On Mission

   As Christians, God has given us a mission and a message, but we must have the proper motivation or the message we deliver will be destructive. In Luke 10:17-20, the 72 disciples who were sent out my Jesus returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”  Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. ..... However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

   Jesus is telling them,  “I don't like your motivation.”  But why?   Jesus is saying there is a kind of motivation for religion that is not helpful and there is a kind that is helpful. What’s the difference?  What’s wrong in rejoicing that the spirits submitted to them?  Look at what they were excited about.  They didn’t come back saying, “Wow Lord, we have helped people." They came back, “Saying we are something - even demons submit to us.”

  If you want to understand what Jesus is warning you about, look at the second sentence - that your names are written in the book of life. Before the invention of modern printing, if your name was written, you were somebody.  The metaphor is to the census or role that most towns had in which only the names of citizens were written.  Jesus was telling them that resting is their own sense of power – their gifts and accomplishments –will lead to the same thing that made Satan fall –pride.

  The better way is to rejoice that our names are written in heaven. The gospel of Jesus Christ is that your name is already written down.  “Written” is past tense.  How can our names already have been written?  The Gospel message is don’t rejoice in what you do; rejoice in who you are in Jesus.  You are already accepted. As Tim Keller says, “the door on which you have been knocking all your life, all the beauty and love you have sought, this is the love and beauty you are after.  Heaven, God, welcoming you into the heart of things. The door is guaranteed to be opened to you, it doesn't matter how you perform.”

  Jesus said the secret to motivation for ministry, a motivation that will not make you coercive or oppressive and isn’t based on your performance, is knowing your name is written in heaven.  Keller goes on to state, “to the degree that you are melted by the blazing heat of the joy of knowing your name is written in the heaven, you can overcome discouragement, temptation, and you certainly can overcome the oppressive attitude of people who have a message but the drive with which they deliver that message is their performance -their success.”

  Luke 10:21 states, “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. ‘” God hides these things from the people who think they are wise but gives his grace to his children–the ones who feel  weak, who know they aren’t wise, who know they aren’t good , but know they are saved by His grace.
Therefore, be on God’s mission.  Courageously and gently proclaim his message to a hurting world.  Provide for the needs of those around you – serve them and show them Christ’s love and grace.

In Him,
Pastor Boyd

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