So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? – Hebrews 2
A good mate of mine runs a mobile mechanic business. I’ve watched him grow it over the years, such that it is now has a few dozen mobile mechanics, driving hither and thither around the country each day. Like all good businesses, there is people and process, systems and method that each day make the wheels turn. It’s got to be reasonably harmonious to work.
But, here’s the rub. His mechanics have to achieve a certain workload each week, for them to be able to stay on. The business provides them all the tools, systems and leads for them to achieve their weekly targets, but they have to do the work. If they don’t, well there’s a waiting list. You see, there are quite a few people now in the business who have families and mortgages, and everyone has to keep on track to make sure the business can feed everyone.
It’s simple really isn’t it. Around the world today, millions upon millions will wake up and get out of bed, go to work, to meet certain requirements in our lives. For some, such as sports people who play at peak levels, the requirements can be very arduous indeed. All of us have expectations, demands on our lives.
Which brings us rather nicely to a Holy God.
It is the Holiness side of God’s character that demands from us, and very few people in the world want to face that prospect, believers included. Yet it is there, and will not go away. But in the book of Hebrews, it says also that Jesus is God, both God and man, and that means he too, has certain demands on us, especially as believers. Salvation is not the end of the story, it is the beginning.
I don’t want to get into a big works debate here, but to say simply this as believers we are not saved by works, but for good works. James would take that a step further, and say if there was no evidence of good works, then perhaps we should be looking hard at our faith in Christ. So, why then do most believers think that once they are saved, nothing further is required. Maybe nothing further is from the truth.
So, another very good friend of mine sent me an email a few weeks ago, that I have been thinking about ever since, and I wanted to share it with you. There’s a mission organisation in a large developing nation that runs a programme for church planters. This mission has only locals doing the work, and it is a tough gig, comparable to any peak sports performance requirement. Each missionary is trained for a year, at a cost of several times the national average salary (which though, is peanuts to most of us) and then they are cut free.
They also, like the mechanics, have a mandate and it is this. Every year, they must commit to planting two churches, consisting of 10 new converts each, and then train those converts to repeat the business. To do that, they are likely going to have to talk to 600 non-believers about their faith. As you might expect, the cost of doing that is high indeed. There will be persecution and hardship.
If they don’t? Well, believe it or not, there is queue of others a mile long waiting to do the same. All they lack is funds.
They have the entire resources of heaven behind them, because friends, this is the work that is top of God’s mind every single day. We get to co-partner with him, if we choose to do so.
So, as a small gathering here, we are looking at setting ourselves a similar challenge. A new church of 10 new converts just from our village. We will do the work, but we expect Jesus to turn up. He has given us the method, the systems and most of all himself through the Holy Spirit to make sure we achieve that goal. Surely the odds are in our favour.
You see friends, Jesus has made certain demands on our time and life, and he has given us clear commands. There is an expectation. Years of soft-peddling the Gospel in the West has led most to believe that they can accept Jesus into their hearts and then carry on living as they always have, but nowhere in the Gospel does it say that. It just about says the contrary.
So, after Easter, let each of us ask the question, what are we going to do to obey him? In your local community, wherever you are, commit prayerfully to such a goal of going out and finding ten new converts and bringing them together, teaching them to do the same.
In doing so, it would seem you will be right at the very heart of what Jesus wants to do in this world before he comes again. How good is that?
PS for anyone who is interested, the mission organisation are also interested in a small team who will give, pray and even consider visiting those church planters; if they had the funding right now, they could double at least, the current number of church planters in that country. Email me if this moves you, and we can perhaps do something.