Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Why We Are Placed in the Church

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Why We Are Placed in the Church

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God has called us for many different reasons and for many different purposes.

Transcript

[Roy Holladay] In the 17th century, the United States became a nation. That was a nation that was made up of an unusual collection of men and women who became leaders of the nation at that point. They were men and women of courage, of vision, of dedication and of zeal. They were quite different from what we see today when it comes to some of our politicians – some of our leaders. They passionately believed in the cause they were involved in. Many of these men were signers of the Declaration of Independence. They came from all walks of life. They were farmers. Some of them were doctors, some businessmen, statesmen, educators, landowners, ministers – you name it – men like John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Samuel Adams, John Adams, just to name a few. They were willing to die for what they believed in. They were willing to put their lives on the line and obey God.

Looking back on history, it seems that they were actually in the right place at the right time. They weren’t born two centuries earlier or a century later. They were in the right place at the right time. And I have no doubt and I believe that it was no coincidence that they – and so many of them – were there at that time, because that’s where God wanted them to be – that there was a time in history. The time had come for God to establish Manasseh – the descendants of Manasseh – as the greatest nation on earth. God was fulfilling His promise to Abraham. You go back and you study the example of Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob, the promises that were handed down, and you will find that God made a promise that the descendants of Joseph would become a great people – and the prophecies indicate, at the very end time.

So God was fulfilling His promise to Abraham. These were individuals of character and determination. They were people, on the physical level, that could be used to bring about what God had predetermined. Remember this: God is in charge of history and brings events about when He chooses. He’s in charge and there are many times that God will allow something to happen, but God intervenes when it’s necessary to bring about what He had said He is going to do.

Now why did God allow this to happen? God raised this country to prominence at that time and I think for several reasons. One was fulfilling a promise to Abraham that He would bless his descendants – one would be a great nation, one would be a company of nations. God was going to establish His Church in a different way – in a greater way at the end time. God was going to make it possible for the Church of God to be able to do a work and He was going to establish that Church. He needed to establish it in an environment where there would be religious freedom and the financial basis to do so.

What if the Work had started in the Congo in Africa? Or had started in Russia? Or started over in India or some other part of the world? God didn’t do that. God actually allowed a nation to thrive – to develop – because He was going to do a Work. And there had to be the right environment for it to be done. God was also going to prepare a people – a specific people for positions of ruler ship in His kingdom – in the future. I’m standing here looking at those people right now – the Church of God. God was going to work with a group of people – to train them, prepare them, get them ready for tremendous jobs in the future.

Now let’s notice a couple of examples of what I’m referring to in the Bible. Let’s go over to Acts 7:17 Acts 7:17But when the time of the promise drew near, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,
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and we’ll pick the story up in verse 17:

Acts 7:17 Acts 7:17But when the time of the promise drew near, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,
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– “ Now when the time of the promise drew near when God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt ….now notice, Israel was in Egypt. They were in captivity. They were slaves. They were having to do the work of their overlords. And yet God didn’t intervene 100 years before or 200 years before. There was a specific progression in time when God was going to intervene to bring Israel out of Egypt. And, as it’s worded here, ‘ when the promise drew near ’ – when the time was right. Now we find that in verse 22 of this same chapter, that:

Acts 7:22 Acts 7:22And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.
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– “ And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, was mighty in words and deeds. ” Josephus says that he was a general in Egypt and that he was a mighty man. He’d been trained. He’d been going through the education and upbringing in Egypt.

Acts 7:23 Acts 7:23And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers the children of Israel.
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– “ But when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffering wrong, he defended and avenged him who oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian.”

Now notice an interesting verse, verse 25:

Acts 7:25 Acts 7:25For he supposed his brothers would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.
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– “ He supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand .”

Where did he get the idea that he was going to deliver Israel? He thought that they would know –  you know, “I’m here, I’ve been put in these unique circumstances. I was allowed to be saved –  become the son of the Pharaohs daughter – and that I would be here to deliver them.” Now the Bible doesn’t say exactly where he got that, but let’s notice God was not ready yet. He supposed they would understand. Maybe he thought, “Well God will deliver these people now. Here I am. I will be the leader.” Well, God was going to use him, but not according to his time. Guess what? He had to flee the country. He was gone for forty years. He was forty at this time and comes back 80 years old. Guess what happened to him in another forty years? Total transformation in the life of Moses. He was now a humble man. He’d been knocked down. He followed sheep for forty years. He’d wandered around in the desert. From being a mighty man, now he was one who said, “I can’t speak.” And so, therefore, he didn’t think that he would be able to do it. But God was going to deliver the people through Moses. And so the timing was up to God. And the same thing is true – that the timing for the nation of Israel to arise in the end time – the descendants of Manasseh and Ephraim – was going to be a specific time when God determines – not when maybe they wanted to. So around 1700 God really began to work with those individuals.

Turn over to Acts 17:26 Acts 17:26And has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
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where it is sort of summarized here, how God deals with the nations.

Acts 17:26 Acts 17:26And has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
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– “ He has made from one blood every nation of men that dwells on the face of the earth, and He has determined their appointed times …it is God who determines when the Assyrian empire was to rise, and the Babylon empire was to come up, when Greece would become a great nation, when Rome would come on the scene. So it is God who determines their appointed times… and the boundaries of their habitation .

Why do you think we go from one sea to the other sea – from sea to shining sea? From Upper Canada down to the Rio Grande? God determines where our people can settle in the appointed times. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a number of individuals, down through history, were there at just the right time. What about Abraham Lincoln? He came on the scene in world history when he did. He was a man of conviction who helped to save the Union. He had his flaws. He had his faults. You can read about him, but yet he was a man who would not buckle. And he stood up for what he felt was right. The same thing could be said of a man like Teddy Roosevelt, who was President during the time of the ascendency of the United States. Here was a man who was – if you look at him, you listen to what he said, how he handled himself – he was a rock. He was a strong individual. He was a person who would not back down. And so God used him. As I said, you can contrast some of these leaders with men we have today and you can see that they lack real conviction. They don’t have ethics. They don’t have morals. They don’t have what it takes to lead. They’re not real leaders. These were individuals in the past who used their talents and abilities when the opportunity presented itself.

Now the time is coming when God is going to do the same with us. There is coming a time…and this is one reason why we go to the Feast of Tabernacles every year – because we have painted for us again, on a yearly basis, what God is going to do. The time is coming when God is going to establish His kingdom on this earth. Spiritual Israel, not physical Israel, will be born into the family of God at the resurrection. We’re going to be assisting Jesus Christ in ruling the nations. Let’s go back to the book of Daniel – Daniel 7:13 Daniel 7:13I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
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. I get excited every time I read the book of Daniel, not only for some of the overall prophecies, but some of the specific prophecies – specific things that God mentions about His plan, His purpose. Notice:

Daniel 7:13 Daniel 7:13I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
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– “ I was watching in the night visions, behold One like the Son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days. And they brought Him near before Him. To Him was given dominion and a glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed .”

So you find that He’s going to set this kingdom up and once it’s established, there will be no end to it.

Daniel 7:18 Daniel 7:18But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
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– ‘ But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.

But who’s going to possess the kingdom, be in charge of the kingdom, rule the kingdom, be responsible for the kingdom? The saints. Now, that’s who you are. Remember a saint is not somebody who performs a couple of miracles and been declared by a papacy to be a saint. It is somebody who God has called and given His Spirit. The Bible shows that we are the saints of God. In Acts 1:6 Acts 1:6When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
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we read this – because the disciples were anxious for the kingdom of God to be set up, they thought maybe Christ was going to do it during their day, so in Acts 1:6 Acts 1:6When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
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it says:

Acts 1:6 Acts 1:6When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
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Therefore when they had come together they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father has put in His own authority .”

So who has the authority to say when the kingdom of God will return? What time the tribulation will take place? It is God Almighty and He is the one who determines and He has the authority over it. It is no accident or coincidence that you and I are in the Church today. It’s like the example of this country being established. I don’t think it was a coincidence that there were able men at that time who were able to help with the establishment of this nation. And yet, when you look around today – just look at the person next to you – it’s no coincidence that that person is sitting here – that you’re sitting here. In John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
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just as a reference – Christ said, “ No one can come unto the Son unless the Father draws him. ” No one can be a Christian, no one can have the Holy Spirit – nobody is going to sneak into Church – unless God calls you – unless God draws you.

So what that means is that every one of us here today, everyone who is in God’s Church, everyone who has repented, been baptized, received the Holy Spirit, is here for a purpose – for a reason. God has called you, He’s selected you. He handpicked you. I think those early leaders – colonial leaders – were where God wanted them to be. Do we understand that we are here today because this is where Gods wants you to be?

There are something like 7.3 billion people on earth. Why are you sitting here? Why am I here? Why did God call us and not them? You’ve been handpicked by the Almighty God – the Ruler over the whole universe – the All Powerful Being in the universe. He looked down and God said, “I want that person. I want this person.” Now you and I wonder, “Why me? Why us?” We look at ourselves, look at our talents, look at our faults, look at where we stumble, fall short, and we wonder, “Well, why did God choose me?” Well, we may wonder, but God did. There is a reason why God did that. Do we fully comprehend today the opportunities that we have – why God has given us different talents and different abilities?

 Erd Shannon played the piano. Now, Troy plays the piano very well. Different ones in this audience can play musical instruments. Different ones can sing. Others are gifted writers. Others may be talented in various ways. There’s a reason why all of this talent – all of this ability – is here in the Church. God’s doing something. And sometimes I think we can become so jaded – we can become so – you know, maybe we’re here, we’ve been here for years, decades, and we forget that there is a God in heaven who is working out His plan here below.

Do we understand that there’s a reason why each one of us has unique life experience? No one lives life the same way. We all have unique experiences. We all go through unique trials and tests, but yet we all share things in common and we all have unique service opportunities. Not everybody does the exact same thing. In Ephesians 1:11 Ephesians 1:11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will:
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the Apostle Paul revealed to the Church at Ephesus that God is certainly doing a special work today – that He has a plan. He has a purpose that He’s working out. And all of this was created before time began – before God created the physical creation. He put together a plan. Because the physical creation was just one step in that plan. There are other steps that God is going to be taking here in the future. Notice verse 11:

Ephesians 1:11 Ephesians 1:11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will:
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In whom also we have obtained an inheritance …so there is an inheritance that we’re going to have… being predestined …now the word “predestined” means to be picked out ahead of time. You have been picked out before everybody else was. If there are 7.3 billion people alive today, how many billions of people have lived on this earth? Well, multiple billions, but God has predestined or has picked out ahead of time… according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to His counsel of His will.

So God has a plan – a purpose that He’s working out here below – and everything goes according to that purpose and that plan, and God is working in your life, my life – all of us. In 1 Corinthians 12 we begin to get a glimmer, we begin to see why God has called us today and placed us in His church – what He’s going to begin to do with us in the future.

1 Corinthians 12:12 1 Corinthians 12:12For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
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For as the body is one and has many members, but all of the members of the one body being many are one body, so also is Christ. For by one spirit we were all baptized into one body –whether we are Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – have been made to drink into one spirit.

Now we are all part of the one body, if you have the Holy Spirit of God, it is the Spirit of God that baptizes and places you in the body. Now as verse 18 says:

1 Corinthians 12:18 1 Corinthians 12:18But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him.
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But now God has set …now don’t stop there, doesn’t say Vic Kubik has set or I have set or anybody else has set… God has set the members, everyone …that’s everybody, all of us… set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased – just as God pleases, He has put in the body.

So what you apply from this verse is, the timing is up to God , He calls us when He decides, when He wants to call us. Secondarily, the calling is of God . And thirdly, the responsibility is of God that God gives to each one of us .

The New Revised Standard Version translates verse 18 this way:

1 Corinthians 12:18 1 Corinthians 12:18But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him.
American King James Version×
But as it is, God arranged the members of the body, each one of them as He chooses. If all were a single member where would the body be?

I thought about having a picture up here of a gigantic eye, and we’ll call it the body – put little feet on it – and you’d have this big eye. Now what could the big eye do? It would be a good eye. It could see of all of you and probably have great vision, but could it hear? Could it talk? Could it walk, could it eat? Could it accomplish much? Well, it would sit and bat at you, the eye would close up and down – or would it simple stare at you? – but that’s about all. So when God put the body together, as it says here, God arranged the members of the body each one of them as He chose. That’s up to God.

1 Corinthians 12:19 1 Corinthians 12:19And if they were all one member, where were the body?
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If all were a single member, where would the body be? Well, there would be no body.

Now the New King James Version talks about God has placed us in the body as He pleased. The word please means, “to will, have in mind, intend” – we have been placed where God intended us to be, where God has willed us to be. Now does that limit our growth? Does that limit our ability to serve more? Absolutely not. But God has called us for a purpose and for a reason. Notice Verse 14, backing up to verse 14:

1 Corinthians 12:14 1 Corinthians 12:14For the body is not one member, but many.
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For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the ear should say, “Because I’m not an ear, I’m not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set each member of the body, as it pleases Him.

So we’re all in the body but each part of the body has a different function, a different duty and different opportunities. I hear with my ears. I smell with my nose. I run with my feet. I can grasp objects with my hands. If I didn’t have a heart, I wouldn’t be standing here. It pumps the blood through the body. The liver has to work. You’ve got to have a digestive system. All of the parts of the body are absolutely necessary. What if the liver wants to be a mouth? Pull the liver out, stick it here. What do you do with the mouth? Each part has a function and the problem, sometimes, with human beings is that we’re not satisfied doing what we’re doing at the time and we want someone else’s job. We want to take over what they’re doing. And you begin to have envy and striving and competition – that kind of thing. But we all have different functions. The eye has a different function than the ear. The nose different function than the mouth. And notice verse 20 goes on to describe here:

1 Corinthians 12:20 1 Corinthians 12:20But now are they many members, yet but one body.
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But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again, the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

All parts of the body are needed for the body to function together smoothly. And so God puts the body together, that’s His job.

1 Corinthians 12:22 1 Corinthians 12:22No, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
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But much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body …notice… God composed the body, having given greater honor …or value you might say… to the parts that lack it.

There may be parts of our body that we don’t value as much, but every part has a value in God eyes or in God’s sight. Do you know how God judges us? He doesn’t judge you by what somebody else does, He judges you by what you do with what you have at the time. Whatever you’re doing, whatever responsibility, whatever duty you have, God judges you by what you do with that. And He can always give you something else to do or greater responsibilities. So God has composed the body – put it together – in the fashion as He sees fit.

Now it might sound ridiculous to say that God has put the body together as He sees fit. What if the mouth were on the stomach? Doesn’t that make sense – closer to the stomach, get it right in there, open your mouth and shovel the food right in? Why did God put the mouth up here? Well, there’s a reason. There’s a nose over the mouth, with the nose…have you ever noticed…I walked in the other day – I think it’s Wednesday – they call it Waffle Wednesday here for the ABC students – I walked in, opened the front door and immediately, I knew there were waffles, because the aroma had worked its way all the way out to the lobby. In fact, I hadn’t even gotten through the lobby door yet. I just opened the front door and you could already smell the aroma. Well, implying that God has made the body in a way that it’s absolutely perfect. You don’t have the mouth right on the stomach or your ear down on the foot or something of that nature. It is exactly where God fashioned it and located it.

Now why has God done this? Why has God done it in the way that He has? Notice Verse 25 – God says that:

1 Corinthians 12:25 1 Corinthians 12:25That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
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That there should be no schism in the body… that if we all are willing to do whatever it is that God has given us at the time to do, then do it. Now as I said, the job can change, but whatever we’re doing, we should do it… that there be no schism in the body …because each part is doing its job… but that the members should have the same care for one another .

God has placed us in the body as He has so that we would have the same care for each other. See, God wants us to learn to care for the other person. And you and I are to have that love, that care, that concern that God has created. Why do we have the responsibility that we do within the Church? Is it not to learn to love and serve one another, to care for others, to make sure that we’re not contributing to division or that type of thing, and that God has called us presently and that we’re going to serve and help and do the same thing in the World Tomorrow? But you have to learn today how to do it. Right now we just finished up an eight day – ten day, actually – training session for our new trainees. Now why did we go through that – that extensive training? Why are they being mentored for anywhere from a year to three years? They’re doing that because they’re being prepared for positions in the future.

When my wife and I came out in the ministry several years ago, we trained under two different pastors. And I came out of Ambassador College – both of us – knew a lot about the Bible – I could quote you the Bible – but I had no knowledge about how to run a church. I didn’t know the first thing about marriage counseling. I had not sat in on all kinds of other counseling. And over a period of a couple years, I learned how to do those type of things.

You and I are going to be given great responsibility in the future. We are learning right now how to do it. Now you might say, “I’m not being trained to rule over a city. I don’t have a city,” or “I don’t have a country to rule over.” But if you’re learning how to care for – love – people…what if you’re learning how to serve people, to give to people? You’re learning what God is looking for to be in His family, in His kingdom.

Let’s notice, backing up to verse 4, 1 Corinthians 12:4 1 Corinthians 12:4Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
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. We find:

1 Corinthians 12:4 1 Corinthians 12:4Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
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Now there are diversities of gifts, but it’s the same spirit .

We all have the same Spirit but that Spirit gives us different gifts. The word translated diversities is used three times in the New Testament – verse 4, 5 and 6 is where it’s used here in this chapter. It just means different kinds. We don’t all have the same gifts. We don’t all have the same talents. We don’t all have the same natural abilities. But God gives to us. Why are we given these gifts? Why has God given us each individual gifts? Notice Verse 7:

1 Corinthians 12:7 1 Corinthians 12:7But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit with.
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But the manifestation of the spirit is given to each one for the profit of all .

So God gives us different spiritual gifts – we even have different talents – human talents – and the reason is so that we might profit, we might serve, we might help everyone. It’s for the common good as far as the Church is concerned. It’s for the good of the body now and also for the good of humanity later on. Let’s put it this way – God is putting together a team. He’s putting together a team and He’s the one selecting who will be on that team. He’s putting together a team of leaders, of rulers, of judges, priests, so to speak, and God is giving us the opportunity to serve with Him. As I mentioned earlier, God could have called anyone out of billions of people on earth. But you know what? God chose you , He chose me . He didn’t chose the billions of people. There are millions of people – I’ll guarantee you – that are smarter than anyone of us sitting in this room. There are millions of people who are more talented. They’re many people who are more gifted than we are. There are many who are richer. I don’t look around this room and see any billionaires. There may be a millionaire – I don’t know – but we don’t see billionaires. Yet God has handpicked us for a reason.

So the point I’m trying to get across to you is that you’re sitting here because God has handpicked you to be here. And He’s handpicked you for a reason. God calls all of us and gives us all different responsibilities. Now God has called some in the Church today to be elders, as an example. Being an elder simply – being ordained is simply – an opportunity to serve and help the Church in a little different capacity. Being an elder doesn’t make us greater than anyone else. It’s a different opportunity for service. It’s serving more in a spiritual capacity – a spiritual manner.

We’re all in the Church today. We’re in the people business to serve the Church – to help, to assist and to help each one get into the kingdom. Maybe we think it’s just Steve Myers, the church pastor, with his jobs, to help each one of us get into the kingdom. Every one of us has an opportunity to help others, to encourage others. When people come and they sit here with us, they’re new and they see a congregation, a church, people who love one another, who are serving one another, who are on fire, who are committed to God to His way. Then they want to be here. There are different kinds of activities that we’re all involved in, in Verse 6 here says:

1 Corinthians 12:6 1 Corinthians 12:6And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which works all in all.
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There are diversities …or differences… of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all . Verse 7 again, God does this so that everyone can profit from it.

Now I want you to notice a very valuable lesson that Jesus Christ taught His disciples. And this was something He had to teach them over and over again. They didn’t get it the first go around. Let’s go back to Matthew 20:21 Matthew 20:21And he said to her, What will you? She said to him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on your right hand, and the other on the left, in your kingdom.
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Notice what He taught His disciples about service and how our service today equates with our future responsibilities in the kingdom. This is Mrs. Zebedee who came to Christ and asked Him about her two sons.

Matthew 20:21 Matthew 20:21And he said to her, What will you? She said to him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on your right hand, and the other on the left, in your kingdom.
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And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant me that these two sons of mine (James and John) may sit, one on Your right hand and one on Your left, in the kingdom .”

Wow, that’s asking quite a lot – one to be on Your right hand and one on Your left in the kingdom.

Matthew 20:22 Matthew 20:22But Jesus answered and said, You know not what you ask. Are you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say to him, We are able.
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And Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask .” And going on:

Matthew 20:23 Matthew 20:23And he said to them, You shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not my to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
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So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not mine to give, for it is for those to whom it’s prepared by My Father .”

Now notice, the Father has the responsibility of preparing us for positions in the kingdom. You and I are being prepared for specific jobs – specific positions.

Matthew 20:24 Matthew 20:24And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brothers.
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Now when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.

So how is God going to evaluate you and me on how great we will be in the kingdom? By how much we are serving today. Now God recognizes that we’re only able to serve according to our health, age, sometimes opportunities, but that we exercise and we do serve. In verse 27:

Matthew 20:27 Matthew 20:27And whoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
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– “ Whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom for many .”

So Jesus Christ specifically said the road to greatness is through service – if you want to be great. We are going to have great leaders in the world tomorrow – and they’re not going to be like the Gentiles, or like they would rule. God is preparing a new kind of leader, a new type of leader – one who is formed in His image – His character image. Jesus Christ was the greatest servant who ever walked this earth. He was a great example of a leader. He was willing to get down and wash His disciples feet right before He was murdered – was crucified.

I don’t know if you have ever read about some of the Roman rulers. I’ve been reading a book here recently describing some of the leaders in the Roman world – Julius Caesar, Octavian – some of these individuals, some of the battles that they would get involved in, and how they would subjugate the nations. They would go in and sometimes kill ten, twenty thousand people, men, women and children. They just slaughtered them. Many times they would take their heads and put them on a pole. Or they would crucify people for mile after mile after mile – to strike fear. That’s how they were going to rule. They were going to rule with an iron fist – “I’m in charge, you don’t dare go against me, and this is what will happen to you.” I was just struck by the barbarianism, if you want to call it that. Reminds us of what is going on today in the Mid-East and Isis – some of the videos that we have seen portrayed there.

That’s not the type of ruler Jesus Christ is looking for. He’s looking for someone – that when the world tomorrow begins – who is going to say, “Here, let me help you come back to Jerusalem,” and go look for a cart or a horse for them to ride on. He’s going to be there to help them – maybe carry a child. He’s going to bring them back, going to show them how to plant a garden, how to build a house, how to settle down, begin to help them find jobs. He’s going to be there to serve them, to help them, to give to them – not somebody who is going to be there saying, “Look, you’re my subjects. I’m going to rule over you.” That’s the way, basically, you find the rulers of this world have ruled, or they rule for their own advantage – they take advantage. In some of the areas, you find some of the Gentile rulers, once they are in power, what happens? Well, they steal the nation blind. They put millions of dollars into Swiss bank accounts somewhere so that when they retire, they’ve got money to support themselves. Well this is not what God is looking for today.

Remember this: the greatest servant in the universe is God Almighty – God the Father. He is the greatest Servant. Christ is next. And He’s looking for those who want to be a part of His family. Let’s go over to Luke 19:11 Luke 19:11And as they heard these things, he added and spoke a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
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We’ll read here in Verse 11:

Luke 19:11 Luke 19:11And as they heard these things, he added and spoke a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
American King James Version×
Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought that the kingdom of God would appear immediately.

Luke 19:12 Luke 19:12He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
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Therefore He said, “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. And he called ten of his servants and delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come .’

So here are his servants, he gives them talents and abilities – in this case, personified by money – and he told them to serve – to go ahead and do business with what he’d given them. So we, as the people of God, are to be about our Father’s business – about the Work that God has called us to do. We’re learning how to serve. And God is looking for rulers who look like Him – a family resemblance. We look like Him in looks, but not necessarily just in looks, but in character.

I’ve got five sons. They all look like me a little bit, but they look like my wife and I. Some look more like her, some look more like me, but there is a family resemblance. I’ve got brothers. There’s no mistake that we’re brothers. There’s a family resemblance. There is a Holladay resemblance that…I can go back and look at my grandfather and we look just like him. And so we know that our children look like us.

Well, God is looking for a family – or creating a family. He’s creating a family that looks like Him when it comes to character image – that His law is written to our innermost being, that our motives are true motives and righteous motives, that we have the mind of God. We have a spiritual mind and heart. As Verse 19 says here, notice, well back up to verse 16:

Luke 19:16 Luke 19:16Then came the first, saying, Lord, your pound has gained ten pounds.
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– “ The first came …Christ comes back… saying, ‘Master, my mina has earned ten minas.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant, because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’

So here is an individual who overcame ten times and was given authority over ten cities.

Luke 19:18 Luke 19:18And the second came, saying, Lord, your pound has gained five pounds.
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– “ And the second came saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five.’ Likewise he said to him, ‘Be over five cities .’

So again, we see the fact that we will be rewarded in the future according to what we’re doing today. Someone might say, “Well there’s not a lot that I can do. I’m infirmed. I’m older. I can’t get out. I can’t even get down on my knees to pray.” But you know, you can sit in your chair and pray. You can ask God to bless His work, His church, pray for the sick and we can all…. God isn’t comparing us with anyone else. God is looking at what we do with what He has given us – what we do with the circumstances we find ourselves in.

And so what God is looking for is spiritual growth – spiritual maturity – in all of us in development. He wants to see how we use our natural talents, our spiritual gifts and the opportunities that He’s given us. So you notice here that our responsibilities in the future are pegged to our spiritual growth in service now and what we do. The job of a king or a priest in the world tomorrow is an opportunity to serve. The more cities you rule over, the more people you will have the opportunity to serve. If you rule over ten cities, guess what? You’ve got ten cities to rule over and to help those people.

What about Jesus Christ? In the world tomorrow, Jesus Christ will be the greatest servant on the earth, because He will rule over the whole earth and so He will be responsible for the whole earth. David will rule over Israel and he’ll be responsible for all twelve tribes of Israel. The Apostles – each one – will rule over a tribe of Israel. And you and I will rule over cities or be given other administrative responsibilities and duties – wherever God places us. Not only does He place us in the church today, He’s going to place us in the world tomorrow and the problems, the trials, the difficulties. All of the things that we go through today, we go through because God is preparing us.

Sometimes you look at a person and you wonder, “Boy, they always seem to be going through something,” and you wonder why. We all ask ourselves, “Why am I am going through this. Why do I have this difficulty?” And what God is doing is preparing us. He knows precisely what we need so that we can do the job He’s called us to do. This explains why we go through certain trials – certain tests. Notice what Paul said back in the book of Colossians 1:24 Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
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Colossians 1:24 Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
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– I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.

Paul suffered for preaching the gospel – for doing the Work of God. We suffer now in order to have compassion on those that we’ll be dealing with in the future. Do you realize that in the family of God in the future, there’s going to be someone in that family who will be able to help every human being? When they come back from tribulation – that type of peril – and they’re resettled, there are going to be people who have gone through bad marriages. They’re going to be people who have gone through all kinds of problems and difficulties. There’s going to be somebody in the family of God, who will partake in that first resurrection, who’s gone through that trial – that test – they’ve been exposed to that problem – who will be able to deal with that individual, and say, “Let me help you. I know what you’re going through. I’ve experienced this in the past. Here’s how I dealt with it. Here’s what God did. God’s on the earth and you don’t have to worry anymore.” You will begin to teach and guide and direct them.

So God is preparing a group of people who can have compassion on others. Let’s notice, the World English Dictionary defines the word compassion as follows: sympathy for the suffering of others, sympathy for what others go through, often including a desire to help.

God is developing us to have empathy, sympathy, compassion for others so that we might be able to help them.

Now let’s notice 2 Corinthians 1:3 2 Corinthians 1:3Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
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, where we find that the Bible echoes that definition.

2 Corinthians 1:3 2 Corinthians 1:3Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
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– Blessed be God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort ….so God is the God who has all the comfort… who comforts us in all of our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:5 2 Corinthians 1:5For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ.
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– For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us …so we go through suffering because we’re Christians at times… so our consolation also abounds through Christ .

So we go through trials and tests and difficulties so that we can learn to show compassion on others and to help them. So God is preparing each one of us. Let’s notice in 2 Peter, one last scripture here, 2 Peter 1:5 2 Peter 1:5And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
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, what Peter wrote. He talks about the growth, the process that we should be going through, the development we should be going through, and he says:

2 Peter 1:5 2 Peter 1:5And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
American King James Version×
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness love.

So he’s listing a step by step growth and development that we should have. Now in verse 8 he says:

2 Peter 1:8 2 Peter 1:8For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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– If these things are yours …if you have kindness, if you have perseverance, if you have love, if these things are yours… and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But you and I will understand more about God, His plan, His purpose.

2 Peter 1:9 2 Peter 1:9But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
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For he who lacks these things …if we’re not developing these things… is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Therefore brethren, be more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.

You and I are concentrating on the spiritual things and we’re concentrating on our service and our help and our care for others. We’ll never stumble. There’s nothing that’s going to come along that will cause us to stumble, to quit, to give up, to stop.

2 Peter 1:11 2 Peter 1:11For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
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For so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ .

So if we do these things, we’re guaranteed, we’re promised that we will be in God’s kingdom. Then Peter goes on to remind them:

2 Peter 1:12 2 Peter 1:12Why I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and be established in the present truth.
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Therefore I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know them …I haven’t told you anything here today that you don’t already know or you should know, about God’s plan and God’s purpose. And that’s what Peter is saying, that I won’t be negligent to… remind you always of these things so you know them and are established in the present truth.

And so Peter realized that it was important to write these principles down, include them in the scriptures so that we would be reminded – we would never forget. You know, this is the reason why we come to Church every Sabbath. We come to be reminded of God’s plan – God’s purpose – why we’re here, what God is doing. This is why we’re supposed to keep our noses in the Bible – study the Bible, as we found in the sermonette earlier. This is one of the major reasons why we go to the Feast of Tabernacles every year – to have the calling, the plan of God, the picture that God who is painting for us, renewed in our mind, so that we never forget it. And then finally it’s there, it’s etched in our minds.

If you never can keep another Feast of Tabernacles for some reason, whatever, in the future – never able to get together with God’s people, would you still observe it at home and would you still be reminded of God’s plan and purpose and never deviate from it? Our motivation and our focus has always got to be renewed. It helps us to not be shortsighted but to be on fire for our future.

So remember this, as God has said in the scripture – it is God’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. And God is going to give His kingdom to those that He handpicked, selected and trained to become great leaders in the world tomorrow.