Summary: Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus: Setting our Hearts on the Mission of the Kingdom
Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus:
Setting our Hearts on the Mission of the Kingdom
We are back in Luke after a series on community and specifically Life Groups. We have said that chapters 8 and 9 Luke describes a series of miracles demonstrating Jesus’ power and authority – healing the sick, delivering the oppressed, stopping storms, and over needed resources for ministry. Then came the transfiguration giving us a preview of his glory. Then we saw a series of events exposing the shortcomings of the disciples that should encourage all of us that in spite of our shortcomings and sinfulness that God is in the business of using ordinary and imperfect people to do extraordinary things. When we align ourselves with the Kingdom, the King empowers us to do the work of the Kingdom.
1. The Mission of the Kingdom is for All followers of Christ (vs. 1)
In the beginning of chapter ten we see that Jesus appointed seventy two others, meaning other than the twelve apostles. Luke refers to this event to inform us that the ministry of the kingdom is not just for the twelve but for every follower of Christ. He is delegating power and authority to them just as he did with the twelve. The point is that the ministry or mission of the kingdom is not for professionals, not the elite, the super spiritual but ordinary people who struggle with ordinary things.
Notice that Jesus sent them into the cities. The emphasis on cities pervades this section. God’s heart is bent toward the city. The kingdoms of this world is being invaded and transformed by the kingdom of God. God’s glory is manifested through transformation – you, city, world. God transforms a person to transform a city to transform a nation. God wants to transform our lives because God wants to transform our city, Homer. We have been saying during our series on Life Groups that lasting transformation of the whole person (mind, heart and therefore the life) comes in community. That is why Life Groups are important; it is not just about us getting you in a group – it is about your transformation. As God’s transformed agents we carry the kingdom wherever we go by declaring and demonstrating the kingdom. It does not always have to be super spiritual either. Here is a great opportunity for the church to gain the reputation that we serve the community; no strings attached. This event is an incredible opportunity for us to show the love of Jesus to Homer.
I trust we all understand that we live in a post-Christian nation, that is, culturally we are no longer a nation that upholds conservative Judeao-christian values or even conservative values. It used to be fifty years ago or more that even if someone was not a Christian they at least had traditional or conservative values and morals. But that is not true any more. You need to understand this when you talk to people and not assume that everyone or even anyone will hold to your values. Therefore we need to see ourselves as missionaries to our city and our church as missional. That is we are not here and CCC is not here to be a place for us to have holy huddles only but see that God has placed us here to engage Homer with the gospel. We, as followers of Christ, are not just here because it is a nice place to live, to raise a family, to start a business, to spend the winter. God has placed us here as missionaries to engage this town. We need to reframe and rethink how we live here. It is not just about me and my life but it is about God and his heart for this town.
2. The Mission of the Kingdom Requires Focused Prayer (vs. 2)
Jesus’ first assignment, prior to any actual ministry, is to pray. He is setting a pattern and priority for them. The early church learned this lesson. The key to all mission and ministry is prayer. Prayer is the means that God has established of getting laborers into the harvest. Prayer is our means of acquiring God’s resources. You pray, you have resources; you don’t pray; you have no resources. God’s resources flow out of a life of dependent trust and relationship with God.
What does he tell us to pray for – the harvest is plentiful but the laborers few. Most of us have the mentality that the harvest is not plentiful but Jesus says it is plentiful. He is not saying that all the crops are ready for harvest but that it is plentiful. What makes a crop harvestable – it is ripe. In another place he tells his followers to look up and see that the fields are ripe for harvest. He does not ask us if we have a burden for the harvest, concern for the harvest, we are to pray for the harvest. That is the way most burdens develop. So we are to pray for laborers for the harvest. The harvest is not limited to our church, our community but the nations. Again you will not develop a burden for our city or our nation or the nations of the world unless you pray for them.