Luke 12:47: And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
What you know determined how you live, but we do not always live by what we know, we might be pushed by peer pressure, by innate personality error, be subjected to the push of self will or the move of pride.
Adam is the example in knowing the will of God but walking away from it because of the pressure from her wife (Genesis 3). Saul walked away from the will of God because of pressure from his men (1Samuel 15).
A man writing in the book of proverbs said that he did not want God to give him too much or too little money so that he will not have to displease God by denying his name or steal respectively. As far as he was concerned, his financial status or lack of it would out pressure on him to do wrong, will push him away from walking in the will and word of God (Proverbs 30:7-9).
The servant in the focus verse only exists to do the will of his lord and so are we, anything to the contrary in us is definitely a thought against Christ and that is the reason for spiritual warfare.
Paul said that the weapon of our warfare is not carnal but empowered, mighty through God to the pulling down strong and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, taking captive every thought to the obedience of Christ (2Corinthians 10:1-6). Anything that expresses opposition to the absolute supremacy of God, even at the thought level is meant to be brought down. Such a high thing was established in the mind of Eve, against the word the command of God for herself and her husband. It was not taken captive, so they were taken captive. They paid an heavy price.
The devil told her: don’t bother about the commandment of God, you can be like God creating any commandment for yourself create a commandment for yourself, and expressing independence from God is real wisdom.
But God says that the wisdom of men is start foolishness to God (1Corinthians 3:19). When man left the way of God and followed his own ways, the end was destruction. The bible says that there is a way that seems to man but the end is destruction (Proverbs 14:12).
But there are certain issues raised on the focus verse that will now be examined. We need to know what the will of God is; but beyond that we need to prepare to do it and also (wait for it!) do it. The problem sometimes is not lack of knowledge but lack of preparation and action as the focus verse highlighted.
The will of God is so serious, it needs to be prepared for.
- Submission preparation
Jesus prepared himself to do the will of God, and part of what he did was go to John the Baptist for the baptism that will launch him to his ministry (Matthew 3:1-6, 13-17, 4:1-11, Mark 1:1-15, Luke 3:21-22).
John was a known prophet while Jesus was totally unknown, but John’s purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus. Jesus needed the preparatory work of John climaxed in his own baptism by him. When John wanted to oppose Jesus when he came to be baptised, Jesus said he needed to fulfil all righteousness. He needed to go through every preparatory necessities.
- Holy Spirit preparation
The heaven opened and the Holy Spirit came upon him as part of the preparation. Just as experiencing the ministry of John the Baptist, was preparation for Jesus, experiencing the ministry of the one who have gone before him. He also needed to be prepared by being empowered by the Holy Spirit.
- Identity preparation
A voice came from heaven identifying him as the Son of God, so also we need a reaffirming of our peculiar spiritual identity under God, as part of our own preparation. Our identity comes before our activity. It gives meaning to it, and helps us to be faithful in service, because it means we are being only true to ourselves, not just carrying out some tasks, and getting frustrated along the way. And just as Jesus submitted to the ministry of those who have gone before us so must we, ditto being baptised in the Holy Spirit, and the strengthening of our spiritual identity.
We see this repeated in the life of Paul. When Christ met him on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:1-31, 26:11-18), and he called Jesus Lord, God sent Ananias (an older, known Christian) to lay hands on him in Damascus, just as John laid hands on Jesus (one cannot be baptised without hands laid on him).
Paul had to submit to the ministry of Ananias, and at the same time he was baptised in the Holy Spirit, empowered before he was released to ministry in any form (Acts 1:8). And through Ananias God told Paul what his mission was, confirming what Christ had told him earlier, just as John confirmed to Jesus what he already knew about himself.
- Fasting preparation
Jesus submitted himself to that process of preparation. Thereafter he was led into the wilderness for forty final days of preparation. He did not eat forty days. It is interesting also that Paul did not eat or drink for three days before Ananias came to meet him.
- Prayer preparation
Fasting in some form or the other is definitely part of preparing ourselves to do the will of God. And also prayer. Jesus was praying as he was coming from coming up from the water at Jordan when he was baptised. Also Paul, Jesus told Ananias, was in prayer after his supernatural encounter with Christ and before Ananias came by.
- Trial preparation
Jesus gained victory of Satan in the wilderness (he was tempted for forty day), where he was driven after the baptism of John. That shows that trials and test are part of the preparation for ministry. You see Paul going blind for three days even after meeting Christ. He had to be guided by hand to Damascus, contrary to what his go-getter self would have wanted.
- Victory preparation
Jesus gained victory over the devil in the wilderness, and he reaped the fruit of it by casting out devils right left and centre afterwards, in an expression of unquestioning dominion. His private victory over demonic operation, became part of his preparation for public ministry.
Paul also had to overcome his own spiritual blindness to qualify to give sight to others. Later he would affirm that it was the devil who blinds people so that the light of the gospel will not shine in our hearts (2Corinthians 4:4), himself inclusive.
The number seven preparation for ministry is victory over trial. The greater the trial, the greater the victory, which prepares for great effect in the field of doing the will of God.
If Jesus had not dealt with Satan, binding the strong man, he would not be able to pillage his goods, being his explanation when the Pharisee said he cast out devil but the prince of demons (Matthew 12:24-29).
Preparation is person specific
Preparation is beyond lip service, it is beyond observing someone else and trying to copy her. In many ways preparation is person specific. The preparation of Paul was different from the preparation of Peter, who had different tasks. The preparation of Jesus is different from that of John the Baptist because of their peculiar purposes.
John was in the wilderness for many years for his own spiritual development (Luke 1:80). While Jesus spent many years in the shop as a carpenter (Mark 6:3).
You may wonder: what purpose did that serve? Do you not know that Jesus had to spend some years walking to many villages and he needed to be physically prepared for such a gruelling itinerant regime?
After a time of ministry in a place, and he departed to a solitary place to pray, Peter came to inform him that many people were waiting for him, for another round of ministry (Mark 1).
But he said his mission was to go from place to place. John mission was to mostly in one area, for people to come to him, Jesus went to the people as a deliberate ministry policy. John subsisted on locust and honey living an austere life. Jesus did not live an austere life, his was the opposite, so much so that he was accused of being a glutton and a winebibber. He must have loved eating and he attended many social events and that gave him another reputation, howbeit negative one. He was called a friend of sinners (Matthew 11:16-19).
He came breaking the religious notions that the Pharisees entrenched in Israel. Jesus’s disciples did not even fast. There was a time some people asked, the disciples of John fast but your disciples do not fast. He said they do not need to, I am with them (Mark 2:18-19). They looked like a pretty laid back bunch, Jesus and his disciples. You cannot say that about John and his disciples.
The Pharisees fasted twice a week (Luke 18:11-12), and Jesus’ role on the earth was to break down their model of spirituality, and establish a new one which is about personally relationship, heart relationship, with God and not ritualistic observances.
After preparation, there is action. Not only should the servant prepare but also do the will of the master, actually execute the task. Paul told Timothy: stir up the gift of God in you, put them to work, because God has not given you the spirit of fear (which hinders action), but the spirit of love, power and sound mind (which aid action) (2Timothy 1:6-8).
We cannot give the excuse of preparation for not making advancement for the kingdom. We have to continually push forward, move forward. Paul called it redeeming the time because the days are evil, i.e. maximising opportunity for the greatest impact for the kingdom (Ephesians 5:16).
Paul said: woe me if I preach not the gospel (1Corinthians 9:16). Why such a fatal statement? It can only come from a man with an overarching sense of identification with Christ and his passion for the lost. Even while in prison, he used the opportunity of making a defence for himself, to push the gospel of Jesus, either covertly or overtly on others, so much so that one king in his audience at one time said: you almost made be a Christian (Acts 26:28). This was a man prepared, and all full of action in the direction of the will of God.
- Paul becomes a Christian (fivefoldministryireland.wordpress.com)
- Discernment (holdingforthhisword.wordpress.com)
- Nightmare on Straight Street (inspirationalchristiansfortoday.com)
- The Baptism In The Holy Spirit for All is the Biblical Norm. (keithlannon.wordpress.com)