Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. ~John 20:21
Jesus began the local church when He called the twelve apostles. In Matthew 16:18, He uses the word church, or ecclesia in Greek, for the first time to emphasize a called-out assembly of saved, baptized individuals. Jesus made very clear the priority of preaching the gospel at the outset. However, these men, like us, became distracted and lost focus on their calling. In John 20:21, our Lord reinforces the mission of the church by telling them, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”
We see the essential.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” The essential, or priority, of the local church is win souls, make disciples, train leaders, and send laborers to start churches around the world. These are the unchanging marching orders of the church. Churches are to be evangelistic-centered more than event-centered. We are to make an impact in this world as salt and light. We are to reproduce men who will be called of God to fulfill this mission. Unless we do this, the church will suffer setback and become less effective in each succeeding generation.
We see the enlisting.
Jesus appeared to the men on the evening of the resurrection. As He entered the room, He took charge and began the first Sunday evening service. Not only was it the first Sunday evening service, but it also became the first church missions conference. Jesus enlisted every disciple in that room into missions. All of us are missionaries. Jesus said to all of them, “So send I you.” The majority of us are missionaries to our local area. There are some whom He uniquely qualifies and prepares to go to other parts of the world. All of us have been enlisted: we must discern where in the harvest field that He wants us.
We see the equipping.
“And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” The men in that room felt so unqualified. In their minds, they felt like failures. However, it is not until we come to the end of ourselves that we recognize that we need the Lord’s power for service. Our equipping as soulwinners, evangelists, church planters, and missionaries is the enablement of the Holy Spirit. Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” Without the power of the Holy Spirit, we are unable to do spiritual work with spiritual gain. We will be like a ship without a rudder, an automobile without gasoline, and a human body without lungs. The Holy Spirit’s power is a vital necessity for getting God’s work done in God’s way.
We see the exploit.
Spirit-filled men were filled with holy boldness and the power of God. They spoke with such authority that the listeners could not resist the wisdom and power by which they spoke. Scores of people were saved, countless churches were started, and the gospel and church planting spread to continents. Today, we are commissioned to continue on in the same fashion. Daniel prophesied of this when he said, “The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” The Lord is still sending. The question is not, “Should I go?” but, “Where do I go?” Let’s go!
Have a Spirit-sensitive God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 1 Chronicles 15-17