Summary: Jesus came to earth with an assignment. He left us to complete that assignment.
This week I want to go back to the prayer Jesus was praying on his last night with his disciples. As you may recall He said this prayer was not only for them but others who would believe in him due to their testimony.
Jesus first prayed for himself and the begin praying for certain behaviors He wanted us to adapt. First He prayed that we would have the joy that comes from our relationship with him and not the joy the world offers. Then He prayed we would have the kind of holiness that would make us enemies of the world. He prayed that we would be salt, light, and a witness for him after He left us here. Then He prayed that we would discover the reality of God’s truth as found in the Bible.
His next prayer for us is found in John 17:18-19 “Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.”
God sent his Son on a mission. In turn Jesus now sends us on a mission. It is the same mission. It has not changed in the last 2000 plus years. Jesus gave his life to empower to complete his mission while we are here in the world. It was his holy sacrifice that allowed the Holy Spirit to come dwell in us and empower us through him. It is through the revelation of God’s Word that we are made holy, set apart.
There is a funny story about a young American engineer named Billy was sent to Ireland by his company to work in a new electronics plant. It was a two-year assignment that he had accepted because it would enable him to earn enough to marry his long-time girlfriend, Irene. She had a job near her home in Tennessee, and their plan was to pool their resources and put a down payment on a house when he returned. They corresponded often, but as the lonely weeks went by, Irene began expressing doubts that he was being true to her, exposed as he was to lovely Irish lasses. Billy wrote back, declaring with some passion that he was paying absolutely no attention to the local girls. “I admit,” he wrote, “that sometimes I’m tempted. But I fight it. I’m keeping myself for you.”
In the next mail, Billy received a package. It contained a note from Irene and a harmonica. “I’m sending this to you,” she wrote, “so you can learn to play it and have something to take your mind off those girls.” Billy replied, “Thanks for the harmonica. I’m practicing on it every night and thinking of you.” At the end of his two-year stint, Billy was transferred back to company headquarters. He took the first plane to Tennessee to be reunited with his girl. Her whole family was with her, but as he rushed forward to embrace her, Irene held up a restraining hand and said sternly, “Just hold on there a minute, Billy. Before any serious kissin’ and huggin’ gets started here, let me hear you play that harmonica.
She wanted to test him to see if he had kept his word. One day we will stand before Jesus and give an account on how well we did in keeping our word about accomplishing his mission. So let’s begin understanding our assignment of reaching the world.
1) Our first assignment is to preach.
Mark 1:38 “But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” Jesus came to preach. We have been sent to preach.
Society has taken the roll of preaching and made it an office of the church. According to Ephesians 4:11 “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.”
According to God’s Word the church body, not the local church necessarily, has at work within it ; apostles, those who dedicate their entire life to representing Jesus, much like full time missionaries ; prophets, those who have supernaturally inspired messages pertaining to a particular person, group, or situation; evangelists, a preacher of the gospel in the workplace and the market place much like you are called to be; and pastors and teachers, these being the same person, one who cares for a particular body and has the responsibility of instructing them, much like myself.
We are all called to a role. My title is not preacher. I am a pastor and teacher. You’re an evangelist. We both have the responsibility of preaching. Preaching consists of proclaiming, telling, urging, and warning others in the context of the Gospel.