Wednesday, May 03, 2006

From Useless to Usefullness

From Uselessness to UseFullness


"Formerly he was useless to you,
but now he is indeed useful
to you and to me." (Phlm 1:11)


Here is one of the greatest things that I have discovered in my Christian training and discipleship. I clearly saw that I was a useless and horrible person when I was not a believer but once redeemed I realized that through the redemption in Christ I was made useful. May God grant you blessings and encouragement as you read through this and know that in Christ you are useful! ...Steve



A. Sin Brought Uselessness


We do not need to look deep in to the Bible to see that sin caused men, in their depraved state, to be useless. Men were created in the image and likeness of God and by sin men fell from original righteousness and are in their natural state found to be defiled in all aspects of their being. As a sinner the conscience and mind are defiled so that every thought and intent of the heart is continually wicked and evil. Fallen men are are worthless and do no good at all. Men become angry, hateful and "are swift to shed blood". "They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work." The way of life of men as a sinner are the paths of "ruin and misery" (Gen_6:5; Jer_17:9; Rom_3:10-19; Titus 1:15-16)


To Do:


Who can you name in the Bible who exemplified this uselessness?

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B. Christ Saves Us And Works In Us Making Us UseFul


My personal testimony is found in the Psalm 40: 1-3. In 1977 I was detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. I was in a life of "ruin and misery". But then I heard of Christ and saw my sinful state and destruction. He then "drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God." He saved me and made me a useful being.



In the Bible we read a snipet of the life of Onesimus. Onesimus is an execellent exampple of a life which was brought from uselessness to usefullness. Onesimus was a slave who belonging to Philemon a citizen of Colosse, member of the church there. Onesimus an unbeliever defrauded Philemon then ran from his owner and out of the city of Colosse. He ended up in Rome where wicked,evil and useless men tended to flock. While there he came in contact with Paul, who was then in his own hired house, under military custody.



While we don't know how they came in contact. We do know that Onesimus knew of Paul since he was of the house of Phileman and also tht he would have been exposed to Christian worship, and that he would have have had covenantal blessings upon him since he was under the covenantal authority of Phileman. Perhaps he got hungry and knew that Paul, being in the church and being in Rome would show him love and help him feed his belly. Perhaps he was reminded of the covenantal blessings of family, work and worship and longed for what he had seen exemplified in the Church. Perhaps he could not forget how Philemon had many a time spoken of Paul, to whom he owed his conversion. Or perhaps he just had bad feelings of guilt in that he defrauded his master.Whatever happened in God's design Onesimus was in Rome, Paul was in Rome and they somehow met.



The result of this meeting, Onesimus was converted to Christ, through the work of the Apostle Paul ("my child, whom I have begotten in my bonds," Philem 1:10). That is right God called him to salvation wherin he repented of sin and placed faith in the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.Something changed! Onesimus who was formerly "useless to you (Philemon) is now indeed useful to you and to me." Onesineus and his services had become very acceptable to Paul, who would gladly have kept Onesimus with him; but since he could not do this without the knowledge and consent of Philemon, he sent Onesimus back to Colosse, to his master there.



Paul's Appeal To Philemon:



Phlm 1:10-14 I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own free will.



Now what we must understand is simply this: God does this for all His people. That is right, Think about it - He brings us from a useless state to make us useful. When Jesus saves us He gives us a new heart and spirit (Act_20:32; Rom_6:5, Rom_6:6; 1Co_6:11; Phi_3:10). We are set upon solid ground. We are a new creature having our minds renewed. We have the Holy Spirit working in us, giving to each of us dynamic power in order that we may live righteously in love towards our God and our fellow man (2Co_3:5; Phi_2:13; Phi_4:13). By the grace of God we are brought from a state of uselessness to a state of usefulness.





It is a good thing to know that by the grace of God we can love our families, work and labor for them, and for our church and our society and culture, and then we together worship the Lord of glory. In all of this we are most useful to God, our families and society. In our love to God, because He first loved us, we become useful men and women who seek a life of honor, service and worship submitting to the ways of the faith and the Church.



Believers are brought into a state of usefulness where they start obeying God's word doing what he commands by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Eze_36:26, Eze_36:27; Joh_15:4-6). In this obedience we do truly become useful as we obey God's word. By the doing of good works we show our thankfulness to God for the work of salvation worked in us (Psa_116:12-14 ; 1Pe_2:9), we also edify our Christian brethern (Mat_5:16; 2Co_9:2) and we glorify God by doing that which God has commanded that we do (Joh_15:8; Phi_1:11; 1Pe_2:12).



To Do:



Who Can You Name In The Bible Who Exemplified Usefullness?



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C. Christianity - A Walk Of Usefulness



Eph 4:17-32:



17-19 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.



20-24 But that is not the way you learned Christ!-- assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.



25- 32 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.



D. What To Do When A Brother or Sister Fails: Restore to Usefullness



One huge aspect of usefulness that we have been called to is that of love and service to one another (Gal.5:13-14). In this service of love if we see a brother or sister in the faith trapped and caught in sin or doctrinal error we are commanded to restore that one overtaken in a sin back to usefullnes.. " Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:1-2)



As believers we are still prone to sin and sometimes Christians are overtaken in it. After all there are the pulls of the world, the schemes of the devil and the desires of the flesh that war against us as we walk toward the day we enter the celestial city. At time we find Christian brethern that have been overtaken and we have the command that we who are spiritual are to "restore him".



God calls each believer to disciple and help other believers. You may say, "I have a difficult time talking to others since I am unsure what to say." Or perhaps, "That is the job of the minister". I encourage you to go to your pastor and elders to tell them of your weaknesses in this area and let them help you become useful in this area. You see this is not the job of the "professional" pastor or elder. It is the relationship we have with one another. We need each other in this manner and are commanded to love one another and help a nd serve when needed.



Your goal is to work to disciple to "restore" the one caught in this horrible trap of sin. Since you must "restore" the person you need to understand what this means. It simple means to reach out to the person in a way so that the one entrapped by the sin is repared: that is they are changed in a way to be once again useful in the kingdom of God. Now what does the term restor mean. I find it interesting that this term was used in the gospels in reference to fishermen mending their nets so that they were again useful to the fishing industry. The term was also used by doctors in reference to the setting of broken bones for the purpose of healing so that the limb would once again be of service to the patient. From this we conclude that a brother overtaken in a sin is not to be abandoned but is to be ministered to in love and given the direction and counsel in order to be restored back to usefulness in the kingdom of God for the glory of God, the good of the Church and society. In reality we truly useful for we are "our brothers keeper".


Conclusion:



In summary we see the uselessness of sinful men. ThankGod we have not been left in that estate. God in his mercy has reached out to us and showed us our sin and called us to repent from it and given us faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We can truly at weahave been translated from darkness and uselessness to light and usefullness. I am also thankful for the ministry of the church and the members to one another so that if I am overtaken in a sin that you can work for my restoration and get me back to a usefullness in the kingdom of God.


Perhaps like Onesimus God is showing you your uselessness. You see and recognizeyour sin and how it affects every aspect of your life. Perhaps you are searching to be useful in life towards your family a nd towards God. If so then I ask that you repent of your sins and turn to Christ who abundantly pardons and gives you the Holy Spirit, His word and His Church in order for you to be that useful person you are now desiring to be. If this be so then I ask that you contact a bible believing Church in your area. These are Churches such as the Presbyterian Church in America, A good Bible Church, of a strong Bible beleiving Baptist church. Let them know of your desire and intention and need for Christian training so that you learn more of Christ and his way will for your life. Also if you read this on the blog please read the blogs as a means of discipleship and godly instruction but understandthat you need the church for more that this blog site can ever give you. Okay and God bless.

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