Hope for the Future
As he closed his second epistle to the Corinthians, Paul responded to the doubts of some Corinthian believers as to whether he was indeed a spokesman for Christ. Paul insisted that he was an apostle
Paul’s teaching tells us important things about the church and its ministry. There are different gifts but the same Lord. The Spirit gives believers gifts to build up the church. Paul named some of these
Paul rejoiced in the new liberty he had experienced in Christ. Freed from the restrictions Jewish leaders tried to impose on the faithful, he had no obligation except to love his brothers and sisters in
Most professional basketball players get paid a great deal of money each year whether they play or not. One player’s knees were injured recently, and he sat on the bench for most of the season. Still, the team owners valued him so much that he collected full salary anyway. When he does play, he has incentive clauses in his contract that allow him to earn bonuses: more if he scores over a certain number of points, more if he makes the all-star team, more if his team makes the play-offs.
If this strikes you as outrageous, consider your own situation as a believer. Simply because you trusted Jesus Christ as your savior, you have been given a no-cut contract guaranteeing your eternal life in heaven. There are “bonuses” of joy, peace, and satisfaction in service if you live an active Christian life now. A professional basketball player gets paid full salary while sitting on the bench because of an injury. Christians may get sick, suffer disabilities, even lose their power of speech, or be confined to wheelchairs: but their salvation is never in jeopardy. In fact, the One in charge works all these disabilities together for good so that the blessings never stop coming. In short, our God takes far better care of His children than the world takes care of people. The best the world can do is give money rewards to individuals with exceptional talent. In contrast, the gospel rewards ordinary believers with blessings both outward and inward. “I will put may law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer. 31:33).
What kind of God rewards those who obey Him by changing them on the inside so that they can serve Him wholeheartedly and even enter into the very purposes of the One they love? It should surprise no one that Christians are eager to spread the good news about such a generous Benefactor. Would it not be surprising if such a gospel did not impel a worldwide missionary movement?
A man by the name of John Paton lost his wife and child during his first tour of duty as a missionary in the South Sea islands; yet he returned and established an orphanage, schools, and a thriving church. Describing his first communion service, he wrote, “At the moment I put the bread and wine into those dark hands once stained with the blood of cannibalism, now stretched out to receive and partake of the emblems and seals of the Redeemer’s love, I had a foretaste of the joy of glory that well nigh broke my heart to pieces. I shall never taste a deeper bliss till I gaze on the glorified face of Jesus Himself” (Auto-biography, quoted from http://www.sermoncentral.com).
The worldwide missionary movement, with the thousands of missionaries who serve Christ as Paton did, is powerful evidence that Christ is indeed risen and sustains His church today by His own presence and supernatural power. He is blessing those who obey His Great Commission by answering their prayers and making them fit for heaven.