Declaration of war
The Forty first chapter of the book of Isaiah begins with a statement of declaration of war and a call to battle. 1“Be silent before me, you islands! Let the nations renew their strength! Let them come forward and speak; let us meet together at the place of judgment.
Subsequent verses predicted the outcome of the war
2“…. He hands nations over to him and subdues kings before him. He turns them to dust with his sword, to windblown chaff with his bow. 3He pursues them and moves on unscathed, by a path his feet have not traveled before.
The mandate of Missions, “Go and make disciples of all ethnic groups” is a call to battle. For all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God. All have become slaves to sin. All are under the control of Satan, the Strong man and except a Stronger than he would come, his slaves remain under him.
God, over times, has been in the business of preparing men whom He used to redeem people and nations from oppression of the enemy.
Chapters’ four to seven of the book of Exodus is an account of how God prepared Moses and his encounter with Pharaoh leading to redemption of Israel from bondage.
There is also the account in 1 Sam. 17 of how God used David to confront Goliath to release Israel from oppression of the Philistines.
Gideon was an instrument also in God’s hand against the Midianites in the chapters six and seven of the book of Judges.
Our Master, Jesus Christ as He unrolled the scroll of the prophet Isaiah which was handed to him as recorded in Luke 4:18 – 19, found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
This became the preoccupation of our Lord Jesus while he was on earth. He was prepared for it and He went about doing it.
He also prepared men. He had disciples whom He prepared and gave the mandate of Missions, “Go and make disciples of all ethnic groups”
Therefore, it is with this mind we shall be x-raying the title Sharp Threshing Instruments
The making of God’s instrument for the battle
The making of God’s instrument for missions begins with a call. Isaiah 41: 8 -9 says
“But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.”
No aspect of the Christian is more puzzling than this problem of a call. There are various extreme positions based on individual experiences, knowledge and interpretation of the scriptures. However, you cannot serve God better than how much understanding you have of the call.
What constitutes a missionary call?
Let us examine these two statements of call
“Go ye into the entire world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
“Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
Common argument is that we must have a special divine indication before we can accept to fall under the first statement. But we do not ask for any special divine indication to fall under the second statement. We are quick to accept the privileges as applying to every Christian and relegate its obligations to the conscience of the few? The question we should ask ourselves is “Is it really missionary call we are looking for or an excuse?
If I am standing by the bank of a stream, and some little children were drowning, I would not need an officer of the law to come along and serve me some legal paper commanding me under such and such a penalty to rescue those children. I should despise myself if I should stand there with the possibility of saving those little lives, waiting until, by some legal proceeding; I am now told that I was personally designated to rescue them!
Can we listen for a moment to the wail of the hungry world? Can we feel for one hour its sufferings. Sympathize for one moment with its woes. And then regard it just as you would regard human want in your neighbor, or the want that you meet as you pass down the street, or anywhere in life. There is something wonderfully misleading, full of hallucination and delusion in this business of missionary calls.
There are a great many of us who would never hear a call if it came. Somebody must come and coerce us before we will go into missionary work.
We are all under an obligation to give life, time and possession to the evangelization of the souls that have never heard of Jesus Christ. And we are bound to go, unless we can offer some sure ground of exemption which we could with a clear conscience present to Jesus Christ and be sure of His approval upon it.
Think for a minute, what the world would look like today if every Christian literally embraced God’s command to ‘go’ and sincerely said to God, “I am going to the nations to preach the gospel… If it’s not your will for me to go, stop me!”
As we get to know God’s character and study His Word, it becomes impossible NOT to know His will!
Many are Called, Few are Chosen.From among the called, few are chosen by God to perform duties for Him. …fulfilling the obligation of the Israelites (Num. 3:5-8) i.e. God chooses certain men, who shall be separated totally unto Him, “…that they may serve him …attend to His needs and the needs of the whole congregation… to do the work of the tabernacle. From amongst the Israelites that He called out of Egypt to show forth His praise, He chose the LEVITES.
Despite being chosen of God, Israel generally revealed a selfish disinterest in fulfilling the purposes of God. The book of Jonah is a typical iillustration of Israel’s selfish attitude and contempt for the other nations.
Not having the Missionary Vision is not without its consequences. Jerusalem was covered (Acts 5:28-42) with the gospel but they did not extend to Judea, Samaria, and uttermost parts of the earth. The apostles were slow to move out of their own cultural comfort zone in taking the Gospel to the Gentile nations.
“but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” Acts 1:8 (NASB).
Our Mission is to proclaim Christ’s victory among ALL nations.When the Church has finished her task, Christ will come. ‘And the Gospel of the Kingdom will be PREACHED in the whole world as a testimony TO ALL NATIONS, and then the END will come” (Matthew 24:14).
While we continue to pursue the unsaved in reached people groups, we should make reaching Least Reached People Groups, a matter of priority. We should not be slow to move out of our own cultural comfort zone and take the Gospel to the least reached people groups. Not responding to this call may be an invitation to persecution which will make the Church go to the nations involuntarily.
God continued after His Call on Israel, with a promise to make Israel a threshing (sledge) instrument “Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth;
Threshing is the process of loosening the edible part of grain (or other crop) from the husks and straw to which it is attached. It is the step in grain preparation after reaping and before winnowing, which separates the grain from the chaff.
Threshing, spiritually speaking could be explained as the process of confronting the powers that have held people in bondage and freeing them to become useful to their Creator.
The grain is only useful when it is removed from the husks.
Now, to be made as a Threshing Sledge or Instrument is a more serious task. God wants to make us into an instrument He would use to do a task captured by Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 14: 24 – 26
“The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, And as I have purposed, so it shall stand: That I will break the Assyrian in My land, And on My mountains tread him underfoot. Then his yoke shall be removed from them, And his burden removed from their shoulders. This is the purpose that is purposed against the whole earth, And this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations.
The Making as new threshing sledge with sharp teeth
God, Himself usually start the making even without your knowledge. He knows what He wants you to be. Rom. 8:29; Gal. 1:15; Jer. 1; Ex. 17:14. You may need to retreat to seek God for clarity and direction Gal. 1:15 ff.
It could also be by “Apprenticeship”. Examples can be found in Moses – Joshua (Ex. 32:17, 33) Elijah – Elisha, Elisha-Gehazi, Jesus and the twelve.
There are certain qualities (spiritual and secular) necessary for effective Ministry. All the qualities could be summarized under the following:
The need for secular training cannot be over-emphasized. There is a saying that “though the potential to fly is inborn in Eagle, the mother Eagle has to teach the baby Eagle how to fly”.
There is no ministry God is calling anyone to now that He has not called people into in the past in one form or the other. Such people are therefore better placed to share their success and failures with a new entrant so that he can avoid their mistakes.
The disciples of Jesus Christ were exposed to On the Job Training after being with Him for a while. He would go around with them as He ministered in villages and towns. They saw Him perform miracles and cast out devils. He sent them to do likewise and had reports from them. You must have been a follower before you can lead people.
Where are the disciples? “As is the man, so is his strength” says Zebah and Zalmuna(to Gideon who told a boy soldier to face two giants Judges 8:20-21). Obviously, going to make disciples is not a job for boys. It takes a man … Dead men, really dead men. Men that are ready to be made as Threshing Instruments. Let us minimize the casualties. Where are the disciples? The nations are waiting for the manifestation of the sons of men.
God will be using us to reach the unreached and will also be perfecting us as He perfects the reached.
Acknowledge the claims of Christ: recognize the Lordship of Christ Jesus.
He has first claim on your life. You are His personal property. When He speaks we listen when He calls we answer, when He commands we obey.
Be in movement
God uses those who are actively serving Him and step out in faith testing the waters to discover what He has. Be in movement. Start knocking on doors to see which one He might be opening.
Be willing to do anything
If you really have a servant’s heart, you will be willing to serve in any capacity. God will place specific desires in your heart, but don’t rush to push open the door yourself. Serve, and in the process of serving God will open the door for you and he does a much better job of it!
Start by serving at home
we must be faithful in the little before we can be released to serve in “greater” areas. It is vital to understand the ministry and local church before you can be sent by them to the “uttermost parts of the world.”
Be involved in short-term missions
Before thinking about going out full time, get some short term cross cultural experiences under your belt and better still, mission training. Where you serve short term may or may not be an indicator of where God wants to send you long term. Be open to His leading.
The call of God is something that grows on you. Many missionaries testify that when they began sensing God calling them to Thailand, for example, that everywhere they turned they saw something relating to Thailand. They turned on the TV, Thailand… They opened the newspaper, Thailand!… They attended a conference and sat next to someone from Thailand! God specializes in this and we need to be in tune with how he is leading. Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Not the same for every believer. Learn to listen to the Holy Spirit. Develop your spiritual faculties.
Confirmation by the Local Church – Acts 13:2 all of Paul’s co-workers mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles were identified with a Local Church. Timothy – Acts 16:2; Epaphras – Col. 1:7; Gaius from Derbe – Acts 2:4; Banarbas from Jerusalem – Acts 11:22.
Receiving the Call could be direct or indirect
However, the chances of our getting a call will be greatly enhanced if we meet certain conditions. Among these are the following:
Somewhere along the line the individual must make up his mind to get going. It is always easier to steer a moving vehicle than a stationary one.
Perhaps you have not yet identified God’s will for your life, get closer to Him, ask Him what He has for you, search your own heart to make sure you have correct motives. Put into practice the steps listed above and don’t forget it’s all about being connected to Him.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” —John 10:27
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