Friday, July 24, 2009

Driven


I have been praying for our church to be driven like the Apostle Paul. To this end I am preaching a two-part sermon on Redeemer's mission and vision. I don't know what you think about missions and visions, for me they represent a purpose statement with a dream about the effect of living out such a purpose.

I also think mission and vision statements should be directly connected to the commission King Jesus gave us through the Apostles before ascending to the right hand of His Father, where He now rules. There are two biblical passages that drive me, the leadership of Redeemer, and hopefully a good number of the church family.

The first passage comes just as Jesus is about to ascend in to heaven after his triumphant resurrection from the dead. He spent well over a month preparing His followers for this moment. He had previously promised to send the Holy Spirit to empower them for service, so mixed with a certain level of anxiety concerning His impending departure had to be great anticipation regarding what life would look like after the resurrection and under the direction of King Jesus from His Father's side. What instruction would Jesus give His soon to be supernaturally empowered disciples? What would He call us to do?

Matthew 28: 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Just awesome. He sends us on our way making disciples. Truly a Great commission. Please note that he doesn't send us in our own power but by His authority and promised presence. The Apostle Paul, who wasn't present at the moment of the commission, clearly got the message first hand from one or more of the other Apostles because his life was driven by the discipleship mandate given by Jesus. Approximately 20 years after Jesus uttered the words of the Great Commission, the Apostle Paul summed up His earthly ministry and toil in Colossians by saying-

Colossians 1:28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

Do you see the connection between these verses?

The maturing of God's people is the driving motivation behind Paul's toilsome ministry efforts. He describes Himself as "struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me". Again, just awesome.

Ultimately the purpose for each believer growing in Christ, indeed becoming "complete" or "mature" is to bring glory to God. There is no greater endeavor- to glorify God is to enjoy Him. As we mature in Christ and help others to do the same, we bring God glory. The best part- He empowers us. It's His work. All the glory is very much His.

So, my prayer for you reading this, is to be driven just as Paul was. Life's way too short to live any other way.

3 comments:

Rick Calohan said...

If I was to pick my favorite apostle it is without a doubt Paul. Covenant Seminary is offering a course this fall via Access, the Life and Letters of Paul which I am sure both you and Nathan took while at Covenant it’s a study of the purpose, theology, and chronology of Acts and the missionary strategy of the apostle Paul, as well as a look at the major Pauline epistles. The course also introduces students to key aspects of Pauline theology. Those who are not enrolled may enjoy the free class offering for non-credit at:

http://www.worldwide-classroom.com/courses/info/nt230/

Frontier Forest said...

What a joy to belong to a fellowship like Redeemer that is Driven to mission! During the planning stages of a mission trip, I challenge every missioner to seek the Lord for a theme verse. Making the Word come alive, a verse should give clarity to the mission, while bringing a witness as to why you are going, and what you will be doing. Stressing that “this is no vacation”, this trip means very strenuous, long and demanding hours, but a mission of eternally rewarding consequences far beyond imagination. Leaving ego’s and agendas at home, we will pray, we will plan, but we are prepared to have plans change daily. Go with the flow, for this is His mission, not ours. Challenging the team long before we arrive read and re-read Luke 10. Having the team understand, “Just as the disciples, we will travel as He leads, stay in homes where we are welcomed, and eat WHATEVER is set before us.” (a paraphrase of Luke 10: 1-12)

Pastor Tony’s message on our vision and mission, allow me to reflect my theme verses and how on each trip, they have opened the “windows of His Word to be made known unto me.”

1997: "Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established!" (Proverbs 16: 3)

1999: “Always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within us, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (I Peter 3:15)

2000: (With emphasis added) “And we (must) proclaim Him, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone complete in Christ. And it is for this reason that I too toil, struggling with all His energy that works powerfully within me. (Colossians 1:28-29)

2001: “And Pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make know with boldness the mystery of the gospel." (Eph 6:19)

2003: “Remembering the Words of Jesus, ‘Truly I say to you, ‘to the extent you did so to the least of these brothers of Mine, you did so unto ME.’” (Matthew 25:4)

2005: "How shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things! However, they did not all heed the glad tidings; for Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" Therefore FAITH comes from hearing and hearing by the WORD OF CHRIST!" (Romans 10:15-17)

Just before mission 2007, while Pastor Tony was preaching through Colossians, he challenged the congregation that gave me vision for this theme verse:

“Praying at the same time for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the Word, so that we may speak further thy mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; in order that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Therefore conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outriders, making the most of ever opportunity. Let you speech be seasoned with grace so that you may know how you should respond to each person.” (Colossians 4:3-6)

And now as the team prepares for our “5-Loaves & 2-Fish, Mission Moldova 2009”, I believe this to be my theme verse: “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love!” (I Corinthians 16:13-14)

Zach said...

Excellent reflection Tony, and absolutely the right verses to serve as the foundation of a church's mission statement.