What is God saying to the "end time church"
As Joel prophesied, in the last days, the Spirit of God would be poured out..."
So why do we not see churches operating with greater effectiveness?
* I believe is in part due to our commitment to ministry
* The mindsets of many believers are this; that the work of the ministry is optional, occasional and/or based upon their convenience 10% of the people do 100% of the work
* Churches are struggling to find committed members
* Members are struggling to understand the importance of being committed - it is not taught
* There is great benefit and reward to those who are committed to ministry
KEYS TO BEING COMMITTED TO MINISTRY:
32a Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul;
* Here is an important key to being committed to the ministry - agreement within the ministry: In One accord
* It would appear they agreed on everything - NOT
* In fact we know that there were many disputes of doctrine, cultural preferences, ministry teams, etc
* However, we read that those who believed were
* Col 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
* When our focus is upon the furthering the Kingdom and not our own kingdom - we come into agreement
* You won’t agree on everything
* We must agree on our vision, mission & goals
32b neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.
* 2nd important key of being committed to ministry - they were committed to one another
* They broke down the wall of "self absorption"
* This is when you know that you are growing spiritually; when your concern for your own needs becomes eclipsed by your concern of others’
* They had all things in common - what is mine is yours
* We call ourselves covenant people - do we live up to that name?
* Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.
* The third key is revealed here - it is not the great power (that is a benefit of commitment)
* They were committed to getting to work (rolling up their sleeves)
* They "gave witness"
* Our principle calling is to "give witness"
* It is the "cause", it is not a "vision"
* Vision is a strategy
* The Cause is the primary goal
* The leadership was committed to the cause
* **My commitment to this ministry**
34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, Let me stop here a moment ( I’m not telling anyone to sell their house and give to the ministry ok) this is what they did 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. 36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
* The fourth key is one I have always been careful not to preach
* They were committed to financially support the ministry
* Today, if a church had people selling off lands and valuable possessions to fund the ministry, they would be called a cult
* Yet, we see the first church ...
did exactly that
* I am not suggesting everyone go home and liquidate their properties
* We need to see the principle at work here
* The committed to ministry financially committed - "where your treasure is, there your heart will also be"
We believe & teach that we should be committed to ministry in our tithes and offerings
The tithe is holy, it is to be brought into the local storehouse, from the first fruits of our increase
...even when we’re not here
Obviously finances is only one of the keys
Our commitment to the ministry can be measured in three areas
Acts 5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God." 5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him. 7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter answered her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?" She said, "Yes, for so much." 9 Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband.
* Anytime you see a church that is committed to ministry & gathering momentum - attack is inevitable
* Their commitment to ministry was challenged
* But when a church is committed to God, God will stay committed to them
* The Holy Spirit was not about to allow an attack mess with this precious body of believers
* He dealt harshly with those who attempted to taint the purity of their commitment
BENEFITS OF BEING COMMITTED TO MINISTRY
11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things. 12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. 13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. 14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. 16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
* A holy fear of the Lord was released
* Powerful meetings (signs & wonders at Solomon’s Porch, vs 4:33 - great power & great grace)
* The name of the Lord was highly esteemed
No one dared to mess with them
* Believers were increasingly added
Multitudes, men & women (families)
* Miracles were manifesting everywhere
People were traveling to that area to see what was going on (because of signs & wonders)
* Your commitment makes a difference
* Great moves of God are found in a people that are committed to hosting it
* There Is A Cost Of Commitment
It cost Abraham the yielding of his son
It cost Daniel to be cast in the lion’s den
It cost Stephen death by stoning
It cost Peter a martyr’s death
It cost Paul to be beheaded
It cost Jesus death on the cross
Does it cost you anything?
* The price of commitment is high - that is why so few will pay it
* And that is why so few reap the benefits of commitment
* Let us take inventory - Are we "committed to ministry?"
I’ll speak for myself :
This message is not about making anyone feel guilty (please be careful)
This is what I have called the Act’s chapter four and five The Death to a Ministry chapter’s (curtisology)
I f I preached this with intent to deceive: to a large gathering I could emotionally make you feel so guilty you would empty out your wallets , and throw in a couple Love chapters to make you feel better afterward. Then meet you at the door and shake your hand on the way out, tell my drivers to take me to the jet and go to the next Place.
I have never in my entire life ever took up on offering, and won’t start now and in fact this is the first time I have ever mentioned the words tithes, or offerings in any sermon oral or written.
It is safe to say no one has Died as like in the days of Ananias above
I do not have a Jet or a car with Air cond. here in Hot Florida 1200.00 for a compressor and the Ministry is my priority.
I have told you that to tell you this:
Isaiah 22:1 NLT A Message to Jerusalem
This message came to me concerning Jerusalem----the Valley of Vision
What is happening? Why is everyone running to the rooftops?
2 The whole city is in a terrible uproar. What do I see in this reveling city? Bodies are lying everywhere, killed not in battle but by famine and disease.
3 All your leaders have fled. They surrender without resistance. The people tried to slip away, but they were captured too. 4 That’s why I said, “Leave me alone to weep; do not try to comfort me. Let me cry for my people as I watch them being destroyed.”
5 Oh, what a day of crushing defeat! What a day of confusion and terror brought by the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, upon the Valley of Vision! The walls of Jerusalem have been broken, and cries of death echo from the mountainsides.
6 Bedlamites are the archers, with their chariots and charioteers. The men of Kir hold up the shields. 7 Chariots fill your beautiful valleys, and charioteers storm your gates.
8 Judah’s defenses have been stripped away. You run to the armory* for your weapons. 9 You inspect the breaks in the walls of Jerusalem.* You store up water in the lower pool. 10 You survey the houses and tear some down for stone to strengthen the walls. 11 Between the city walls, you build a reservoir for water from the old pool. But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago. 12 At that time the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, called you to weep and mourn. He told you to shave your heads in sorrow for your sins and to wear clothes of burlap to show your remorse. 13 But instead, you dance and play; you slaughter cattle and kill sheep. You feast on meat and drink wine. You say, “Let’s feast and drink.
Upon meditating on this passage in Isaiah, the Lord was pointing out to me that this passage will be the basis for what he wants me to do. The Lord spoke to me and said like the valley of vision, everyone is running to the rooftops. The world is in an uproar! For a year now, I have laid on your heart “revival” for years. I have prepared you for this call. You now have the tenacity to take your chariots and storm the gates.
I took this one way! The Lord wanted me to start holding Old Fashion Tent Revivals. Prepare the way for the Lord
As the senior Pastor for the Hallelujah Revival Corp my heart is burdened by a very special need from everyone here tonight. And ask for a special prayer for someone. With regret I must inform you that after getting this vision from God , and me committing to the call , I have been under major attack from sloo foot, he has attacked my Health, my finances, and the ministry . Last year I began to talk of revival at trinity and the seeds were sowed, soon Pastor Ski, and Pastor Carol, Tommy and others we formed this alliance here at New Life and HRC around Nov 09 we were looking for a tent one was found Pastor Ski located one on ebay and emailed me the info, By the time I was able to get to ebay it was sold, so I emailed the seller and asked if they had another one, and he said he only had a new one but it was more money. I called the Tent company back and an elderly man came to the phone named Thomas aprox 70 yrs old a Veteran, and came from a long line of Pastors in Tenn. And said a lot of his tents are used for revivals and he would rather see a tent used in that manor rather than for fireworks. He began telling me some of the greatest testimonies I have ever heard, he won me over through the love of God we then reached an agreement on Buying his Tent. I looked down at the Motif keyboard I had just bought from a long awaited Va pension a week before the greatest one ever made and said I can’t have you no more , so I took it back and called Mr. Tom he said he needed a 1000.00 to hold the tent so I sent him 2500.00 , the seed was sown, and revival was on the way.
As time progressed I had contacted them to pick up the tent only to get an offer I couldn’t refuse, Thomas said his Nephew was going to have to come to Fla. For a 2 week Law enforcement class at the end of April and he would deliver it to us free, and give his nephew the final payment, that was great a Blessing as I thought. When the end of April came and hadn’t heard from them I called only to find out that a Flood had hit their area and his Nephew had been called to emergency duty in Tn. and would not be able to bring it. So I sent him the money to ship it.
It was from that point Mr Tom had been leading me on telling me the freight company could not get to his place because the roads were still not clear , and that he must take it to them ,lying to me , giving me false reports but still giving me great testimonies about the lords work in his life and his health issues. The last was the tent will be picked up Sat. June 5 and taking to Shipping Co. to go out on Monday June 6 and we would receive it the 3 days.
I called Mr Tom on Tuesday to get the tracking number or the name of the shipping company and he told me it was picked up Sat but he didn’t remember the name of the company but here is the phone no, so I called that no. and it was a non existing number, finally I called back Mr.Tom after him not taking calls only answering mach. And he answered I told him the phone no. was not any good and he told me it was Southeastern Freight I said thank you ,and called the dispatcher at South Eastern only for them to tell me that they haven’t picked up freight in that area since Aug of 09 . I then called back Mr. Tom again after about leaving 5 messages before he finally picked up the phone I told him that Southeastern said they hadn’t picked anything up , he then turned on me like a snake yelled at me and suggest I don’t call. I then began to Google the company name and address only to find complaints; I was able to talk to a company in Kansas. Who after hiring an Atty in Tn is still waiting for their money. I then began to contact Churches in that area to see if I could find him as a member of one , so I could have the pastor talk to him, but was not able to , the next step I contacted the District Atty in that area.
I went to Va yesterday for labs ,and while I was coming back the DA called and told me he was taking care of 4 counties in Tenn and it would be next week before he could investigate I said ok and hung up the phone.
All week I have been wondering how I was going to preach this sermon tonight . I started this message 2 weeks ago on Church Character to point out how some ministers will use Christianity in a deceitful way to gain prosperity .Little did I know I would be living this sermon this week Mr Tom was in the same shoes as Ananias and I still after losing money was only worried about his soul. We talked on this end, and I told Rev Shaun and Shirley the story (no one knew) we started praying on Wed. for him . I was wondered how I was going to drop this bomb come Sat night here at New Life.
As I talked to Rev Shaun I told him God had giving me this vision of revival, and has trained me all my life for this, I cannot quit I will still go forth, and if anyone wants out then I will understand but I have to keep going on. This was on Wed
After coming back from Va on Friday I called Shirley into the room for a private talk I told her I have had enough after being in the Lord’s service for over 33 years this was the first time I ever spoke of becoming a Church goer and not a church doer.
As we were talking I cried out to God and said to him Lord You have always been there I have answered your call and we have done without to buy this tent, only 50.00 was ever donated we have been doing this task for your sheep to prepare the way as you have instructed me why are you letting sloo foot go this far and so long? I don’t understand but maybe you should pass this call onto someone else, and I’ll just worship you. Amen
Folks It Is my testimony that within 2 min. later I got a call from the Da in Tenn. Who was going to call me next week ,and said your tent will be there next week he had spoke to Mr Tom and that he did still have the tent, and he will call the Freight Company today. The stall was over , And I’m supposed to call the DA back in 5 days so he can drop the case. The phones lite up with Positive manifestations, we heard from people we haven’t heard from in over a Year wanting us to have revival in their town.
That is where things are today 50/50 we get the tent or Mr Tom will be in trouble the special prayer I asked for earlier is for Him not the tent and in your prayer Speak his name, that is why I told you his First name, AS I look at this I believe God wanted to see how far I would go before I would cry out to him knowing he always comes through , but sometimes in fact most of the time in my walk it’s the 11th hour when he comes, he first sees how we are going to handle things. But will always be there.
In Close: I will always remember this sermon as I have lived it this week it will go into the book” Let’s have a Revival” as a Testimony to students and or ministries to learn from. The handbook to warn that when you set out to obey the call of God , expect the enemies of sloo foot to be in it also but Trust in the Lord as in Rom 8:28 And we know that All things work together for good to them who love God , to them who are the called according to his purpose. (this means it’s his purpose and not ours) Amen