Title: The Necessity of Expectancy
Theme: The Need of Seeing Vision Through
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
Although we live among a people who have hearts that disregard the things and the people of God, we can have expectancy that God will use us.
Let me give you some Biblical history. The prophet Jeremiah’s message was rejected at home and because of his faithfulness to deliver such an unpopular message, the Lord gives him another message for those whom God had carried off into captivity in Babylon. It is believed that Jeremiah had heard that the Israelites were having trouble submitting to their circumstances, just as some Christians do today.
God has Jeremiah write a letter which tells the Israelites not to listen to the false prophets and diviners who were only deceivers. The people of God in Babylon were told not to listen to the dreams that the Israelites encouraged the false prophets to have. The Bible says these false prophets were prophesying lies in the name of the Lord. God has Jeremiah write in this letter, “…I have not sent them…” (Jeremiah 29:8-9)
In Old Testament times God allowed His disobedient children to be carried off into captivity as well as having them put into slavery for willful sin. The Book of Romans tells us, today, God allows the willful sinner’s mind to become depraved. (Romans 1:28) The willful sinner’s thinking becomes futile and their hearts are darkened and they become filled with every kind of wickedness. (Romans 1:21, 29) In the King James Bible we read of Jesus saying, “…Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever, committeth sin is the servant of sin.” (John 8:34) Just as the Lord allowed the disobedient Israelites to become servants to the Babylonians, God allows the disobedient to become servants to sin today.
Babylon in the New Testament is used literally and symbolically. Please note, in the Book of Revelation, Babylon is used symbolically four different times and she is referred to as a place of sin which causes others to sin. For example, in Revelations 14:8 she is a place “…which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” In Revelations 16:19 she is a place that receives the full wrath of God. In Revelations 17:5 Babylon is “…the mother of prostates and of the abominations of the earth.” In Revelations 18:2 “She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable [thing].” It is my understanding, when referring to Babylon symbolically she represents all that is sinful and antagonistic to the Kingdom of God and to His children
I would propose to you that the world we live in today is not a friend of grace. It is very antagonistic to the Kingdom of God and to conservative Christians. However, although we live among a people who have hearts that disregard the things and the people of God, we can have expectancy that God will use us.
Can the child of God live a life of expectancy in the times we live today? Just what should be in the heart and life of the child of God who wants to be used of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Paul had expectancy
The deceiving prophets in Babylon were giving the Israelites a false hope of going back to Jerusalem. However, God sent a message in a letter, just like He has a message in the Word of God for Christians who are always looking to go somewhere else to serve the Lord.
The message from God through Jeremiah to a people who lived in a land of wickedness was, “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Also seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:5-7)
In other words, settle down I have proclaimed a time for your deliverance out of this land of people who are against God and His people. In reality we will be living on this earth among a people who are antagonistic toward the things of God until Christ comes for His bride. Until that happens, we are to build houses, raise families, and pray for this country. We are to be very aggressive in the building of our own godly families and also in building the family of God. The family of God is those who are adopted through faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
The apostle Paul tells us that “In love 5 [God] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” (Ephesians 1:5) This is one of the most positive sentences in the Bible and Christians become children of God only by adoption and grace.
The apostle Paul also tells us this truth. “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation… because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:12, 14-17)
Christ left the abode of God and walked this guilty sod to achieve His Father’s will for the redemption of sinful mankind. The apostle Paul said “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith...” (Philippians 1:23-26) The apostle Paul had expectancy, for he said I am “Convinced of this.” Thus, Paul was enabled to achieve all that the Lord had called him to do. It is a necessity that Christians have expectancy that God will keep His promises. Just as Jesus and the apostle Paul believed.
Our Lord Jesus spoke a promise to us. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
We can have expectancy to do great things with God.
Even though we live in a land where the people are prone to sin and long to lead others into sin, even though we live in a time where people are antagonistic to the Kingdom of God and to conservative Christians, we can have expectancy to do great things with God. The apostle Paul had expectancy for he writes “…a great door for effective work has opened to me.” (1 Corinthians 16:3)
One such great man of faith is Pastor/Teacher James Braga. He has been used of God to teach many a student of God the joy of knowing that a great door of effective work has been opened to them. He teaches his students to become men of the Word, walk in continual prayer and get messages ready. They are to live a life expecting God to open doors for them to preach the Word. This is only done as they “study to show themselves approved as a workman to God.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
They let the Holy Spirit plant truth into their hearts and minds, then they prepare messages as if God was going to open a door for them. Many of them have prepared Biblical messages, not knowing where or when the door will be opened to preach it. On many a Saturday night they would read through a message they had completed months ago so they could be ready for Sunday morning, hoping that a door would open. Even so, they often find themselves sitting in a congregation, listening to and prayerfully supporting another man who is proclaiming the truths of God’s Word.
After months of testing for the fruit of faithfulness and obedience, these prepared men of God see doors begin to open, thus enjoying what the apostle Paul came to know. Success is not in numbers, but in faithfully preparing, enduring, and expecting to do the Lord’s work. The success of their ministry does not come from learning the tricks of the trade.
This is only accomplished as the preacher spends much time in secret with Christ, holding daily to uninterrupted, unhurried communion with the Lord and His Word. The true proclaimers of God’s word live in the Word of God. They have sacrificed something to make time to study and to be molded by the Word of God. Throughout their lives they spend hours every week in diligent study and they saturate themselves with it until it grips their hearts. Such men know the “Necessity of Expectancy” before they are used of the Lord and their life reflects preparation. They do their part in getting prepared, joyfully wait upon the Lord and cling to His promises.
God will use anyone who is willing to follow and obey His will for them
Those who end up in the preaching and teaching ministry full time expect the Lord to use them, thus, they make proper preparations and so do laymen. There is a well known layman in the Old Testament who showed great expectations that the Lord would use him because God had called him.
The Prophet Amos’ occupation says that he was a shepherd, but the Hebrew word for shepherd (noqed) suggests that Amos was something more than a mere watcher of the flock, although he did spend much time with flocks of sheep. The Prophet Amos also described himself as one who took care of sycamore-trees. The proper reading of what Amos was saying about himself was that he was successful in fig cultivation and in the shepherding and merchandizing of sheep.
What the Holy Spirit wants you get from all this is the fact that God called a busy and prosperous man away from his secular pursuits to undertake a work of the Lord. God’s people needed a word of exhortation from the Lord and He sent a faithful man to do the job. God will use anyone who is willing to follow and obey His will. He can take you out of your busy successful schedule and use you briefly on Sunday morning, on Sunday or Wednesday night, or any other time He needs you.
Just like Jesus and the Apostle Paul, Amos had expectancy that God was going to use him and that God’s Word would be fulfilled. He needed to have expectancy because in Amos 7:12 we read that he was sharply addressed by the priest Amaziah.
The priest told Amos to “Get out…! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bead there and do your prophesying there.” (Amos 7:12) Amaziah had no concept of divine inspiration and was very likely accusing Amos of being paid from someone in Judah to prophesy in Bethel. This priest thinks from a human perspective and tries to intimidate Amos and tells him that Bethel was not the proper place for his ministry.
Christian laymen at different times, like Amos will be read as having wrong motives. Satan will work overtime to make the layman feel that his teaching or message or his service to the Lord is not needed and he would be better off working somewhere else.
I like the trust that Amos has in his calling and he sets the record straight. He says “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a [success at shepherding and taking care of sycamore-trees].” (Jeremiah 7:14) In other words he says I am not being paid, I do not need to make money at this. Then Amos set the record straight of whose authority he was under. “But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ Now then, hear the word of the Lord…” (Jeremiah 7:15)
What the Holy Spirit wants you to grasp is that Amos was what we would call a layman and was sent on an errand by the God who chooses and uses whomever He will. Those who are called by God to do whatever He wills in whatever form of ministry He chooses need only to have the relationship with the Lord that Amos had. It is clear that he had ears to hear the voice of God and it is not out of line to say that he had expectancy that God was going to use him and enable him to complete the task.
Pastor Rick Glowacki grasped this truth as he saw his church begin to lose people for different reasons. Some just did not like him, others felt that the leadership was totally disconnected with the Lord, and others just couldn’t find the friends they were looking for or the movement they desired. After Satan had done his dirty work in Marysville Christian Fellowship, the faithful were still standing.
However, they started saying things like, “Well I guess I need to just shut down the ministry I was doing. After all no one is coming.” Pastor Glowacki had seen the Lord’s call in these faithful people and he knew it was only God’s test of faithfulness to see if they believed in the Lord who had called them.
Pastor Glowacki told them to prepare for their classes just like there was going to be someone there. Every Saturday night they were to review what they had prepared, be in church early enough to pray for their ministry, really pray, and be ready to go and prayerfully support someone else’s ministry if no one showed up. After a long season, people started showing up and they were excited to see that the church was really prepared to minister to them.
God had tested their faith and over a course of time brought in families in who were hungry to be ministered to by those who had faithfully prepared ahead of time with an expectation that God was going to use them. They said, “I will be ready and trust in the God who has called me.”
There are many quality ministries who have grasped this truth. Many who have spiritual gifts have come to enjoy that attitude of expectancy. Singers got ready to sing a song, whether it was their turn to sing or not. There has been many a time these prepared singers have been called upon to sing at the last moment and experienced God’s anointing. They even get called upon to minister outside their church, because they have developed a name for themselves as being faithful to the Lord. People know that they have been learning new songs and going over old songs so they can always be ready.
There are disciplined lay speakers who have worked hours on messages. They go over that message on Saturday night just like they are scheduled to preach on Sunday morning. They are up before many Christians even think about getting out of bed, and they are praying, asking God to use them--seeking the Lord for that open door so they can share what God has burned upon their hearts.
After a long season of testing, these lay preachers find that they are often being called upon often to fill the pulpit, even at the last moment and they know the joy of expectancy in the Lord. This is what the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season…” (2 Timothy 4:2)
This principle applies to all the spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to the Church. Not only is it important to discover your gifts, it is a necessity that you be ready to exercise your gifts for the benefit of the Body of Christ.
There are three Biblical reasons for having anticipation in the Lord’s work.
Many a child of God has expectancy in his labors with the Lord. There are three Biblical reasons for their anticipation in the Lord’s work. 1.) Their Vision has Faith. 2.) Their Vision Breeds Forth Boldness and 3.) Their Vision Birth’s Persistence.
Their “Vision Has Faith” because they know the power of the gospel saves souls and changes lives. Romans 1:16-17 says “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…”
The word “power” (dunamis) means might, energy, force and strength that is within God. God has chosen to use His power in a loving way by sending men the “good news,” the gospel of salvation found in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Being all powerful, God could wipe men off the face of the earth, but instead He has chosen to give men the opportunity to hear the Word of God. He did this so they could be saved and washed cleaned by the written Word of God.
The Children of God that have expectancy have come to learn what the apostle Paul learned. He knew the “secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” He writes, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12b-13) They have faith in the Christ who can “…do immeasurably more than all [they] ask or imagine, according to [Jesus’] power that is at work within [them]. All Christians have the Spirit of Christ living within them, and He is doing a work to create them into the image of Jesus Christ and enable them to do all that God asks them to do.
Those who live in expectancy have a “Vision that Breeds Forth Boldness.” They have boldness because they prayed like the early church did upon the release of Peter and John after the Sanhedrin had threatened them and told them not to preach any longer in the name of Jesus. (Acts 4:1,18) They prayed “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
The Bible says “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” (Acts 4:29-31) Their boldness is also based upon the promises of Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:12) At least five different times in the Book of Acts alone, we read that Paul and others walked in expectancy, and spoke boldly about Christ. (Acts 9:27; 13:46; 14:3; 19:8; 28:31)
Those who walk in expectancy have a “Vision that Births Forth Persistence.” They do not give up, and when they think about looking back to the world the Holy Spirit speaks to their hearts and says “…stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) “Labor” (kopos) means to toil, to work to the point of exhaustion and fatigue, to the point of just having to sit down and rest. The practical application is never cease, never stop, never slacken up, or never quit. It is giving all you have like men playing sports or working hard on their hobbies, putting all their heart in it.
Christians with expectancy rest upon the promise found in Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Some believe the Apostle Paul was writing a self-exhortation here and wanted to spur others on with what the Lord was giving him. He had seen little reward in the early days of his work in Galatia.
Praying a vision through to its completion is our wisdom and for our good interest. It is also our duty and the reward comes only as we see it through to the time of harvest. You can not just work up the ground in a garden and plant the seed. You have to keep the weeds out, keeping watering and tending the plants all through the gardening season if you are going to fully enjoy the produce of a garden, the full harvest.
Becoming weary is a great hindrance to the work of sowing the seeds of God’s Word, or doing what He has called you to do. Weariness breeds discouragement and eventually births forth a giving up in the heart and that affects our efforts.
In Norton County, the farmers plant wheat seed in the fall. They do not get a harvest until the following summer. They plant corn seed in the spring and do not get a harvest until the fall. Some years the harvest is bigger than others and it is determined by God and the faithful work of the farmer.
Sometimes planting spiritual seeds brings a fast harvest, but, in most cases it is a long season before you see a harvest. Jesus’ promise is that the seed will fall on a good heart as well as falling on three bad hearts. (Matthew 13:3-23)
Those who walk in expectancy know the truth that Paul is teaching in Galatians 6:9. The best reason for resisting weariness is that if the necessary preparation is done in all their work with the Lord, the harvest is sure to come.
The church that knows and lives out “The Necessity of Expectancy” is a church that gets prepared for her work, stays steadfast to her calling and in due season reaps a great harvest for her diligent labor
The church that knows and lives out “The Necessity of Expectancy” is a church that gets prepared for her work, stays steadfast to her calling and in due season reaps a great harvest for her diligent labor.
When George Whitefield was getting the people of Edinburgh out of their beds at five o’clock in the morning to hear his preaching, a man on his way to the church met David Hume, the Scottish philosopher and skeptic of the Christian faith. The man, surprised at seeing Mr. Hume on his way to listen Whitefield’s message said, “I thought you did not believe in the gospel.” Mr. Hume replied with, “I don’t, but he does.”
Even non-believers will take time, even if only for a moment, to listen to those who have enthusiasm about their message of Christ. Do you know and live the “Necessity of Expectancy” in your calling and are you preparing to exercise you gifts to the point of exhaustion? Are you hungry for God’s anointing or enablement?
Let us pray!