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Release with Boldness

Philippians 2:15-16a
   That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
   Holding forth the word of life; . . .

II Corinthians 5:18-20
   And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
   To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
   Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

   Clearly God has given us His Word and the ministry to speak it to others.  But, God has limited Himself to the free will of man.  He gave us His word.  He gave us the ministry of that Word.  He made us ambassadors.  He wants us to hold forth the word of life.  But God cannot (and will not) MAKE you speak His Word.  He asks.  He even begs and beseeches.  But He never possesses or controls.  If the Word of God is going to be made known, we must rise up and boldly speak it.

Isaiah 6:8
   Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?  Then said I, Here am I; send me.

   God is continually asking: "Who can I send?"  "Who will speak for Me?"  He is just waiting for someone like Isaiah to respond with a willing heart: "Here am I; send me!"  Some will respond, "The word of God is available to anyone who wants to hear.  With modern technology and the abundance of teaching available anyone who wants to know can know.  The Word of God has already gone out throughout and over the whole world.  I do not have to speak it."  The truth is that there are people who are hungry to hear God's Word that only you can reach.  One believer speaking with a heart of love for God to another person is God's design for the movement of His Word.

Matthew 9:36-38
   But when he [Jesus Christ] saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
   Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
   Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

   There are today, just as there were in Jesus Christ's day, many who want to hear God's Word.  The harvest is still plenteous.  But God is limited to those who will respond, "Here am I; send me."  The labourers are still few.  We need to pray that God will send more labourers to speak His Word.  But, before we pray for others to speak we need to be ready and willing to go ourselves.  God needs you first!

Matthew 5:6
   Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

   We have this promise from God that those who are hungry to be right before God shall be filled.  Those who want to know God's Word will be taught it.  But God is still limited to those who will speak it for Him.

We have the Word that brings righteousness:

Romans 10:8b-10
   . . . that is, the word of faith [believing], which we preach;
    That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
   For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

But those who hunger for righteousness will only hear if someone speaks:

Romans 10:14-15
   How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?  and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
   And how shall they preach, except they be sent?  as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

   God still asks, "Who shall I send?"  When you respond with "Here am I; send me" and you hold forth that Word, God says that you bring glad tidings, you shine as lights in the world; how beautiful it is when we go!

   In the first century there was a man who was hungry to know and believe God's Word.  He wanted to be righteous before God and He had the zeal and enthusiasm to do whatever it took to live according to the accuracy of God's will.  The only problem was he did not know the truth of God's Word and there was no one who was willing to speak for God to him.  Why?  Because in his zeal to be right before God, Paul (who had profited in the Jews' religion above many his equals in his own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of his fathers) persecuted the believers.  He went city to city and captured men and women who believed in Jesus Christ, took them to prison, voted against them and had them executed.  There was not a believer walking the Word at that time who was willing to face Paul, let alone share God's Word with him.  Yet, here was a man who believed he was doing God's will.  A man who hungered and thirsted after righteousness.  A man who wanted to be right before God.  A man who, once he believed, would take God's Word throughout the known world.  A man who would be given the greatest revelation that God every gave to man.  So we have a real problem.  We have the promise of God that those who hunger will be filled.  And we have a man who was hungry.  But, we have a man who believed those speaking the truth were wrong and deserved death.  And therefore, we did not have a believer willing to speak to this man.  This is the only record in the Word where God sent His son Jesus Christ (after his resurrection) to speak face to face to a man.  Yet even in this record, as soon as Paul was willing to listen, God sent him to a believer.  Not to Peter.  Not to James.  Not to one of the leaders of the first century church.  Why?  Again, because they would not have been willing to speak to Paul.  God is limited to our willingness to go and speak His Word.  A certain disciple - a man named Ananias in Damascus was willing to speak for God.  He was reluctant.  He was cautious.  He was a little afraid of Paul.  Yet he was willing.  He had that "Here am I; send me" attitude that allowed God to work with him to speak the Word to Paul.

   There are other records throughout the book of Acts where believers, because of their Judean background, were unwilling to speak God's Word to the Gentiles.  God had to beg.  God had to give Peter special revelation (three times) to get him to go to the Gentile household of Cornelius.  Lets look at Cornelius.

Acts 10:2
   A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.

   Here was a man who hungered after righteousness.  But he was a Gentile.  The Judean believers DID believe in speaking the Word of God boldly . . .

Acts 4:13a - Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John . . .
Acts 4:19-20 - But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
Acts 4:31b - and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
Acts 5:42 - And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
Acts 8:4 - Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

   But the Judean believers had limited themselves regarding to whom they would speak:

Acts 11:19
   Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.

   It took a lot for God to convince Peter to speak to the Gentile household of Cornelius.  And when Peter got back to Jerusalem the believers did not respond with joy.  They were not blessed:

Acts 11:2-3
   And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
   Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

   So, God has limited Himself to you and me.  He wants His Word made known.  There are people who want to hear.  But you must be willing to speak.  If you are willing to go for God, God will work with you.  I have often said that if you want to learn to walk with God and hear His voice as he speaks to you, just start speaking His Word to others.  As you are willing to carry out the ministry of His Word, God will make known His Word to you in an even greater way than you have known before.

I Timothy 2:4
   [God] Who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth.

   God's will is for ALL men to be saved AND come unto the knowledge of the truth.  When you are willing to speak it, no matter who needs to hear it, God will teach it to you.  God is asking: "Who shall I send?"  We need to answer, as did Isaiah,  "Here am I; send me!"

April, 1999
Michael Cortright