Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Be a Faithful Messenger

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. – Matthew 28:19

Recently I came across a true story that appeared in Our Daily Bread devotional. One morning an outdoorsman had some work to do in the woods. As always, he took his trusty dog with him. But on this particular day, because of the danger of his work, he left his dog in a clearing. The man placed his lunch bucket on a tree stump and ordered his dog to sit next to the stump and guard his lunch until he returned from work. The dog understood his orders and faithfully guarded his master's lunch bucket...even after a forest fire erupted later that morning and crept closer and closer to the clearing. 

Later that evening after the fire was contained, the man quickly returned to the clearing where he discovered his melted lunch bucket right where he had left it. And next to the bucket was his trusty canine, who had been consumed by the flames. In perfect obedience, he stayed right where his master had left him and did what his master had told him to do. With tears in his eyes, the dog’s owner said, “I always had to be careful what I told him to do, because I knew he would do it.” Do you suppose that Jesus ever says the same thing about you or me?

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he gave his apostles marching orders. And he gives his Church—you and me—the same marching orders today. We find them in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Jesus commands us to go out and lead people to a saving knowledge of him and teach them to obey Christ’s commands.

Well, that’s great and all, but how do we do it? What should we expect to happen as we go? How will we know if we’re saying the right thing? What if we try to share the good news with people but they don’t want to hear it? When it comes to carrying out Jesus’ marching orders, we have 100 questions, don’t we? But Jesus answers the most important of these questions in Luke 10 as he sends out 72 of his followers to shard his message of salvation.

Insight #1: This is the game of our lives, but our team is too small. So, we need to pray for our Coach to put more players on the field. With 7.7 billion people living on our planet today, the scope of Jesus' marching orders is mind-boggling. He didn’t just say, “Go into your neighborhood and make disciples of everyone on your street.” He said, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Bottom line: We need some help! We need more messengers for Jesus. 
Insight #2: The stakes are too high for any of us to sit in the bleachers. Jesus is telling you to get onto the field. It’s been 2,000 years since Jesus gave us our marching orders. That should have been plenty of time to complete our task—to go into all the world and make Jesus followers of all people groups on earth. So, why isn’t the job completed? Well, part of the reason it’s not completed is because you and I haven’t completed reaching our part of the world. The world isn’t fully reached, in part, because we haven’t fully reached Victorville. We haven’t fully reached Adelanto or Apple Valley. Shoot! You haven’t fully reached your own neighborhood yet. And neither have I. Chuck Swindoll says it well: “It is laborers, not spectators, who pray for more laborers! Too many Christians are praying for somebody else to do a job they are unwilling to do themselves.”

Insight #3: The competition is as fierce as wolves. If it wasn’t scary enough for Jesus to say, “Go! I am sending you!” he raised our anxiety even more by saying in verse 3: “I am sending you out like lambs among wolves." Jesus was warning his 72 messengers then and he is warning you and me today that there will be no shortage of human and demonic attacks as we carry out his marching orders. When we go into all the world and share the life-saving message of Jesus Christ, some people get really, really nasty. Don’t say that Jesus didn’t warn you! 

Insight #4: The travel amenities aren’t great. 
This summer our church's Children’s Director (Christie) and I will be taking fourteen of our teens to Colorado Springs for a one-week mission trip. If all goes as planned, we’ll be helping to renovate some transitional housing units so that some homeless families can get off the streets. I hope and pray that this will be a life-changing mission trip for all of us AND for the families that we serve. But do you know what? The accommodations won’t be great. We’ll be sleeping on air mattresses on the floor, showering in trailers, and the food won't be great. But, ultimately, who cares? The mission is much more important than the menu. Right?

Insight #5: The time is short. Regardless of your age, your days are numbered. Your days in your current neighborhood are numbered. Your days in your workplace are numbered. Your days in your church are numbered. So, please don’t squander the time and opportunities that you’ve been given. 

Your Lord and Savior has asked you to go and do his work and prepare people for his coming. So, get out there and do it! If a faithful dog could sacrifice his life obeying his master’s orders to watch his lunch box, certainly you and I should be able to sacrifice a few comforts while obeying our Master’s orders to seek and save the lost.

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church of Victorville and the author of "Holy Huldah! Lessons You'll Never Forget From Bible Characters You Never Heard Of." Visit www.YourVictorvilleChurch.com, and join us for our Worship Celebration Sundays at 10 a.m.

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