As I prepared for the business meeting at church last Sunday, I began to think of the actual “business” of the church. What is it? And, are we accomplishing it? What we do as a body of believers is more important than we might possibly realize. Eternity hangs in the balance for many whom we know, and the strength and deliverance from sin that Christians need waits upon the church to rise up and reach out. So, as I studied the “business” of the church I rediscovered three things – and these things will be shared in the next coming weeks.
What is the mission of the church – and what is your mission in life? Are they the same? If you are a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ then you must understand that there is only one mission from God and it rests square upon your shoulders and mine.
With all that transpires in our world, with the political, societal and spiritual upheavals that rattle our sense of stability, there is a real need to rediscover the mission of the church. And that mission is: DISCIPLESHIP.
Are you up to it? Will you take God at His word and believe that you have a purpose far more profound than any worldly endeavor? There are four qualities that you must see and experience to accomplish the mission of God.
The Mission has Divine Power
We fail when we strive in our own power and strength to accomplish the mission of God. No matter how great our desire, we have no authority to do anything on our own. We must go in the name of Jesus – living out God’s mission in His power.
The Mission has Highest Priority
What gets in the way? We go though life with our eyes fixed upon those things that are priorities. But, do you view all things in life as a means to accomplish the mission of God? It is “as you go” make disciples. This mission must be accomplished along the ways of life.
The Mission has a Real Purpose
Every mission has a purpose. Often the sense of restlessness in the lives of God’s people is due to the absence of the sense of a real purpose in what they do. Simply navigating through life in aimless disarray is tantamount to abandoning the mission.
The Mission has the Divine Presence
We’ve come full circle. Where the mission cannot be accomplished without the power of God, the mission will be accompanied by the presence of God. Do you experience the Divine presence? If not, perhaps you’re not on mission. God will not follow you – He calls you to follow Him.
As we read in Scripture - "As the FAther sent me, I am sending you" (John 20:21). Never forget - you are on mission for God.
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Okay… that’s not actually true. There is no “miracle cure” that will enliven and uplift your life. In fact, just the opposite is too often true. Men and women searching for that rush of euphoria end up becoming slaves to whatever it is that has captivated them. The cravings for drugs, alcohol, sex, money, power, etc. have a downward spiral that leads to destruction and leaves a crater where once a life used to be.
How do we do it then? How do we find that power to live when life falls apart and our world is failing? You’re not alone in the search. The Apostle Paul had the same struggle. Do you know what God told him? It’s the same thing He will tell us – you need to be empowered by grace. Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 and then follow along these next few moments as we explore this text.
First - you must see your present affliction. How is a person afflicted? Often through trials and temptations, with the constant reminder of the failings of the past, will come the enemy of our souls. There are some who think that Paul's "thorn" was his bad eyesight. However, that doesn't agree with the reality that his "thorn" was a messenger of Satan. What does Satan come to do? He is the accuser of the brothers, the tempter, the one who comes to "steal, kill and destroy." This "thorn," by my speculation, was the constant reminder of Paul's failings - his sins. All are afflicted in a similar way and in the midst of it must be empowered by grace.
Second - there is always a plea for deliverance. The afflictions in our lives cause us to cry out – to seek God’s rescue from pain. Jesus did in the garden, Paul does here, and we all want to find deliverance. God's answer, however, may not be deliverance from affliction, but deliverance through affliction. And, ultimately, our cry must be "not my will, but Yours be done."
Third - you come in contact with the power of grace. When you truly know the Grace of Christ and have received it in its abundance, the thorns inflicted upon you will become the points where God’s strength dominates. Instead of finding destruction and despair you will see how much God has done for you, even as the enemy himself stands to accuse you. His accusations will fail because the true Judge has already issued you a pardon through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Fourth - this leads to the promotion of humility. In what do you boast? In this world people often boast over the arrogant successes of men. But God has a higher place for us – and that is the place of humility. When you are empowered by the grace of God you will have no room to boast except in the Lord Jesus Christ. His ways become yours, His life is yours, and His power is your source for all that you are. There is no room for self-boasting in a heart empowered by grace.
Fifth - this brings your pronouncement of faith. It is a declaration of faith to say that you can delight in the sufferings that come as you walk with Christ Jesus. From the inward turmoil to the outward attacks, all things must be seen through the eyes of faith. You will take every experience and tie it together with your relationship to Christ, declaring with certainty that even your afflictions have been God's tools to shape you, until Christ's power, and His power alone, rests on you.