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Restless for Fruitful Influence

Restless for Fruitful Influence

Rev. Bryan Schultze

In the season that we are in, we have to make sure that we do not allow the spirit of complacency to kick in and allow us to get comfortable with becoming stagnant and not being effective for building the kingdom of God. In 2 Timothy 1:6-7, Paul tells Timothy, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” When I think about the time of stay-home orders and social distancing, we needed a restlessness in our spirits for advancing the kingdom of God. We need to make sure that if we have gotten comfortable with where we are in this season, we need to stir up the gifts that God has given us for the lost, for the hurting, for the broken, for the weak in faith, and for the ones headed for hell. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5 NKJV, “Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know. For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain.” Now, this is the same church that when Paul opened up to in verse 1 chapter 6 he recognized their faith. In verse 7 he tells them how they are an example for not only their area but the surrounding areas. It was such an example that he said it is spreading so far that he doesn’t even need to say anything. That is the kind of example I want to be. The kind of example that people don’t just talk about, the kind of faith just spreads like a wildfire and impacts the entire world. Paul also mentions in chapter 2 verses 17 and 18, “But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire. Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us.” Paul knows the opposition he is facing to continue to lead the church in the same manner, to be there with them and encourage them, to guide them against the deceptions and the trials that were mounting up against them. This is why in chapter 3 Paul had enough. He could not rest not knowing the state of the church. The church was so much on fire and such an example to the world that Paul had to make sure that the seed he had planted would continue to bear fruit. The influence of Thessalonica would continue to go out and speak mightily to the world. Paul could not rest knowing that the enemy was working diligently at robbing the church from the testimony that was spreading. So Paul in chapter 2 said, “when I could no longer take it, when I was so restless, I sent Timothy!” He sent Timothy but continued to gain ground in Athens and further the gospel there. In Philippians 1:21-22 Paul writes, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.” Paul states that as long as he is here on this earth, it’s for the glory of God. As long as he has breath in his lungs it will be used to produce fruit. Now, more than ever, we need to be stirring ourselves up. Now, more than ever, we need to reach out to the people we know that may be hurting, the ones we know may be having a hard time in their faith, the ones who are being overtaken by the bad reports and the media. We need to have such a burden on the inside of us that we cannot stand to sit idly by and watch the devil sneak in and take back what Jesus paid for on that cross. We need to be in the word of God, we need to be in prayer, we need to be seeking the wisdom and knowledge of God, we need to be searching for ways that we can be an influence here on earth, that as long as God has us here on earth, it’s to bring fruit that will remain. We may have to get creative in ways that we can bring influence, but the good news is, we have the One who created all things on the inside of us. In John 15:16 Jesus says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” It’s not a matter of whether or not we choose to bear fruit, but that we were chosen to bear fruit. This is an assignment given to us by Christ. Let’s understand the authority that we walk in. It may seem impossible, it may seem scary, it may seem dangerous, however, Jesus tells us that if we ask in His name to produce the fruit that will draw all men to Him, He will give it to us. Tap into the Holy Spirit and you will be effective in bearing fruit that will remain. Like Paul, use the frustrations and the fire burning on the inside of us to take advantage of opportunities to meet the spiritual needs of the world. God has entrusted us to bear fruit, and that fruit will continue to bear fruit as well and we will spread our reach further than we ever could imagine!

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