeal we may think we have for God, if it is of our flesh, it profits us nothing. Only by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ can any of us be made right with God, be saved of our sins, and be given eternal life with God.

“But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Acts 26:16-18 ESV

But, when we come to faith in Jesus Christ, our lives are transformed of the Holy Spirit of God. We were traveling one direction, and now we are going the opposite direction. We were following after our human flesh, doing what our sinful flesh desires, but then Jesus turns us around so that we are now following after him to do what he desires (and requires). This is a lot like the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly (metamorphosis).

Once we were blinded by our sins and by the great deceiver, Satan. But, when God draws us to faith in Jesus Christ, he shines a light in our hearts, and he exposes to us our sinful condition, and he convicts us of sin, and he calls us to repentance and to obedience to him. And, so we yield control of our lives over to God, turn from our sinful lifestyles, and now we turn to Jesus to follow him in walks of obedience to his ways (Eph. 4:17-24).

And, God forgives us of our sins, and so we are joined together as one body with others who have also turned from their sinful lives to follow Jesus Christ and his ways. And, Jesus cleanses our hearts of sin, and he purifies our minds and our hearts to make us more like him. And, he continues this process of purifying us and making us holy and of conforming us to his likeness all throughout our walks of faith in Jesus (1 Jn. 1:5-9).

And, now we no longer live our lives for our own self-pleasure, doing what our flesh dictates that we should do, for we are no longer under the control of sin and Satan, but now we are under the control of the Holy Spirit of God. And, sin no longer has dominion in our lives, but now we walk (in practice) daily by the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, daily dying to sin and self and putting on the armor of God (Rom. 8:1-17; Lu. 9:23-25).

“Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.” Acts 26:19-21 ESV

When Jesus calls us to faith in Him, it doesn’t stop there. We aren’t saved (past), then we live our lives, and then one day we get to go to heaven. We are saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved when Jesus returns for us and we go to be with him forever and our salvation is complete. And, we are saved for a purpose, that we may glorify God with our lives.

So, our salvation from sin is not just about us escaping hell and going to heaven when we die. Jesus saves us out of our lives which are given over to slavery to sin, and he gives us new lives in him now to be lived to him and to his righteousness. And, he gifts us not only with his Holy Spirit but with gifts of the Spirit (spiritual gifts) and ministries of the Spirit of God, and he assigns us specific roles we each are to fill within the body of Christ, too.

And, one of the responsibilities he assigns to all of us who profess faith in him is that we share our faith with others, and that we tell them about how they can be delivered from their slavery to sin, and how they can now live to Christ and to his righteousness in the power of God’s Spirit alive and at work within their hearts and lives (1 Pet. 2:9; Matt. 5:13-16; Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).

And, so we must be faithful to that trust, and we must go where he sends us and say whatever it is he gives us to say. And, we must tell the people that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.

And, this repenting is not merely a change of mind to believe in Jesus Christ, but it is a forsaking of our sins and our idols to follow Jesus Christ in obedience and in surrender to his will and to his ways. It means we leave our lives of sin behind us and we follow our Lord in obedience to his commands. And, the righteous deeds that we now do, we do in the power of the Spirit of God living within us, so they are in keeping with repentance.

And, following Jesus with our lives is not something we do part-time in our spare time, either. It is a lifetime and a lifestyle commitment to follow Jesus in doing whatever it is he has called us to do, to be who he has called us to be, and to go wherever he sends us and to do and to say whatever it is he commands us to do and to say. And, Paul understood this, and he lived it.

The Challenge

So, the challenge to us today is not only that we have our lives turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, and not only that we turn away from our sinful lifestyles and self-lives to follow our Lord Jesus in surrender to his will and to his ways, but that we give our lives entirely over to him to do what he has called each one of us to do.

For, Jesus not only calls us to leave our sins behind us and to follow him in obedience, but he has something very specific that he has for each one of us to do. And, so we need to seek his face, and we need to ask him to reveal his will to our hearts, and that he guide us in the way he would have us to go. And, then we need to respond “Yes!” to his calling, and go wherever he sends us, and to do whatever it is he has called us to do.

For, we can only grow into him as a body as each part does its work. And, we aren’t all going to have the same assignments, but we are all equally important, valuable, and necessary to the proper working of Christ’s body, his church. So, listen to what he says, and then do what he says.

Servant of the Lord

An Original Work / July 26, 2012
Based off Romans 1:1-17

Servant of the Lord;
For the gospel you’re set apart.
Promised through the prophets of old:
Jesus, Son of God.
Through Him, and for His name alone,
We receive His grace
To call people, Him to obey;
Coming from their faith.
Servant of the Lord,
For the gospel you’re set apart.
Promised through the prophets of old:
Jesus, Son of God.

You belong to Christ;
Loved by God, and called to be saints;
Serving God with whole heart and mind;
Preaching Jesus Christ;
Always praying for others’ needs;
Helping hand to lend;
Giving courage to others’ faith,
For the praise of God.
You belong to Christ;
Loved by God, and called to be saints;
Serving God with whole heart and mind;
Preaching Jesus Christ.

Servant of the Lord;
Of the gospel, I’m not ashamed;
For salvation, power of God
To those who have faith.
In the gospel find righteousness:
Being right with God.
Turn from sin, and trust Jesus Christ.
By faith, live in Him.
Servant of the Lord;
Of the gospel, I’m not ashamed;
For salvation, power of God
To those who have faith.

 

2 thoughts on “We are All Necessary

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