Continued from Part IV: What Exactly are We Supposed to Do?
Part V of V: Walking the Walk - What we are really supposed to be doing...
But now ...what does that mean for us on a daily basis! What, exactly, are God's instructions for our imperfect... but trying our best ...Christian Walk...?
Walking our 'impossible-without-God's-constant-guidance' Walk, begins with the First and Greatest Commandment, Deuteronomy 6:5: to 'Love God' - our purpose for being - completely, and follows through with the second, to 'Love Others.'
While the usual instruction for walking the walk: Prayer, worship, fellowship, discipleship, tithing, and reading God's Word, are all important parts of growth, the purpose of our growth is to be able to fulfill God's purpose. God's purpose for us is the Great Commission:
Matthew 28: 18-20, -- The Great Commission -- "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."When we obey the Great Commission, we are expressing Love to God by obeying his instruction with faith. Further, we are expressing our Love for Others by caring enough to tell them the Good News and see them Blessed. The Great Commission isn't optional - it's vital to our expression of love for God. The evidence for that is the fact that the Great Commission, just like the Great Commandment, is a concept interwoven and repeated throughout both the Old and New Testament.
The Bible begins with the first eleven chapters in Genesis introducing the Universe, then Adam, father of the human race, and finally Abraham, father of the chosen race. In the first three chapters, God moves quickly from creation of all things to our rebellion and his judgment. The next eight chapters describe the destructive results of that rebellion. (Interesting: this structure is similar to the structure of the Ten Commandments; First all about God, followed by all the ways man can mess up...)
Chapter 11 reports men saying to each other in verse 4,"Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves." Their focus was on a name for themselves; not God. The point here is not that they would ever be able to build a tower to heaven, but that their hearts were in completely the wrong place. God reacted to this overt rebellion by disbursing them.
Gen. 12:1-3 comes at a critical juncture when society is deteriorating.
It is here that God first states His missionary purpose. The Lord, speaking to Abraham, said,
"Leave your country, your people, and your father’s people and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse: and all people’s on earth will be blessed through you."
God’s whole purpose is summarized here in the most unifying verses of Scripture.
Most people have paid attention to the part where God is promising Abraham that he will make his people great. But note the last sentence, which is frequently overlooked. Not only will Israel be blessed by this covenant, but all the people's on earth will be blessed through God's covenant with Israel.
God’s promise to make Abraham’s name great was a response to man’s attempts to make his own name great in Chapter 11. Why would God turn around and give that promise, when the subject of making man's name great was such a problem in the earlier chapter? The lesson here is that significance doesn’t come from creating your own prestige, but from being a blessing to others. That’s God's purpose. He wants us to Love Others more than ourselves. A true love, that comes from a selfless position; a depth of love that we learn only from him.
This promise of a blessing that includes God's people being a light to all peoples of the world is repeated to Jacob in Genesis 26:4 and 28:14 and is intertwined throughout the rest of the Bible.
God’s gift of salvation for all people is evidenced in Ruth, Isaiah, and many other books. The Bible is not a collection of unrelated stories for enriching our personal lives; it’s a clear message of God’s ultimate intent.
Jonah for example, shows us how NOT to behave. He was one of God’s people, but was lazy and self-centered. He had no heart for the Gentiles. He was angry when God showed Nineveh mercy and he did his best to evade God’s wishes. Chapter 4:1-4 shows us that the greatest hurdle for Jonah to overcome wasn’t the sailors, big fish or even Nineveh, but his own attitudes. - Jonah is an example to those who want the benefit of Christianity but none of the responsibility.
On the other hand, Paul was motivated by hope that God would be glorified among the nations. In Romans 15:8, Paul writes,
"For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God…"Other examples include:
Ex. 19:4-6, "Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." (What does it mean to be priests but to minister to others?)Walking the Walk doesn't require perfection, so don't wait until you think you are perfect.
Acts 1:8, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witness in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Missionary scholars equate this to ministering in your home community, in a close or similar community, or in a completely different culture.)
Rom. 12:1, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.
Walking the Walk requires getting up, getting out there, and walking. (In fact, if you think you are perfect, please stay home, and start this lesson over again at the top.)
We need to see ourselves for who we are: God’s servants, working together in Christ for His purposes and glory. If God hasn’t told you NOT to disciple, then the mandate to disciple stands. God has given each of us gifts to fulfill the specific role He has for us.
So is He is calling you to serve as a worker in a mission or ministry, a support person, a financial contributor, or to pray for the workers on the field?
If He is calling you out as a worker, is He calling you to work in your hometown Jerusalem, or in a similar "Samaria" community, or in a completely different land at the ends of the Earth?
Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. .May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. 1 Thess 5:21-24
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 1 Thess 5:28
To Begin at Part I of this discussion - Click Here