Blessing of a Team within Christ (Acts 20:1-6) December 25, 2011
Today is Christmas and also the beginning of the last week of the year where we must look back upon this year. This Lord’s Day is significant in a number of different ways. We are going over the Book of Acts chapter by chapter, and I believe God will give us important answers and blessings from today’s passage. In Acts 20, we see how Paul received the blessings of a team as he went through numerous crises and hardships in the course of the World Evangelization. Verse three records that there were some people who had plotted against him. But nothing really mattered because first, God was with him and second, he had the blessings of a team. Verse 4 lists the names of evangelism disciples who staked their lives for the Gospel with Paul before he went off to Rome after passing Jerusalem. There were two special characteristics of these disciples. First, they were disciples whom Paul met in evangelism fields. Seven names are listed; Paul met Sopater in Berea, Aristarhus and Secundus in Thessalonica, Gaius and Timothy in Derbe, and Tychicus and Trophimus in Asia while evangelizing. The fact that he met them while evangelizing means he connected with them through Christ, life of God, and the same commission. The fact that they connected through Christ means they understood how Christ resolved the sins, curses, and spiritual problems of their lives. They were freed by Christ, and they knew the identity and authority of God’s children. The fact that they connected through the life of God means the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of Life resided in each one of them. They became one and connected with one another through the Holy Spirit. No matter how much you try to connect with others, the Holy Spirit must let that happen in the end (Eph.4:3). Lastly, the fact that they connected through one commission means they shared the same reason for living and dying. Soldiers all live and die for their “country and its people”. If those soldiers formed a team, it would be a tremendous team. Just like that, Christ staked His life for the sake of each and every one of us. That was how much He loved us and gave Himself for us. Jesus died after saying in Jn.12:24-25, “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” We call those who live and die for the Gospel and Christ disciples, and we call a place where those disciples gather a church. The church today faces many problems because it is the other way around. If people who are willing to live and die for the Gospel and the commission are around you, what is there for you to fear? Second, they all came from different regions and different cultural backgrounds. We call such group multiethnic. Even though people who were so different from one another came from different regions, they were one team. They overcame everything and connected through Christ, life, and commission. This kind of connection must be made between parents and their children and husbands and their wives. If we were unbelievers, we would have to find other means to connect (same personality, same region, or same hobby). The only way you can connect with others regardless of many differences is through these three things. Only then can we do all things.
1. Why did Christ come to this land? He came to connect all of us to one another within Him.
1) What was the Genesis 3 incident? Men were deceived by the devil, sinned against God (broke His promise), and eventually became separated from Him. When we became separated from God, we began to live separate from one another. That is why we live criticizing, hating, and fighting with one another. That was how men lost all the blessings to rule over and subdue the world.
2) Why did Jesus come? It says in Col.1:20, “Through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.” First, you must make peace with God. What keeps you from doing so is your sins and Satan. With the authorities of the true Prophet, Priest, and King, Christ resolved those problems and began to reside within you through the Holy Spirit. You have become the source of blessings, someone who shares those blessings with others (evangelist), and someone who lets everyone make peace with God. That is evangelism. The devil does the exact opposite. He makes everyone criticize, hate, quarrel, and fight with one another within him (James 3:15-16).
3) When Jesus was born in Luke 2:14, angels gathered together and praised, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” What does that mean? For the one who has the glory of God of the highest place came to us, all people in this land came to enjoy peace. What is the blessing that comes first when you really begin to enjoy the Gospel and filling of the Holy Spirit? It is the inner peace that comes through Him and relaying that peace to people who are related to you (Jn.14:27). That is the blessing of an evangelist. That is why it says in Mt.5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” Wherever a person with the Gospel sets his foot, the devil who is the spirit of curses and division will fall to the ground. I hope that God’s peace may be with you wherever you go and that the blessings of this peace may be with you as well.
2. What is one thing we must do as we come nearer to the end of this year? We must quickly go into this blessing of a team. Hold onto the next three things.
1) If we are truly saved within Christ, we must hold onto the fact that we are one. It says in Eph.4:4-6 that we are of one body, one Holy Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one and only God. He is among all creatures and unified them all. God has already made us one. Sometimes we get arrogant on one hand and feel inferior on the other because we think that ‘I am different’. That is why we receive scars and fall into trials. If we have been really saved, each of us may have his or her distinctive features, but we are not really different from one another. We all used to live as sinners and we all received salvation through Christ and became the children of God, people of the Holy Spirit, and Remnants who will save the world. This is one of the most important reasons why we are having the Remnant Day, so that our Remnants may hold onto this fact.
2) Go into a team. We reorganize systems for the new year at the end of every year. It is right for you to believe that whichever department or system your name falls under is the team God has allowed you for that year. You share the Word, pray together, and walk the path of commission with your team members. It says in Ps.16:6, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” The Korean translation of the Bible refers to it as an area that God accurately allotted to each person as if He drew lines. That is how preciously you should treat the position and departments you are entrusted.
3) Devote yourself to that team. Look for things you can do for the department that has been allowed to you. Thing that have been entrusted to you, either big or small or easy or difficult, stake your life for them as if you are serving the Lord. There lies God’s promise for you (Mt.25:21-23). It is explained in Phil.2:1-8 how Jesus humbled Himself down and wore flesh to come to this land and ended up dying on the cross; we must embrace the same heart as Jesus. At that time, the blessings of a team that saves yourself and the world will begin. I bless and hope that you may restore the blessings of a team in preparation for the new year and receive new answers and blessings.