During the Olympics, athletes represent their nations or countries. These nations send their best athletes in their discipline to compete and bring honor to their nations. Following Jesus is spoken of in Scripture as entering into race. The moment you agreed to be a follower of Jesus, you enter that race. The Christian life is a race; at times you may feel very good in how you run and progress in your walk; but at times it turns out to be very difficult and the temptation to quit or give up will always be there. Perhaps you know people who stopped running their race;
When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they traveled through the desert where they endured hunger and thirst. However, Yahweh continually provided for them. Just in the previous chapter we read about an incident in which they came to a place where there was no water. People grumbled against Moses; God provided water to drink from a rock. These people were on their way to the land the LORD promised to them as their inheritance. This land would be their future; however, an enemy came against them and threatened their lives, their future. This is the first war Israel had to fight after coming out of Egypt.
It is much easier to destroy something than to build it up. Jesus told his disciples that he will build his church. This started in the first century at the preaching of the apostles. This is how Jesus began to build his church. The apostles preached the good news of God’s kingdom and those who believed became followers of Jesus and continued to announce the life-changing message of the gospel. The group or gathering of believers is what is called “ekklesia (church). Peter’s 2nd sermon to a Jewish council was “Jesus is the stone, you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.” (Acts 4:11); when it comes to building his church, Jesus used his apostles whose main message was salvation is found only in Jesus. The cornerstone upon which people are to build their lives.
When the Restoration Movement began in our nation in the early 19th century their slogan was: In essentials unity, in matters of opinion liberty, in all things love. This is the movement from which independent Christian churches, Disciples of Christ and Churches of Christ emerged. People wanted to restore the church back to the Bible. The Bible would be the only creed. They understood that when it comes to our Christian faith, we must be united in the essentials; but when it comes to matters of opinion there is freedom. Today there are people who confuse their opinion with the essentials of theology. As followers of Jesus, we must be able to know the essentials from the non-essentials of our faith. The non-negotiable from what is negotiable.
If we truly wish to understand our mission as followers of Jesus, we must take a closer look at Jesus and how he reached people. Last week we talked about how Jesus is calling everyone to follow him, to become his disciple. Jesus’ first disciples were fishermen. Jesus said follow me and I will make teach you to catch people. Jesus calls people to follow him and to learn from him how to reach others with the message of the gospel.
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.
Throughout the Bible, we get to know the names of women whom God used to accomplish his purposes. There were some who were prophets, judges, queens. There was one who was in a bad relationship, but God used her to save her family. Background: David had become a fugitive; he was running away from king Saul who was seeking to kill him. David was in the dessert with about 600 men. They had run out of supplies; then David sent ten young men to a man named Nabal, whose shepherds David and his men had protected in the wilderness.
A great number of people know that God loves them for he gave his own Son to save them. However, there are lots of people who don’t know how to love God. Jesus said that if you truly love him, you would obey his instructions. This is how you show God that you love him. You cannot love God whichever way you think or desire; you must do it in the manner he prescribed otherwise you may find yourself in violation to his word.
There was a man in the Bible, a king, who thought he could accomplish The LORD’s mission his own way.
The Bible is the word of God; God uses it to transform us into the people he wants us to be. Jesus prayed that his people be set apart by his truth. John 17:17 (Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth)
2 Tim.3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the people of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
For Christians to experience growth and transformation in their lives; they must not lose the hunger for God’s word. As baby craves for milk, we must long for the Bible so we can truly grow.
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.
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the foundation of the Christian faith. It is the reason Christianity exists today. The disciples were not transformed because the tomb was empty; they changed when they saw Jesus alive. Jesus began to appear to his disciples giving them evidence that he was truly alive. Jesus had predicted that their sadness would turn into joy.
The gospel is not good news without the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. It was a horrifying weekend for followers of Jesus. Their hopes and dreams were shattered by a cross on Friday afternoon. Jesus was the one they thought would restore the kingdom to Israel, their expected messiah; whom they did not expect would die; neither they expected him to rise from the dead. They thought everything ended with the death of Jesus.