In Matthew 10 we find the details surrounding the events when Jesus sent out of the Twelve. These men were to go to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was at hand. As they preached this Good News, Jesus also instructed them to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons. This was a great honor and they were well aware whose authority they would carry forth to perform this work.
But before these men embarked upon this monumental assignment, Jesus issued a very important warning in verse 16 saying, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless (innocent) as doves.” These words were given in order to put into perspective exactly what they would be doing and how it must be done.
In the following verses, Jesus then goes on to outline the challenges that they would encounter and the hardships they would have to endure as they fulfilled this commission. Jesus did not hide this fact from His faithful servants nor did He sugar coat anything. However, He did give these men some encouragement by assuring them that they would not be alone, especially in those times of trial.
In verses 19-20 Jesus gives them a promise that must have captivated their hearts and minds. He said, “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” He then adds in verse 26, “Therefore, do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.”
Why would this have been such a captivating and inspiring statement? Think about this. Although the task at hand would be very difficult and at times feel as if everyone and everything was out to destroy their efforts, Jesus promises that something greater would be at work within them. Despite the opposition they would face, they would be supported by a greater power than anything that would stand in opposition of their work.
What was promised would be a power that God Himself would supply. Just imagine what they must have been feeling. When they would be challenged by the mighty men of the earth, they had the confidence that the words that would proceed from their mouth, if they heeded that warning, would be directly inspired by the Father in Heaven. What a wonderful assurance to have indeed!
Apply this to what we have been called to do, those servants with whom the ends of this age have fallen. We too have a work which must be carried out while being wise as serpents and harmless as doves. We must have a correct perspective of what we’re doing and why. Just as the Twelve faced great hardships, we too must endure great adversity as we take this wonderful Gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world. As we do this work, we too can have the upmost confidence in the faithful promises of our God.
Although God never promised it would be easy, He has promised to be with us each step of the way. If we are to walk in the footsteps of those faithful who have walked before us, we must stand firm on the foundation of the truth. We must have a faith to walk forward even in the face of adversity. We must possess the vision and be assured where we’re going. We must remain obedient so that we’re not tempted to stray from or manipulate the original instruction.
Let’s be honest. As we look at the challenges we’ll face in today’s evil world, the task at times will feel overwhelming and the path impossible to walk. But, when we step back and seek the wisdom of God and then humbly approach the work according to His will, that which seems impossible will be made possible, (Matthew 19:26). The impossible becomes possible when we allow Christ to work mightily in and through us and not force our will over God’s will, (Galatians 2:20, Philippians 4:13, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Let us therefore be wise, yet humble servants for God. He knows the way, He knows the challenges, so when a door opens we walk through. When one closes, we don’t try to pick the lock, but look for the door that has been provided. (2 Corinthians 2:12-14, Acts 16:5-10). Let’s never forget the power that’s working in and through us and let’s always glorify our God for doing so. It’s never about us, it’s about being about our Father’s business.
I’ll end with this scripture that sums us what this power is doing, not just in us and for us, but for those who witness that power at work in our lives. I Peter 2: 1,4-5,9,11-16, “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby… Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ… you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;… Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. Therefore, submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.”
Have a warm and spiritually fulfilling Sabbath,
For the Youth - Bible Trivia:
1. What is the longest name given to a child in the bible?
*Hint: Isaiah 8:1-4
2. On what Island was the aposlte Paul shipwecked on?
*Hint: Acts 27 - 28:1
3. What sign did God give as a reminder of His Covenant with Noah and all that live on the earth?
* Hint: Genesis 9:8-17
North Canton Announcements:
- Sabbath Service Time (December 24th): 2:30 PM - In person services have been canceled. We do not have a meeting hall/space available due to the holidays. However, this is the WFW service and a full service will be broadcasted from Home Office WFW event.
- Next Sabbath - December 31st: 11:00 AM - Our normal meeting hall will not be available so the location and service time has been changed. Services will be located at the Holiday Inn - 898 Arlington Ridge E Akron OH 44312
- Zoom Bible Study: The next scheduled Bible study will take place January 19, 2023 at 7:30 PM
- Kitchen Volunteer Meeting: There will be a meeting on January 14, 2023 for all kitchen crew members.
- Brethren Helping Brethren: We are all facing some very difficult times and things seem to be getting worse. The young and elderly may be struggling or may struggle moving forward. We would like to reach out to our N Canton Brethren by setting up a table in the back of our fellowship hall for donated non-perishable items. (paper products, cleaning supplies, canned goods etc.) If you would like to participate please bring in your items on January 14th . Depending on items donated and need we will update with the next donation date whether it be monthly or bi-monthly. Please contact Debbie Kuhns with ideas or questions.
- Marriage Seminar Weekend: Why settle for a good marriage when God gives us the tools to have a great marriage. Marriage is under attack and it’s never a waste of time to invest in strengthening this special relationship between a husband and wife. This special weekend will provide the opportunity for our married couples to come together as a family to learn how to protect and develop even more what God has blessed us with. The seminar/activity will take place from Friday evening January 27 to Sunday afternoon January 29th. Location will be the Holiday Inn Boardman, OH. * Please Register for the event.
- Growing in Faith Weekend: All UCG young adults are invited to join us at the 2023 Growing in the Faith weekend from January 13- 16, 2023 in Stewartville, Minnesota, to discuss how to prepare for a godly marriage. While single, it is the perfect time to learn and grow into the person God wants us to be, even if we haven’t met that perfect person yet. Now is the time to be developing the characteristics that will help us have the successful, happy marriages that God wants us to have when that time comes.
In addition to several seminars given by David Schreiber, Ed Dowd and Brian Shaw, we will have plenty of time for fellowship, sledding, games and dancing. This will be a great chance to spend quality time with fellow brothers and sisters in the faith in a positive, uplifting atmosphere. Please register now at growinginthefaith.com! Special pricing of $170 includes all food, lodging, and activities for the weekend. Don't miss out on this special opportunity!
- Young Adult Winter/Ski Retreat: We are excited to announce a Young Adult winter/ski retreat, President's Day Weekend February 17th-20th, 2023! We are hoping to forge new and deeper relationships with people of like mind. We will be eating and staying together for the whole weekend. We welcome all young adults ages 18–29, single or married.
We will be staying in cabins at Pipestem State Park in Pipestem, West Virginia. Activities will include skiing/snowboarding, sledding, hiking, swimming, bonfire, sports, and lots and lots of hanging out. More information about the activities can be found on the website. We will also have several interactive discussions and Bible studies. The theme of this weekend will be focused on "how can young adults contribute to the future of the Church of God?"
Registration is open, so go ahead and register on the registration tab at ucgyawinterretreat.org, and we will see you there!
- Seasons of a Women’s Life: The women of the Indianapolis and Fort Wayne congregations invite you to a Women’s Enrichment Weekend April 21-23, 2023. We will discuss and learn about the “Seasons of a Woman’s Life”. Rooms have been reserved at a local hotel and we will host a welcome reception there on Friday evening. On Saturday and Sunday, ladies will meet at the Indianapolis church building for a fun weekend of learning, fellowship, and music. Prices and registration information will be coming out in January. You may contact Lizzy Creech at email@example.com with any questions.
If I’ve overlooked anything, Please let me know ASAP.