Monday, November 14, 2016

The Church Gathers to be Sent

“I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” –John 17:14

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with evangelist David Burton. I love evangelists! They are gifts of the Holy Spirit to the church. David’s passion and intentional mindset to tell the world of the good news message of Jesus is contagious.

I need to hear what evangelists say to encourage me to do the work of an evangelist (IITimothy 4:5). As a local church pastor, I can easily get swept up into the flow of the river of routine, keeping my mind busy on things internal to the church. I need the constant reminder that we the church, the body of Christ, gather to be sent.

We regularly gather to worship Jesus (Hebrews 10:25), we gather to pray (I Timothy 2:8), gather to encourage one another and build one another up (I Thessalonians 5:11), gather to sing, teach, and be taught God’s Word (Colossians3:16), and gather to display the love of God in us in our love for one another (I John 4:7). Yet, we followers of Jesus gather to be sent into the world, not to be sheltered from the world.

Jesus prays in John 17 that the Father sent Jesus into the world, though He was not of the world. He prays that we, His church which is also not of this world, be sent into the world by the Father the same way. Jesus prays that all of His followers are sent into the world. We who identify with Jesus by denying ourselves, picking up our cross daily, and following Him gather in worship and discipleship to be sent into the world as disciple-makers. We have been rescued from darkness by the Light to take this Light back into the darkness to rescue others.

Having given us God’s Word, we are hated in this world for being born again (John 17:14). This can be discouraging, and we could get swept into the current of our routine, turning discipleship solely into an internal thing in our local church rather than gathering to be sent.

We gather and learn Christ’s teachings together that our joy may be full (John 15:11), and by His rich mercies, sends us with His peace the same way the Father sent our Savior (John 20:21), a peace not of this world that we are not discouraged in heart (John 14:27). We gather to learn the Word that our joy may increase, and we are sent with divine peace. Jesus is with us in our being sent into the world, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

Let us remember our mission to make disciples of all people to the glory of God. Let us remember each time we gather to worship that we gather to be sent. Let the nations be glad! Christ our Redeemer has rescued us and He now reigns upon the throne! Jesus saves. Jesus still saves.
Heavenly Father, as our Lord prayed we too pray, that You would not take us out of the world, but send us into the world with the Word that set us apart as lights into the darkness. Give us Your joy, peace, and wisdom as You send us Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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