Article April 2, 2018

As Jesus Was Sent, So Are We

Jesus's resurrection from the dead proves God's love. If Jesus is the second person of the Godhead, if he is God in human flesh, then he must conquer sin, death, and Satan. He must be raised from the dead. Love must win!

As the Father sent his Son into this broken world, now he sends you. You are God’s vessel of love to someone who needs it.

Love must win!

Christians believe in one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  It’s a mystery, but clearly and consistently taught in the Bible.

Throughout eternity, the three persons of the Godhead perfectly loved one another.  Love characterized God’s nature (1 John 4:8).

God’s love was so meaningful that he created the angels to receive it.  The angels reciprocated God’s love and loved one another.

God decided to expand his love to more of his creation.  The next concentric circle of his love was humanity.

After God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1-2), Adam and Eve became the first human recipients of God’s love.  They walked closely and intimately with God in the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8). They had an abiding love relationship with their Creator.  They obeyed perfectly his will. And God supplied their every need.

But one of the created angels, Satan, misused God’s gift of love.  In pride, he desired the Son’s position in the Trinity. He led a rebellion in heaven and took one-third of the angels with him (Revelation 12:4,9).  They became his demonic hordes, ready and willing to do his will.

What is Satan’s will?  To kill God’s people. To destroy his creation.  To steal his possessions. To replace love in the human heart with pride.

In Genesis 3, Satan tempted Adam and Eve to be their own gods.  He wooed them to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thus defining for themselves what is good and evil.  They ate the fruit, declared their rebellion against God, and sin entered the world.

As a result of their rebellion against God, Adam and Eve’s relationship with God was severed.  Every part of God’s perfect creation was tainted with disease and destruction. God’s love in their hearts was replaced with fear, shame, and hate.

But God still loved his world (John 3:16).  Though his holiness hated humanity’s rebellion against him, his love still desired a relationship with us.  

What should God do?

At some point in eternity, God the Father asked the Son to go to earth.  The Son, not thinking equality with the Father was something to be grasped, willingly put on human flesh and was birthed in a stable in Bethlehem (Philippians 2:5-11).  

The Son’s name is Jesus.  It means Savior, the one the Father sent to earth to save us from our sins.

Jesus, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit (the third person of the Godhead), grew up from infancy to adulthood.  He lived the perfect life humans can’t live because we are birthed in sin (Psalm 51:5). Every day Jesus, the perfect God/man, met all the righteous requirements of the moral law—something impossible for humans to do (Romans 8:3-4).

Then Jesus died on the cross, taking the punishment of human sin upon himself instead of humanity. God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus instead of us (Romans 5:9).  This is true love, not that we love God, but that he first loved us and gave his life as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10).

Humanity deserved hell.  But God’s rich grace and mercy were poured out to us through Jesus.  Now we have heaven as a gift, by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Jesus’s resurrection from the dead proves God’s love.  If Jesus is the second person of the Godhead, if he is God in human flesh, then he must conquer sin, death, and Satan.  He must be raised from the dead.

Love must win!

During one of Jesus’s resurrection appearances, Jesus said something extremely important to all his disciples for all times: As the Father sent him into the world, now he sends his followers into the world (John 20:21).  

This command is not optional for Jesus’ disciples.  It’s apparently the natural response when Jesus’ followers rightly understand the meaning of the resurrection.

What about you?  Are you obeying this command to go into the world?  If so, to where are you being sent?

My wife Marilynn and I are leaving this week for Nepal.  We are going to visit a work that is trying to prevent children from being lured into sex trafficking.  Our hearts were so broken several years ago by this Satanic destruction, we helped move our church’s heart to help a work in Nepal trying to prevent it.  We knew that we needed to go and see it firsthand.

What about you?

Perhaps you can’t go to Nepal.  But you can still go.

Perhaps it’s to your next-door neighbor who may be in need… or to a nursing home… or to a local food kitchen that feeds the hungry... or to a local school where you could be a reading buddy to a child in need… or to a friend or family member who needs to hear about the hope of the gospel… or overseas to a place that needs Jesus’ love.

Where is Jesus sending you?

Perhaps it’s in your workplace—to someone who needs an encouraging word, or a helping hand, or a needed prayer.  If you take being sent by Jesus seriously, then your mission field is between your feet—wherever you presently are could be the place to where God is sending you.

Just go.  Today. Soon.  Now. Don’t delay.

If the resurrection means anything, then you are being sent somewhere, some place, by the resurrected Lord of the universe.  

Jesus was sent by the Father to you.  You’ve received his forgiving love. To whom are you now being sent to express Jesus’ love?

As the Father sent his Son into this broken world, now he sends you.  You are God’s vessel of love to someone who needs it.

To where are you being sent?  

Marilynn and I are headed to Nepal.  What about you?

 

In the days following Easter, it’s the most important question all of Jesus’ followers need to answer.

 

Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you."

John 20:21 (ESV)

God’s plan for your holiness doesn’t depend on you...

God’s plan for your holiness doesn’t depend on you...

Have you ever decided to try harder to be holy, only to experience defeat that makes you feel like a disaster? This is a dilemma God understands and uses to bring believers into greater fellowship with Him!