All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. – 1 Peter 1
It’s an incredible passage, don’t you think? Last weekend, I went to a small meeting for those interested in disciple making. It was a time of learning, training, sharing stories and praying. We ended up eating together and the food was great. Go figure this though, there were just 8 of us there, from the whole of Sydney.
A few weeks back, I went along for a day to hear a little Chinese man, Ying Kai, also teach about disciple making. It would probably be fair to say that Ying Kai is honoured in heaven; several decades ago in his native China, he obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit and began making disciples of non-believers, training them to go out and make more disciples. As a result of his obedience, some 1.6 million people have been baptised into Jesus Christ, and gone onto found somewhere close to 80,000 churches. I had a lot to learn, obviously. Less than 50 people turned up that day too, maybe not so honoured here then.
The church has been neglectful and remiss in so many ways, not fulfilling the Great Commission Jesus so clearly gives us. We have come to think that the odd mega pastor, or hero of the faith (such as a politician) is going to be the way God changes things. It seems that may be just an excuse so we can avoid doing the simple lesson that Jesus left us with, which seems so hard. That is for each of us who believe, to tell those around us of the wonders of God’ Son.
It has been said that the word love is spelt O-B-E-Y in the Bible; it is difficult for us to show God, whom we cannot see, how much we love him, except by obeying what he tells us to do. Why is it we simply will not? Jesus set us an example, not by achieving a doctorate, nor by founding a large congregation of followers within a large building, neither in establishing an inner circle of liturgical priests. No, we are told to follow his example and go into the world and make disciples in his name. All of us.
Had we all just followed his command, and simply moved into our neighbourhood and proclaimed God’s salvation through Christ, I wonder how different our society might look today? For example, would God have needed to send Islam to challenge his frozen people? I am convinced – as I believe Jesus is, that the way to reach the world is to simply catch our breath, take a risk, and offer to pray for those around us, or to share the precious treasure that we have. Then to trust God that he will continue to work in the hearts of those whom we introduce to his Son.
I learned last weekend, that according to research, less than 98% of believers in USA have shared their faith with a non-believer. If it is true, do we wonder we have so little impact on our world?
We are learning to “do church” with a missional focus. I don’t want this to become ‘look at me’ but it is an opportunity to share with those who may decide to try something different. After 2 years, we can say with honesty that being a missional gathering, or a simple or organic church is far messier and disorderly than ‘normal’ church. To reach the lost for one thing, we must jettison our agendas. They set the pace, not us.
Our propensity to teach and to lead must also be sacrificed, as we try for more inclusion and learn to let everyone contribute, with the Holy Spirit as our guide. Also, rather than be a ‘knowledge-based body’ we have tried to be an ‘obedience-based body’ with an emphasis on training others to train others to train….you get the picture. We have a few gatherings as well, for different groups at different stages.
After 2 years, we now feel like we are making progress, which I might share another time in more detail. For example, this week we received a text from someone in our gathering, who told how that week they had shared a Bible story with a group of girls at their school, just in a random moment. The person, as they shared with us, finally felt useful for God. How good is that?
Friends, let me leave you with this. The passage at the beginning here, is one of the greatest in the NT, written by Peter. Look at what God has done for you through Christ. Yet, such riches are of no value if they are not shared. Christ cannot, will not, must not, remain hidden any longer. We must share him. While it is immeasurably hard, it is also so simple to do. We must do it.
Here’s a challenge this week; ask God to prompt you to share this passage with someone who doesn’t know about him. If you do, send us the story and we will share it here. An inheritance that endures forever, available for each of us.
Let’s not keep it to ourselves any longer.