The Whole Bailiwick

Genesis 28:15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

I like to hear old terms and how they have progressed into language today. Idioms we use today have lost their original meaning and yet we toss them out in conversation while not fully understanding why.

The other day I heard someone speaking about the “whole ball of wax” and it intrigued me as to why you would want a ball of wax in the first place?

It turns out, the reference originated with an Anglo-Saxons that dates back well over 1000 years. Baili-wick is literally translated as a ‘Bailiffs village’. In the 19th century it was absorbed into the English language as meaning a sphere of operations or activity.

As I consider my sphere of operations or activity, I think about the grand scope of God’s plan.

If you look on a globe at where you live, you will notice a perspective that might change the scope of your world. The spectrum of your existence is contained in a relatively small portion of the world as a whole. Even if you were to travel a few hundred miles, it still appears very localized when considering the expanse of people scattered throughout the earth.

A different view of our planet brings with it new considerations.

Our Mission

When Jesus was issuing His great commission, He instructed His disciples on what to plan for; their first responsibility was for the lost.

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Now, to expect one man, or even 12 for that matter to go into all the world and preach the gospel is an incredibly difficult proposition, today that would be tough but it was extremely difficult 2000 years ago. Billy Graham spent decades traveling the world and hosting large crusades of tens of thousands of people and still didn’t reach everyone. Jet planes, large venues and mass advertisements couldn’t get it done so how could the disciples uphold such a task?

The reality of God’s expectation is always within the context of our ability and His provision. The call of Jesus wasn’t just for the disciples, the commission was for all believers both then and today.

Today we have more ability to connect more than ever before. The internet and social media has opened up doors to connect with people everywhere simultaneously and air flight has made possible that which would have been nearly impossible to traverse in Paul’s day.

Whether we are referencing the early church or the church today, God’s expectation is that we do what we can with what we have. If He chooses to expand our borders of influence, He will do that in His time and in His way.

The world is a mess. The garbage of sin and rebellion has accumulated over each generation and the effects have become devastating. We are witnessing unprecedented levels of evil being perpetuated in society, from abortion, the porn industry, rampant sexual disease, drug use, and consequent mental disorders…the effects of sin has spread into every aspect of our culture.

Matthew 22:9 “Go therefore to the crossroads and invite to the banquet as many as you can find.’”

Who are we called to?——Everyone.

The calvinistic teaching that people are preselected by God often diminishes the urgency to spread the gospel far and wide. The necessity to share the gospel is viewed as an exercise in redundancy and negates the expectation Jesus has placed on us…to be light in the world. Contrary to this belief is the mandate of Christ to His people. The people we see everyday seems to be our primary audience and though God knows who will be His, I believe the necessity of presenting His truth to all reveals the measure of His love, even to those who are perishing.

Our Influences

Those who constitute the world include our neighbors, co-workers, family, friends, and even strangers.

The people in your territory are the people God has called you to, walking in the leading of the Spirit opens the way to those people. If God increases your territory to any other place in the world, then praise God He will use you there because He will equip you for that work.

1 Thessalonians 1:8 “For not only did the message of the Lord ring out from you to Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone out to every place, so that we have no need to say anything more.”

I believe one day we will see how the Lord has positioned His church in every corner of the world to be a testimony of His glory. The ones you affect can spread further than you ever thought possible.

What does your corner of the world look like? Who might you have influence to? Who are those who might just be watching your life? The radius of our testimony is not bound by each individual interaction. Many times when sharing the gospel, there are those who are listening within the immediate vicinity. Be mindful of your testimony wherever you are.

Acts 26:19-20 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. First to those in Damascus and Jerusalem, then to everyone in the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I declared that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds worthy of their repentance.”

Paul understood the necessity to be faithful to where God had called him. The question was, how did Paul know where to go?

1 Thessalonians 1:4-6 “Brothers who are beloved by God, we know that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with great conviction—just as you know we lived among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord when you welcomed the message with the joy of the Holy Spirit, in spite of your great suffering.”

Our Help

Before Jesus arose into Heaven He promised He would send someone, and not just anyone. It has always fascinated me how Jesus referred to a part of the Godhead, the One who hovered over the face of the deep at Creation, the One who calls us to repentance and fills our hearts with God’s presence….as the Helper.

When I think of a helper I think of someone who comes alongside us as we work, one who takes a lesser role, but the Holy Spirit is anything but insignificant. When God acts, He acts purposefully and with intent. The Spirit of God did not come as an afterthought, He was and has always been apart of God’s plan for His people.

1 Corinthians 2:11-12 “For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.”

There are many false religions who deny the Spirit of God. The Spirit is from God and is God. We can only know His will by the Spirit who dwells within His people.

Do you think that just maybe God used the term “Helper” to remind us of the expectation He has for us? He has equipped us for the task at hand, and has given us His Spirit to empower us to fulfill the work He is wanting to accomplish.

How has God equipped you today?

Psalm 71:5 “My mouth will declare Your righteousness and Your salvation all day long, though I cannot know their full measure.”

The immediate resources He gives might be knowledge of God’s Truth or using our voices to share with others what God has revealed. The expectation is not that you have some vast knowledge, it can be just sharing what you do know for now. There have been many times the Lord has given me some understanding pertaining to those He has called me to minister to at that time.

Another tool might be your ability to listen. So few people take the time to hear others in this day and age. My wife is exceptional at this and the way people are drawn to her is a reflection of the gift she has.

Whether it’s your strength, boldness, insight, preaching, teaching, or the many other attributes people possess, you have the right stuff for God’s Kingdom. That which you lack, the Lord provides. He ‘Helps’ you when you are deficient, He prepares your way, and He even says that He will give you the right words when the opportunity presents itself.

Luke 12:11-12 “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

The opportunities of influence we have been given is the measure that God has apportioned for you. You can rest in knowing that He is fully in control and He has placed you right where He wants you to be. When He wants you to move on, He will make that clear as well.

The whole bailiwick you dwell in is your calling. The Lord commands His servants to go into the streets and byways and bring them in. The most unlovable people can oftentimes be the greatest joy to watch grow.

Go forth and fulfill your call.

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