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A Call To Action

These are exciting times in the life of our church here at Minoh International. Last month, we had the privilege of witnessing two salvations, which is nothing other than the miracle of God.
Salvation belongs to God and God alone, and it is God who saves, not us. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t play a part. In fact, we play a significant part in God’s plan for the salvation of souls.
Here are a couple of Bible passages to prove this point.
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:11, 14, 18-20)

コリント人への手紙 第2 5:11,14, 18-20
11 ですから、私たちの心には、いつも主を恐れかしこむ厳粛な思いがあります。それで、ほかの人々を説得しようと、やっきになっているのです。14 キリスト様の愛に動かされて、しているのです。 キリスト様が私たちすべてのために死んでくださったことを信じる以上、自分が、今までの古い生活に対して死んだことも信じなければなりません。18 この新しい出来事はすべて神様から出ています。神様は、キリスト・イエスのお働きによって、私たちをご自分のもとに連れ戻してくださいました。そして、この恵みによる神様との和解を、すべての人に勧める特権をも、私たちに与えてくださったのです。19 つまり、キリスト様によって、この世をご自分と和解させ、その罪を数え立てずに、かえって、帳消しにしてくださったのです。これが、人々に伝えるようにと私たちにゆだねられた、すばらしい知らせです。20 私たちはキリスト様の大使です。神様が、私たちの口から語りかけるのです。

13 Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! (Romans 10:13-15)
13 主の御名を呼び求める者は、だれでも救われるのです。14 しかし、主を信じていなければ、どうして主に、「救ってください」と求めるでしょうか。また、主のことを一度も聞いたことがなければ、どうして主を信じることができるでしょうか。だれかが教えてくれなければ、どうして主のことを聞けるでしょうか。15 また、だれかが遣わさなければ、どうして人々のところへ出かけて教える人が出るでしょうか。旧約聖書に、「神との平和を宣べ伝え、良い知らせをもたらす人の足は、なんとうるわしいことか」とあるのは、まさにこのことです。つまり、神様の良い知らせを伝える人は、なんと歓迎されることか、というのです。

The significant part that we play in God’s plan for the salvation of souls is “to bring good news,” “to preach,” “to let God make his appeal through us,” “to be Christ’s ambassadors,” “to carefully handle the message and ministry of reconciliation,” “to persuade others.”
In other words, we are to speak God’s message to people. We are to tell others about Jesus Christ. We call it evangelism, witnessing, “dendou”, or sharing the Gospel. And when we do our part, we see God do his part. We see God save people.
Ultimately, it is a call from God, a call to action, and what God expects from his followers every time he gives a call is simply that—action. Throughout the Bible, we see examples upon examples of this. The example that I would like for us to look at today is that of the Prophet Isaiah when he received the call of God to go and speak God’s message. So please turn with me to Isaiah 6:1-8.
Text Reading

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” 8 Then 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 6:1-8)

1 ウジヤ王の死んだ年に、私は神様のお姿を見ました。高い御座におすわりになっていましたが、神殿はご栄光で満ちあふれていました。2 神様の回りを、三対の翼のあるセラフィム(人間の罪をきよめる天使)が舞っていました。互いに一対の翼で顔をおおい、一対で両足をおおい、残りの一対で飛んでいるのです。3 セラフィムは、互いに歌いました。「聖なる、聖なる、聖なるお方。それは天の軍勢の主。全地は主の栄光で満ちている。」4 このすばらしい合唱のために神殿は土台から揺らぎ、聖所はたちまち煙でいっぱいになりました。5 私は恐ろしくてたまりません。思わず叫びました。「もうおしまいだ。こんな罪深い、口の汚れた私が、こともあろうに天の軍勢の主である王を見てしまったんだから。」6 すると、セラフィムの一人が祭壇へ飛んで行き、かっかと燃える炭を火ばさみでつまみ、7 それを私のくちびるにつけて言いました。「さあ、これできれいになった。この炭がくちびるに触れたからだ。あなたの罪はみな赦された。」8 続いて神様のお声がしました。「だれをわたしの国民への使いとしよう。だれが行ってくれるだろうか。」「神様、私がまいります。私を使いに出してください。」

Point 1: Isaiah Saw God

The first point important point concerning Isaiah’s example is described in vv. 1-4 of today’s passage. If anything, it is very clear that ISAIAH SAW GOD, and he saw God in two distinct ways. One, Isaiah had a vision of God’s splendor and glory. In essence, he saw God for who he is. And two, Isaiah had a vision of God’s holiness. Isaiah is smitten by God’s holy nature, and it would do us a great deal of good to do likewise.

For us to see God as Isaiah saw God is the key first step in speaking God’s message, because in seeing God, we can be certain that the message and the prompting are of God.

In other words, sharing the Gospel and preaching the Good News lack power unless it comes from the proper source and with the proper motivation. That’s maintained when we “see God” and connect with him.
Without them, the opposite happens. I’ve been guilty of this—not seeing and connecting with God and, as a result, speaking God’s message in the flesh. God’s message is tainted with my pride, my judgmentalism, and my self-righteousness, and it hardly brings forth any positive spiritual fruit.
I became a Christian during my second year of university, and soon after, I began trying to get my friends from high school to be more serious about their commitment to Jesus. These were the same friends who I thought weren’t good witnesses to me during high school when I wasn’t a Christian, so all the more, I confronted them about their double life and hypocrisy.
The message may have been true and even with good intentions, but it was spoken in the flesh, out of my own frustration, my own experience, and my own self-righteousness. The result? My friends from high school and I don’t talk to each other anymore. It’s unfortunate, that because I didn’t “see God” or connect with his heart regarding speaking this message to my friends, I ended up unnecessarily ruining relationships.
その結果は? 私の高校からの友人達と私はもうそれ以上話していません。

Let’s not be so careless with our words and actions, only to turn around and blame God when our efforts of evangelism don’t result in how we had hoped. That’s wrong.
Let’s learn from Isaiah in making sure to see God first, so that we can put ourselves in a position to speak the right words in the right manner.
This is an important first step to speaking God’s message.

Point 2: Isaiah Saw Himself Before God

The second point in Isaiah’s example is that after he first saw God’s majesty and holiness, he saw himself for who he was, and he was greatly distraught, as we can see in vv. 5-7 of today’s passage. Basically, Isaiah thought that he was going to die. He, in his human sinfulness, beheld God in his righteousness, which was a well-known Old Testament prescription for instant death.

But God does something incredible here. He extends grace and atonement to Isaiah, in the same way he wants Isaiah to exemplify this act on God’s behalf to his people. Isaiah is redeemed, and in the same way God wants to offer redemption to his people.

This realization of sinfulness and the subsequent impartation of redemption greatly humble Isaiah, and we, too, ought to learn from Isaiah’s example. It’s the simple realization of the profound truth that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
“それは単に 私達がまだ罪人であったうちにイエスは私達の為に死んでくださった”という奥深い真実が現実にあったからです。
When we see ourselves, just as Isaiah saw himself, we should take a moment to mourn and grieve over our sinfulness, not so that we would feel condemned, but so that we would go and speak God’s message with a spirit of grace and humility.

As wonderful as the salvation message is, it is in fact a serious and somber message, because included in it is the sad reality of judgment, hell, darkness, and eternal separation from the One who loves us. This message is to be handled with utmost care, with grace and humility. The famous American evangelist D. L. Moody said, “I cannot preach on hell unless I preach with tears.”

In heeding God’s call to speak his message and minister to others, we must first permit God to minister to us. Before we pronounce “woe” upon others, we must first be able to sincerely say, “Woe is me!” Isaiah’s conviction led to confession, and confession led to cleansing.
Let’s learn from Isaiah’s example to see ourselves as sinners who have been redeemed and to humble ourselves before God. This is an important second step in preparing our heart for evangelism.

Point 3: Isaiah Went And Spoke Of God

The third and final point we see in Isaiah’s example is his action of obedience seen in v. 8 of today’s passage. God asks Isaiah a two-part question, which speaks of the sad reality that though God may call, not everyone responds with obedience. But Isaiah, of course, responds correctly.
In looking more closely at Isaiah’s response, there are two things worth mentioning in his example for us.
One, we ought to respond by making ourselves wholly available to God. In heeding God’s call to share the Good News, we must avail ourselves to God, not on our terms or timetable, but on God’s.
That’s what availability is. It’s putting ourselves in a position to be able to say, “Here I am,” and immediately go and speak when God calls us to.

And two, we also ought to respond with an attitude of willingness,as we see in Isaiah’s eager response, “Send me!” His response wasn’t, “I guess I could go,” or “If there isn’t anyone else, then I’ll do it.” I picture the eager student sitting at her desk in the classroom, flailing her hands wildly in the air in the hopes of catching the teacher’s attention, just dying to answer the teacher’s question, “Ooh, ooh, ooh! Pick me! Pick me, please!”

We all had the chance to listen to Esther’s testimony today. I hope that we were encouraged, but also greatly challenged. When God says, “Go,” often times, it’s not easy to say, “Yes.” In fact, a lot of times, it’s very difficult to be completely obedient to God. It was very difficult for Isaiah and the other prophets. It was a very difficult choice for Esther and her family to come and share God’s message here in Japan. But I look at Isaiah, I look at Esther and Nicole, and I’m so encouraged by their example of availability and willingness.
In heeding God’s call to evangelize, I hope that we will display a similar measure of willingness when we say yes to God.
Not shy, not embarrassed, not afraid. Because I’m sure it pleases the heart of God when we avail ourselves to his call of speaking his message with willingness and obedience.

We are witnessing some exciting times in the life of our church here at Minoh International, brothers and sisters. God is saving people here in Japan. He’s inviting us to join him in his Kingdom work. He’s inviting us to participate in the most important work in the world.
God is calling us to action. God is calling us to speak his message.
God is calling us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Easter is right around the corner. It’s the perfect opportunity to invite people to church. It’s the perfect opportunity to talk about Jesus.
Let’s take time this Easter to see God, to see ourselves before God, and to go and speak of God.