From Your Associate Pastor – January 2017
“Just as the Father sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21)
Our God is a sending God. He calls those whom He has chosen and sends them into a life that often looks and feels much different than the lives they were living before. Just think back to the Old Testament with Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Jonah, etc. Then God sent Himself, God the Son, into our world to live a life that fulfilled the law and died a death that paid the penalty for our sins. Jesus talked about Himself being ‘sent’, forty-four times in the New Testament. Preparing believers and sending them out is the purpose of the church. “To follow Jesus is to be sent.” *
Now this doesn’t mean that all of us must go into jungle villages in Africa or to atheistic nations in Europe; no, this just means that if we are not ‘going’ somewhere then we are not obeying. We could be going into our schools, our workplace, our neighborhood, our dining rooms, etc.; as long as we are living in obedience to the commission we have been given. Jesus told His disciples before He ascended into heaven to “go” and make disciples. If we are not going then there is no way we will be able to make disciples, thus, again we find ourselves in disobedience. The command is two-fold. We are to “go” and “make disciples”. We don’t just “go”, if we did that we would simply be wanderers. We “go” with an expressed purpose. A purpose that often causes discomfort, sacrifice and loss.
I say this because Jesus says this. He says things like “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it only remains a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24) Jesus is talking about the expansion of His kingdom on earth. Seeds have no capability of growth and multiplication if it is stored up in a store house. They need to be planted and let go so the seed can die and grow into something much greater.
This is the type of sacrifice in which we often steer clear. We would rather store up as many friends and family as possible and keep them for ourselves. But this brings no glory to God. We are not here to build our own little kingdom; we are here to build the Kingdom of God. We must know that everything we have is not ours. Everything is God’s and He has demanded that His people go and follow Him; and in doing this we die, we die to ourselves and we die to the things of the world.
This is not an easy task by any means. It takes a supernatural power to be able to do this. This is why God has sent us the Holy Spirit as power to “go” into the world and make disciples. Without the Spirit we could never achieve the task that we have been commissioned to do. But we have received this power to complete the task, now it is up to us to go and do it.
It is like if you went to Home Depot and spent a bunch of money on all the tools you need to build a dresser. You then set up your garage and place all your wood and your new tools up for building, gather the blue prints and then… you go back inside and go to sleep. The next day, the next week, the next month goes by and nothing. Things come up, life happens and there are all the items in your garage ready for you. Now this analogy doesn’t work on every level but it works on the foundational level. We have been given the power through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have been given the resources from our gracious God and we have received the plans through the revelation of Scriptures. But what are we doing with all of this? Trying to find ways to keep it all and be comfortable? Or are we trying with all our might to unleash the power of the Holy Spirit and actively go and make disciples?
As God opens doors and calls out His people, please join me in praying that God continues to open our hearts to His sending mission through ARBC.
* For more about this subject read “Gaining by Losing: Why the future belongs to churches that send” by J.D. Greear.
Blessing, Pastor Scott