Holding God’s Blessing

11 04 2012

I believe that most Christians are well-meaning when it comes to missions and the Great Commission. I would never expect a believer to think that missions is a bad thing or even not Biblical. Most would certainly agree that the Great Commission is a mandate given by Jesus for all believers to follow. When pastors preach on Matthew 28:19-20 they always get plenty of amens! The question then is why are more Christians not following this command. I don’t think that most people sit around thinking about how they are going to actively rebel against what God has told them to do, but the fact of the matter is the mandate is not being followed by the vast majority of people who call themselves Christians. There are many answers to why the command is not followed, but I want to focus on one in particular. I believe it to be the biggest culprit. Bear with me as I set it up…

In Genesis 12 we read the Abrahamic Covenant which essentially claims that God is going to bless Abraham and his people so that they, in turn, can bless all the nations of the earth. In other words, God is going to give Abraham land, a large family, wealth, and a great name, so that he can use those gifts to bring glory to God by redeeming a lost world back to God. This applied to the Israelites who would go through seasons of following this command and seasons of rebellion. In the end, the Israelites decided not to share the blessings, so that God eventually hardened their hearts completely (Romans 11:25) and shut off the blessing. Because of Israel’s unbelief, the blessing of the gospel was given to the Gentiles. Now, about 2000 years later, we sit as Americans in the very same position.

The blessings that Abraham received are the same blessings we enjoy today. God gave Abraham land, and today we have unprecedented access to countries that were closed for hundreds of years to the gospel. In two or three days we can literally be anywhere on the planet. God gave Abraham a large family, and in America we have many who profess to be believers and churches everywhere. God gave Abraham great wealth, and in the same way God has richly blessed America.  I have seen poverty, and our poorest are rich compared to most of the world. Our churches contain an incredible amount of wealth – enough to complete the Great Commission if we wanted. God gave Abraham a great name, and he has given America great fame.  I realize that the media shows that the rest of the world hates us, but when I travel overseas I find that to not be true. Everyone wants to move to America.

The question is what are we going to do with these incredible blessings. Will we hoard them for our own good or will we turn around and bless the nations as God commanded? Do we hold our blessings loosely with an open hand or clench them tightly in our fist? I had the privilege of hearing Todd Ahrend speak on this subject in a Perspectives class a couple of months ago. He made the statement that most Christians are well-intentioned, but they are too busy managing their blessings to make an impact for God’s kingdom. Please hear this: We cannot take our blessings to heaven with us, and we will be rewarded in Heaven based on how we use our blessings here on earth (read 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

God has greatly blessed you and me. It is now up to us to decide what to do with that blessing. Will we build our own little temporal kingdom or will we use it to build God’s eternal kingdom?

The Idea of Missions

1 04 2012

In today’s sermon, Pastor Jeff Crawford (read his blog here), talked about how God is always trying to move us somewhere to somebody. He then concluded that the problem is that most Christians don’t move. As I was thinking about this, I thought that most believers, if not all, love the idea of missions, but really do little to nothing for the kingdom. In a gospel-centered church, congregants will hear over and over about how they should invite friends and neighbors to church, look for opportunities to share the gospel, sign up for mission trips, etc. The fact is that a very small percentage will actually ever do these things. So the next logical question then is: Why not?

I do not know of any believer that has a problem with Jesus being our Savior. I do not know of any Christian that would not agree that Jesus is the Savior for all the world. Most Christians that I know love the idea of going to the remotest portions of our planet to share the gospel, as long as it is not them. They want to see the Muslims saved. They want to see churches continue to be planted in East Asia. They want to hear about the miracles that our missionaries are experiencing. But to actually be a part of it themselves, they would have to make Jesus their Lord. This is where I see the answer to the “why not?” question. The reason that the vast majority of so-called believers will not go next door to share Jesus with their neighbor, much less go to Central Asia on a mission trip, is because Jesus is not their Lord (think, boss). If Jesus is our Lord, and He gives us a command, we do it. It really is that simple.  This leaves us with two options for the answer: either we are disobedient believers or we are no believers at all.

Jesus did not design this to be rocket science – only for the elite Christian to figure out. It is constantly staring us in the face both Biblically and demographically. As we look to the scriptures, it is clear that Jesus has commanded us both in His words and His example to share the gospel. As we look to the world population, we see the great need for Jesus everywhere, but especially in the unreached and least-reached places. It is clear that Jesus has mandated that we are to stay here on planet Earth to fulfill the Great Commission. If we are not a part of this plan, then we are missing out on our one purpose for life.

In high school, I used to run track. I loved running the half mile race. What would you think, if you were watching a race, and one of the runners, instead of staying in their lane around the track, just began to run in a little circle around the starting line? You would think that guy is crazy. Yet so many Christians do just that. They run around in their own little circle saying how much they love Jesus, His commission, and His people, all the while they are missing the race. Don’t be a crazy person! I implore you to not just like the idea of missions, but to run the race! Truly make Jesus your Lord, step out in faithful obedience, and experience the blessing of being a part of God’s awesome story!

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