2018-01-27 / Religion

Some thoughts on missional calling

Now the 11 disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshipped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. … But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Matthew 28:16-20 & Acts 1:8 ESV)

I’ve heard it said that individuals are either a missionary or a mission-field. When it comes to Christians and whether they are called, I like what Charles Spurgeon said: “Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.”

Too often believers only consider those in vocational ministry as missionaries.

I think Spurgeon is right, and, more importantly, I believe the teachings of Jesus and the apostles bear out this as God’s expectation for his people.

If we are disciples of Jesus, we are missionaries! Let’s take some moments to consider missional calling.

First, we must see ourselves as the zealous possession of a jealous God. Jesus said, “...you will be my witnesses...” See it? We are his. We are purchased at a high cost. He has set our value (the life of his son) and claimed us as his own.

Secondly, we are witnesses of a person. When Jesus says, “...you will be my witnesses...” it’s not just a possessive, even though it IS a possessive, it’s also a command to objective speech. We are to speak of Jesus.

Too many of us who claim to be his are talking about things that are not him, not of him, less than him.

Often, even if we do bring his name, work, glory, power, or purpose into a conversation, we often speak out of context and off commission (meaning, our goal isn’t to make disciples).

We need to repent. Run to the altar and give up consumerism based, Americanized Christianity and get down to the basic, ancient yet-always-fresh business of proclaiming Christ crucified, buried, raised, seen, and ascended.

Thirdly, we are commissioned with curriculum in hand.

We speak Jesus; we claim and proclaim him, and the content of what we urge people to believe and obey is “...all that [he] has commanded...” All the namby-pamby sweet and nice conversations in the world won’t replace rockribbed Jesus teaching.

Fourthly, the goal of the curriculum is not to make folks nicer, but to “...make disciples...” Period. Point blank. Boom-shocka-locka. A disciple is a consummate student, a learner, a follower of the way of a master, and a multiplier of the master’s methods.

Fifthly, we are commanded to take the long view with perseverance and patience. Jesus said, “...teaching them...” Jesus did not say “sprinkling them with pixie dust and e’ry little thing gone be alright.” “...teaching them...” is process and relationship oriented.

It takes time and it takes continued personal engagement.

Sixthly, Jesus has given his disciples a specific arena of operation: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...” and that means from right where you stand to the entire globe and every point in between, get at it.

Seventhly, we are promised power. I think we miss this because we miss how faith works.

For example, Moses never parted the Red Sea; God did that. Here’s what Moses did: “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea...” (Exodus 14:21a KJV) -- Moses acted in faith. Then, “...the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night...” (Exodus 14:21b). See it? It’s God’s power. We often fail to access God’s results because we refuse to engage with God and others by faith.

Finally, we have presence. Jesus has promised to be with his witnesses! That’s the best part of this! Perhaps we miss his presence because we aren’t his witnesses. Whew... maybe we are too distracted... too worldly... too busy pursuing junk instead of Kingdom mission.

Maybe I am the one that’s off – maybe I’m the only one that’s off – and maybe everyone else is (whatever) OK (means). So... let me talk to me... buck up, ruck up, stand up, speak up, look up, and get on with Kingdom living and missional calling. No soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs.

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