So as we are focusing on Christmas and Jesus’ birth… I started focusing on “why.”
I mean, why would God become man, live a sinless life, and then willingly die a cruel death for something He didn’t do? LOVE!
John 15:13…Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.
So…God is love…and yet He then tells us (MSG) This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.
So, what do those 2 verses say to each of us? We sin and that separates us from God…nothing we can do to fix the problem…and yet God loves us too much to let us be separated. He can’t stand the thought of spending eternity without us there with Him. If you know that, then ask yourself the question: how do I know that…where and who told me about Jesus? Maybe parents, grandparents, a good friend? I have to admit, Jesus’ marketing plan seems a bit odd! He did not have a fancy marketing plan. Instead, He tells a few misfits to go tell someone. (and they did not have phones, computers, cars to travel from place to place.) They (as well as you and I) were just told to go tell someone about Jesus….and to let the Holy Spirit do the rest. Let’s fast forward to a pretend conversation after Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
A legend recounts the return of Jesus to heaven after his time on earth. He returned bearing the marks of his earthly pilgrimage with its cruel cross and shameful death. The angel Gabriel approached him and said, “Master, you must have suffered terribly for people down there.” “I did,” said Jesus. “And,” continued Gabriel, “do they now know all about how you loved them and what you did for them? ”Oh, no,” said Jesus. “Not yet. Right now, only a handful of people in Palestine know.” Gabriel was perplexed. “Then what have you done,” he asked, “to let all people know about your love for them?” “Well, I’ve asked Peter, James, John, and a few others to tell people about me. Those who are told will in turn tell others, and the Gospel will be spread to the farthest reaches of the globe. Ultimately, all of humankind will hear about me and what I have done on their behalf.” Gabriel frowned and looked skeptical. He knew that people weren’t dependable. “Yes,” he said, “but what if Peter and James and John grow weary? What if the people who come after them forget? And what if, way down in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, people get too busy to bother telling others about you? Haven’t you made any other plans?” “No, I’ve made no other plans, Gabriel,” Jesus answered. “I’m counting on them.”
Some say that the Christian faith is only one generation away from extinction. That’s because with each generation comes the renewed responsibility to take the good news of the Gospel to the world. The question is, are you doing your part? Jesus was very clear on His mission for you and me.
Matthew 28:19… “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”.
Who have you told about Jesus? When have you shown the love of God by your words, actions, motive, and love?
Do those in your circle of influence even know that you are a Christian?
Are you getting supported in the task through a church? The church is where God’s children get fed, encouraged, and resourced to go out and impact the world for and through The Lord. Do you see church that way…or is church a club for those special people?
This story may make you think a little:
On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little lifesaving station. The building was no more than a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea. With no thought for themselves, they went out day and night, tirelessly searching for the lost. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to be associated with the station and give their time, money, and effort to support the work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little lifesaving station grew. Some of these new members of the lifesaving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those who were saved from the sea. They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely because they used it as sort of a club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. The lifesaving motif still prevailed in this club’s decoration, and there was a memorial lifeboat in the room where the club initiations were held. About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick, and some of them were foreigners. The beautiful new club was in chaos. Immediately, the property committee hired someone to rig up a shower house outside the club, where victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside.
At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities because they felt they were unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. A small number of members insisted upon lifesaving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. The small group’s members were voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast. They did. As the years went by, however, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old station. It evolved into a club, and yet another lifesaving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that seacoast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the passengers drown.
The Holy Spirit invites us into a relationship with God through the Word of God! The Holy Spirit also gathers us together to be the body of Christ! As followers of Jesus, our primary task is to go and make disciples. To put it another way, we are to go and save lives. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget our purpose. We need to recover our passion for lifesaving. We need to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. James 1:22…Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Imagine if each of the 2.4 billion Christians reached out to three persons in the next year…sharing the gospel with them. The whole world would have been touched by the love of God. Now, I understand that logistically that would be very complicated
And yet…. I was thinking…. Royal Redeemer has close to 3000 members. Imagine if each of them was to reach out to one person each month in 2021. Identifying someone who is drowning so to speak…someone in the middle of a storm in their life…. someone lost and discouraged. At this time next year, we would have reached out to 36,000 people…potentially now facing eternity in heaven when they pass.
What do you say? Ready to actually be the church…to be used by God to accomplish His marketing plan…one person at a time?
During this Christmas season, a great song to listen to is “Go Tell It on The Mountain.” This familiar song reminds us of what Christmas is all about…and it challenges each of us to GO AND TELL SOMEONE! I especially like the Zach Williams version. You can Google it!
So, I want you to work through this advent season preparing your heart for the birth of the Savior. I want you to enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and excitement of this Christmas season. But I also want you to focus on the “reason for the season”. Take time to confess your sinfulness…to repent of your sinful areas, to realize that that cute little baby would later die in your place. And once you have all of that in perspective…. ask yourself “now what”. Who can you GO and TELL?
Join us and invite friends to go to royred.org any time after 1:00 pm on Christmas Eve. It is an incredible picture of God’s church in action. It will be an experience that you will never forget!