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DEVOTIONAL

Today's featured devotional...
There is a growing up in experience in the ministry. When Paul started out in the ministry he was definitely called of God and was assured of God through Ananias that it would not be an easy service but a terrific one.

The thirteenth chapter of Acts tells us the story of the ordination and sending forth of the Apostle Paul, his ordination to the apostleship.

Paul never writes of himself as an apostle until after the thirteenth chapter of Acts. He had been an evangelist and teacher for 13 years when the thirteenth chapter of Acts was written and the ordination took place that is recorded there.

Men who have a real call are not afraid of apprenticeships.

The Price Of Apostleship
There is a growing up in experience in the ministry. When Paul started out in the ministry he was definitely called of God and was assured of God through Ananias that it would not be an easy service but a terrific one.

That is what Jesus Christ, the crucified and glorified Son of God, told Ananias to say to the Apostle Paul. He was not going to live in holy ecstasy and wear a beautiful halo, and have a heavenly time and ride in a limousine.

He was going to have a drastic time, a desperate struggle, a terrific experience. And no man in biblical history ever had more dreadful things to endure than the apostle Paul.

They stripped him of his clothing, and the executioner lashed him with an awful scourge, until bleeding, lacerated, and broken, he fell helpless, and unconscious and insensible; then they doused him with a bucket of salt water to keep the maggots off, and threw him into a cell to recover.

That was the price of apostleship. That was the price of the call of God and His service. But God said, "bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15). He qualified as God's messenger.

Beloved, we have lost the character of consecration here manifested. God is trying to restore it in our day. He has not been able to make much progress with the average preacher on that line.

Do you want to know why God poured out His Spirit in South Africa like He did nowhere else in the world? There was a reason. This example will illustrate.

We had 125 men out on the field at one time. We were a very young institution; were not known in the world. South Africa is 7,000 miles from any European country. It is 10,000 miles by way of England to the United States.

Our finances got so low under the awful assault we were compelled to endure, that there came a time I could not even mail to those workers at the end of the month a $10 bill. It got so I could not send them $2.

The situation was desperate. What was I to do? Under these circumstances I did not want to take the responsibility of leaving men and their families on the frontier without real knowledge of what the conditions were.

Some of us at headquarters sold our clothes in some cases, sold certain pieces of furniture out of the house, sold anything we could sell, to bring those 125 workers off the field for a conference.

One night in the progress of the conference I was invited by a committee to leave the room for a minute or two. The conference wanted to have a word by themselves.

When I came back in I found that they had rearranged the chairs in an oval, with a little table at one end, and on the table was the bread and the wine.

Old Father Van de Wall, speaking for the company said, "Brother Lake, during your absence we have come to a conclusion; we have made our decision. We want you to serve the Lord's Supper. We are going back to our fields. We are going back if we have to walk back. We are going back if we have to starve. We are going back if our wives die. We are going back if our children die. We are going back if we die ourselves. We have but one request. If we die, we want you to come and bury us."

Dedication To Their Call
The next year I buried 12 men, 16 wives and 9 children. Friends, when you want to find out why the power of God came down from heaven in South Africa like it never came down before since the times of the apostles, there is your answer. 

Jesus Christ put the spirit of martyrdom in the ministry. Jesus instituted His ministry with a pledge unto death. When He was with the disciples on the last night He took the cup, "when He had supped, saying..." (1 Cor. 11:25).

Beloved, the SAYING was the significant thing. It was Jesus Christ's pledge to the 12 who stood with Him, "This cup is the new testament in my blood" (1 Cor. 11:25). Then He said, "Drink ye all of it" (Matt. 26:27).

Friends, those who were there and drank to that pledge of Jesus Christ, entered into the same covenant and purpose that He did. That is what all pledges mean.

Men have pledged themselves in the wine cup from time immemorial. Generals have pledged their armies unto death. It has been a custom in the race, Jesus Christ sanctified it to the Church forever, bless God.

Dear friends, there is not an authentic history that can tell whether any one of them died a natural death. We know that at least nine of them were martyrs, possibly all.

Peter died on a cross. James was beheaded, for Thomas they did not even wait to make a cross...they nailed him to an olive tree. John was sentenced to be executed at Ephesus by putting him in a caldron of boiling oil.

God delivered him, and his executioners refused to repeat the operation, and he was banished to the Isle of Patmos. John thought so little about it that he never even tells of the incident; he had committed himself to Jesus Christ for life or death.

Friends, the group of missionaries that followed me went without food, and went without clothes. That is the kind of consecration that established Pentecost in South Africa.

That is the reason we have 100,000 native Christians in South Africa. That is the reason we have 1,250 native preachers. That is the reason that today we are the most rapidly growing church in South Africa.

I am not persuading you, dear friends, by holding out a hope that the way is going to be easy.

Instead, I am calling you in the Name of Jesus Christ, you dear ones who expect to be ordained to the gospel of Jesus Christ tonight, take the route that Jesus took, the route the apostles took, the route that the early Church took, the victory route, whether by life or death.

Source: John G. Lake: His Life, His Sermons, His Boldness of Faith Excerpt permission granted by Kenneth Copeland Publications

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The online ministry of cfaith has been helping people discover faith, friends and freedom in the Word since 2000. Cfaith provides a unique and comprehensive collection of faith-building resources for the worldwide faith community.

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