Beloved, one thing that I have learned as Senior Pastor of this fellowship is that leaders lead. They make decisions and sometimes those decisions are popular ones and sometimes they are not. But the truth is this; a godly leader will make strong decisions for the betterment of the fellowship.
In today’s study we learn of a wise decision given by the leader of the church in Jerusalem. Coincidently, the
leader was not Peter but James, the brother of Jesus. James makes a decision, which ultimately determines the
fate of the church for the better. It was unpopular for some but benefited the church as a whole.
Beloved, whenever I have disagreed with a decision from a higher authority, I learned to submit to their leadership. Humility requires a heavy dose of submission and if I am going to lead, I also need to submit out of respect and honor for those serving in leadership over me.
Beloved, sometimes we tend to view the early church through stain-glass windows as though they had no problems. However, remember this truth, whenever people are involved, there will be problems. God uses people but the people that God uses are imperfect and therefore sometimes the greatest conflicts are in the body of Christ.
The truth is that people disagree. If you ever find two people that agree on everything, then one of them is not thinking. In fact it is not just immature people who disagree but godly people disagree. Abraham and Lot’s servants disagreed; Jacob and Laban argued; and the early disciples often quarreled with one another.
Quite honestly some issues are worth fighting for while others are just a waste of time. If it is a doctrinal issue, then we will rumble. Jude 1:3 says, “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” I will fight for the faith. Otherwise, we should follow what Rupertus Meldenius said, “In non-essentials, liberty; in essentials, unity; in all things, charity.”
Beloved, it was Dwight L. Moody who heard a pastor say, “The world has yet to see what God can do through one man wholly devoted to Him.” When he heard those words, it was like an arrow to his heart. He said, “By the grace of God, I will be that man!” Beloved, may we be wholly devoted to the Lord!
It was one man, David Livingston, who so greatly influenced the continent of Africa toward God that Africa and Livingston are almost synonymous terms.
It was one man, William Carey, responsible for the redemptive transforming power of Christ being effectively presented to the teeming millions in India.
It was because of one man, William Booth, who gave himself completely to God's service that there started in the slums of London the beginnings of an evangelistic movement that encircled the globe known as the Salvation Army.
Beloved, is God calling you to be that one man or woman? Maybe you are not called to Africa or China or anywhere but where you now live. Beloved, you can be that one man or woman for God if you wholly devote yourself to the Lord.
Beloved, as soon as we leave these doors we become missionaries to a lost and dying world! Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Now, while this chapter may contain no explicit teaching of the disciplines of a missionary, it does present two outstanding servants of the Lord who displayed these disciplines. A discipline is a systematic code of conduct or order. When properly applied a discipline can become a pillar on which we can build our spiritual life. Beloved, if you develop these disciplines in your life you will be a fruitful disciple of Jesus Christ!