To Work Yourself Out of a Local Job

2 04 2012

Roland Allen tells us how Paul, the Apostle, worked himself out of a local job, wherever he went.

The Risen Jesus met an angry Paul (then called Saul), who was in no mood for Christianity! This confrontation was also a stunning revelation. Paul received the gift of the Holy Spirit. And he changed his mind about many things. Paul now knew Jesus Christ was the key to history, and the key to Israel’s very existence as a unique people. So… Paul now followed Jesus, as the Lord of death, and of life, and of the future for him, and for all nations, and the creation.

Paul began churches – that is, groups of people who also knew Jesus and lived by a new power, the gospel good news, and the infilling and indwelling of the Spirit of God. Grace reigned, and does reign still.

Roland Allen, in Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? reminds us of how Paul went about his work in taking the gospel to new places:

“He gave place for Christ. He was always glad when his converts could progress without his aid. He welcomed their liberty. He withheld no gift from them which might enable them to dispense with his presence… he gave as a right to Spirit-bearing body the power which duly belong to a Spirit-bearing body. He gave them freely, and then he retired from them that they might learn to exercise the powers which they possessed in Christ. He warned them of dangers, but he did not provide an elaborate machinery to prevent then from succumbing to the dangers.” (p. 149)

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The gospel has its own power. Once it is planted, and sends down roots, it becomes fruitful. “The River of God is full of water”. The branches grow on the Vine. Christ Jesus, living is the Vine.  The Father is the vinedresser and ensures the garden produces much fruit that remains. So, planting is a great thing, so is watering, and so is growth.

What stunning news the gospel is…. it is amazing that the Christian church is not growing faster. But then, there are opponents, celestial and terrestrial. Even so, the growth is part of the plan… as is the planting.

Doing yourself out of a local job!  Hmmnn. A good method indeed.

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