VIDEO God’s Overpowering Purpose

God’s Overpowering Purpose

I have appeared to you for this purpose… —Acts 26:16

The vision Paul had on the road to Damascus was not a passing emotional experience, but a vision that had very clear and emphatic directions for him. And Paul stated, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19). Our Lord said to Paul, in effect, “Your whole life is to be overpowered or subdued by Me; you are to have no end, no aim, and no purpose but Mine.” And the Lord also says to us, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go…” (John 15:16).

When we are born again, if we are spiritual at all, we have visions of what Jesus wants us to be. It is important that I learn not to be “disobedient to the heavenly vision” — not to doubt that it can be attained. It is not enough to give mental assent to the fact that God has redeemed the world, nor even to know that the Holy Spirit can make all that Jesus did a reality in my life. I must have the foundation of a personal relationship with Him. Paul was not given a message or a doctrine to proclaim. He was brought into a vivid, personal, overpowering relationship with Jesus Christ. Acts 26:16 is tremendously compelling “…to make you a minister and a witness….” There would be nothing there without a personal relationship. Paul was devoted to a Person, not to a cause. He was absolutely Jesus Christ’s. He saw nothing else and he lived for nothing else. “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The Bible is the only Book that gives us any indication of the true nature of sin, and where it came from. The Philosophy of Sin, 1107 R


44 Acts 26-27 – Pastor Chuck Smith – C2000 Series

Surrendering All

Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” Mark 10:28

Two men remembered for serving others for Jesus left careers in the arts to commit themselves to where they believed God had called them. James O. Fraser (1886–1938) decided not to pursue being a concert pianist in England to serve the Lisu people in China, while the American Judson Van DeVenter (1855–1939) chose to become an evangelist instead of pursuing a career in art. He later wrote the hymn “I Surrender All.”

While having a vocation in the arts is the perfect calling for many, these men believed God called them to relinquish one career for another. Perhaps they found inspiration from Jesus counseling the rich, young ruler to give up his possessions to follow Him (Mark 10:17–25). Witnessing the exchange, Peter exclaimed, “We have left everything to follow you!” (v. 28). Jesus assured him that God would give those who follow Him “a hundred times as much in this present age” and eternal life (v. 30). But He would give according to His wisdom: “Many who are first will be last, and the last first” (v. 31).

No matter where God has placed us, we’re called to daily surrender our lives to Christ, obeying His gentle call to follow Him and serve Him with our talents and resources—whether in the home, office, community, or far from home. As we do, He’ll inspire us to love others, putting their needs above our own.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

Who comes to mind when you think of someone who’s sacrificed for Jesus? How is God calling you to surrender?

Jesus, help me to surrender my all for You today as I serve You and those around me for Your honor.

Sunday Reflection: Serve One Another

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul says that freedom is an opportunity to serve one another through love (Gal. 5:13). Jesus is our example of how to minister in this way: He emptied Himself and took the form of a human and a bondservant (Phil. 2:7). And “He loved [believers] to the end” (John 13:1), telling His disciples, “I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27). Jesus—who served throughout His earthly life and suffered on the cross—was the freest man who ever lived.

To love in a way that reflects the love of Christ requires submitting to His will and trusting Him to guide us. Or to put it another way, this kind of love means surrendering our entire life. But that doesn’t mean we lose freedom. In fact, the opposite is true: We’re liberated to do exactly what the Lord has called us to do—to love one another completely and without condition, just as He loves us.

Think about it
• Think about what you know of the Lord’s life on earth. How did Jesus demonstrate walking in freedom?

• How do we serve one another through love when we have our own needs to consider?

Every Jot and Tittle

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Concerning Scripture, Christ taught that every “jot and tittle” (i.e., even portions of letters, not to mention words and phrases) was inspired and would last forever. In many portions of Scripture, the teaching rests on a seemingly rather insignificant component of a word or phrase.

For example, consider the phrase “yet once more” in Hebrews 12:26, quoting Haggai 2:6. We see in verse 27 that the argument requiring a coming judgment on all of creation hinges on it pointing back to a similar judgment in the past. Similarly, in Galatians 4:9, we see Paul couching his comments to the Galatian believers, who had returned to a legalistic system, in a question that turned on the active voice of a verb rather than passive. We have not only “known God” but “are known of God.” In John 8:58, a clever use of verb tense was made: “Before Abraham was, I am,” thereby asserting Christ’s deity. Note also in John 10:34-36 how Christ cleverly used the mood of a verb while quoting from Psalm 82:6 in order to defuse the charge of blasphemy leveled against Him. Paul’s argument in Galatians 3:16 (based on a quotation from Genesis 22:17-18) shows how even the singular or plural form of a word is equally inspired.

Consider Christ’s answer to the Sadducees, who denied personal resurrection, when He said, “Have ye not read…I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:31-32). Christ is their God, not simply was. “And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine” (v. 33).

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable.” Let us handle Scripture with the same care and love it with the same fervency as did Christ and the apostles. JDM

Well, God Is In That!

And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. —Acts 4:29-30

Some are concerned because there are not more miracles and wonders wrought in our midst through faith. In our day, everything is commercialized. And I must say that I do not believe in commercialized miracles.

“Miracles, Incorporated”—you can have it!

“Healing, Incorporated”—you can have that, too!… I have my doubts about signs and wonders that have to be organized, that demand a letterhead and a president and a big trailer with lights and cameras. God is not in that!

But the person of faith who can go alone into the wilderness and get on his or her knees and command heaven—God is in that. The preacher who will dare to stand and let his preaching cost him something—God is in that. The Christian who is willing to put himself in a place where he must get the answer from God and God alone—the Lord is in that!   FBR033-034

Lord, forgive me for so often trying to box up my plans and organize Your work so it can all be controlled and explained. Take over, Lord, and do Your thing, not mine, today. Amen.

Purity of Truth Determined by Morals

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true…think on these things. —Philippians 4:8

The light has shone upon men and nations, and (God be praised) it has shone with sufficient clarity to enable millions to travel home in its glow; but no believer, however pure his heart or however obedient his life, has ever been able to receive it as it shines from the Throne unmodified by his own mental stuff.

As a lump of clay when grasped by the human hand remains clay but cannot escape the imprint of the hand, so the truth of God when grasped by the human mind remains truth but bears upon it the image of the mind that grasps it.

Truth cannot enter a passive mind. It must be received into the mind by an active mental response, and the act of receiving it tends to alter it to a greater or less degree….

Of course I refer here to theological and religious truth. How pure this truth is in any place at any given time is revealed by the moral standards of those who hold the truth….Spiritual truth (by which I mean the disclosures of the Holy Spirit to the human spirit) is always the same. BAM076-077

Wherever the Holy Spirit still comes, He will always be found witnessing to Jesus and honoring the Son of God. HS488

The Father of Mankind

1 Corinthians 8:6

There is one head in a family, one chief in a village, one emperor in a country and one God who rules over heaven and earth. This true God has all wisdom and power. He is full of mercy and loves us as His children.

Alas, we often forget about His grace and blessings and think only of ourselves. This is a dangerous way of life. Even though we are taught about God we sometimes feel far from Him.

A friend of mine left his family in the country and came to Tokyo where he spent several years. He then called all his family to join him. The man’s son, now eight years of age, was seen looking at his face in the mirror every day, and the father wondered why the boy was so interested in staring at himself. The boy replied, “I’m not sure whether you are my true father or not. I feel that you are, but I’m not sure. If you are my true father then I will bear some resemblance to you. So I look at my face in the mirror, and then I look at yours.”

The illustration fits. If we have been far from God, our Father, it is difficult to identify our true Father and to see any likeness to Him. Yet if we take time to think about it we see that we have wisdom, as God has all wisdom; that we have discernment to judge what is right and what is wrong, as God Himself is all-righteous; and that we have a heart with which to love others, as God Himself is full of love.

Human beings were made in the image of God, and we are His children. Moreover, God has so richly blessed us that we cannot tell how great His grace to us has been.

The greatest scholar or scientist finds it impossible to create a cupful of water out of nothing. But God generously gives us the water with which to wash, to drink. No matter how hard the farmer worked, he alone could not produce enough rice. Or what if God did not cause the plants to grow, or withheld the rain? We might complain that the price of rice or wheat is too high or too low, but without the grace of God there would be no rice or wheat to complain about. As one grain of rice or wheat shows, we depend utterly on God’s grace. To someone who strikes a match so that a man can see it is easy to say, “thank you.” Then why should it be so difficult to say “thank You” to the God who by the sun provides light for the whole of the day? How understanding we need to be about such things.

Gunpei Yamamuro, The Common People’s Gospel