Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:3-6
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
We have been talking about Missions this month in order to raise our level of awareness, understanding, and participation. This week we conclude our missions emphasis by focusing on the response we will make as followers of Jesus Christ to participate more fully and completely in the opportunities we have for partnering with others in God's mission of reaching the world.
Shortly before Jesus’ final entrance into Jerusalem where he would be crucified, buried, and raised from the dead, he said to his disciples, “I will build my church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it (Matthew 16:18B). After his resurrection, but before Pentecost and his ascension, Jesus gave his disciples marching orders for how he would build his church in two simple and clear statements.
The first one said this: “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 endo of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20), and the second one said this: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Sunday’s speaker, Brian Weed, missionary to Nicaragua, shared about the missionary movement he is a part of there and how these very marching orders of Jesus Christ are being carried out in Nicaragua in amazing ways. Brian took the time to share with us what these marching orders entail and the first component is “reaching the lost.” Each and every one of us at Cape Cod Church has the opportunity to participate as partners in this missionary movement that is truly reaching the lost and other similar ones around the world and here at home where God’s marching orders are taken seriously.
Our passage for today helps us to take these marching orders seriously by showing us that a full and complete participation in God's mission is the expectation for everyone who is a beneficiary of that mission. Paul is speaking to followers of Christ in the city of Philippi. He says of them: "You have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ." Their full and complete participation in missions is a significant thread the runs through the entire epistle of Paul to the Philippians. Paul describes their participation in missions as a good work of God within each of them individually.
Notice that Paul gives a time frame of this work of God in the lives of these followers of Christ. This time frame has three parts: 1 - "from the time you first heard it," 2 - "until now," and 3 - "until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." This establishes that full and complete participation in God's mission is absolutely his expectation for us. It is not just a simply a matter that the Philippian believers happen to be participating " in spreading the Good News about Christ." No, it is work God expects to do in the lives of his people from start to finish in their Christian experience.
What an exciting thing to be a part of a mission’s movement that seeks to “reach the lost.” Brian gave us a glimpse of how this and additional components of our marching orders are being addressed and fulfilled through the missionary movement in Nicaragua. Throughout the week, we will focus on the additional components of our marching orders. But for today, please use the component of “reaching the lost” as a prayer request. After you have allowed today’s prayer response to help you make your own prayerful response to God, please pray, specifically and expectantly, for the work of “reaching the lost” in Nicaragua.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I want to be a "mission" oriented Christian. Show me more of what this means and deliver me from being a "me" oriented Christian (oxymoron). Thank you for all the opportunities you give me to serve you. Help me grow in my understanding of how all of this is a good work you are doing in me. Lord, I love you and worship you. Amen!
Posted on Mon, November 21, 2016
by Ken Hart