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Friday: Further Thought – Excuses to Avoid Mission — 18 Comments

  1. I have a couple of so-called friends who have great ideas about what I should do. No matter what I do, they say, "What you should really do is ...!" and then proceed to tell me how they would have done it. Most of their ideas are based on something they have read on the internet or seen on YouTube, not on practical experience. The ones that I really listen to are those who I know have done the same thing or similar before.

    We are fairly good at writing comments about how we should do our spiritual mission. We can quote verses and paragraphs to one another about the mission and its meaning, but unless we can take that theory and put it into practice, all we have is book learning.

    Chemistry was one of my majors in my BSc degree. For the final examination, we had 3 3-hour theory papers and 2 6-hour practical papers. We had to demonstrate that not only did we know our theoretical chemistry, We had to apply it to both analysis and synthesis.

    Our sense of mission should be directed to a very practical application. Sitting at home and praying for the Holy Spirit to work for you is not mission. It is wishful thinking.

    James has this to say:

    But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22

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    • Maurice, I would say "Amen" to this. E.G.White is very clear that "Prayer can never take the place of duty" After we pray we are to do all in our power to answer our prayers trusting all with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to help us with our mission.

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  2. One valid excuse for not doing mission work is this: "Not having received The Holy Spirit".

    Ensure that you receive The Holy Spirit prior to embarking on any mission work. King Jesus' words in Matthew 4:17 KJV refers.

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    • Amen to this one too, Brendan Moddley, but again what does Jesus say in Luke 11:13 to receive the gift of The Holy Spirit? Ask God our Father for this great gift in the name of His Son Jesus, then we will not have the absence of The Holy Spirit as an excuse.

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  3. Note to self...before I go out to talk about God.....

    Eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3,JB)

    Woe to those who demand, oppress, wound, condemn, and punish in His name. It can only be said that they do not truly know Him. Dick Westley in Redemptive Intimacy, p. 136.

    The most important thing that ever happens in prayer is letting ourselves be loved by God. "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10). It's like slipping into a tub of hot water and letting God's love wash over us, enfold us. Prayer is like sunbathing. When you spend a lot of time in the sun, people notice it. They say, "You've been at the beach." You look like you've been out in the sun because you've got a tan. Prayer - or bathing in the Son of God's love (Son-bathing?) - makes you look different. The awareness of being loved brings a touch of lightness and a tint of brightness and sometimes, for no apparent reason, a smile plays at the corner of your mouth. Through prayer you not only know God's love, you realize it, you are in conscious communion with it. ~ Brennan Manning, Lion and Lamb: The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus, p. 26-27 (excellent book!)

    (Talking about Jesus's parables - the farmer who paid all workers the same amount and the Prodigal Son)..."The love of God is foolishness. And Jesus says it is a foolishness that's meant to call forth joy. The farmer reproaches those who've worked the whole day because they are not willing to celebrate his generosity. The father is appalled when his older son will not join the joyful welcome-home party. "God's extravagant love," Jesus is saying, "demands a joyous response from us." Both of these parables are a revelation from Jesus of the real God. But Jesus' image of God assaults our standards of justice and fair play. The very foundations of our religion are being shaken! The depraved good-for-nothing prodigal is preferred to his hard-working brother? Celebration instead of punishment! What kind of lunatic order is this that reverses all rank, making the last first and the first last? At the end they all get the same reward? The parables of Jesus reveal a God who is consistently overgenerous with His forgiveness and grace. Manning, p. 17

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    • Mission work doesn't mean everyone has to go out and preach the gospel. The reason is that all do not have the same gifts. Some are called to support the gospel with their money. Some by prayer, others by charity work etc as stated in 1 Corinthians 12. We need to ask the Lord to show us how we can work for Him. A couple in my sabbath school class came to church one sabbath with a visitor. They told me that the man lives in their neighborhood. He came to them one day and said he wanted to go to church with them. They had never preached to him, but he looked at their conduct and decided he wanted his life to be like theirs.

      Jesus said we should let our lights shine before men so that they will see our good works and glorify God.

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      • The Gospel is the revelation of God's true character through the work of those who are called by his name. The preaching, teaching and reaching are by actions based in his law of love, and by words of clarification, if necessary.

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  4. The Holy Spirit is not going to fail us. Jesus said when the Spirit of Truth comes He will guide you into all truth, He will teach you all things. He will give us a reminder if and when we need it what we should do.

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  5. 6:03am central time.

    Points to remember God is compassionate, He is longsuffering, slow to anger and a God of love with, all knowing what is best for us. Is longing for us to trust Him, serve Him, and take the call of His mission without hesitation. Why because hesitation opens the door for Satan to work on us to doubt, fear, let our feelings and misguided judgement control us.

    With all the lessons we have learned this week, we should not need a whale experience to set us in the right direction. Rather remember wheither God has us spread His message of His love, and warnings expressing His love, to our neighbors or thousands of miles away, don't hesitate to heed the call. 1Samuel 3:10.

    God will tell us as He told Paul don't be afraid to speak, live a Christ like life, be My ambassadors on a one to one neighborly basis, or hop on a boat or plane to a far land. It may just be a still small voice, or vision.
    Acts 18:9-10.
    We may have aspirations to go to a far away country to minister, but God may tell us stay put, and spread My love.

    (5)
  6. Sometimes God molds us by way of our own experience and doubts. I think this may be the case with Jonah. We do not know the "Rest of the Story" about Jonah. I rather suspect he went on to be the kind of prophet the Lord wanted him to be, reaching out to the seemingly lost.

    (5)
  7. Jesus Christ met the people where they lived and congregated, and at many occasions, He set up special meetings out in the open where everyone could interact with Him. Short of being sent to participate in an official mission work, we will find occasion to witness whenever and wherever we interact with others.

    The traveling evangelist is probably most similar to those who went out to preach the 'Good News' after Pentecost. They can stop anywhere they find a good location; it does not have to be inside a building, it could be a tent or under the open sky. Now, a lot of ‘evangelizing’ is done through electronic communication. We can ‘reach out’ to anyone on social media; though God’s Truth still has to be based on the Holy Scriptures and shared in good conscience.

    2Tim.3 – shares what Paul informed Timothy about when he encouraged him to step out by faith to continue what he himself had started. He informs him of the ‘terrible times in the last days” in which he would meet those “who have a form of godliness but deny its power - teachers who he advises him that he should have nothing to do with.’– 2Tim.3:1-5.

    He highlights that these are false teachers who prey on anyone not yet established in the faith, and calls them out to be “loaded down with sins and swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 2Tim.3:6-9.

    And as ‘a final charge to Timothy’, to encourage him to remain steadfast in his faith, to “continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” – 2 Tim.3:10-16.

    Matt.24:4-14 – I am sure that it will help to know that the love of many who believe will grow cold is a sign of the end times – v.9-13. I consider all this to be sage advise for all who consider being involved in ministering the Truth of the Holy Scriptures to others. An unwavering love reaching out to those lost to the world is the essential motivator for them. Whether meeting people in a large group or one-on-one, our gratitude and love for our Lord and Savior, God's Word, His Gospel, and an undying desire to reach the lost ought to be the foundation for everything we do.

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  8. In all things that we do, we should analyze our motivations.
    The context of the apostle Paul's mission, as an apostle to the gentiles, was that of a jewish messiah with the good news of adoption into a family of God... IE: Christ IN YOU the hope of glory.

    This message was preached worldwide post 70AD through Christendom ..... worts and all...including error !

    In the 1800s there was a revival of eschatology of Christ Jesus return, which spun many pre-mill groups into action with date setting and preaching a different gospel based on dates.

    We see JWs at our doors based on their end time dating which has failed miserably and judged as a false prophet.

    Do Christians today preah the good news that Paul got
    as follows :

    Galatians 1:
    6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—
    7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
    8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!

    So let's consider our motivations, are we just making our denomination bigger or are we changing lives for God as in the first century !
    SHALOM 🙏

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  9. Okay, so I feel I have to comment on the summary statements in today's lesson. I don't know the context of the first Ellen White quote, so I don't know for sure, but I suspect it's not written to those "struggling" to follow the call of Jesus. I think she is more likely to be addressing the complacent or those who are happy to be "once a week" Christians. To me there's a big difference. Someone struggling wants to do the right thing. God can work with those people. I don't think He would quote strong words to them. Strong words are for people like the Pharisees who were hard headed and that's the only thing that might reach them. For the others, I believe God is gentle and willing to work with us and help us grow. Some of us may be Jonah, but many of us are not.

    Lessons like these or similar workshops, seminars, training weekends etc. all seem to be the same. They hammer hard on people and use guilt to motivate them to get involved. I've experienced many of these things and I have often come away feeling hopeless and sure that I'm lost because I haven't won someone to Jesus or aren't witnessing in the way that the presenter thinks I should. The sad thing is the conscientious among us are the most likely to hear these rebukes. Let's face it, the people who really need to hear strong words about mission aren't reading the Sabbath School lesson or going to evangelism weekends or whatever. The people who are getting the messages are the ones already doing a lot, but they get hit with messages that they just aren't good enough.

    The other thing that I observe is that the authors of this and other lessons seem to think mission and its demands are exactly the same for everyone. I don't think that's fair. A mother with young children will probably have less time to reach out to others, but that's okay. Her children are her present mission field. Ditto for a teacher in one of our schools. The demands of the job will probably limit their ability to make a lot of connections outside the church, but they are doing mission.

    Ultimately, it's love, not guilt that will make a true difference. If someone doesn't feel like being involved in God's mission, telling them they are bad servants is probably not the answer. They need to fall in love with Jesus. That's where lasting change comes from.

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    • I agree that the word "struggling" is an unfortunate one. "Neglecting" or "wilfully ignoring" would have been a better descriptor. I think too that it is important to think of the little things that are really part of mission rather than doing something grand. A cup of cold water in Jesus name is mission.

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      • Thank you Maurice (& Pete for flagging it) for the return of the editing tool functionality.

        There is also one other bit of functionality that disappeared when the editing tool disappeared:

        The ability to get e-mail notification when new comments were added in a thread.

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