©2022 Winter Series
Finding God’s Purpose Forward!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 3 May 2022
Lesson 12, Part 2
Dr. David Jeremiah, Forward: Discovering God’s Presence and
Purpose For Tomorrow
Devotional Time: Chapter 10 (pp. 169-187)
Redeploying Your Gifts – It is often at the point of exhaustion, that God renews us. When the Lord gives us “new” strength, we can redeploy (use more effectively) some of the gifts God has given us. It is more often in a new season, or during a crisis moment, that some of our gifts become more effective. Many of God’s servants have rediscovered the value of spiritual resources during difficult times. Distressed about the tragedy that had occurred in Ziglag when enemies had crushed the city and took families hostage, the scriptures explain: “David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk about stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God (I Samuel 30:6, NLT).” The ability God gives us to continue doing His will, can be deployed when we least expect it. God can use His people during both the best, and worst, of times. We see evidence of this in the lives of Priscila and Aquila, who were instrumental in assisting the Apostle Paul with his ministry. This married couple who were devoted Christians, met Paul when he came to Corinth. Paul’s own admission is that he was at a low point in his ministry; physically exhausted and emotionally drained. Paul said, “I came to you in weakness – timid and trembling.” (cf. I Corinthians 2:3, NLT). Priscilla and Aquila who were “tent-makers” by trade, brought Paul into their home. They provided the beleaguered apostle with shelter, food, and encouraged him to use his trade as a tent-maker alongside them (cf. Acts 18:1-3, NLT). This act of hospitality and encouragement, became the impetus for Priscilla and Aquilla venturing “forward” with a greater purpose in their lives. They assisted Paul on a strategic missionary journey; and upon arriving in Ephesus, they hosted a church for Christians in that city. They also developed and became effective with the gift of mentoring and discipling. They taught and helped Apollos, a young, charismatic preacher, become more grounded in the scriptures (cf. Acts 18:24-26, NLT). As Christians we may have many effective skills and competencies in our secular careers and vocations. The good news is that God can use us in deploying our spiritual gifts and wisdom to also make a difference in someone’s life. The Apostle Paul credited Priscilla and Aquila with “risking their lives” to save him (cf. Romans 16:3-5a, NLT). The meeting of Paul and this Christian husband and wife, came as a result of Priscilla and Aquila being expelled from Rome, because of of an antisemitic campaign. Like Paul, they were Jewish-Christians, whom God used to reach the Gentile world. God has much for us to do, going forward!
Persevere Forward – There are times in our journey that God will permit us to set aside some things, in order to be more effective at other things. When we become truly focused on listening to God, there is never a time God does not want us to engage in something that has value for the work of His kingdom. Th expulsion of Priscilla and Aquila from Rome made them refugees. This did not deter them from finding a way to do God’s will. Reverend Tim Breed says of the dynamic Christian couple that their ministry, “strengthened the witness” of the Christian faith. There is much we could all do to share our Christian witness with others; and to strengthen others through the gifts God gives us. Moving forward often means that we will be led along a new and different path. Again, there’s never a time God directs us, where He fails to equip us for the task. When Israel was preparing to enter a new Land of Promise, Joshua reminded the people that they were entering a place, where that generation had never been before. He warned them to avoid missteps, but assured them that if they obeyed God and purified themselves, the Lord would do “great wonders among them.” (Cf. Joshua 3:1-5a, NLT). It is often the idea of “new” and “different” challenges that intimidates people about change. We like to define and control everything in life that affects us; or, the things in which we are engaged. It’s understandable that none of us desires anything that we feel is beyond our ability to manage. This is where the scriptures remind us, our God is Sovereign (cf. Psalm 77:13-14, NLT). While God gives us resources; He is the source and strength of our lives (cf. Psalm 73:26, NLT). In the final blessings the Apostle Paul gave, he first commended Pricilla and Aquila, and the Christians who gathered in their house church in Ephesus (Cf. 2 Timothy 4:19, NLT). The fact that their names appear first in what is believed to be the final communication of the Apostle Paul before martyrdom, speaks well of how God can use us to advance His kingdom. It also is a tribute to living with faith and purpose, beyond our comfort zones. Even adverse situations can position us in a different place, to be blessed and valuable to God in the assignment He gives us. In the helpful book, Forward, David Jeremiah shares this advice from Ms. Pearl Buck, famous writer: “So don’t give up on yourself too early. Don’t deprive yourself of the many blessings God wants to bestow upon you [regardless of your age]. Change what you do if you must, but don’t stop serving the Lord.” We are sure to find our purpose in life, as we journey forward. God will truly lead you in every situation!
What We Believe!
If we persevere forward, we will finish well!
1. God can redeploy our gifts, to go forward in life!
Acts 18:1-3, NLT
“Then Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla. They had left Italy where Claudius Caesar deported all Jews from Rome. Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tent-makers just as he was.”
Acts 18:18, NLT
Paul stayed in Corinth for some time after that, then said good-bye to the brothers and sisters and went to nearby Cenchrea. Then he shaved his head according to Jewish custom,marking the end of a vow. Then he set sail for Syria,taking Priscilla and Aquila with him.”
Acts 18:24-26, NLT
Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit of accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God more accurately.”
Romans 16:3-5a, NLT
“Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila. My co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus. In fact, they once risked their lives for me. I am thankful to them, and so are the Gentile churches. Also give my greetings to the church that meets in their home…”
Joshua 3:1-5, NLT
“Early the next morning Joshua and all the Israelites left Acacia Grove and arrived at the banks of the Jordan River, where they camped before crossing. Three days later the Israelite officers went through the camp, giving these instructions to the people: “When you see the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, move out from your position and follow them. Since you have never traveled this way before, they will guide you. Stay about a half mile behind them keeping a clear distance between you and the Ark. Make sure you don't come any closer” Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you.”
Psalm 77:13-14, NLT
“O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.”
Hebrews 12:1, NLT
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down,especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”