“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”
~ Habakkuk 2:14 ~
Video Lesson Transcript
As a child of God, you need to realize that you have been saved with a purpose. God has not simply saved you and then left you on your own to drift aimlessly through this life. Your life has new meaning now. You have new dreams, new goals, new priorities. And at the top of that priority ladder is the new mission to which He has called you. Yes, God has a mission for you. It is the highest of all callings and the most noble of all missions. God wants you to learn to live beyond yourself and to let Him use you to help love, serve, reach, teach, and save others; so that they, too, can be prepared to go home and live with Him for all eternity.
Jesus first presented this mission to His earliest disciples. We call it, “The Great Commission.” Following His death, burial, and resurrection, and just before His ascension back to the Heavenly Father, Jesus said:
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20, NASB)
Again, Jesus issued the same command, His “Great Commission,” a second time. Following His resurrection from the dead, the Bible says:
Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”
(Mark 16:14-16, NASB)
But Jesus not only commissioned His disciples to go into all the world and share the Good News, He also spoke to the Heavenly Father about them, about us. Lifting us all up in prayer, seeking the Father’s blessings on our behalf, Jesus said:
“But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”
(John 17:13-23, NASB)
Notice here that Jesus prays for our sanctification, that the Heavenly Father would keep them from the evil one. An important way in which we are “sanctified”—set apart for God, protected from the evil one—is by the truth. Jesus also prays for our unity because He knows that the authentic children of God need one another. But, note also, He says that the way other people come to believe in Him would be “through their word.” Jesus is speaking, initially, of the word of His apostles and prophets who were with Him at the time; but He was also speaking about us, and about all people everywhere, the world over, who would come to believe in Christ through the eye-witness testimony of those disciples. And so, that is the message that we share. Their word, the word of those Holy Spirit inspired apostles and prophets who were with Jesus in that moment, has become our word — our message to the nations.
Our mission is to get the Word out! The mission will not always be easy. But, just has Jesus sacrificed Himself for us, He calls us to sacrifice ourselves for others. To live sacrificially may mean having to bear up under hardships and harsh treatment. We may, sometimes, be persecuted for our faith and for our testimony. But, as authentic disciples of Christ, we know that it is all worth it because nothing in this present world is as important to us as pleasing our Lord and reaching others with the message of His love. Concerning our great mission, and the hardships we may have to endure for the sake of the cause of Christ, Jesus said:
What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell . . . Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
(Matthew 10:24-40, NASB)
So, when it comes to speaking and proclaiming the truth of God’s holy word, we will sometimes face intense opposition; even from those we love the most in this world. Jesus went on to speak of some of the hardships that may sometimes accompany our mission. In order to prepare His disciples for the mission, He told them:
But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them. The gospel must first be preached to all the nations. When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
(Mark 13:9-13, NASB)
For a little historical perspective on this matter; listen to what the New Testament says happened in the 1st Century, as our brothers and sisters in Christ carried out Jesus’ “Great Commission” to share the word. The Bible says:
And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison. Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.
(Acts 8:1-4, NASB)
Well, often, when you stand up against “the powers that be,” and when you go against what is socially, politically, and even religiously popular, there are going to be harsh consequences. So what do we do, just “shut up”? No, this passage of scripture says that, even though they were being persecuted, and scattered, still, they “went about preaching the word.”
But, it not always going to be that way. We will not always be opposed. Many will accept our message, and will be grateful that we dared to risk enough to share the truth with them. The Bible says:
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
(Romans 10:14-15, NASB)
Well, we learn from this passage of scripture that, when it comes to accomplishing our mission, we don’t all have the same roles. Here, the Apostle Paul speaks of “preachers,” and “senders.” Sometimes we need to be the one who goes across the street, or across the sea, to proclaim the message. And sometimes we need to the one who supports others to do that — through our fellowship, our encouragement, our prayer, and, yes, even our financial support, when needed.
But, it important to remember that when we stand together to proclaim the truth of God’s holy word to a lost and dying world, we are, in fact, engaging in holy warfare. The Bible says:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NASB)
Well, I can think of many lofty things that are raising themselves up against the knowledge of God: atheism, agnosticism, humanism, evolution, neo-paganism, oriental mysticism, social and political movements of one kind or another, false religious doctrines of every color and shade; and just one lofty philosophy after another seeking to malign the truth of God’s word. Our adversary, the evil one, is the great deceiver! But our Lord calls upon the church, yes, me and you, to be the ones who stand up, speak out, and make a meaningful difference, not just for this world, but for eternity. Speaking of his mission, and our mission, the Apostle Paul writes to the Christians living in the city of Ephesus, saying:
To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.
(Ephesians 3:8-12, NASB)
And, on an even more personal and intimate level, Paul shares with the Ephesians, and with us, what our individual responsibilities are, now that we have become members of the body of Christ; he says:
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
(Ephesians 4:14-16, NASB)
“Speaking the truth in love” — that is our mission, beloved. Now, of course, God has many ways of using us to help proclaim the Gospel message to others. We are not all the same. We each have different gifts, different talents, different opportunities and resources to share. Some are great speakers, some great writers, some great counselors, some great teachers, some great motivators and encouragers, some great givers and financial supporters. Some are gifted at caring for the sick and disabled, while others are gifted at caring for children, or working with young people. Some are all about ministering to people’s emotional and spiritual needs, while others are—physicians, mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, and various tradesmen are compelled to provide physical help in various fields when needed. And on and on the list goes, from dancers to dentists, from bankers to bikers, from thespians to theologians. The beautiful body of Christ is rich, radiant, and colorful in it’s diversity. But, regardless of our varied talents and gifts, we all share the same divine mission — to “go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations!”