One of the best ways for the church today to understand her mission is to take a closer look at the life of Jesus. When Jesus came, he was all about fulfilling his mission for the glory of God the Father. When you are not sure what your mission as followers of Jesus is in this world, look at Jesus. The church is the incarnation of Jesus in the world. The church is called the body of Christ; we are to let Jesus live through us, serve through us, love through us. It is through the church that people will get to know God (Eph.3:10). God has always been on mission and he has always used people to accomplish it. It was to his disciples that Jesus said, “as the Father sent me, so I am sending you. John 20:21. God wants to reach every person in the world and he has chosen his followers (you and me) for this task. We are God’s representatives in this world.
After the resurrection of Jesus, he began to appear to his disciples; they had expected Jesus to be a political leader. When they saw Jesus alive, they thought that their plan was back on tract. In fact, Luke tells us that they even asked Jesus if he was going to restore the kingdom to Israel now that he was alive and back with them. The disciples of Jesus wanted to know that the plan was now; Jesus gave them the mission, which is the mission of every follower of Jesus.
Today is Palm Sunday according to our calendar; we remember the time when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Most people may know this when they hear the phrase “Palm Sunday.” This is the inauguration of what we know as passion week. The week leading to Christ death and resurrection. This event is known in the Bible as the triumphant entry. What was this about?
Kids make their parents happy and proud when they do things according to the standard of their parents; when they do well at school or perform well in the play or at the field. A father was devastated when he was told by his younger son that his brother had said the s word. Later, the father was relief to find out the s-word his son used was “stupid.”
Last week I talked to you about the new identity God’s people have because of their relationship with Jesus. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Being a Christian is to have a new identity. The Bible uses lots of metaphors or imageries to help us understand who we are and what we are supposed to do. We are Christ’s ambassadors in this world…
When you become a follower of Jesus you made a transition from death to life, from your old self, to a new self in Christ; you transition from darkness into light.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie Rush hour is when Inspector Lee meet detective Johnson. Johnson was practicing defusing a bomb as the clock was ticking and she needed to make a decision and had only 15 seconds. She then gets distracted by Carter and ended up cutting the wrong wire and booom “I have bad news Johnson, we’re all dead. “I was distracted sir” “Distractions are going to occur in the field, this is why we call this practice. If you can’t handle pressure, then quit.”
For some the Christmas celebration would continue until January 6th Some have started to take off their decorations and getting ready for valentine’s Day. People respond differently. We have seen the responses of people in the Christmas story. How are you going to respond to Jesus? What are you giving Jesus today; this new year that begins tomorrow?
Maybe you have heard people say that they love Jesus, but don’t like the church. These people think they can have a relationship with Jesus apart from his church. There is even a book written entitled “They like Jesus, but not the church” by Dan Kimball. There are so many wrong things with claiming to love Jesus and then not loving his church. If you don’t love the church, then you don’t love God. IF you don’t love your brother and sister, how can the love of God be in you?
Followers of Jesus are to imitate his teachings; there are many people who called themselves Christians, but their lives, behavior don’t reflect Jesus. I think people should stop calling themselves Christian if they are not going to love others the way Jesus asked us to love them. Another area in which many Christians misrepresent Jesus in our world, is when it comes to forgiveness. There are followers of Jesus who have a really difficult time forgiving a brother or sister. If you are one of those who really struggle forgiving their brother or sister, I hope you are ready to journey through God’s word so we can see why forgiveness really matters.
You can be very religious and still not know what you worship. You could be attending church your whole life and still not know Jesus. Not because you go to a church where they talk about Jesus makes you into a Christian. You may attend a church and know the rituals, practices and still not know Jesus.
Jesus himself said that at the end of times, there will be people that have a form of religion, people who thought knew Jesus or had a relationship with him. They will be shocked to find out they will not be with Jesus.
Part of being a kingdom person in this world is to be faithful stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us. When Jesus started his earthly ministry; he began to preach “repent, the kingdom of God is near” (Matt.4:17). Jesus taught many things concerning the kingdom of heaven in the gospel according to Matthew. Through his teachings, we can understand better what the kingdom is all about and the role we play as part of it.
“A kingdom person” is the one willing to adjust his decisions to God’s decision even if God’s decision is not the one preferred.” (Tony Evans). Based on this definition a kingdom person is the one willing place God’s agenda over his/her own.
That definition is simple, the complicating part is knowing when my decisions are God’s decisions and not just my own. With every decision we make in God’s kingdom, we either help advance the kingdom or we hinder its advancement. Even in church we may hinder the kingdom of God from moving forward because we are not willing to adjust our expectations to God’s expectations.