And you shall know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:16 ).
The devil comes to kill, steal and destroy, Jesus came that we may have life and life more abundantly ( John 10:10 )
What vine am I attached to? The vine of the devil that yields fruits of death and destruction…. Or The true vine of love and life more abundantly?
Am I calling myself a Christian but still knowingly or unknowingly persecuting Christ?
Is my Church or am I preaching and promoting the true Gospel of Jesus Christ or are we pushing the agenda of the enemy, all in the name of the Lord?
Unfortunately anytime a Christian or a Church makes a stand clearly contrary to the Gospel, such as falling into the trap of political correctness – compromising on issues such as abortion, gay marriage.. we are inadvertently persecuting the Church ( Body of Christ, nailing Jesus on the Cross again?? – Hebrews 6:6).
Paul thought he was doing the Lord a favor with his zeal in persecuting the body of Christ, not withstanding his possible great knowledge of the Word of God as a Pharisee ( Philippians 3:5) Unfortunately for many Christians and Churches also, we may have a lot of bible knowledge but totally miss the heart of God on its Person Jesus and its application.
Paul’s road to Damascus.
When sin abounds, grace supper abounds ( Romans 5:20 ) God can use the foolish things of this world for His Glory ( 1 Corinthians 1:26-28). Possibly one of the greatest persecutors of the Church was converted to one of its greatest defenders.
A light shines from heaven, Saul falls to the ground and is blinded. – Jesus (in His great sense of humor?) appears to Saul as the great I Am – in the way we need Him to be to sort out our situation. Saul though knowledgeable in the Scripture was indeed blind to what the Scripture was about ( Jesus- all scripture point to me [ John 5:39 ])and Jesus appeared to him as light (to remove the darkness in him).
The first step on our road to Damascus is
1. Getting a revelation of Jesus Christ. May be in various ways for different people, for some a subtle conviction by the Holy Spirit, for others through dreams and visions, while others more dramatic through miracles, signs and wonders such as being healed from cancer or paralysis or being saved from death. Salvation is a personal affair. Everyone will have to make their choice to accept or reject Jesus Christ >> the people with Saul heard the voice but saw no one.
2. Being obedient to Jesus after the revelation. ” get up, go… do…” At times after being saved / having an encounter with Jesus, our hands may need to be held and we may need guidance by the right people >> Saul was led by the hand to Damascus.
Does the Church have the relevant support structures for new believers…? Such as teaching on:
- – prayer ( how we communicate with and express ourselves to the Lord) ,
- – fasting ( how we change our focus from worldly / fleshy things to focus more exclusively on spiritual things) and the
- – Word of God ( how the Lord speaks to us through – every Word that comes from the mouth of God ( Matthew 4:4)- such as through scripture, dreams and visions, prophecy ?
3. Take time to get more revelation of Jesus about His plans for our lives. This involves getting away from worldly / fleshy things to focus exclusively on spiritual things done mostly through prayer, fasting and meditation on the Word of God. >> Saul did not eat or drink and was in prayer and the Lord was communicating with him through visions.
Those seeking the Lord – the Lord will respond by possibly :
1. – Sending to one a divine helper. Ananaias was:
- ~ to lay his hands on Saul ( fellowship with the new believers)
- ~ help Saul regain his sight (pointing them to Jesus, getting a revelation of Jesus Christ – scales falling off ones eyes, Jesus came that the blind may see ( Luke 4:18) )
- ~ have Saul filled with the Holy Spirit ( empowerment from the divine helper, God’s power to do God’s business, baptism of the Holy Spirit )
2. – Directing ones steps to the Church or place that will straighten ones way ( making ones crooked places straight ( Isaiah 42:16 ) ). Saul was led to a Street called Straight!
Vs 19- the more I devour the Word Jesus , the stronger I become spiritually.
Vs 22 Sauls preaching became more and more powerful. John 6:51, 1 Corinthians 10:4
Vs 15- Saul was called / chosen by the Lord to :
- – Take the Gospel to the gentiles and to Kings and to the Jews.
- – Suffer for the sake of the Gospel ( the persecutor becoming the persecuted for the Gospel??)
Do I have clarification of what the Lord has called / chosen me for?
Who chooses who? – is a very important question in our callings if we are to get it right or have the right mindset for ministry.
- If I choose Jesus, then I would expect Jesus to comply with my terms and conditions. Focus will be more of doing things my way for the kingdom – Saul before conversion.
- If Jesus chooses me, then I have to comply with His terms and conditions for service. Focus will be on doing things the Lord’s way for His kingdom.
Have I chosen Jesus or has Jesus chosen me for the ministry that I am now serving in for the kingdom?
If Jesus has chosen me ( If I declare myself a man of God, a minister of the Gospel, a Christian with this and that title …) , do I even know or understand what Christ’s mission was on earth and if I am indeed aligned to it ( my mission from Christ in line with His overall vision from the Father ) ?
Luke 4:18 gives us the mission of Jesus Christ on earth in line with the Father’s vision of salvation of mankind. The Spirit of the Lord was in Jesus and anointed Him to :
- – Preach good news to the poor ( preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. People getting a revelation of Jesus Christ? )
- – Proclaim deliverance to the captives ( Jesus as Messiah, saving us from the captivity of sin?)
- – Proclaim recovery of sight to the blind ( possibly once we come to the Cross our eyes are opened to all the blessings the Lord has for us. We are made the righteousness of God in Christ and legitimate partakers of the kingdom )
- – To release the oppressed ( once we understand who we are now in Christ when born again, we can use the power and authority granted to us to get free from oppression – debts, sickness, poverty, relationship issues)
Do I have Holy Spirit filing and anointing for my calling?
Or am I still attempting to do God’s work with my strength?
Could that be why I am not effective in ministry?
An encounter with Jesus Christ never leaves one the same again and others should notice the difference. Paul was radically converted from persecutor to defender of the faith.
When one decides to abandon the ways of the world and focus on depopulating hell and populating the kingdom of God, the devil fights back like a roaring lion seeking to devour through what he does best – threats, intimidation and application of killing, stealing and destruction. But…
Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world ( 1 John 4:4).
As long as I love the Lord and pursuing His purposes, the Lord will ensure that everything will be working for my good (Romans 8:28 -29).
Indeed just like a tree that bears good fruit will have the most stones thrown at it ( ~African proverb?), those that produce fruit for the kingdom will also suffer / encounter persecutions (Matthew 5:10-12 ).
The Body of Christ should always show support for those that are being persecuted for the sake of the Gospel. This enabled Paul to spread the Gospel, bringing numerous people into the kingdom. Barnabas helped Paul meet the Apostles in Jerusalem.
Do I / does the Church support those persecuted for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ or have we compromised with the world and sacrificed the Truth of the Gospel at the altar of political correctness?
Am I ashamed of the Gospel or do I preach it boldly with the way I think, talk and act around others?
Is my life a witness / testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
The Lord offers peace and protection to those that live in the fear of the Lord.
The Holy Spirit builds the Church of the Lord. Gimmicks, entertainment and compromising the Gospel unnecessary – the unfortunate way in which many Churches try to maintain and grow their numbers.
# Lord Jesus, I repent for…
any aspect of my life that is being lived contrary to Your Word, any aspect that I have compromised on with the World or my flesh against the Truth of Your Word, Any aspect where I have done things in Your name that was not from You or of You. I pray that You transform me into Your Image and Likeness from glory to glory so that I always accurately reflect the heart of the Father to the world around me. Indeed may all aspects of my life be synchronized according to Your will, purposes and plans.
May I also do my part in encouraging and supporting Your Church especially those that suffer persecutions for the sake of the Gospel. Indeed like Paul, empower me to make an enduring impact for the kingdom of God for the glory of God in the area of my calling. Amen!