“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’. “
(Matt. 28:1-20 NIV)
Someone once said, “When it’s all said and done, there’s a lot more said than done.” How true that is in so many areas of life, and no less true within the confines of the church. We say that our mission is “Changing Lives by the Power of Jesus Christ”, but do we believe that enough to be actively involved in that work? Are we living out the last thing that Jesus gave us, the church, to do? We can’t expect the work to be done by someone else. Even if all we think we can do is pray, do we seriously focus on doing that?
I am more and more convinced that the power of prayer needs to be behind everything we do as a church, and not just praying, “Lord, bless our efforts in this ministry”, but seriously pleading with God to work in specific ways, using ordinary people in extraordinary ways. Sunday School teachers, how much time do you spend in prayer for your students each week? Sunday School students, how often do you lift your teacher in prayer each week? All of us, how much time do we spend in prayer each week for someone who we have reason to believe has not yet trusted Christ for salvation?
Has faith moved us to action, and if not, is it true faith if we’re unwilling to act upon it? In Hebrews 11, we’re reminded, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see…And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Heb. 11:1,6 NIV)
“He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Now that’s a promise to hold on to. If God is doing the rewarding, you know it’s going to be good. Will it all come to us in this life? Thankfully no, we’ll know so much more of the blessing of God once we cross over into the “Promised Land”, that we could ever even imagine here and now.
Here’s some homework that I’d like to see us focus on for the near future. Keeping in mind our goal verse for 2012, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2Tim. 2:15 NIV), in light of that, what does it mean to be a disciple, and to make disciples? When we can begin to understand and live into that work, we will see God truly change lives through the power of Jesus Christ.
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen