Vol. 9-01 2 Cor 5.17-21-What We are About—You’re Sent!
Over the last 2-1/2 years I have been working late at night putting together teaching notes for the books of Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation. Many folks have asked me questions in regard to Revelation. My first response is to ask how their reading is going in the Old Testament. That is, I believe, where folks need to start if they have an interest in what Revelation says.
The OT books are not very pretty in dealing with prophecy. However, they are essential reading, and intended for our study. Actually, there are 16 books in the OT that deal with prophecy. Ezekiel and Daniel are particularly pointed regarding prophecy. In fact, we would not even know who Ezekiel was if it had not been for God’s book of Ezekiel.
I completed my little study in Revelation on October 8, 2022. I had started the project about 9 years ago, so the final project amounted to 377 pages, a ‘little’ longer than the book that God authored, and John was instructed to write! I had committed to teach Revelation when I completed the study with my Community Group in Ezekiel and Daniel. Ezekiel was especially difficult to travel through. Our Community Group slogged through the study and are now benefiting as we study Revelation. They are a unique and loveable group. Their staying on the task warmed my heart.
All through the work in Revelation, I was astounded as to why so many struggle with the book. It is very straight forward. It does take some attention, but God does not give us books to confound, but to draw us to Him. Revelation does that. It is also a book of urgency. God urgently desires us to connect with people who need a personal relationship with Christ. God chooses to leave believers on this earth for long years because He expects us to follow His expectations. The only choice we have in the instructions is to obey or disobey.
Sadly, too many believers choose to disobey.
If anyone is in Christ, [they are] a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
For the next several months, my blog will reflect the why, how, and foundations of this ministry of reconciliation that is the expectation of every believer. God does not give expectations lightly; this life and death (and eternal matter) is quite serious. Too many churches vested with this expectation simply hire pastors, assistant pastors, and pastors of evangelism to do this work of communicating the Gospel. Allowing the laity to remove their Gospel outreach from the is wrong, and always has been wrong. Readers’ of this blog will get reasoning behind that statement in the coming months.
I have a special privilege of being in a church with a called pastor focused upon God’s expectations for taking the Gospel to the neighborhood, community, nation, and the world. The church supports missions to each of these areas. It is more than money. It is putting those expectation in actions, footsteps, and connections with the lost.
In my Community Group I teach the Word of God and frequently remind us of who are in the group of our responsibilities—because it is so frequently in the Word of God. So, we should not ever skip over that.
And then, that pastor of ours closes EVERY message of the worship service with some words of the Scripture [a benediction] pronouncing what God intends — You’re sent!
We should not read the Scriptures as if it is just an interesting book to peruse, or to search for some witty remark to use on someone who has offended us, or someone else who could benefit from what we say. God already knows what others need to hear. And how they need to hear it. God showers people with His love, grace, and mercy.
We do not have the sufficiency of any of those three (love, grace, and mercy). Since all three are extremely important, God invests His Holy Spirit in the believer so that others might hear the true Gospel. That is why He sends us. And why the pastor says, You’re sent!
Life is a lot shorter than we think on this side of heaven. If we do not share the truth of the Gospel, we are in reality self-centered. That does not bring God glory, and it does not bring our neighbors, community, nation, and world being in our sights to receive the truth.
It is past time for us to be busy with the Gospel; however, all is not lost. We are still sent.
One of my lovely daughters (in-law) sent me the following quote. It is well worth reading and contemplating:
If you and your church were to disappear of the face of the earth tomorrow, would anyone in the community around you notice you were gone? And if the community around you did even notice, would they say, ‘we are really glad they are gone,’ or ‘we are really going to miss them?’ —Tim Keller
Below you will find a link for reading the Bible. Make 2024 Your Best Bible Reading Year Yet! As you click the link you will be taken to the church where we are members. There are several helps you might profit from. You are invited to use them at no cost. With your steady commitment, you will arrive at the end of 2024 significantly changed from 2023.