Calling: The Fruit of Cleansing

Lesson 5 - December 31, 2017

Focus Text: Isaiah 6:1-10

Central Truth: Cleansing from sin should always produce a passion for proclaiming the Word of the Lord.

Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to identify ways the passionate Christian can proclaim the Word of the Lord.

Lesson Outline:

  1. The God Who Calls (Isaiah 6:1-4)
  2. The Hindrance to Hearing God's Call (Isaiah 6:5)
  3. The Hindrance Removed (Isaiah 6:6-7)
  4. The Call of God Explained (Isaiah 6:8-10)

A Pattern for Ministry

Read Luke 10:1-12

“The harvest is truly great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest” (v. 2).

The harvest . . . the laborers. Christ's harvest is great both in its immensity and its intensity. The sheer population of eternal souls needing Jesus today is staggering. Missiologists tell us that there are an estimated 2.2 billion self-professing Christians worldwide. Even if these figures are accurate, that leaves two-thirds of the world still unreached. But not only is the harvest great in its immensity; it is great in its intensity. The needs of people are so deep and the chains of sin so strong that the task often seems overwhelming and impossible.

Pray . . . the Lord of the harvest that he will send. The project of human redemption is truly the most ambitious task ever undertaken. Due to both its immensity and its intensity, it cannot be accomplished by mere human intervention, creativity, or even sheer hard work. It will require divine intervention. The most powerful tool we have is prayer. Ironically, the disciples became the answer to their prayer for harvesters. (See Luke 10:3.) We cannot pray for harvesters without becoming one ourselves. If you want to see more done for the kingdom, begin with prayer and prepare to go! (Don D Callaway)

Here am I send me;</ br>Here am I send me;</ br>Use me in your harvest, Lord.</ br>Send me where you desire</ br>Fill my soul with holy fire,</ br>Here am I, O Lord, send me!</ br>— Don Callaway

This devotional is the Tuesday, August 1, 2017 entry of Opening the Word.

Ministry by the Spirit

Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

“But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will” (v. 11).

Radical individualism is arguably the most deeply held belief of the majority of Americans. The solitary hero strides boldly across the pages of our history, literature, and mythology, most often hacking out a living in a dangerous wilderness populated by savage weather, animals, and people. Though the wilderness is now largely settled, we still want to live by this core belief. A few years ago the U.S. Army tried to tap into this sentiment with the campaign slogan, “An Army of One.” How effective would a one man army actually be?

In his book, Holiness for Ordinary People, Keith Drury has a chapter entitled “A Sanctified Church.” He makes the shocking statement that a church can be made up of sanctified individuals and itself not be holy. This happens when personal time with Jesus fails to impact corporate worship, prayer, and other functions. God has designed us to grow together.

I am an introvert, which means that I need a great deal of alone time to recharge my batteries. I find it very easy to cut myself off from people for extended periods of time. However, I have noticed that my greatest periods of spiritual growth come when I am consistently around the people of God. There are no effective Lone Ranger Christians. (Randy J Bland)

No man is an island,</ br>Entire of itself,</ br>Every man is a piece of the continent,</ br>A part of the main.</ br>— John Donne

Do you regularly allow other Christians to be a part of your life?

This devotional is the Monday, July 17, 2017 entry of Opening the Word.

Brethren Together

Read 1 Corinthians 16:15-20

“I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)” (v. 15).

Through our years of ministry, we have known many saints who “have addicted themselves to the ministry.” They could be counted upon to make things go smoothly in the church. They were there to teach a class of rowdy juniors, drive a church van, or to clean the facilities (even when no one asked them to do this). When someone was sick, they would take a pot of soup and have prayer with them. These same “saints” would be found knocking on doors inviting families to worship. They put God first and considered it a privilege to serve. Possibly, you may be thinking of someone you know who fills this description! What is the motivating cause of these types of believers? What causes them to consistently and constantly seek to minister to others? They have become “addicted” to serving in Christ's name. May God give us more saints who are addicted to ministry! (James Baker)

Perhaps today there are loving words

Which Jesus would have me speak;

There may be now in the paths of sin

Some wand'rer whom I should seek.

O Savior, if Thou wilt be my Guide,

I'll say what You want me to say. — Mary Brown

The best addiction is to be addicted to ministry.

This devotional is the Monday, July 3, 2017 entry of Opening the Word.

Plan at least four ministry opportunities your students may participate in.

A missing emphasis in many churches is the ministry of the believers. For too long, ministry has been seen as the task of only the pastor. Such an idea is unbiblical and results in an unhealthy church. One way to reverse this tide is to begin promoting ministry within the Sunday school class setting. By planning only four ministry events per year - at least in the beginning - you may stretch the spiritual muscles of your class but hopefully not strain them.

What kind of ministry opportunities should your class engage in?

  • Fall - Consider hosting a community-wide blood drive or engaging in a project such as Christmas shoeboxes.
  • Winter - Your class may want to go caroling at a nursing home, clear snow from the sidewalks of elderly persons (part of or not part of your church), or volunteer at the homeless shelter.
  • Spring - A fun class project may be to do yard work for someone not physically able or as a way to clean up the neighborhood. 
  • Summer - Send some or all of your class on a missions trip or provide a car-care clinic with free refreshments.