Tuesday, October 23, 2012

EMPOWERMENT TO DO CHRIST'S MISSION Part 1: Knowing What's Most Important To Christ

In the summer of 1990 my wife, four children and I went to go visit my parents.  We lived down in North San Diego Country in a city called Oceanside and my parents lived in Marina California.  It was about a 6 to 7 hour drive from Oceanside to Marina and I was pastoring a small church so we didn't get a chance to visit them more than once, twice or if we were lucky three times a year.  This visit, however, was a special visit and one that I will never forget.  My father was dying of cancer and it had reach a point where it was progressing quickly and my wife and I knew that this would probably  be our one and only chance to visit with my father before he passed away.  We were able to spend four days with them and it was absolutely wonderful.  We didn't go anywhere special. We just stayed around the house enjoying every minute of each others company.  On the last night we were there the family decided to watch a movie however it was kind of late when we put the movie on so all of the family except me and my dad went to bed before it was finished.  My dad and I stay up and finished watching that movie together.  The movie was FIELD OF DREAMS. I had never seen it before nor heard anything about it and I had no idea how it was going to end.  At the end of the movie the star of show was told was once again, "If you build it, he will come." This phrase had been told to him over and over again throughout the show and he still had no idea what it meant until right then at that moment.  At that moment he saw the baseball catcher take off his mask and he realized it was his father, as a young man, who had passed away many years earlier, now standing beside him wanting to play catch.  With that realization and with hearts filled with unspeakable emotion the two of them began to throw the baseball back and forth to each other.

I was completely caught off guard by the ending of the movie and was totally unprepared for the emotional response that came rushing out of me at that moment.  My eyes welled up with tears and I just laid my head in my fathers lap crying uncontrollable, like a baby, as the realization of that moment hit me.  I realized this would be the last night I spend with my father on this earth and the next morning when I would hug and kiss him goodbye that would be our last hug and kiss until we meet again on the Day of Resurrection.  Together, into the wee hours of the night, we spent talking.  Do you have any idea of what kind of things we talked about?  I can assure you that we didn't talk about the weather, we didn't gossip about the neighbors nor did we even talk about politics.  No, the things we talked about in those last few hours were the things most important to us.  My father shared with me THE MOST IMPORTANT things that he felt I needed to know. They were things like how he loved me, my wife and my kids; how to be a good man that God would be well pleased with; and to truly trust God at his word that he would meet all of my needs.  This was not a time for chit chat or just shooting the breeze.  This was a time for both me and my father to make sure that the most important things that needed to be said, got said.  The next morning I packed up the car, loaded up the kids and then I gave my father the last hug and kiss that I would ever give me in this world and I drove away.  


This is the same kind of scene that we find here in Matthew 28:18-20.  These are literally the very last words of Jesus to his disciples before he ascends into heave to be seated at the right hand of God the Father and await for his return.  These are his LAST WORDS that he said to communicate to them what were his priorities.  It wasn't chit chat! It wasn't shooting the breeze! No, he was sharing with them the most important things on his heart and the things they needed to be doing while he is away.  Listen to what Jesus says, 

"And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples 
of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the 
Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that 
I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even 
to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

So what's the most important thing on Jesus' heart, mind, and soul?  It was for them, while he was away, to:


That's what he wanted his disciples to do while he ways away!  Just to go make him more disciples.  They had watch and learned how to do it for the past 3 1/2 years and now Christ wanted them to go out and do it while he was away.  

And Jesus is very specific from where he wants these disciples to come from. He said to make him disciples from all the nations.  Most of the time when people hear the word nations they think of geographical boundaries but that is not what this word, NATIONS, means.  The best English word we could use is ethnic. Quite literally what Jesus is saying is to, "Go make me disciples of people from every ethnic group, every people group and every language group.  What Jesus desires is to have representatives from every kind of group there is from the face of the world to be his disciples.  This was the most important thing that Jesus wanted his disciple to know before he left and what he wanted them to be doing until his return.  He wanted them to be intentional and deliberate about helping others become Fully Devoted Followers of Christ.  Making sure that his disciples was about disciple making is what was on the Christ's heart the most right before he left to go back into heaven and that's what should be the most important goal and objective that we should have on our hearts as well.

Having a thorough understanding of what is most important to Christ and what he is most passionate about is what empowers us!  


When a person receives a vague set of directions the possibility of mistakes and making wrong choices can occur.  However, when a leader is specific and clear about what he wantS to be accomplished then the planning and execution can happen more effectively.  Jesus did not give us some fussy or unclear instruction.  His words could not have been any more clearer.  He kept it short and to the point:


With that clear instruction those of us who are Followers of Christ are now empowered to say "Yes" to those things that help accomplish that mission and "No" to those things that don't accomplish it.  


While there may be many good things a Christian could get involved in that doesn't mean they should get involved in them.  A Christian could fill up their entire calendar with really good things to do but still never accomplish what they've been commanded to do.  The real question that needs to be ask is whether it is the "BEST" thing we need to get involved in and whether it accomplish the mission that Christ left us here to do.  Does it help make disciples for Christ.

Making Disciples For Christ Is The Best Thing
And Knowing That Empowers Us!

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