1 Corinthians 14:39-40 “Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.” (KJV)
Obedience Relevance Determination Experience Restoration
What does it mean to be eager to do something? Being excited about it is not really enough to push us toward accomplishing the goal. Taking action simply out of dogged determination will leave us callous, empty emotionally, and without a clear sense of direction if we do not understand the reason behind our desire. When faced with the never-ending uphill battles we face as Christians, everything in this world seems to be working against us reaching the finish line.
We believe the truth of Scripture. We plan our daily activities based upon the love of God at work in our hearts, and we rush into every obstacle with the assurance that God will move Heaven and Earth to rescue us. But, have we stopped to consider the overwhelming power of God is love? The spiritual gifts operate in love. Our ability to overcome the world is in our ability to allow the free flow of the love of God into the desperate situations surrounding us. Everything we do must be done “decently and in order”. ORDER — Obedience Relevance Determination Experience Restoration, offers us a godly context for life and our life is a ministry. (Zechariah 9:12)
As this text is being written, there is no more needed message than the message of hope. There can be no acceptance of Godly ORDER if there is no commitment to the availability of hope. Throughout history the people of God have suffered adversity and difficulties, but the message of hope has been a sustaining factor within our lives. Though we have been pressed by war, financial collapse of world markets, and any number of natural disasters, the power of hope and the love of God strengthen us. God promises to see us through every adversity and blesses our lives.
God becomes our fortress and stronghold. The question is will we consistently and continually return to Him. Have we truly become the prisoners of hope? Being a prisoner of hope does not confine us. It liberates us. The freedom it establishes in our lives allows us to live and move within the context of ORDER — Obedience Relevance Determination Experience Restoration. Every great person of faith began in obedience to God.
Perhaps it may be beneficial here to examine a brief history from King David’s experience. God gave specific instructions to the Kings of Israel. They were not allowed to take a census. They should never count the fighting men of Israel because their trust should be in the Lord, not the strength of their army. David acted in disobedience and ordered a census that resulted in judgment against the nation of Israel.
David realized his sin and repented before God. God then sent the prophet Gad to King David with a message of direction. Obedience to the message would restore order and remove the judgment form the kingdom. David had a choice to make–he could take three years of famine, three months of defeat by his enemies, or three days of plague. (1Chronicles 21:19)
The Lord also sends His messengers into our lives to lead, guide, challenge, direct, and correct us. It is within our freedom of will to either submit or rebel. Submission brings peace, security, contentment and blessing; however, rebellion brings ultimate destruction. Our disobedience causes judgment as it did for King David, but our obedience and repentance restores godly order and blessing. Obedience is not blind. It sees beyond the current reality to the promised outcome in the spiritual realm. David repented and made an offering in obedience at the thrashing floor. Ironic, isn’t it, that the place wheat is beaten to remove the valuable kernel from the worthless chaff is where God required a sacrifice?
Several times in life my plans have been the worthless chaff and my obedience to God’s plan the valuable kernel. The sacrifice was my selfish will. Godly ORDER begins in Obedience. The sacrifice we make will always cost us something. Just as David could not offer to the Lord what had no value to him–neither can we. God blesses a sacrifice properly offered. (2Chronicle 31:21)
Relevance can be thought of as the value something holds. Our service to God and our faithfulness to the communities we find ourselves members of must be relevant. Nothing is more relevant than salvation. Christ is our example in both Obedience and Relevance. Everything Christ did was directed at meeting needs in the lives of people. No two ministries should be identical because the needs being met are vastly different. Yet, the hope of salvation and the development of a life of righteousness is the root of our Relevance within our cultural boundaries. (Romans 5:19)
ORDER — Obedience Relevance Determination Experience Restoration, is the road to successful completion of the course God has plotted for every believer. Determination, though it cannot secure success independently, keeps us headed in the right direction and by it we can fulfill the duties of our ministry. According to the scriptures, some are called to preach, others to teach, some as evangelists, a few as prophets, and even an occasional apostle; but all are called to serve. (1Chronicles 23:28)
The five-fold ministry does not constitute every relevant ministry within the Church. Whoever you are and whatever your calling, you can glory in Christ and serve with passion. There are many side rooms and courtyards. There are many needs and God has someone and some way to meet each need. We simply begin with Obedience, serve with Relevance and act with Determination. (Romans 15:17)
The Apostle Paul urges us to bear with those who are weak, build each other up in the faith and learn from the revelation that has been shared. He further teaches that we are, in his estimation, well able to teach Godliness. In that ability we can glory in Christ. Because Christ has made us able to fulfill the calling into ministry we can Experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:25)
Wherever God leads us, throughout the world, we achieve results by following and establishing Christian ORDER. As we move under His direction, we are empowered to change the world through Obedience Relevance Determination and Experience. Not everyone will accept our message, but the presence of signs, wonders and miracles confirm God’s call. With that confirmation well established Restoration begins. (Romans 15:31)
We have heard it said, “Experience is the best teacher.” The Experience of answered prayer should teach us to rely upon the gifts God has placed in operation within the Church. All these gifts in combination create a beautiful concert of relevant experiences to fuel our obedience and determination to serve. (1Corinthians 12:5)
Again, we need to recognize all Spirit-Led Ministry will not look the same. Every gift is given to the Church, or more specifically, its membership to build up, encourage, guide, direct, and heal. Often the rewards of service are confused with financial rewards. We are not saying God does not reward us financially, just that there are other less tangible more beneficial measures of prosperity. Still confusion on this issue has been a stumbling block to many. (Job 34:33)
When we fall prey to the deception of the enemy there is forgiveness available. Once we bow in submission repentance quickly re-establishes ORDER — Obedience Relevance Determination Experience Restoration. God in His wisdom has firmly established order within His creation. We tremble not in the fear that has to do with torment. We tremble in reverence awaiting the restoration that is promised. (1Chronicles 16:30)
The process of Restoration affects all creation. We, as children of God, are regenerated, cleansed, renewed, and our lives are set in ORDER because God reigns. There is a time of judgment facing everyone on Earth but we have “passed from death into life”. (Psalm 9:7)
Where God’s system of order is concerned truth is eternally established. Our responsibility is to pass that revelation on to the next generation. If we do not flow within Obedience Relevance Determination Experience and Restoration how can we expect our children to reverence and honor God. (Psalm 78:5)
God will be the Judge of our service to Him. Again, it comes down to a personal choice. We must exercise determination, powerfully express the truth of our experience, as we declare the availability of restoration. This generation can grasp the hope of the gospel. Will we choose to say with the Psalmist that God’s love stands firm and He has established faithfulness? (Psalm 89:2)
Once we have fully committed to that decision (to declare the love of God) we can take the message of hope to the rest of the world. ORDER — Obedience Relevance Determination Experience Restoration, becomes the driving force. As God brings about His judgment there will be equity, justice, and mercy. Through Obedience to the Lordship of Christ, Relevance to the societal setting we are in, the Determination to keep going forward, being positively affirmed by our Experience and committed to Restoration of hope, we impact the world. ORDER is a worthy pursuit. Evangelism quickly follows. (Psalm 96:10)
God brought order into our lives when we were reconciled in our relationship to Him. We are no longer subject to the accusations from our life before Christ. Whatever we have done — the sins and shortcomings — all washed away by the work of Christ upon the cross. We are liberated by the hope of salvation. We like Paul have become servants of a Holy God. More than servants, we have enlisted in God’s great army bringing restoration and hope to the nations. (Colossians 1:22-23)
What army can perform its duty without discipline and order? God trains us by allowing difficulties into our lives. Just as He arranged training exercises in the book of Judges for the children of Israel, He arranges similar training exercises for us. As you may recall, when Israel entered the Promised Land they were given instructions to wipeout every nation that lived wickedly. They did not make a clean sweep and fulfill their mission, but God even uses failure (otherwise known as disobedience) to teach His people. Those nagging problems in our lives just may be God’s boot camp.
When we fail to obey God and accomplish the task we are given our failure will come back to haunt both the subsequent generations and us. Often our children or grandchildren face these same struggles we failed to overcome. It is not that God has abandoned us; a lesson must be learned. Every generation must learn to put their trust in God and live according to His spiritual order. (Judges 3:1, 2 & 4)
Experience becomes our teacher and the lesson is complete dependence upon God. Everything we need is available, attainable, and accepted through faith. God is working in us to build a strong, healthy, and restored people. In the book of Isaiah we are promised perfect peace if we keep our minds on God. Throughout the Psalms we are promised provision, rest, and Restoration. (Psalm 41:3)
Salvation is more than a conversion experience. The Christian life is more than a list of approved activities. Being truly saved means that the joy of the Lord becomes our strength. Regardless of the affliction we face, emotional, financial, or physical, if we have experienced Salvation we know Restoration is on its way. Our willingness to display Godly ORDER — Obedience Relevance Determination Experience Restoration, establishes and sustains us even when of the surface things are not going according to our plan. (Psalm 51:12)
If you find yourself at a low point in the tide of life allow the grace of God to come in like a flood. If, on the other hand, you are at the top of your game realize God has blessed you and thank Him. Continue on the path of Obedience. Find Relevance in meeting real needs. Exercise Determination and overcome problematic circumstances. Use Holy Spirit encounters as Experience to build expectation for the future. Give and receive Restoration as God empowers you. (Nahum 2:2)
Encouragement is literally everywhere when we walk in the liberty and freedom God grants to us. He is our defensive fallback position. Isn’t that what a fortress is? Return often to the hope that we have experienced. What we have now is only the down payment of the glorious future God offers. Keep your life in ORDER. Eagerly fulfill your calling and live a life of ministry. (Zechariah 9:12)