I would like to share on the topic “Questions of God”. He asks questions not because He doesn’t know the answer, He has a different goal – He wants us to hear ourselves when we answer these questions. Of course, God knows everything, He has no need to ask anyone anything. But He wants us to start thinking ourselves, to initiate our minds – to turn on the spirit of initiative so that we ourselves hear and know. We know a lot of things right, but sometimes wrong. The Lord asks man questions and listens attentively how he answers them.
A few questions God asks. I would even call this topic “God’s missionary questions to man.” That is, these questions don’t just lead us to a correct answer, they are directed one way. They move us towards mission.
Our Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Think about it. He is sent by God – the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One. He came to this world sent to fulfill His mission. And you and I are not just Christians who have come to believe and have to live at the airport. We are sent with a purpose. And when we lose this purpose, we lose the meaning of our existence on earth. We can’t be happy by a natural way and have bliss in our lives, because by default we must live as sent people.
The topic of mission is not popular. If you name your content “prosperity”, “healing”, “personal happiness” – the views will be high and large. But if you name “mission”, then the views will drop significantly. People are interested only in individual ministry of the grace to the person, the individual. Christians aren’t interested in mission. This suggests that the Body of Christ is sick – sick with selfishness, sick with self-interest. We want us to feel good, that our wages increase, illnesses heal, and so on. But I don’t want to be sick. I didn’t come here to please man, neither to listen to what pleases me, but to hear the truth of God. I’m here for this today.
Recently I came across a book of the Jesuit order. They went into the most dangerous places where no one wanted to go.
They went to the most impassable places – the fearless warriors of Christ. They even had officer ranks. I came across one interesting thought, and I would like to voice it.
The Jesuit order was the flagship in the 16th century among Catholics in the mission. Why did other orders seek in contemplation, repose, depths of theology, and they did in mission?
They revealed the possibilities of inter-civilizational dialogue. There were no planes then, no fast cars, but they saw the need to evangelize the planet. They gathered and analyzed the issue of intercivilizational dialogue on the basis of gradual recognition of the equivalence of cultures. Do you understand what kind of view that is? What an expanded vision? What a heart these monks had – to save the planet.
One of the letters of a vicar, dated 1583, says: “Since the Lord our God doesn’t give us the gift of miracles, the gift of tongues and the gift of healing, and since these Gentiles attach so much importance to external forms, it is necessary to adapt to them and enter in through their door, that they might enter ours.”
This is the 16th century! So sober brothers! Such an up-to-date idea! What scientific language! What depth! I do understand his words – his words are kin; and the vastness of the intellect, and the vision of God, and the vision of His goals – everything is so fresh, as if this were spoken by our brother, a contemporary. He was concerned about the planet. How to equalize cultures so that they are equivalent, so that one nation doesn’t exalt over another, and bring the equivalence of cultures through the mission of the Gospel.
Imagine the spirit of this man – that he recognizes the lack of the gift of miracles, although he could have it more than all of us. And then he decides to go anyway – and go through such a door so that they enter ours!
They developed their own concept of missionary activity, known to us as the “policy of internal accommodation”, aimed at the social integration of missionaries into the culture of non-Christian societies.
And until now, “in the historiography of today’s tendencies regarding the concept of evangelism as the result of spontaneous activity of individual missionaries, this remains as the highest idea.”
Who needs this? What do we expect from today’s sermon?
The Lord asks man His first question: “Where are you?”
“Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:9-10).
He didn’t say, “Lord, I’m in trouble, I’m left without You, not in Your will, I ate everything that poisoned my life purpose, I ate everything that You forbade – that’s where I am.” No, Adam was afraid, he hid himself, he did not answer the question.
Further on the Lord asks: “What do you have in your hand?”
So the Lord said to him, “What is this in your hand?” He answered: “A rod” (Exodus 4:2-3).
Open your hand and see what you have for people. You have something to give them. The Lord knew what was in his hand, and that was enough. A rod. You can kill an enemy, dig wells, with a rod you can hit water out of a rock, with a rod you can do everything – even plant a tree. A rod in the hand is the universal means to do all God’s will. God says you have everything for the mission.
The third question the Lord asks is: “Why are you here?”
I ask myself the same. And not every one of us will say that he wants to hear the will of God in order to fulfill it, because it will not be true.
“And there he went into a cave there and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Hosts” (1 Kings 19:9-10).
Forth question: What do you want?
“And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. So Jesus answered and said to him, Jesus asked, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (Mark 10:50)
And the blind man answered: “So that I can see!” Yes, it’s hard for the blind. And above all, it is about spiritual enlightenment. I want to pray today so that we can see. Let us gain our sight. Let’s gain the inner sight; pray inwardly, listening to this Word, to hear His will. So that not my will be credited by His grace, but His will in my life.
The fifth question God asks is: “Ask, what shall I give you?”
Wanting is one thing, but asking is another. This is progress. I can want forever, but never ask. And then, at the end of your life, say that you’ve always wanted this, but never asked, because you thought that He would not give it. The Lord says, “You don’t have because you don’t ask.” And here He asks not what you want, but He tells to ask what to give to you.
“Now the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place: Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said: “Ask! What shall I give you?” (1 Kings 3:4-5).
After such a plentiful sacrifice of Solomon, God tells him to ask what He would give him. He waited until the very last sacrifice, did not interrupt, kept patient until Solomon did everything. And He appeared to him and said: “Ask! What shall I give you.”
This is such a big question! Especially for those who are already in adulthood. If your greatest exploits are behind you, it turns out that you are dying. If what you can say now was in the past, all your best testimonies are about the past, if your testimonies are not yours, but someone else’s, then everything needs to be changed. We spoke before that you need to move from preaching ideas to witnessing the work of God in your life now. What I would like to see in my life and in the lives of my brothers and sisters is that they move from ideas in sermons, from interesting thoughts to testimonies. After all, all the Acts of the Apostles are testimonies. The Gospel of Christ is also a testimony. I’d rather listen to a living testimony of how God works than another idea. Move from ideas to evidence. But in order for the evidence to be there, you need to act. Jesus is alive, He works. Therefore, you need to stop using theological synodal letters and start living.
You must have your own testimony. And in order for them to be there, you need to work. That’s what I dream of – that brothers and sisters rise and tell their living stories, fresh. That is the way to live. This is the true preaching of life. This is the Word of life. Tell a living testimony of yourself, which is happening now. And to do this, you need to live with God.
Therefore, the Lord says: “Ask, what shall I give you?” Sometimes it’s embarrassing to ask such a question, because if one starts speaking the truth, we will have to close our ears.
The sixth question the Lord asks is: “Where is the certificate of divorce?”
“Thus says the Lord: “Where is the certificate of your mother’s divorce, whom I have put away? Or which of My creditors it it to whom have I sold you? For your iniquities you have sold yourselves, and for your transgressions your mother has been put away.” (Isaiah 50:1).
That is, the Lord never let us go. He never let us go away from our calling, He never gave us a “leave”, He never signed a release from the Great Commission, He never signed a divorce for us. Everything continues to be in force – His call, His calling. His call, in which He calls us to serve with all our hearts, is still in power on the table of the Lord God. No divorce letter. Everything that is said, everything where the Lord sends us today, remains in force. Everything is the same as yesterday, as a year ago. No divorce letter. No mission abort. We have no right to depart from the Great Commission.
Seventh question: “Who will go for us?” Not who will say “Amen!”, but who will actually go.
“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? And I said, “Here am I, send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
Behold such simplicity, purity and height.
Question 8: What do you see?
“And the word of the Lord came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree. The Lord said to me: you have seen well; for I am watching over My word to fulfill it.” (Jeremiah 1:11-12).
Seeing it well is very important. To see the need, to see people like sheep without a shepherd: here they go idly – they go for a show, for happiness, they are looking for Him, and they don’t know about it. But there is no voice. Do you see, Jeremiah, do you see these nations, do you see the perishing sheep in the people? Do you see the architecture of cities or perishing nations? What do you see?
And the last question: “say now to the rebellious house: do you not know what these things mean? “Tell them, Indeed the king of Babylon went to Jerusalem and took its king and princes, and let them with him to Babylon. And he took the king’s offspring, made a covenant with him, and put him under oath. He also took away the mighty of the land with him … ”(Ezekiel 17: 12-13).
Do these events mean anything to you? The Lord says: “Think about what this means. Hear My voice through all this.”
And so He keeps asking what all these things mean: “But he rebelled against him by sending his ambassadors to Egypt, that they might give him horses and many people. Will he prosper? Will he who does such things escape? Can he brake a covenant and still be delivered? (Ezekiel 17:15).
And God answers what all this means: “As I live, says the Lord God: ‘ surely in the place where the king dwells who made him king, whose oath he despised and whose covenant he broke – with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die” (Ezekiel 17:16).
Here’s what it means. The Lord asks prophet Ezekiel, and He wants to teach him to read the signs of the Lord, so that we understand what all the events that take place in our lives mean. It must mean something! What does it mean what happens personally to you, outside, inside you, in your people, in your country. You must understand what it all means.
And the Lord is asking you this question now. And we have to be honest.
Apostolic church, turned to the mission – what we are talking about today – has a correct vision of the world, she understands the picture of the world, she thinks about the planet, and not just about her little life, mercantile, about her family, how to feed it, about her town, about my little church. Apostolic church has a vision of the world.
Apostolic church has a heart for the nations. It’s not just showing photos and “praying them through”. Go to that place! You say you don’t have money? – You do. You have a phone, a car, and so on.
Apostolic church has call of God in her heart. She always has a call, it stirs her, she can’t sleep peacefully, but keeps hearing: “Who will go for Us?”
Apostolic church has the grace of empowerment, of sacrifice. She has the grace to give, she gives.
Apostolic church has the fire of God for the nations. She burns for the nations. It burns for the mission, for the gospel. Maybe the church is still young, small, but it begins to build in the understanding of the nations, begins to pray further in, to go further. She expands the reinforcement – from personal testimony she moves to evangelism, from evangelism to missionary work, church planting. We must think about it, we must pray and see it. Pastor must be an apostolic person, so that the Acts of the Apostles may be a desktop book for him. These are the two most important books. For inner up-building this is the Apocalypse, Revelation. And for the work of the church – Acts of the Apostles, how to build the church of Christ.
What is the difference between a pile of bricks and a house? The fact that the priesthood has built the house. And a pile of bricks is just a gathering of believers, but it is not the house of the Lord yet, because priesthood builds it into this structure.
Apostolic church has a forward vision of the call, advanced vision of the Lord for the church of Christ.
Today I spoke not a sermon, but the will of God. God asks these nine questions to man. Answer these questions. Apply them to yourself. Starting from the first – “Where are you?” What are you in? What is your life in relation to the will of God? And ending with the last – “What does it all mean?”
I speak firmly, but we want to hear the will of God. I would like to hear the truth. I don’t want to waste time on other things that aren’t true. We are called not only to believe, but also to suffer for the Lord.
“And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying: A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine” (Revelation 6:6).
The quart of wheat is the exchange rate of a dollar as of a denarius. The Lord writes to us about this rate in Revelation. Can you imagine? In the third seal. He says that we will have economic upheavals, when only a quart of wheat will be given for a denarius. You will have such cheap money. And if your situation is really bad, then three quarts of barley. All this is said in Revelation – about the rates.
But what does the Lord say next? – Do not harm the oil and wine! The fact that the economic system is shaking is not as important. It is important that the oil is as it was, the Holy Spirit – it should not be harmed. And the wine of power, the grace of God, is not damaged.
We were not given leave, there was no order for us to shift and lower the bar on oil and wine. As it was in the Apostolic Church, the commandment – to walk in the power – has remained so. It doesn’t matter how much a denarius cost, maybe a hundred quarts of wheat could be bought for a denarius, and now there is only one. Maybe the economic situation captures us more and more now – it doesn’t matter. What is important – do not harm the oil and wine.
Therefore, do not harm this message – “Who will go for Us?” We have no right to harm the wine, we have no right to harm the wineskins. Nobody gave us this right. And what I’m telling you now is don’t harm the wine, don’t harm the oil. Because this commission remains in force – “Go and preach the gospel to all creation, to all nations.”
This commission still stands! It doesn’t matter what you have at home, what you have with the economy. Do not harm the oil and the wine!
God bless us! I hope you heard this message. May God bless us and give us a pure heart!