Can you imagine the possibility of a servant coming to his master, the master saying what he wants the servant to do, then the servant looking into the face of the master and saying, "I'm sorry, master. That is not where my gifts lie."
What does he mean? Like many of us disobeying God, he is disobeying his master because of what he perceives are his gifts. But the gift follows obedience. The gift always follows the assignment. When God gives an assignment and you obey Him, He equips you to do what He has assigned.
Jesus says in the Scripture that you are His friend if you do whatever He commands you. Yet, there are a lot of people who want to be a friend of God within a very narrow range of obedience. Are you ready to do whatever He tells you? Jesus says, "You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." John 15:14-15
God is the one who is on mission, and it is critical that you begin a relationship with God starting with an encounter that surrenders everything in your life to follow Him. That is the beginning.
Then comes the process where He begins to develop your character to match your assignment.
And He begins to take you through real life experiences. Your heart is true though your actions often are not.
David was called the man after God's own heart. And you may say, "Well, how is it possible to be a man after God's own heart when he committed such sin?" God knew that David's heart was absolutely true. Whenever David sinned, he immediately returned to God and never complained at anything that God did to him because of his sin. A friend is one whose heart is steadfast toward God. God entrusts to His friends the deepest treasure of the Kingdom.
This was said of David in his earlier years. However, David did not get an assignment to be the spiritual leader of Israel or to be the Worship Leader.
Rather, when Israel rejected the Word of God and demanded a human, visible king be set over them it was so that they could worship like the nations. God turned them over totally to "worship the starry host" even as he had conditionally at Mount Sinai. The kings were civil leaders but the path they were on was to Babylon:
How glorious you were, O Elijah, in your wondrous deeds! And who has the right to boast which you have? Ecclesiasticus 48:4.
You who raised a corpse from death and from Hades, by the word of the Most High; Ecclesiasticus 48: 5.
who brought kings down to destruction, and famous men from their beds; Ecclesiasticus 48: 6.
who heard rebuke at Sinai and judgments of vengeance at Horeb; Ecclesiasticus 48: 7.
who anointed kings to inflict retribution,
and prophets to succeed you. Ecclesiasticus 48: 8
What an awesome friendship with God has been entrusted to you! He is placing into your hands the keys of His Kingdom.
The Master does not entrust such treasures to those who are not trustworthy.
He reads your heart. Jesus said, "You didn't choose me, I chose you.
O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. Hosea 13:9
I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? Hosea 13:10
I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath. Hosea 13:11
Blackaby is trying to take Apostle-specific promises and make them available today. However, you could not comprehend the context and really believe that you too can be an apostle:
This was at the Last Supper. However, earlier:
Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? John 6:67
Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? John 6:70
He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. John 6:71
At the Passover Jesus makes it clear that the Apostles had been with Him from the beginning:
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. John 15:16
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: John 15:26
And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. John 15:27
Luke began to write Acts as his collected history which included:
Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: Acts 1:2
To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: Acts 1:3
Peter spoke of Judas and said:
For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Acts 1:17
Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Acts 1:21
Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. Acts 1:22
If there are apostles
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; Mark 16:17
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. Mark 16:18
If you cannot do those things then you have not been chosen as an apostle. And since the Apostles believed that their writings were Scripture and intended to remind us of what happened once in time, if you believe that God is speaking into your ear then you may be listening to the wrong spirit.
After being seen by up to 500 people at one time, Paul said:
After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 1 Corinthians 15:7
And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 1 Corinthians 15:8 [He was chosen "out of apostle season."]
For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 1 Corinthians 15:9
Paul was clearly the last apostle and he qualifies his choce by saying that he saw the Lord long after the resurrection. And the Lord in Spirit said, "I am Jesus of Nazareth."
Therefore, Blackaby cannot apply this promise to himself or anyone else.
And I'm waiting for your obedience. But, obedience will never follow unless you love me and know me. My Father has been working in your heart all this time to bring you to the most thorough understanding of me. I am the risen, triumphant, reigning Lord."
The way God prepares you is to deal with your heart, not your skills and activity. The key to serving God is not your knowledge of everything; it is your knowledge of Him. He can transcend anything, anywhere, at any time, as long as He has your heart.
Because you obey Him, He will bring forth fruit. If you abide in the vine, which is Christ, you will produce much fruit. (See John 15:5)
When Jesus faced the most significant burden of His life, He called three friends to join Him. It began significantly on the Mount of Transfiguration, because He had just announced that He was going to the cross. God was now moving His life with His disciples to that moment that would change the course of eternity. There was no moment that equaled that.
And the intensity of the Mount of Transfiguration is seen in the fact that
not only the Father Himself was there, but He brought alongside the Lord Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.
When you get your own assignment you tend to minimize the power of God. Here is what happened: When people refused to speak to either Moses or Elijah and there was no man, God "sent His own Arm" to intercede:
The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; De.18:15
When Moses and Elijah appeared it was for the purpose of showing that God Incarnate was there as Jesus and HE NEEDED NO HELP:
Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. Matt 17:4
While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. Matt 17:5
The intensity of carrying the load of a world was so heavy the Father brought His resources, but Jesus brought three of His disciples. There were three that He could take farther with Him than He could take some others.
Jesus went aside a stone's throw and bore the emotional burden: none of the Apostles did or indeed could help God Incarnate redeem mankind.
This puts Jesus in the same role of just another man who had "his assignment like we have ours."
I wonder if today because of the burden of a broken world that is nearing the return of the Lord Jesus,
the intensity of the heart of God is at such a point that
He is looking for those that He could take aside with Him and be with Him while He carries the load of a broken world?
The new charismatics believe that as musical worship teams "we are mediators between man and God." This says that Jesus could not redeem or mediate without the help of week mortals into whom "Satan could come."
Let me suggest to you there will never be a place that you ever go that He is not carrying the load of those people. He asks you simply to go with Him.
You will never have the burden that equals His. But for each of us, there can be that intense moment when we realize Jesus is carrying the redemption of a world; that He is looking for those who have not been side tracked, whose hearts have developed where He can call them His friends. Those are the hearts that He takes just a little farther than the others.
This symbol (idol) was never intended to convey Man and God as Co-Pillars of the Cross. Rather, the image means that man has absolutely no power to redeem himself. Therefore, Jesus who died on the cross without us bridged the gap between the weak and sinful and the sinless God.
Now, someone has said that at that intense moment on the Mount of Transfiguration, we look at the men. We focus on the fact that the three men fell asleep. We'll spend a whole sermon talking about the three that fell asleep, and we'll not talk about the intensity of that moment in world redemption. I wonder if it's possible that the Lord Jesus let them sleep, because they were not able to carry what they would have seen and heard. If they had overheard that conversation it may have been too much for them because there were times when Jesus said, as in John 16, "I have so much more to tell you, but you couldn't take it now.
That's going to have to wait until after the cross and resurrection and the ascension and the Holy Spirit is going to have to open your understanding." And, so there at that moment when the burden of a world was being carried, He looked for three who would at least be there with Him.
Would He invite you? Well, let me ask it even more significantly. Has He already invited you? He is going to go into the world where the redemption of people is at stake. It is as if He is taking you to the Mount and there the Father and the law and the prophets are saying, "I'm about to redeem and set loose people enslaved in sin. But I don't want to carry that load alone. Will you go with me?"
Do you believe God wants to bring revival to America? There is a picture in the Old and New Testaments that you need to be aware of.
In both the Old and New it says until the birth of a child there is sorrow and pain, but afterwards there is rejoicing. Many of us want to live in the realm of rejoicing before the birth of revival.
Are there not some who will carry the pain and the sorrow required to bring it to birth?
Will we not go with Him when He carries the load of a broken nation on His heart? Could He trust us to stay with Him just a little while; to go just a little farther than the others will go; to hear what others don't hear; and to experience what others will not experience? He needs us there because that is the moment when He gives birth to the redemption of the people. Are you God's friend?