Proclaim the gospel
As Joanne and I were worshiping today, the thought came to me; we are being preached the word, we are gathered for fellowship and worship, and we leave; for what purpose? As we walk out of the church or the sanctuary, are we just feeling good about ourselves, clean, mentally checking off our list that we attended church this week, or what? Be honest, what were your thoughts or, usually, what are your thoughts?
At the end of Mark, prior to Jesus’ ascension, it is recorded that he preached to the eleven Apostles. He told them to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16.15,16). And at the very end Mark records this. “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs” (vss. 19,20).
Ambassadors of Christ
The word apostle means “one who is sent out”. In the New Testament, there are two primary usages of the word apostle. The first is in specifically referring to the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. Paul became one, also. The second is in generically referring to other individuals who are sent out to be messengers/ambassadors of Jesus Christ. The twelve Apostles held a unique position. They had been chosen and were the cornerstone of the church.
Do you consider yourself an apostle (sent)? When you left the church Sunday, did you get a sense that Jesus was sending you out for a specific task this week for the sake of the gospel? Maybe it was to share with three people what you learned that day, feed the poor, visit people in prison or someone who is sick, teach at a homeless shelter, mentor your disciples, even your children, share the gospel with someone. Or did any of this enter your mind?
We are sent
No matter how we feel about ourselves as a Christian, we are people who are sent. There are many parts of the ‘body’ and none is more important than the other or less important. What are your gifts, what is God placing in front of you that you’re avoiding due to busyness or lack of training? And I might ask, do you really even care? Jesus does, and he wants you to receive his joy and that it will be full. The way we receive this joy is sharing Jesus with others in whatever way he leads.
None of us want to be like the Dead Sea in Israel. The Jordan and other rivers flow into it, but there is no outlet. It just gets ‘filled’. We know that it is better to give than to receive. God gave his all when he gave us his Son on the cross. What do we have from God that he wants us to give to others? Go into your prayer closet and do business with God. Listen for his voice. And then boldly, in the power of the Spirit, go out, be one of the ‘sent’. You will be amazed at what God can do through you once you have said, “yes, send me”. Ask Isaiah. ‘And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”’ (Isa. 6.8)