VISION SUNDAYS AND BEYOND
15.09.16 | PAUL MANN
We are called to go on mission. In Luke 10 we find Jesus commissioning his disciples – giving them authority and power to go out to the surrounding villages and towns with a message. Actually even when He chose His disciples, He called them to go on mission, inviting them to follow Him and become "fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19). To be with Jesus would have meant to be on mission.
It is very easy to hide behind busyness, fear or apathy even though we may be the only Christians in our communities, workplaces or families.
We're a community on mission, looking to see those who know nothing of the love of Jesus become those who are saved by His grace, brought into His family and discipled. You have been commissioned by Jesus – given the responsibility, authority and power to see God's Kingdom extended!
Mission and prayer are intrinsically linked. Jesus said we need to pray earnestly for labourers to go into the harvest field (Luke 10:2). His disciples aren't to pray for power or authority – we already have that. We're to lay hold of God to see gospel fruit in someone else's life. When did you last see someone's life impacted by Jesus because of something you said or did?
But there is a reason we don't want to go on mission: Jesus said He was sending out His disciples like lambs among wolves! It's not easy! But we are sent out by the Great Shepherd!
Mission, as much as anything else in the Christian life, requires us to rely on Jesus. He provides all we need on a daily basis – Jesus told His disciples not to take their own resources but to rely on their Father in heaven for all they need. We have received power from the Holy Spirit to be witnesses (Acts 1:8).
Jesus is interested in the practical and mundane things in our lives, because they can impact on gospel fruitfulness. Our lifestyles and interactions with people can open them to the message about Jesus, but it can also close them to it. When we gossip, do our jobs badly, are lazy or argumentative (just to give some examples), it closes people off to the gospel.
Our lives paint a picture of what God is like. Every time we forgive, every time we are kind, every time we are generous, we demonstrate something of the love of God. God is interested in the everyday stuff of life, and people are watching...
Jesus' disciples carry the message that in God's Kingdom there is deliverance and salvation, righteousness and justice, peace, joy, God's presence, healing and comfort. The Kingdom of God is multi-faceted.
We also find in Luke 10 that even the missionaries trained by Jesus would face disappointment. When we are disappointed at the response we get, we're to pick ourselves up, brush off the residue of disappointment, and move on to the next opportunity, undiminished in faith, obedience and perseverance. Our responsibility is to go; theirs is to receive; God makes the seed grow.
But we will also see success because Jesus said the gospel would bear fruit 30, 60 or even 100 times what was sown. So we are to live with an expectation of gospel fruit, having confidence as we go that we have the authority of Jesus, knowing the power of the cross and the direction and filling of the Holy Spirit.
Whether we see success or failure, we still rejoice that our names are written in the book of heaven. That is our security, our comfort and our strength.
If people aren't reading the Bible, going to church, or hearing anything good about God in the media, how will they find out about what a wonderful Saviour Jesus is? You and I could be the only way they will find out about the God who loves them and cares for them. Our everyday lives paint a picture of God's love, strength, wisdom, power, patience, compassion, holiness and kindness. Sometimes it takes years to paint that picture; at other times it happens in mere moments.
What picture of God are you painting to those around you?
Posted by Paul Mann
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