Take nothing for the journey, except…

When the twelve were sent out to be the next generation of missionaries, they knew they were weak and had no expectation of any advantages other than to obey Christ and depend on Him.  So their task was not to amuse people regarding curious matters but rather for those who were listening, they were called to repent of their sins and turn to God.  They took nothing for the journey except hope that they could turn many from darkness to God and to heal souls by the power of the Holy Spirit.

When you think about it, the gospel is the most offensive news one can bring – albeit, we know it to be sweet, true and hope-filled.  Our message – your only hope is in one message and one Man, no other. No need to wonder why the world scoffs and screams at Christianity.

Can you imagine the call to preach – to herald publicly, to towns and villages – the Kingdom of God, a place where you can come into the very sphere where God rules.  A Kingdom of blessing, promise, hope, deliverance and salvation. 

 Maybe because people have so much cultural and material power, we need to find more ways to intentionally dis-empower ourselves if there is going to be any hope of true partnership in mission.  Uncover our assumptions, take on the role of servants and learners and willing to rethink the whole way of doing mission.  We too need to be willing to repent, to make mistakes, and to risk.  By doing so we might experience a true partnership in mission by which the kingdom of God can grow.

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

Jesus intends for the message of the arrival of kingdom hope to spread across the entire globe.

It might mean we must have little so that our little can be a witness to the power of His name.  He will give us power to heal, have empathy for the sick, power to cast out demons, love the sinner, endure pain and rejoice that they might give hope to others.

That is when we can proclaim the Gospel, share the Good News.  We listen to the story of others and then offer hope and truth that they can hear.

These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.  Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. – Mark 6:8-9

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We believe

… through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved. Peter compares these two contrary points – to have hope in the grace of Christ and to be under the yoke of the law.  So if we cannot receive salvation until the yoke of the law is removed then it follows that salvation is not in keeping the law at all and it also follows that those who have accepted the grace of Jesus are not subject to the curse of the law.   So it is that we hope for salvation by the grace of Christ.

To speak of salvation it is assumed that one would need salvation from something.  Jesus said He had come to seek and to save the lost.  What does it mean to be lost?

  • To be without hope and without God in this world.
  • To not know what it is to live now, and have no hope for life to come. 
  • Those who were dead while they were still alive.
  • It means to spend eternity in hell.

We believe…our church is doing a sermon series on the Apostle’s Creed – here is a bit of a taste of why such a statement of faith was necessary for the early Church.  Peter here is declaring his first statement of faith – “we believe through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved.” 

“Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.  God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.  He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.  Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?  No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” – Acts 15:6-11

We Believe – Kenneth Cope.wmv

 

Go

From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia[a]
    my suppliants, my scattered ones,
    shall bring my offering. – Zephaniah 3:10

Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say,
    “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”;
and do not let the eunuch say,
    “I am just a dry tree.”
 For thus says the Lord:
To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
    who choose the things that please me
    and hold fast my covenant,
 I will give, in my house and within my walls,
    a monument and a name
    better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
    that shall not be cut off.

 And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
    to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
    and to be his servants,
all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it,
    and hold fast my covenant— Isaiah 56:3-6

 

The story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch is a powerful one.  When I read it again I saw two sets of hope – Philip knew an adventure was coming when God asked him to go along a wilderness road and the eunuch made a long trip in hopes of finding more of God.  Then I found the third and fourth hope, but I guess they count as one since the Holy Spirit inspired both Zephaniah and Isaiah.  

The Holy Spirit was still trying to woo the Ethiopian as we saw his thirst in still reading the scroll of Isaiah.  Here in the Old Testament, the revelation of Jesus as the sacrificed lamb was powerful enough to save.

But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you – 1 Peter 3:15

When we think about opportunities to share the gospel, we can trust the Holy Spirit to already have gone ahead of us to prepare the heart that needs to hear.  If you care about those who will be eternally separated from God, if you suspect and hope that you are a link in the many influences of a person becoming a follower of Christ and even if you are a bit nervous about pushing Jesus – sharing your faith is still something you want to do even if it is rather intimidating – it is your turn to trust Him – He will lead the way, you only need to follow and serve.

Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. – Acts 8:26-27

Go – Hillsong United