Summary: The future and its possibilities can be scary. Evil appears to be hiding around every corner. Our faith in God, though, gives us hope for the future and enables us to face the future with confidence and power.
Matthew 28:19-20 “How Do I Face the Future?”
Times have changed. A few years ago, the future, which we faced, was filled with potential and possibilities. Nothing seemed impossible. The stock market was marking double and triple digit gains. The economy was expanding, and inflation was almost non-existent.
Now, things are different. We have endured a terrorist attack that killed more people and did more damage than the attack on Pearl Harbor. We are in the middle of a war. The stock market, and along with it our pension plans, has plummeted by over 20%. And there are the personal tragedies. Some of us lost love ones, struggle with major illnesses, suffered broken and strain relationships, and endured the hardships of life.
We once faced the future with hope. Now we are tempted to face the future with fear and trepidation. How, as Christians, do we face the future? What will carry us through both hopeful times and fearful times? This passage of Scripture, which has come to be known as the Great Commission, gives us a foundation to stand on. With it, we can face the future with confidence.
KNOW WHO I AM
When we face the future, it is first important for us to understand who we are.
We are baptized children of God, who are commissioned by God to baptize others. At the time of our baptism, God adopted us as children of God. We are part of God’s family and have the ability to approach God as a child approaches a loving parent. God moves in our lives as a parent—protecting us and providing us with everything that we need for daily life.
At our baptism God forgives us our sins. God does this not because of what we hone—on our goodness or attainments. God forgives our sins because of what Christ has done for us; we are forgiven because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are forgiven people who share that forgiveness with others.
We are baptized, forgiven, disciples of Jesus Christ. We are followers of Jesus, who not only walk with him, but who also learn from him. As disciples, we have been given the mission, or ministry, of caring on the work of Jesus Christ in this world.
KNOW WHAT I AM TO DO
Jesus calls us to be my witnesses. After his ascension, while the disciples were still looking up into the air, angels appears and commissioned the disciples to spread their witness to Jerusalem, Judah, Samaria and to the ends of the world.
Witnesses are not people who jam their religious views down people’s throats. Nor are they people who force others to believe. Witnesses simply share what God has done in their lives.
· They talk about how their faith has given them a purpose for living.
· They share how the Holy Spirit has given them the strength to overcome the difficulties and challenges of life.
· They let others know how they have been sustained by the love and forgiveness of God, in their lives.
Christians also enter the future knowing that we are called to be servants. Jesus said that the greatest leaders will be the greatest servants. As gifted and talented individuals, we use what we have been blessed with for the benefit of others. We seek their welfare. We are people who give, knowing that giving is what will shape the future.
KNOW THAT GOD IS WITH ME
Jesus ends his words to his disciples, in the passage, by saying, “Lo, I am with you always even until the end of the age.” We face the future know that God faces it with us.
The disciples told the story of how they encountered a life-threatening storm on the Sea of Galilee, when they were attempting to follow Jesus’ directions. Jesus was in the boat with them. Jesus was calm, even though the disciples feared for their lives. Jesus never left the disciples and eventually stilled the storm. Christians will encounter difficult times when they faithfully follow Jesus
Paul went through many difficult situations in his life. He endured shipwrecks, beatings, robberies and travel hardships. Even though he experienced all of these, he was still able to write, “Nothing is able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We are not alone. God fills us with the Holy Spirit. God is always present with us no matter where we are or what we are doing. God is not only present with us, but God is also empowering us to serve God and to be God’s witnesses. God uses us to spread God’s kingdom.
The Christian faces the future with a confidence that is founded in what God has done through Jesus Christ and the relationship with God that the cross bestows.
The Christian also faces the future with hope, because we look to the cross and we know who has won. God is the victor.