Yesterday, Sam walked us through the story after Easter. He spent time walking us through the scripture of how Jesus restored Peter heart after Peter denied Jesus three times. I hope you are seeing how intense these moments are. There are big things going on. And they have huge spiritual implications.
Let’s jump into scripture for today. Matthew 28:16-20, Acts 1:12-13, Acts 2:1-4, Acts 2:40-47
Matthew 28:16-20 TLB 16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had said they would find him. 17 There they met him and worshiped him – but some of them weren’t sure it really was Jesus!
18 He told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and earth. 19 Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this – that I am with you always, even to the end of the world.”
Acts 1:12-13 TLB 12 They were at the Mount of Olives when this happened, so now they walked the half mile back to Jerusalem 13 and held a prayer meeting in an upstairs room of the house where they were staying.
Acts 2:1-4 TLB 1 Seven weeks had gone by since Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the Day of Pentecost had now arrived. As the believers met together that day, 2 suddenly there was a sound like the roaring of a mighty windstorm in the skies above them and it filled the house where they were meeting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on their heads. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in languages they didn’t know, for the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
Acts 2:40-47 TLB 40 Then Peter preached a long sermon, telling about Jesus and strongly urging all his listeners to save themselves from the evils of their nation. 41 And those who believed Peter were baptized – about three thousand in all! 42 They joined with the other believers in regular attendance at the apostles’ teaching sessions and at the Communion services and prayer meetings.
43 A deep sense of awe was on them all, and the apostles did many miracles. 44 And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything with each other, 45 selling their possessions and dividing with those in need. 46 They worshiped together regularly at the Temple each day, met in small groups in homes for Communion, and shared their meals with great joy and thankfulness, 47 praising God. The whole city was favorable to them, and each day God added to them all who were being saved.
What is happening? The mission that God gave Jesus is now being given to the disciples. Jesus could only do what one man could do. Now in His absence, God was anointing the disciples with the power of the Holy Spirit to build His Church. We see this happening when about three thousand people believe that Jesus was the Son of God on one day.
I believe, this should radically change our understanding of church. It should transform our understanding of what it means to be someone who follows after Jesus. The mission of God has been given to the local church. That’s why at MRC our unique identity is explained like this: we are passionate, relentless and unapologetic about reaching people far from God and empowering Christians to join that mission. And we challenge every person at MRC to make five choices. Love God. Love others. Love growing. Love serving and love giving. What do we do when we meet? We ask God to allow us to experience His presence. Why do we do church this way? Because we read scripture. We read what Jesus did. We have been forever changed by the grace and mercy of God. And we believe that God gave us a mission to tell others about Him.
Stop and think about what your friends, family and community need today. They need to know that they can’t earn their way into heaven with human effort. They need to know that because Jesus died and was resurrected, the curse of sin has been broken over us all. They need to know God’s out-of-control, reckless, passionate and love for them. They need to know that God knows their name and that God is on their side. They need to know that there is healing and rest waiting for them.
To be more clear. What they don’t need is someone pointing a finger at them. What they don’t need is big word theologians giving intellectual double talk. What they don’t need is more things to do.
Questions to process.
When Jesus said, ‘Go make disciples’ what does that mean to you today? Was that given to you or paid pastors?
For you, what is church about? Programs? Big word theologians with intellectual double talk? God’s presence? Worship?
For you, do you see a connection between your commitment to church and the mission of God?
Is the mission of God through church something you stay away from? That means you don’t really commitment the mission of God. Specifically: love God, love others, love growing, love serving, love giving.
Who do you know who needs to know that God loves them?
The last thing I want to share is something that is very important. The disciples were anointed by the Holy Spirit before anything happened. For you and I, that means Christianity is not about making things happen. Sometimes people with good hearts and love God want to make things happen so badly they burn out because they never waited for the Holy Spirit. Based on scripture, the best thing you can do today is pray and ask God to lead.
Again, following Jesus isn’t about making things happen. It’s about walking with God into each day with your eyes open for what God might be doing around you. Great place to start with the mission of God. Your relationship with God. Your relationships closets to you.