Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

13. From fear to following – Part 3

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John 20:19-23

19 That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Examining the proof should lead to:

  1. Exclaim His Plan

Jesus not only provides us with His presence, His peace and with proof but fourth He calls us to pursue His plan. Christ doesn’t just comfort us, He commissions us. Sadly, today may Christians want the comfort of Christ but not the commission of the Christ. We want Jesus to remove the fear, but we don’t want to walk by faith. Recognizing that His followers are still fearful, Jesus once again declares in verse 21: “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” His peace is given so that we will be about His purpose. We are saved in order to be sent out. It’s here that Jesus dispatches His disciples, His plan is not for you to live in a locked room fretting over the future. We have a mission and a message that cannot be kept locked up. Its time to stop cowering and start caring, people are going to hell and we are hiding. Christianity doesn’t put out a sign and say ‘come’ Christianity puts on its shoes and goes. The first use of the word “peace” in verse 19 was given in order to quiet their hearts, the second “peace” was given to prepare them to pursue God’s plan. Fear distracted the disciples from the mission. And it can cause us to hold up and hide the hope of God. Worry is a tool of the devil to derail you from God’s plan and get you to waste your life instead of using it to witness. Christ didn’t conquer the cross, so the church could cower behind closed doors but so that the church could courageous confront a lost culture with the hope and healing of the Lord Jesus Christ. Like the disciples who were living behind locked doors many of us are living with locked lips. Instead of being a witness to the finished work of the cross we are a witness to worry. When the church stops living in the hope it starts hiding. If we are going to exclaim His plan, then we need to:

  1. Engage His Power

Jesus not only calls and commissions, but He provides the power of Holy Spirit as a companion. When it comes to the great commission this passage reminds us of the:

Method – Today we tend to focus on the method and while it matters we can’t forget that it should always revolve around people. If we are not careful we will make it about our programs instead of people. While programs can be powerful they have to be about reaching and teaching people.

Message – While the method may change the message does not. It’s the Good News of God’s grace, the forgiveness of sins. Sadly, because talking about sin and the only solution Jesus Christ our Savior has become such an unpopular message in our culture many churches are shying away from sharing the truth. They are cowering to the culture instead of courageously sharing Christ. While times change the truth does not.

Motive for ministry – LOVE, “as the Father sent me so I send you”We may be motivated by the desire for reward, recognition, financial gain, promotion or even pride. On the other hand, our motivation may be fear of punishment, failure, rejection or getting caught. Those are the lowest forms of motivation, but Jesus set a higher standard, His motivation was love. We may have various motives for serving him, but the only one that will prevail against all discouragement and setbacks is the love of God.

Means – God never sends us to do a work for which he does not equip and enable us. As Hebrews 13:20-21 says “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, 21equip you with every good thing to do His will. And may He accomplish in us what is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”Living in the reality of the resurrection means rely on His resources. And what is that provision not just power but the person of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus didn’t just bless them He breathed on them. This is the only time that the word “breathe” Is used in the New Testament but it appears at least four times in the Old Testament, where the word “breath” also means “Spirit.”

Genesis 2:7: “The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

Job 33:4: “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

Psalm 33:6: “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.”

Ezekiel 37:5: “This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.”

Just as God’s breath made the first creation, so likewise the breath of Jesus makes the new creation. We don’t have to be filled with fear because we are filled with His Holy Spirit. The question is, are we relying on the Spirit or on self? Whose strength are you serving in the Saviors or self?  The resurrection gives us hope, it’s the harbor that anchors our hearts in the hard times of life. As believers we don’t have to live lives of fear we can live lives of faith. While the world relies on its locks we rest on the Lord. Are you going to be a fearful follower or a faithful one?

 

 

 

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