Archive for November, 2015
“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
The abiding presence of the resurrected Christ is a present tense reality being fulfilled in the person of the Holy Spirit. No where is the assurance of his presence more evident than in the enabling of our Great Commission obedience. It is our commitment to being the missional presence of Christ in our own world; in our spheres of influence that bears the most compelling evidence of the continuing working of the resurrected Christ in human hearts.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:19).
The Great Commission is an unprecedented global strategy of placing a congregational presence of believers among every people group, sharing in both a common objective and power source, equipped with the gifts and means necessary to accomplish the will of the One who bonds us together. This great commission mandate, however, must not only be geographical but sociological and personal. The great commission must be indigenously birthed from the ground upon which we stand at any given moment in our day. The Lord’s mission becomes great only as we, each one, embrace it as our own.
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth’” (Matthew 28:18).
In the midst of his worshiping, and even doubting, disciples (v.17), Jesus steps forward to commission them to their appointed task. Note that though some were doubting, he didn’t step back in shock, questioning whether or not they might be up to the mission that would be entrusted to them, but he came up and offered something to distract their speculative minds. The solution to a doubting faith isn’t to be found in intellectual answers but, rather, obedience to an assigned task. Engagement in the outward focused missional task of the Lord’s church provides the best answer to any introspective doubts that might arise in the journey of faith.
“When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful” (Matthew 28:17).
That worship and doubting, glorifying and questioning, belief and uncertainty, conviction and confusion could occur simultaneously, perhaps, catches you off guard. Such polarity, however, isn’t a contradiction of faith but, rather, a confirmation of faith working itself out in our lives. It may be that you have never given yourself permission to be as honest, transparent, and confessional as Matthew. The most substantive faith conversations occur when we are secure enough to admit our own questions instead of being so insecure in our faith that we become loud, bombastic, and argumentative.
“But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated” (Matthew 28:16).
Eleven is an imperfect number; it is not whole or complete. These eleven imperfect, flawed disciples, who are about to receive their marching orders in the Great Commission, would set the precedence for all forthcoming disciples, especially you and me. Kingdom work isn’t accomplished by the likes of a sanctimonious religious hierarchy…just us…an imperfect people entrusted with a perfect vocation and empowered by a perfect Savior.
“A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold. The rich and poor have a common bond, the Lord is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:1-2).
What’s in a name? In my late teens I began wishing my parents had named me Robert instead of Bobby. I humorously say they had no vision for my life beyond little league baseball. At other stages in life we worry not about the name we were given but, instead, making a name for ourselves; building a reputation — how one is known and remembered. A reputation can be misleading, however. A reputation is what others think you are. Character is what you know you are. A reputation can be false, but the man in the mirror never lies. He knows us for who we really are. While financial wealth is the leading desire of the masses, a far greater wealth to be desired is a good name. It will buy you more than the purchasing power of any dollar amount.
“And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
You are in a unique position. You have received that for which the disciples were instructed to wait — the gift of the Spirit. The time between the resurrection and our Lord’s ascension into heaven was 40 days, culminating on the Day of Pentecost, and then the Spirit of the living Christ descending upon the gathered believers.
As you dress for the day, remember that beyond the wardrobe hanging in your closet, you are clothed with the power of a resurrected Savior. Live your day with power from on high.
“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10).
Of greater importance than any adversity facing you is the attitude with which you face it. Attitude determines victory or defeat. While failure does not finish a person, quitting does. When we fail, we are not finished. We are finished when we quit. You and I are not designed to quit. We are providentially created to endure and persevere.
“Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
For Paul a mystery is something once hidden but has now been revealed by God in the person of Jesus Christ. Concerning the mystery of Christ’s return, the intent of scripture isn’t an outlining of how and when this will occur (this is the unhealthy preoccupation of men), but that his coming, and the accompanying transformation from perishable to imperishable among both the dead and the living in Christ, will occur in an infinitesimal moment (atomos). Preparedness for his coming isn’t to be found in the reconciliation of the biblical text to the morning paper, or rare occurrences of astronomical phenomenon, nor highly classified military maneuvers in Texas but, rather, in a life devoted and dedicated to the resurrected Christ.
“You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies…But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own” (1 Corinthians 15:36,38).
Scripture employs the word “fool” to describe those who give no consideration to God in daily living, even to the point of not believing (Ps. 14:1). Regarding the bodily resurrection of the dead, and the Corinthians inability to imagine this beyond its current natural state, Paul offers nature itself as an example of how death can bring forth life in a completely different form. A planted seed emerges to a completely different expression. Such is the resurrection of the dead. God will bring forth from the perishable the imperishable.