Our Mission

OUR MISSION:

 

            I love the stories in the book of Acts, as they illustrate for me what life could be like for us through the power of the Spirit.   Our culture is very different from that of first century Palestine, but our need for God’s Spirit to work within us and through us is every bit as essential as it was for them.  In Acts 3, we find the story of the healing of the lame man at the Temple gate.  Peter and John were on their way to worship at the Temple (3 PM – the hour of prayer).

Since Pentecost, they were people on a mission, sharing with others what Jesus had taught them;  caring for the new converts; reveling in their own new relationship with the Savior who had been taken from them but who resided within them by His Spirit. 

 

THE PRACTICE OF THE MISSION:     

            In the midst of the ordinary routine of their lives, God opened up a wonderful opportunity for Peter and John to demonstrate the grace and the power of God.

 

God made them aware of a need He wanted to meet.

            As they were walking into the Temple, a lame man called out to them for some financial assistance.  He had been lame from birth, was over 40 years old, and all he could do was to ask for people to show pity for him by giving him enough funds to buy his next meal.  He did not have any control over his circumstances.  It wasn’t his fault that he was in the shape he was in.

Most likely not a day would go by when he did not feel like he was a burden to someone. He was totally dependent upon the kindness and pity of others.

            How many people had just passed by without paying any attention to him or feeling any concern for his needs? How many of us would have passed by him and ignored him?

 

God opened their hearts to see what He wanted to do in man’s life

            Peter and John did not sit down in their office that morning and say, “Let’s go and see if there are any lame beggars out there that we can heal today.” They were on their way to pray at the Temple; to spend time with God’s people in praise and worship.  But somehow, when that lame beggar called out to him, Peter discerned what God wanted to do in that man’s life.  He told the man, “Silver and gold have I none …”  I can imagine how those words must have squelched any hope the man had, because all he could think of was his present need for his next meal.  But what he really needed was not money, but a miracle.

 

They reached out to the man in faith, believing that God would do what only He could do

            They said to the man, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” 

Peter and John did not possess the power to heal a lame man, but they recognized that Jesus within them could do that, and more.  They told the man what he had to do, but they took a step beyond that.  They reached out, grabbed the man by the hand, and helped him to his feet.

 

THE PROMISE OF THE MISSION:

            The healing had raised quite an uproar in the Temple and surrounding areas, since everyone was familiar with the lame man.  Peter began preaching to all who were there, explaining what had taken place.  Peter wanted to make clear to all who were listening that it was Jesus Christ who had restored strength to the man’s legs, and enabled him to walk and leap and praise God.  And he was also quick to point out that this was the same Jesus who had been rejected by the Jews and turned over to the Romans for execution. So how could a dead man bring life to a lame man’s legs?  He had to have been alive himself to have worked such a healing.  He was indeed alive, and had ascended to His Father.

            So Peter’s message to them was to repent of sin and turn to God.  Notice especially verse 19:  “that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” The “times of refreshing” could be translated “times of respite.” This was a time of respite, which God gave them to repent of their sins, and be converted.  This same Jesus whom they had rejected was giving them an opportunity to turn back to him so that they could avert the judgment that was coming upon them for their rejection of the Messiah.

            There was an immediate relevance of this message to them. The beautiful Temple where this marvelous healing had occurred, Jesus had predicted would be absolutely leveled within a generation (40 years). But the Jews largely rejected the Good News of Jesus. In 70 AD, the Romans destroyed the Temple in a vicious attack to squelch an uprising by the Jews. And the only part of it that remains is the Wailing Wall, where Jews now gather to pray. God is not quick on the trigger when it comes to judgment. He delights in extending grace so that people will repent of their sins, and turn to him in faith.

            There was also to be “times of refreshing,” which means “to cool or refresh with a breath.”  Isn’t that a beautiful picture of what God does in our lives?  It speaks to us of the coming of the whole reign of the kingdom of grace, and the blessings which God gives here below to all genuine believers:  peace, love, joy, and communion with himself.

            Think for a moment of when we first came to faith.  Think about the joy that came to our hearts; the awesome realization that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die and rise again for us. Think of the passion we felt and we knew we had to tell everyone about what Jesus had done in our lives. Think about the precious peace that filled our hearts, knowing that our sins were forgiven and that we were back into a right relationship with God that He always intended for us.   They were definitely “times of refreshing” that He never intends to end for us.

 

            This is the promise of the Mission – that as we yield the control of our lives to the reign of God over us and as we open up our hearts to the needs of people around us, the Savior will work through us, acting in blessing, doing awesome things in the lives of others to bring them to repentance and to restore their lives to what He intends for them to be. He will allow time for them to repent – to turn away from their sins and turn to him for transformation. He will also act in blessing, refreshing the hearts of people, restoring them to an abundance of life.

            So what part do we have today in the Mission of Jesus? We are not all called to be foreign missionaries, taking the Good News of Jesus to people who have never heard of him in all parts of the world. But He is calling ALL of his people to enter into and experience the fullness of blessing of being under the reign of Jesus, to experience the abundant life that he has promised us, to become more and more like Christ, loving like Him and serving like Him. And as he rules over our lives, he wants to make us aware of the needs of people around us.

            In the midst of our routine, ordinary, daily lives, he wants to open up our eyes to see the pain and confusion and loneliness and emptiness of the lives of people without Him. He wants to enlarge our hearts, so that we can begin to comprehend all that He desires to do in transforming their lives and bringing the cool breath of refreshment and joy into their lives. He wants to enflame our lips, to be able to speak the truth in love to people, assuring them of God’s grace available to them. And He wants to engage our bodies and minds in reaching out in practical ways to help lift them out of their poverty and sadness and aimlessness into the fullness of life in Him.

            The disciples were on a mission for God.  So should we!

 

WORSHIP EARNESTLY … SERVE GRACIOUSLY … LOVE GENEROUSLY