I asked God what the Great Commission meant for me ... I was a little taken aback by the answer!
Updated: Jun 2
I expected a big list of things to do or not do but instead I heard .. 'leave people better than you found them'. So of course this led to more questions in my mind and heart; What is the atmosphere required to release Gods children into the Great Commission? What’s it going to take? What is the purpose? What is the vision God had for his first disciples ? How does an invisible kingdom become visible?
As believers and followers of Christ we are called to be in the world and not of it. We are spiritual beings living here on earth until God calls us home. Our kingdom and the kingdoms of this world are not visible to the natural eye, although the effects can often be seen by believers and those who do not yet know him. As his children, God has called us to be directed by the invisible, in order to manifest his kingdom in our lives, and then share it with the world. This is to bring glory to him and for us to be a display of his splendor.
Now we know that when we face a storm It is in our nature to go back to where we are comfortable and confident God is with us. This was true for even the disciples that walked with Jesus on earth and is still true today. In fact they kept on going back to what they knew .. fishing, Jerusalem, old ways and traditions, that is until there was no turning back and so they followed God's call to go unto all the world.
Truth is they were a rag tag bunch that argued, fought and got a lot wrong , but they loved and believed the call. This is true of many of us.
In fact they did what they could with all the strength and faith they had, but Still the task was impossible without the spirit of God breathing on them every step of the way.
It was Holy Spirit’s power in the face of adversity and even persecution that enabled the church to be sent. The church were the people and a service happened wherever believers gathered. This was before we made buildings to gather and the institution of the church was formed. It was then that Pastors said come let us gather, let us be strengthened in the Lord, let us pray and build one another up in the Lord and share what He has done in our lives. It was Then that in the strength of the Spirit, we had courage to invite others to the kingdom. It takes supernatural power to invite others into the supernatural life of Christ.
So we gathered in buildings and we continued in the faith, in the daily breaking of bread and continued to fellowship from house to house. And on Sunday we would worship together bringing the joy of the Lord with us, comforting those who mourn, praying for those who who felt lost or hurt or broken by life. We could do this because his joy rested upon us, and it was by his Spirit that others wanted to come to the house of the Lord to see this way of life.
So what happened? What changed? Why are we not connecting in this way anymore? Well my perception is that once we got buildings we started to say come to others we met, pastors from the pulpit encouraged their flock to evangelize by inviting the unsaved, those who are interested and searching and the focus became adding to the church weekly. But does going to church make you a believer? Does it get you saved? Does it make God Lord over your life? Does sharing the good news make you a believer?
This teaching is imbedded in many and how they understand the gospel but Jesus said something else, he said to the disciples to "GO"! To reach beyond what is comfortable, but he knew we would need a helper. How did they know where and how to go, they followed Jesus. That is what his anointed do they follow his lead. God never called us to go to church, he called us to be the church. Let that sink in. We are the seed of Abraham that God intended to scatter and plant all over the earth. Why? To be planted. To be a light in the darkness.
Cedars are known for their durability, they are pleasant to look at and have an aroma most people like. The palm tree represents victory and triumph. Both the cedar and the palm trees are evergreen trees. That means they are always alive always growing. The Psalmist goes on to say, "those that are planted in the house of the lord will flourish. They will bare fruit in old age."
So what are the buildings for then? What is a Sunday service for? I believe that a Church service is in part a place to receive further instruction on what Jesus meant by to go make disciples, But I also believe it is a place to be fed so you can live your life out in every day living. This means we discuss all the things of daily life that is relevant to what we are facing as believers in this time we are living in. It is meant to be a place where the Spirit of God rests, brings fire and releases. Sometimes this is released through teaching and preaching, other times through the other gifts. The best teacher to impart all we need is Holy Spirit, for his fire can change anything in one moment that a thousand sermons cannot.
This is what it means to be his ecclesia. We do not go to church, we are the church. His bride. Just going to church doesn’t change anything, being planted, connected and called is who we are as the body of Christ. And so, God is more than words and more than Scripture. In fact if it was just words and scripture the Pharisees would win.
I’ve heard people quote Gods grace is sufficient for whatever you're going through and I believe the scripture to be true, yet not in abstract. The truth must be walked out in daily life. It is simple really, and yet very difficult at times. When Jesus was dying an agonizing death on the cross he still took time and mental focus to make sure his mother had someone to look after her and she had someone to pour her life into. She still needed someone in flesh and blood to go live with. She still needed time to mourn, to wrestle the pains of life out with.
I also believe walking the truth out and exercising grace with our brothers and sisters comes at a high cost. It means we have courage to talk about the 'elephants in the room' not just quote Scripture or hide behind Christianese language. But rather, we speak the truth in love. We talk about hurts, pride, hard heartedness, and what lies we are believing. We also need space and a place to share our hopes and dreams and work out what we think God is calling us into, calling us out of. This requires intimate conversations not teaching. Not just to speak about it at a service or Bible study.
When it comes to dealing with hard things like broken relationships, words alone do not heal. Action must be joined with words to heal. We have been speaking about love and relationships and forgiveness and restoration and how we need seek these things the Scripture draws us to walk in. It is good indeed to be trained up in these things but "love" looks like and manifests in many ways. It must be walked out in daily life but cannot be done with a human mindset, reciting scripture, or having the will to do so alone. We need the fire of the Holy Ghost, the anointing.
Our spirits need an awakening. We need the fruit of the spirit activated in our lives. How do we know that we are living kingdom? The fruit of the Spirit are active in our lives. How do we know we have replaced the Spirit of God with flesh, just ask ourselves what fruit is not evident or what are we struggling with. This is where we have substituted the Spirit with flesh and we are now powerless to accomplish what he has called us to.
The answer to the question of how to move out of being "stuck" is the manifest Spirit of God flowing and leading the church. Let him come into the temple and tear down our man-made ideas and systems and give free-reign again for his Spirit to rise up in us.
PS This coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, when we remember God first pouring out His Spirit as he had promised upon the believers in Jerusalem. Remember to wear something red and let us come together with expectant and thankful hearts.