When God Gives You A Warning.
And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
Years ago brother Fred was on fire for God. He always talked about how we would do great things for God and the kingdom. He was someone you would love to hang out with if you had a hunger and thirst for the things of God. Influencing and impacting the world for Christ was his passion, everything else was secondary. He was involved in some small business supplying items to a large company. In the process of time the company began to give him bigger contracts and with this came more opportunity to travel the world and make more money. It was like the heavens opened on him and the money poured into his business. Soon he spent more time in foreign countries, pursuing his business and meeting new contacts. The money grew. Then I noticed that he stopped talking about his personal involvement in ministry. He stopped talking about how he wanted to impact the world for Jesus. Now that he was actually going round the world, something he had prayed for for years, he had lost the zeal to pursue the vision. He said he wanted to ‘make more money and give it to the church’, as if God was indigent needed his money to run the affairs of the kingdom. He attended church to pray for his business, not to pray concerning the dying fire in his soul. He had money but he had lost the zeal to pursue the ministry God gave him.
Let us look at some lessons from our text.
1. Paul said he should ‘take heed’.
Paul singles out a man named Archippus and sent him a warning. If it wasn’t so important Paul wouldn’t have mentioned it in his letter to the Colosians.
What does this mean? It means to be careful, to watch your step, to evaluate your actions and make sure you are doing the right thing, you are going in the right direction, you are pursuing the right thing. Why did Paul tell him to be careful? It was because this was a serious matter and if he made a mistake it would be detrimental to his relationship with The Lord.
Archippus, take heed.
You should substitute your name for Archippus. Be careful because if you are not careful you will make a big mistake with your life. There are different kinds of mistakes in life. Some mistakes can be corrected. Some are difficult to correct but you can still manage and struggle to live with the consequences of your wrong, unfortunate choices. But some mistakes cannot be corrected and are impossible to live with. If you make such mistakes you have essentially thrown your life away, you have abrogated your destiny, you have shot yourself in the foot, you have used your own hands to destroy your life.
Paul was telling Archippus that he had only one opportunity to do this, and if he missed it there was no way to fix it. Paul was saying, ‘You cannot do this again. If you miss it, if you miss this opportunity to pursue and fulfil your calling, you would have essentially wasted your life. I don’t want you to waste your life, so be careful.’
2. Archippus’ life was about one thing.
The ministry he had received in The Lord was what his life was all about. That was the reason why he was alive.
So that we are clear, the reason you are on this planet is not to ‘live your best life,’ or to ‘get rich or die trying,’ or ‘to become great.’ The reason is not to acquire money, own luxury properties on exotic islands. The reason we are here as believers is to carry our cross and follow The Lord in whatever direction he may lead us. The reason we are here is to expand God’s kingdom and have His will find expression in and through our lives, in whatever way, manner or dimension The Lord chooses and sees fit.
Your life is not your own. You don’t own yourself. Jesus does. There is an assignment that you have received in The Lord, there is a calling on your life, there is a ministry you have been called to.
3. It was to Archippus, an individual, that this message was directed.
It wasn’t directed at a group of people. When The Lord talks to you, gives an instruction or command, He gives you an assignment that demands personal responsibility. The Lord does not speak to ‘a group’. He speaks to us as individuals. That is the reason why you cannot receive direction for your life from your pastor as a member of a group. The group you belong to is led by someone who has been given a vision and sent to fulfil an assignment. To fit into that group, to function successfully in it, you must of necessity align with the vision of the leader. The day your vision changes, the day you begin to sense that The Lord wants to do a work in your life which is different from the vision of that group, that would be a signal for you to start praying, seeking God’s direction for what He wants you to do.
Your pastor may have a revelation into what The Lord wants you to do, however he cannot give you direction concerning the calling of God on your life. Even if a prophet gives you a revelation concerning the direction God wants you to go, you must still take responsibility for the calling of God on your life. Your pastor did not call you, neither did your prophet, so they cannot take responsibility for your actions.
Archippus received a ministry or an assignment from the Lord. What is a ministry?
Some people think a ministry is synonymous with preaching. However that is not totally accurate. A ministry is about the focused pursuit of the calling of God on your life. Each and every member of the body of Christ has a calling. We all are called to function in the body of Christ and contribute to the growth, development and maturity of the members of the body. A ministry is not limited to preaching from the pulpit. A ministry simply means the pursuit of God’s kingdom assignment on your life. A career is some you train yourself to do and pursue. But a calling is what God trains you to
4. This ministry or assignment was received in The Lord.
It was The Lord who gave Him his assignment, not his pastor, not a prophet, and not his bishop. Some Christians pursue their ministry as if it was handed over to them by man. It wasn’t. Never allow people determine the scope, extent and boundaries of your ministry. Only the Lord can do that. He gave it to you and will determine how far you go and how much you accomplish for His kingdom.
Even when you work in an organisation, you are there because God sent you there. The same God who sent you there will tell you when it is time to leave. You cannot leave the place of your assignment because you were offended, you were rejected, or you are relegated to an insignificant position by organisational politics. If God wants you to move on He will let you know and give you specific instructions on what to do next. Never leave the place of your assignment in anger, strife, animosity, or because of pride. Stay humble and serve. God will bless your obedience.
5. When God gives you an assignment, He supernaturally empowers you to pursue it.
A vision that doesn’t require God’s participation, that doesn’t require intense prayer and seeking the face of God for wisdom, clarity and direction, that doesn’t require God sending you divine helpers, that doesn’t require the power and ability of God to fulfil it, is NOT from God. God will never give you an assignment that will depend entirely on YOU and not require the full participation of heaven. If you don’t require God to pursue and fulfil it, that vision was birthed by you, by your own heart and has absolutely nothing to do with God. Any vision God gives you must of necessity require His participation for it to be actualised.
And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not;
I will lead them in paths that they have not known:
I will make darkness light before them,
and crooked things straight.
These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.
If we knew where God was taking us then we wouldn’t require His participation on our journey. However, we don’t. As we pray and follow Him, The Lord brings us into new paths, paths we have not known, and goes before us and floods our way with light, turning darkness to light and making crooked paths straight before us.
And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying,
This is the way, walk ye in it,
when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
As we pursue the assignment He has given us, He gives us specific instructions on where to go, who to meet, what to do. He stirs our spirit to connect with certain people to form strategic relationships that will become a weapon in the Master’s hands to birth His will and perfect His purpose in our lives.
6. ‘Make sure you fulfil it.’
There’s only one reason why you are on this planet and that is to fulfil the assignment of God for your life. If you are successful at everything else but fail at this, you have essentially wasted your time here on earth. ‘Make sure you fulfil it,’ means that there is nothing else as important as your assignment. Don’t give any excuses for not pursuing your assignment. Don’t give any excuses for giving up on it and turning to some other thing which is less stressful or which brings in more money. Pour your heart and soul into the calling of God for your life. The pursuit and fulfilling your calling has eternal consequences. Souls, communities, nations will be impacted by your obedience to pursue and fulfil your calling. Make sure you fulfil your calling, ministry and kingdom assignment by the power of the Holy Spirit.