We are all very familiar with the Great Commission that Jesus gave His disciples. Luke tells us that shortly after this, Jesus ascends leaving the disciples without the only leader they had ever known. If we had been there and been one of the disciples of Jesus, what would our initial response have been? If it were anything similar to what I believe mine would have been, it would have caused me to ask a lot of questions. Where do I start, which direction do I go, who is going to support me as I make the trip and who is going to take care of my family while I am gone? I don’t have any speeches prepared to present to the people, what will I say? I’m not prepared to go on some long journey to some place I have never been and I haven’t prepared my family for such a venture. I would not only be doubting my abilities to carry out this mission (which is totally true}, I would be doubting God’s ability to enable me to carry out His mission (which is totally wrong and therefore sinful). I would be doubting His ability to provide for me and to take care of me. I would be saying “God is able” but my thoughts and my actions would be saying “I don’t really believe that”. As true believers, our response should not be one of worry and doubt but of agreement, just as Isaiah said when God asked Him “who shall we send?” and Isaiah answers “Here am I, Lord, send me.”.
Again and again, God allowed other kings to invade and conquer portions of Israel. He did this because they refused to obey His laws and they refused to keep His commandments. Finally, God allowed the king of Assyria to remove all of Israel to other countries. After doing this, the king of Assyria brought in foreigners to settle the land of Israel. God did not like this, so God sent lions in to destroy the foreigners. The king was informed that this was happening because the new settlers did not know how to worship God correctly. He brought in an Israelite priest to instruct them in proper worship. They learned and practiced the proper worship procedures, but they also continued to worship the idols of each of their respective homelands. God will not stand for impurities in any worship service or offering to Him. Either He is our God or He is not, there is no middle ground. Our God is a jealous God and He will not allow any other god(s) to be a part of our love affair with Him. Our God deserves worship from hearts that are pure and undefiled. When we celebrate Jesus, our celebrations must be in obedience to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. We must lift up holy hands in His honor. There can be no spots in our love feasts. Everything must honor Him and Him alone.
19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.– Matt. 28:19 NLT
The Great Commission In yesterday’s reading, we thought about how we might have reacted to the instructions of Jesus to “go and make disciples of all the nations”. The important part for us in any work in which God asks us to participate is to agree and believe. How do we get to that point? We start by remembering that God never asks us to do anything that He has not prepared us to do and that He is ready to provide everything we need to complete the work. Look at the training that Jesus had given the disciples. They had had three years of walking and talking with Him on a daily basis, observing Him as He interacted with people on all levels of society and healing them. In today’s society, that would probably qualify them for a doctorate degree in Christianity. God had used the evil Romans to build the roads necessary and to make the country safe enough to travel. He had sent the disciples out once before with absolutely nothing but the clothes on their back and the sandals on their feet. They had passed the survival test then and they would again. When God calls us to participate in His Kingdom work, He just wants us to agree and be available, He provides everything else. So when you feel that little nudge, don’t doubt, don’t fear, don’t be a Zechariah and get struck dumb for nine months, be a Mary and become “blessed above all”
1 Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. — Genesis 21:1-3 NIV
A year earlier when God had made His promise to give Abraham and Sarah a son, Sarah had laughed because she could not believe this would happen. (Genesis 18) But, here it is, a year later and the promised son was born. In an earlier appearance to Abraham, God had told him to name the son, Isaac. (Genesis 17) In Hebrew, Isaac means laughter. His birth was certainly a time for joy and laughter. But every time Sarah called Isaac, she was reminded that she had doubted the promise of God and had laughed at it. But she was also reminded that God is faithful and nothing can prevent His promises from being fulfilled in His timing. God had changed Abram’s name to Abraham, which in Hebrew, means the father of many nations. That certainly came true as well. From his two sons came twenty-four tribes of people, twelve from each son. God has made many promises to the church in general and they will all be fulfilled in His timing. If He has made specific promises to you, you can be sure that in due time, those promises will be fulfilled. Our part is to wait on God. Not in the sense of sitting and doing nothing, but in the military sense of the word. Wait, watch and secure the area where you have been placed. We are in a spiritual battle every day. Is your area secure? Is it coverd by the blood and marinated in prayer every day? If not, the enemy is at the door and if there is a crack, he will come in.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. — Matt. 24:42, 43 NIV
11 Faith enabled Abraham to become a father, even though he was old and Sarah had never been able to have children. Abraham trusted that God would keep his promise.12 Abraham was as good as dead. Yet, from this man came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the grains of sand on the seashore. 13 All these people died having faith. They didn’t receive the things that God had promised them, but they saw these things coming in the distant future and rejoiced. They acknowledged that they were living as strangers with no permanent home on earth. 14 Those who say such things make it clear that they are looking for their own country. 15 If they had been thinking about the country that they had left, they could have found a way to go back. 16 Instead, these men were longing for a better country—a heavenly country. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God. He has prepared a city for them.–Hebrews 11:11-16 (GW)
God had promised Abraham that he would become the father of many nations, yet, he and Sara did not have a child. They were well past child-bearing age when God delivered on His promise to Abraham. Though, from a human standpoint, it was impossible, it was not hard for God to fulfill His promise. After all, when He speaks, the sound of His voice creates whatever He says. He spoke the universe into existence. So, bringing forth a child from an elderly couple would not be difficult for Him. This promise was passed down from generation to generation. Many of them died before the promise was realized, but they died knowing that God is faithful and He would fulfill every promise. They pressed on in obedience to God and arrived at a heavenly country where they will spend an eternity with God because they were faithful.