May God be gracious to us and bless us
And make his face to shine upon us,
that your way be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.Psalm 67:1-2
Listen to the heart of the psalmist: he wants to be used by the Lord as an instrument through which his glory is on display, and his saving power effected. Any glory seen in our lives through our words or deeds is a reflected glory. In ourselves, we are mere “earthen vessels”. But in him, by the blessing of his grace, we can put the treasure of God’s saving power and righteous way on display. I am quite sure I do not appreciate the weight or privilege of this as fully as I should.
This past Sunday, I preached “The Church on Mission”. Specifically, we looked at the Great Commission from Matthew 28.16-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” But we also took careful note to appreciate the two other “Greats” from the text. The first was the Great Claim: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” The second was the Great Promise: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” The Great Commission is a staggering task, if taken in isolation. Thankfully, we are not on our own. We are backed by him who has all authority. So, we “go and make disciples”. Whether across the street or across the world, we are chosen for this task by non other than the authority of all authorities! Besides being sent be the guy in charge, we also receive the encouragement that he is with us always, and for all time!
On Sunday, I closed with four take-away applications for us this Fall. Here they are again just in case you didn’t take notes:
1. We will love one-another
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. By this all people will know you are my disciples. (John 13:34-35)” One way we must display our discipleship, and demonstrate the gospel, is by loving one-another. Let’s continue to grow in our “one-another” ministries.
2) We will pray
We will pray for, and with, each other; for one or more of our Mission Partners; and for one of the world’s “people groups”. Perhaps consider connecting with our Mission Committee chair, Mark Nelham, to see what nations/peoples are served by our current collection of partnerships.
3) Read at least one book this Fall on missions.
Biographies of missionaries in particular can be a tremendous tool to confront our apathy and addiction to comfort. Here are a few recommendations: Amy Carmichael: Beauty for Ashes by Iain Murray; Hudson Taylor: Gospel Pioneer to China by Vance Christie; For the Love of India: The Story of Henry Martyn by Jim Cromarty; or Pure Gold by David McCasland, the story of Olympian Eric Little.
4. Find a mission partner(s)
Find at least one person with whom you meet regularly for encouragement and the “spurring on to love and good works (Heb 10:24)”. Life Groups are a natural opportunity for this, but I do not want to limit this to Life Groups. More than mission programming, we need a mission heart – a mission culture; and these little “mission cells” are a great way to develop your heart and effectiveness for evangelism.