Hit Your Marks and Say Your Lines
Every minister of the Gospel of Christ must find their specific assignment from God, do all they can possibly do to prepare for that assignment, and then do everything in their power to fulfill that assignment.
After spending 25 years educating and mentoring tomorrow’s ministers, I make sure I warn our students: if you do not know, that you know, that you know, that God has called you into the ministry, you have absolutely no business trying to fulfill a calling that you are not sure you have. There is simply so much opposition to representing the Lord in service to the Church that even if you are called, it is not going to be easy. Can anybody testify? But if indeed you are called, regardless of the opposition, there is no greater honor than to serve the Body of Christ for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
On a Grand Stage
I know I run the risk of over simplifying your calling by comparing it to acting your part in a grand stage play. But isn’t it true that God has each one of us taking our place on a stage of ministry? Some stages are larger and some are smaller, but all stages are equally important to the Lord. I personally do not think that when someone doesn’t take their place on the stage, that God will simply set another person in that place just because they are willing. My Bible tells me that we are all so fearfully and wonderfully made that if we don’t take our place, then we will simply be leaving a huge void in God’s universe. No one else can fulfill what God has fashioned us to do – He knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb.
First I need to ask you disconnect your thinking about what actors actually do. Actors act. There are some great actors who I love watching when they are performing and pretending to be someone who they are not. I enjoy the escape of seeing an emotionally engaging person causing me to be transported to another world. Later however, perhaps on a talk show or interview, the actor will open his or her mouth and reveal their inflated ego and true personality. Suddenly we are no longer charmed!
In contrast, when you and I step into our roles in ministry, we are not acting and pretending to be someone else. We are taking our place as the new creation that we have become. We put on the new man or the new woman. We step into the role of who God has called us to be. All God is asking from us is to hit our marks and say our lines. In a stage play, as you are performing, you have to get to the right place on the stage – your mark – and then deliver your lines of dialog.
Stepping into a Greater and Greater Role
You see, God really has written an entire play just for you; it is the play of your life. It is a divine victory, not a divine tragedy. It is custom tailored to how He has gifted you and developed you. We know that from the start of your play until now, the Lord has had to develop you in your role. He has developed your wisdom, your understanding of the truth, your ability to step into a greater and greater role.
Still, the hard part of acting in this living play is hitting our marks. For a minister to hit their mark requires much prayer, much preparation in the Word of God, and something else that many fail to achieve.
In the process of your development, did you ever feel like you were just acting? Did you ever feel like a pretender or a hypocrite? Perhaps so, until you got used to being in the new role. You see, just as surely as you became a new person in Christ when you got born again, as a minster of the Gospel, God will continually require you to put on the new you, for every level of fruitfulness in His kingdom. If you have been in the ministry for any length of time, you have had to go through many transformations. But it is not being dishonest or fake when you come out of your old self to become the new you that God has called you to be. Only when you are continuously transformed into the new you can you hit all your marks and say all of your lines.
Why Do We Do It?
Why do we do it? Why did we do like the prophet Isaiah when he heard the Lord say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Why were we the ones who said, “Here am I, send me.”
Certainly, somewhere in our searching of the truth, we caught some semblance of the price that Jesus paid in order to redeem our souls from Hell. Maybe at first we only saw the natural graphic picture like in the movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” and the horrible physical beating that Jesus took, with the 39 lashes and all the stripes on His back that also wrapped around His whole body. As if that wasn’t enough, the crushing into His scull of the crown of thorns, all of this followed by the unimaginable nailing of His hands and feet to the wooden cross.
But you see, in actuality, the Romans crucified as many as 100 people a day as a crime deterrent. Was that why Jesus sweat those great drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He prayed, “Father, If You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Never the less, not My will, but Yours be done.” Or was it that which was revealed by His words while hanging on the cross, after having been “made to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him,” when He said these words: “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani,” which means, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Why did He repeat His question twice? I am convinced it was because he was saying, “My God, Father, My God, Holy Spirit, why have You abandoned Me?”
You see, since Jesus is the Word, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead, who has always been one with the Father, and one with the Holy Spirit, once He became sin in order to redeem mankind, the Father and Holy Spirit did not just simply have to look away from Him. He was literally ripped out of their presence; He was ripped out of their very essence. There could be no fellowship, no connection, not even viewing from a distance. Sin cannot dwell in the presence of holiness. Because Jesus had become sin, He was thrust into outer darkness, ripped away from the presence and the holiness of the Father and Holy Spirit. This same Word that was from the beginning. The Word that was with God and was God. The same Word that, through Him, all things were created, and nothing was created without Him. This same Word in whom was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. He was left abandoned and isolated from His very person. This was the price that Jesus wanted to avoid paying, if there had been any other way.
But you see, Jesus had already said to the Father and the Holy Spirit; “Here am I, send Me.” He was simply being obedient to hit His marks and say His lines.
Somehow, the Spirit of God showed you this miraculous exchange that Jesus accomplished for you and for me, and you decided that there was nothing too great for God to ask you to do for Him.
When we as ministers carry a knowledgeable and deep understanding of how great a price that Jesus paid for us all, we become motivated to do all in our power to see that the lost of this world avoid the Hell that Jesus went through. I had a vision of this very thing one day. I had asked myself, what if Hell was worse than anything that we have ever imagined? When most people imagine Hell, they picture being tortured in flames by other beings; sure, demons, but they are beings that can be seen and heard. In my vision I saw a place of complete isolation, and silence, and total darkness. There was no one else there to see, or to hear, just the condemning words of one’s own mind and how they had rejected Jesus the only redeemer and way into Heaven; for ever, and ever, and ever, and ever. It made me shudder and I knew that I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemies, or even the worst enemies of God.
But you and I have this Christian privilege, the blessing of knowing that our Lord and Savior is the image of the invisible God and the firstborn of every creature. For by Him all things were created that are in Heaven and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they are thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. All things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that in all things He may have the preeminence.
No wonder Jesus has the preeminence, the first place; He had to pay the price for our all of mankind’s sin and separation from God, all by Himself. While on the earth, all of His ministry was directed by the Father from Heaven, and empowered by the Holy Spirit on the earth. But when it came to paying the price for all of our sin, He had to do it completely alone. The Son of Man, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ was the only one who qualified to pay the price for the salvation of all other human beings. You have to admit, He certainly hit His marks and said His lines.
How Do We Follow Jesus?
So how do we follow Him in acting out the play that God has written for us? First, if you were raised with Christ, desire those things which are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on earth. For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ who is our life shall appear, then you shall also appear with Him in glory. Your life is simply no longer your own. You are now who God says that you are. You are no longer an actor, you are a real member of the Royal family, going about performing your royal duties.
Now you allow Jesus to equip you fully with His royal power to accomplish the miraculous. He said to His first disciples, His first family members who were called to hit their marks and say their lines: “Look, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high. For John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. And you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
What is this equipping that Jesus made available to His royal family, His ambassadors? Certainly we all agree, as “faith specialists,” that the Holy Spirit of God is omnipresent. This is how God is able to be everywhere in the created universe and in Heaven, all at the same time; through the Holy Spirit. Our God is also omnipotent, all-powerful, and omniscient, all knowing. But because He is omnipresent, Jesus could release the Holy Spirit into the spirits of His apostles immediately after His resurrection since He had already accomplished everything necessary for anyone to be born again. He had been crucified, He died our death, and while His body was buried His spirit and soul went about disarming principalities and powers, and making a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Having satisfied every claim of justice, His human body was raised from the dead and appeared to Mary at the tomb. When He spoke to her, she recognized Him, calling Him Rabboni, teacher. He told her, “Stop holding on to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father. But go to My brothers and tell them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.” Isn’t it interesting that the first person who believed that God had raised Jesus from the dead, and confessed that Jesus was Lord, was a woman? And the first person that Jesus gave a ministry assignment to, as a sent one, was this same woman, Mary.
Now while Mary was on her way to tell the disciples that Jesus was alive, Jesus did exactly what He told Mary that He was going to do. He ascended to His Father in Heaven, in order to fulfill the type from the worship duties of the Tabernacle. He had to present His blood before the mercy seat of Heaven and the Father. Now, though, instead of an earthly priest that sprinkled the blood on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, He simply presented His blood, which is now regenerated in His own glorified body, and also presented Himself, the actual mercy seat, before the Father. Now everything necessary to birth the Church on earth was in place.
So Jesus shows up where the disciples are hiding for fear of the Jews, and He gives them the apostles’ commission. He said, “Peace be with you. As My Father has sent Me, even so, I send you.” He was hitting His marks, and saying His lines. And when He said this, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Now, this begs the question: when Jesus breathes on you and tells you to receive the Holy Spirit, what Spirit do you think that you will receive?
Some people say that they couldn’t receive the Holy Spirit until the Day of Pentecost. But no, there were over five hundred born-again members of the Body of Christ present on the Day of Ascension. When you are born again, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your spirit, which He had done with all 500 believers. Then Jesus told them, “I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high. For John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. And you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”
The Apostle Paul has explained to us in I Thessalonians 5:23 that we are made up of three parts: spirit, soul, and body. When you are born again, the Holy Spirit moves into your spirit. When you are baptized in the Holy Spirit, something completely different happens to you. As a born-again Christian, you now have the Holy Spirit flooding your mind and providing a supernatural prayer language. Along with that, He unleashes on you—and in you—power, and glory, and the anointing to become the vessel of miraculous intervention in the earth. Now you are equipped to hit all of your marks and say all of your lines. That is what happened to His disciples on the Day of Pentecost.
John the Baptist had told his disciples in John 3:34, “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without measure to Him.” Now, when we examine what Jesus told His disciples in John 16, we can understand a few more things. He said, “Never the less, I tell you the truth. It is expedient for you that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him unto you. But, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority. But He will speak what ever He hears, and He will tell you things that are to come.”
Because the Holy Spirit was given to Jesus without measure, that means that this power anointing of the Holy Spirit would remain on Jesus the entire time the He was on the earth, and it would never be available to the Church for them to walk in power. Jesus had to be seated on His throne next to the Father, where He would no longer need the anointing that He required while on the earth; and then He could transfer the anointing to His ambassadors, and His Church. The moment He took His place in Heaven He released the Holy Spirit from the assignment of being on Him alone without measure. And once the Holy Spirit manifested His presence on the Day of Pentecost, the anointing without measure came on the Church.
After Peter was anointed and equipped with the power to fulfill his apostolic assignment, he simply began to defend his friends who had been accused of being drunk the first thing in the morning. Then this anointing gave him the revelation that what they had just received was that which had been spoken by the prophet Joel. Now Peter was equipped to hit his marks and say his lines. “In the last days it shall be, says God, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. Even on my menservants and handmaidens I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.” After Peter hit his marks and said his lines, three thousand souls were added to the kingdom of God. And so it began 1,990 years ago. God’s offer to anyone that desires to bring glory and honor to His name can do so, by simply dying to yourself, living for Christ alone, and hitting your marks, and saying your lines for the rest of your life.
We can all change. We can all do something that we have never done before. We can do whatever He tells us to do as He shows us our marks and tells us our lines. I am not an actor, but I can do what they do, when God tells me to do it.
And you can do whatever God tells you to do. It is never too late. It is probably just now time for a new phase of your ministry assignment. And I must tell you, that some stage sets for plays have elevated levels. They have stairs to climb and high rooms to occupy; they have high platforms that you just may be called on to ascend to, and to hit the highest marks. When you get there, just say your lines.
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