Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

05/22/2019

Jeff Grisham

 

Ambassadors of the King

 

  I think we can easily agree on the fact that we have been given a mission. When we read the Great Commission in Matthew28.16-20, we hear Jesus telling us to “Go and make disciples.” Paul in Romans10.14-16 writes about the importance of that mission. How will they call on him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? How are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” He would tell the church in Ephesus in Ephesians 3 that it is through the church that the manifold wisdom of God is to be declared, and that this is according to God’s eternal purpose (Ephesians 3.10-12). So we can see that God has given us a job to do, and it is God’s plan that we are to work.

 

  The question that always seems to come to us is “How?” I think we can find out how by looking at something else we read in Luke chapter ten, where Luke records the sending out of the 72.

 

  We are to be totally reliant on God. Listen to what Jesus tells the 72 in Luke 10.3-4: "Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road."

 

  “Lambs in the midst of wolves,” speaks of our defenselessness and vulnerability. Taking nothing (money, knapsack, or sandals), is a demonstration of our faith in the fact that God can take care of us. When we read the gospel accounts of Jesus calling his followers, we hear him say things like, “Come and see” or “Come follow me.” He didn’t’ lay out the 3-year plan for these guys. He asked them to trust him to lead. We may not always know what the future holds, but we need to know and trust in the One who does. Faith in the provision of God is a vital part of our mission.

 

  Next we see that we are to have faith that God is already at work before we get there. "Whatever house you enter,first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you" (Luke 10.5-6).

 

  This “person of peace” of whom Jesus speaks, I believe, is the person or persons on which God is already at work. It is someone who is receptive to the messenger as well as the message. We need to believe that God is still alive, still active, still at work in his creation. We are called to work in the kingdom; but we are also called to be fellow workers with God. 

 

  We are also to be a part of the culture, a part of the people to whom we are sent. "And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you" (Luke 10.7-8).

 

  Going to another culture is not all that easy. There are different customs to learn. Often there is a language barrier, but that is ok. Even in spreading the gospel here at home, we will encounter people who have very different sets of values and beliefs. There is a temptation to cloister off to ourselves and be with people who talk and act like we do, but if we do that we miss a tremendous blessing as well as a tremendous opportunity.

 

  We are to carry one thing, and that is the message of the Kingdom of God. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

 

  We are to love and serve the people to whom we are sent, and to carry the only message we have to carry, and that is the message of peace and reconciliation that the Gospel brings. We need to be careful that we are not allowing the consumer mindset of our culture to change the way we present the Gospel. We are ambassadors, not salespeople. We have been entrusted with the message of the greatest gift of all, the gift that can take care of our greatest need. We dare not cheapen it.

 

—JEFF GRISHAM