Intro: Last Sunday we saw how God tests citizens of His kingdom through various kinds of trials whether they are genuine or not for their benefit. The clear evidence is that genuine citizens will not give up.
When I was called that I qualified to be an aviation cadet of the PAF Flying School, I left family, home and all my plans and ambition. During the training I had classmates who gave up because of the rigorous training in discipline in physical, mental and emotional. Hazing came with the training and one thing I learned was to thank my upperclassman after he beats me up, otherwise I will get more. After I graduated, I put in my preference of assignment to be fighter pilot, however, they gave me my last choice as flight instructor. I did not like my assignment but I could not resign and give up because I signed a contact to serve for three years otherwise I will have to pay back the government for all they spent for my training. With this assignment I reported from time to time to my commander for specific instruction as to my mission and how to accomplish it. I had little patience to teach and halfway training my three students I requested to transfer to the troop carrier. As I look back to this experience in my secular life I see a similar pattern in the kingdom life. Joining the military brought me to a complete change of environment and a purpose. Today we will look at what it is like to be a kingdom citizen with a mission.
“The Mission of Kingdom Citizens”
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs – he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all these.” 2 Tim. 2:1-7
Just as the Lord Jesus used many parables and illustrations in the earthly life to bring out spiritual truths, Paul used the soldier, an athlete and farmer to illustrate kingdom life. In this passage Paul addressed Timothy who is already serving as a young pastor reminding him how he received the true “saving faith” and through whom God used to bring about his faith in Christ.
“I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded now lives in you also.” 2 Tim. 1:3-5
We saw last Sunday that saving faith is not produced by any of us for it came with the package of God’s grace given to us as a gift. I believe God wants us to really understand how one gets save. Here is how the Holy Spirit revealed this truth to Peter concerning his faith and ours.
“To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours.” 2 Pet. 1:1b
Faith is given by God’s grace and we simply receive it. And the Holy Spirit produces this faith in us.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” Gal. 5:22
God’s faith and our faithfulness are of utmost importance for a soldier who goes to battle.
The first truth for us to consider is the “Faithfulness of God.”
When I was sent on a flight mission, I was on my own and was responsible. I knew my mission order and I had to work out the plan to accomplish it. How does this compare in the spiritual life? Scriptures say we all have one commander in chief and He is the Lord Jesus Christ. Daily we ought to report to Him personally for His instructions. And on the first day of the week, Sunday, we gather together to worship Him and hear with all the other kingdom citizens belonging to the same unit (the church) and to learn from our Commander in Chief about Himself, His purposes for everyone in His kingdom, and how we are going to accomplish our mission according to His ways. He also assures us that when He sends us out on His mission He promises to be with us in the person of the Holy Spirit.
When God delivered the Israelites from Egypt He went ahead of His people by a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. When God called Moses to Mt. Sinai for forty days and forty nights, the people grew impatient in waiting for him to come down, so they went ahead and made a golden calf and danced before the idol. Moses got so mad that he broke the tablets. He was so frustrated after they saw the miracle God just did in parting the sea. Then Moses was told again by God to lead them. Here’s Moses reply,
“Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and have found favor with me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Ex. 33:12-17
If God promised this to Moses, is this still true to us today? Yes, because God’s Presence is already in the believer and God is faithful. He will do what He says He will do. Now what about us? Are we faithful to God? Every believer is faithful to Christ to some degree. But our faith in God and our faithfulness depends on how much we know the Lord, for,
“Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Rom. 10:17
This is no longer saving faith, but faith that results in obedience to every command the Lord gives. Going back to Christians compared to soldiers, what is our “Mission in the world?” We are to be “On Mission” with our Lord Jesus Christ to share the gospel.In the military everyone obeys his commanding officer otherwise you either resign or be court-martialed. This means obedience, submission and to please the commanding officer. In God’s army, our Commander in Chief knows what He is doing. We should have no reason to doubt him because we believe and trust who He is. He does not only know what He is doing, He is also the one who fights our battles. Why? Because the “battle is the Lords.” However, there are many Christians who lose in their battle against the evil one’s temptation to sin because we trust in ourselves and in our own strength not in the Lord.
All the Israelites who were delivered from Egypt died in the desert except for two, Caleb and Joshua. The rest did not enter because they did not trust what the Lord said to give them the promise land. When the twelve men, one from each tribe were sent to scout the land they were afraid of the Anakites who were giants in their eyes. When all of them had died, after forty years of wandering in the desert Moses reminded the new generation that were left, the promise of God to their forefathers,
Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” Deut. 1:29-31.
When David faced Goliath, this was his confession of his confidence in God.
“This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beast of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword and spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give us all of you into our hands.” 1 Sam. 17:46-47
How does this relate and apply to us in this 21st century? The parallel is like this. Egypt represents the world, kingdom of darkness and when God sent His Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ to earth He came for one purpose to seek and save the lost. And to fully accomplish His mission He had to offer Himself to be crucified in order to pay for the sins of those He will redeem. He does this individually. And those whom He redeems now belong to His body, the church. It is in the church that everyone is being built up to mature in the faith. And just like soldiers they have a mission to be sent out to the battlefield. The mission for these soldiers is to rescue the perishing and not to kill but be as peacemakers, thus continuing the mission Jesus came to do.
When Jesus found Zacchaeus the tax collector Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too is the son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:9-10
What was Jesus’ single mission? To seek and to save His lost ones. He came to set captives free from the penalty and bondage of sin and give them new life that is eternal. He is not yet finish with His mission and all those who now belong to Christ are to follow in continuing to seek His lost ones. And here’s how Jesus carried and was able to fulfill His mission.
“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”John 5:30
What compelled Jesus to please His Father who sent Him was His love relationship with Him.
“The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.”John 14:31
We know already that everyone who is born of God and has the love of the Father will love His Son. Someone ask, how does one love God and demonstrate this love for God? In the same way Jesus loved His Father.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”John 14:15
Only born again Christians who are spiritually alive has this divine love for God and will obey. This is not human love but divine love produced by God.
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Rom. 5:5
And this is what has driven Paul to be on mission with Christ,
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all therefore all died. And he died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him to who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Cor. 5:14-15
I am excited at what the Lord is doing and is going to do with our young people. They have this opportunity to be on mission with Christ to reach the lost ones in Alaska even just to be a witness in short term mission work. This is an opportunity for them to experience what it is like to be on mission with and for Christ and perhaps God is preparing them to be called to His mission field in the future. So let’s pray that whomever God invites He also will provide the means to go.
But the mission is not just for them. Every follower of Christ is to be on mission just as He did. Jesus will send us when our character has been conformed by God our Father through the Holy Spirit into Christ’s likeness.
When we have grown in our love for Christ we will be compelled to do whatever and wherever our Lord and Commander in Chief sends us. You will hear Him speak to you by His Spirit,
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21
Would you not consider this a great privilege to be sent by your Master to seek His lost ones. Can you imagine if no one went out on mission with Him where will we be? Who did God send to you in order to bring your birth certificate and lead you to Christ? Here’s the prayer God will surely answer.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matt. 9:37-38
Here is a word from the Lord Jesus addressed to all of us.
“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather scatters.” Matt. 12:30
And here’s a promise that He will go before us and fight the battle for us. The battle is against the evil one who will try to hinder His work. And this is what is only required of us in order to be used by Christ.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. And I will do anything you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it.”John 14:12-14.
What is the context of what Jesus wants us to ask? To do what He came for in seeking His lost ones. A good soldier will want to please his commanding officer. Isn’t this what our primary purpose in life and the purpose God saved us that we bring glory to His Son because for every soul God gives to His Son is His trophy and glory? Remember where you came from?
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.” Eph. 5:8
What about you? You may be here today and have not been born again because you have not repented of your sins and surrendered your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. If the Lord is calling you to Himself and the Holy Spirit is convicting you of your sins and your need to be saved, Come to Jesus. Today is the day of your salvation not tomorrow for tomorrow may not come. Let Christ pay for all your sins in order for Him to give you life.
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15:3-4