Session 3: There’s no way we can go back to what used to be. In fact, I don’t want to go back. I want to move forward; I want to create new and better fruit for the Kingdom of God. The major changes in the world today have forced us to get creative in our thinking as a church. We are more insightful and more flexible; I believe that’s exactly what’s required for the end-time harvest the Lord desires in His church. We have a choice. We can sit on the bench and wish things would go back to “normal” OR we can position ourselves to get in the game and help get the ball across the goal line. I can tell you from experience, it’s no fun to just sit the bench.
I must ask myself, “What do I really want in life?” Consumer Christianity just doesn’t seem to be fitting in the picture anymore. Riding the fence is just not an option for me anymore. I believe the Lord is calling us to more. The Lord has CHOSEN you as a church leader... for more.
John 15:16: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit…” Jesus said it – not just me. He said two significant things in this passage: “You haven’t chosen me, I chose you…” AND “go and bring forth fruit.”
1 Peter 2:9 tells us: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light…”
You have been called out of darkness. You have been chosen for a purpose. Now, the question becomes a little more difficult. How are you going to react to what you’ve be chosen for?
It is obvious from these verses that the Lord is not going to allow us to be satisfied with just being out of darkness. He didn’t call you out, just to get you out but that you would “…shew forth the praises…” He chose you for something greater, something high and holy. There is a reason He chose you.
How are you going to react to the fact you were chosen? Are you going to be satisfied with coming out of the darkness… or are you going to move into the light… into more… into the fullness of what He has for you.
Read this passage from Revelation carefully. Revelation 17:14 says: “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.”
As a church leader, I really hope you can grasp that it is not enough to be called . . . not enough to be chosen. That is not the ultimate destination for us all. When you get to the end of the Book – when you read Revelation 17:14, there’s another word there: “…called, and chosen, and faithful.” Those who are with Him at the end are the ones who were called and chosen and faithful. There will be some who were called and chosen, who were not faithful.
Let’s revisit the verse we began this series with, and already used above, and explore what is at stake if we choose not to be fruitful and faithful.
John 15:16 reads: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit.”
Remember this: Judas was still in the group of twelve that Jesus was speaking to at this time. Judas was handpicked by Jesus Himself. Judas was chosen. He was told in this verse the same thing the others heard: “I have chosen you and I want you to go and bring forth fruit…” Yet, as we know, Judas made the decision to not only not be fruitful and, in the end, he wasn’t faithful either. Sometime after Jesus called him and chose him, something went terribly wrong. Judas lost out before he could be proven faithful. Even though Judas was called and chosen, he will now spend eternity in a place called hell because he chose not to be faithful.
I am by no means putting you in the category of Judas nor telling you where you'll spend eternity. (I hope you understand that.) I realize Judas is an extreme example. Yet, at the same time, I just wonder how many church leaders over the last few thousand years were called and chosen but refused to be faithful? How many did not take it a step further and ultimately refused to be fruitful.
“He hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light…” He chose me and He chose you to go and bring forth fruit. God called the children of Israel out of darkness when He called them out of Egypt. His desire was for them to reach the Promised Land. He knew they would have to go through the wilderness. He knew they would have to endure some major things. Yet, He still wanted them to possess the Promised Land.
To get to that Promised Land, they had to go through the wilderness. Every single Israelite was called and chosen. However, there was a whole generation of Israelites that died in the wilderness and never reached the promise because they refused to remain faithful. They went to the grave in the wilderness because being chosen is just not enough. Somewhere in the wilderness they came up on a well of water that was bitter; they resisted against their leader Moses and ultimately against God. The result was that they never actually reached the Promised Land. Just because a person is called and chosen… doesn't mean that person is in God’s will and bearing fruit.
Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem when he literally cursed a fig tree because it wasn’t bearing fruit. I hope you understand I’m not trying to speak negative things today; I just feel a call to stir some things for us today. I know there’s a ton of church leaders out there who are excited to be in ministry, excited to be in a great church, and a part of a great team. The point of being on a team is to get on the field and play ball. It’s no fun to sit on the bench when we really need to be in the game producing big results, producing fruit with our lives for the Kingdom of God.
He has called us out of darkness to take us into light. The purpose of being chosen in the football game is to take the ball across the goal line, not to just sit the bench.
I want to challenge you today with a few questions:
What fruit am I seeing in my life?
Are you seeing negative fruit? Are you the source of negativity and division in the church and in the Kingdom of God or are you adding to the church daily?
Are you draining people around you with your moodiness or passive aggressive behavior... or are you moving closer to relationships and giving life to people daily?
Are you turning lost people away by your actions... or are you drawing people to the gospel that will save them?
Judas was handpicked by the Master. He was called. He was chosen. Yet he chose NOT to bring forth fruit in his life. I know you have it within you to do great things. Rather than allowing the pressure of this world and the pressure of ministry to derail you, let it motivate you to go and bring forth positive fruit for the Kingdom of God.
It's not sitting on the bench but getting in the game that will bring long lasting fulfillment to your life.
What can I do this week to be more present in the game?
Spend a few minutes processing these two questions over the next few days... I can almost guarantee the Lord will quicken your mind to a few things.
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