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Wednesday: Success in Mission — 18 Comments

  1. I have told the story before of a couple, who, after World War II migrated from England to an African country and spent the rest of their lives working in education, teaching students the joy of learning. They never went back home, even for a visit. They worked there until they died. A person who had known them during the height of their work activity visted the school which they had founded and developed about 5 years after they had died. The school was unused and in disrepair, the library books were rotting in the humid tropical air, and the graves of this couple were overgrown and untended. It was as if their life enterprise was a huge failure. The person writing this story had expected a fine educational institution in their name carrying on the good work. But, as he visited around the country, he kept meeting teachers, lawyers, shopkeepers and other professional people who had been given the joy of learning by these earnest folk.

    They may not have established a great learning institution but their success lay in developing infectious learning in others.

    Christianity is not measured in great institutions, high tithe rates, numbers of converts or any of the usual measures of success. We really need to understand the principles of infectious Christianity.

    By this shall all men know ...

    • A similar case recently occurred in an institution in South America, founded and funded by foreign missionaries, it was the model of SDA education, sadly when the foreigners left, the locals didn't have the same vision and mission, and the institution recently closed its doors. Unless we live a life for the testimony of God and have clarity of what God wants us to do, we will not be able to support the mission successfully. May the Lord inspire the current leaders around the world to be on the same page with Him.

  2. For me, to be ‘chaste’ to Christ means I’m not interested in any person, object, attraction or source of security or power to help me live in a way that brings peace with God.

    It means I believe in His creative power and trust every promise He’s given to me.

    I’m excited to greet Him as soon as I open my eyes in the morning and rest in His protective arms at night. I trust His guidance and leadership more than my own opinions.

    When my heart is so happy my tears flow, He’s the One I choose to praise and share with first. When troubles come thick and so dark I can’t see my way, I call out to Him and listen to His calm firm words as He speaks, guiding me to safety.

    I love Him more than this life and the superficial hopes it offers. Because I love Him so much, He helps me love His people…all of them. He’s my friend, my hope, my life giver now and in times to come.

  3. "Our focus is on the process; God's focus will be on the growth." Whatever we plant depends on the weather.

    To become pure, we must be cleansed in the "blood of the Lamb," in Christ, in His Love, every day, minute, and second! Love can make everything perfect; all we need is Love = the essence of God!

  4. "Focus on the process certainly in my mind is a paradigm shift that as a leader I need to make. Way too often we proudly present and are charmed by statistics ..number of baptisms etc even rebaptizing members thus nullifying the Communion Service/the Lord's Supper.Can use life changing
    testimonies from different ethnic group as a reporting template so that we can all follow to be in harmony with 1st Corinthians 3: 6?

  5. The "Greek" original of Revelation 19:8 says: "The righteousness of the saints." The righteousness of the saints is not "Their Acts" but "The Righteousness of Jesus that covers them" The "White Linen" is Jesus' "Own Righteouness" that covers them. It is what covers them that "The WHite Linen" represents. It is not "Their Righteous Acts" that covers them, it is Jesus' Righteouness that covers them.

    • Pete, but several versions say righteous acts. Remember Galatians 2:20 it is no longer I but Christ who lives in me. Our righteousness is Jesus doing His work in us. Philippians 2:13 tells us it is God Who is working in us. Last Thanksgiving I was visiting family and heard a wonderful sermon about how the Gospel is not "Monkey see Monkey do." In other words the pastor was saying we don't watch Jesus and then try to copy His actions. Instead we surrender to Jesus and let Him work in us. Jesus covers us but He also works in us.

      • Well, but again, the Greek does not say "Righteous Acts." So to me, any version that will go on to make this verse say "Righteous Acts," tends to focus on "Works" and not "Faith." "It is "Righteousness By Faith," and not "Righteousness By Works," much less "Righteousness By Acts," either!

        • Pete, unless you have some as-yet-not-revealed expertise in ancient biblical Greek, I will accept Strong's summary of biblical usage, which is:
          1) that which has been deemed right so as to have force of law
          2) a righteous act or deed

          But I'm interested to know what you mean by "righteousness" or even "Christ's righteousness." What does it look like, if it is not righteous acts or deeds? Remember that faith without works is dead - kind of like the body without the breath is dead. (James 2:18-20) You cannot separate the two.

  6. How are we to be pure, like a chaste wife to Christ?

    A habit many of us can fall into is conversing with someone while we are looking down at our cell phones. Or while we're busy washing dishes or doing a project, maybe even with our back turned. Or if on the phone, we may be whispering to someone else in the room. Distracted. Listening but not really focused completely on the talker.

    We can also talk to Jesus without really “looking” at Him. We pray, but our minds are still swirling around our own questions and focused on ourselves. As our lesson points out, sometimes we are even focused on feeling morally superior to others. An unexpected temptation can jerk us awake to this. I'm thinking of the apostle Peter. When Jesus had been arrested and Peter and John were hurrying after into the high priest's courtyard, Peter may have been thinking, "Jesus said I'd deny Him, but see, I told Him even if everyone else leaves I won't. Where are they all now? It's only John and me. We are His true friends and disciples." And then of course when pressed, Peter denied Jesus and showed where his character development was honestly at. His previous words of loyalty had been more focused on himself and his idea of being a martyr, rather than focused on Jesus Himself. With the others in the Garden of Gethsemane, he had not prepared himself in prayer.

    It takes determination to focus on the beautiful character of the One we’re praying to. Psalm 119:11 says, "I keep your law (character) in my heart, so that I will not sin against you." When I am loaded with an understanding of the truth of God, when I read the Bible throughout the day and pray, my conscience will activate as soon as I take a step in the wrong direction. Peter in the midst of his denials, as soon as he caught Jesus's eye in that courtyard, left the scene immediately and cried out to God in true repentance. He had filled himself with Jesus's words for 3 1/2 years and Jesus's heart of love was growing within him. Jesus was looking at Peter, trying to catch his eye, to lead him away from temptation. Jesus is always looking lovingly at each of us. He is loving, forgiving, grace-full. We seek His face continually (Ps. 105:4).

    That is a successful mission. God's mission is a success when His character is being fully reproduced within us. We pray with Paul to give up quarreling, jealousy, hot temper, selfishness, insults, gossip, pride, disorder (2 Cor. 12:20-21), to be humbled into repentance so that we may say, "My conscience is perfectly clear about the way in which I have lived before God to this very day" (Acts 23:1). Praying to be pure and loyal, to be led by the still small voice of the Holy Spirit.

  7. Rev.19:8 - ”And to her was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

    “Disciples of Jesus are pure, remaining loyal to Him as a pure bride would to her betrothed. They recognize that they are imperfect, requiring God’s cleansing grace and mercy. Understanding this, they also are open to receiving correction and instruction from other believers. Succes in mission results in making this type of disciple.

    As I understand “chaste virgin to Christ’; it is an unwavering love and devotion to be a living example worthy of Him who revealed to us the heavenly Light which shines onto the path we walk through life by faith; not turning left or right, but steadfastly trusting that He will lead us home.

    Because we will never be perfect as long as we live, Jesus Christ remains our mediator before God, our heavenly Father. He sets things right with Him on our behalf because we are found in Him, and when the Father looks at us, He sees His Son's righteousness. Our clothes are washed white by His love and commitment to us to remain our Lord and Savior.

  8. Mission is developing relationships with Family, Colleagues, Friends, Community to lead them to develop a relationship with The LORD Jesus Christ. This is

  9. "A chaste virgin to Christ". About six months b4 my retirement, I saw a button on my phone labelled "Ignore" I had used that rotary phone for at least 3 yrs. but had never seen the sign. I view a chaste virgin to Christ as one who ignores distractions, has a non-negotiable. non shrinkable faith under the pressures of extended waits and disappointing cancellations; a faith fed by sure promises guided by His Holy Spirit. A faith that reaches out by example to all who willingly desire to join the Bridal Party. A faith that finds contentment and joy even when the facts appear to indicate a canceled wedding.

  10. To be a “chaste virgin in Christ” – this means to me to be undivided in devotion, commitment, hearing and responding to only His voice, not being enticed by other teachers who promote their own wisdom leading away from the pure Word of God.

    To be single minded, knowing that which I believe and why I believe in Christ Jesus to be the Savior of mankind is essential when sharing the Good News - the 'New Way of Life' with others. The Christian's Gospel provides the answer to all ills burdening the life of humanity, benefitting young and old alike.

    The 'Gospel' - the Word of God - is applicable for all people in all positions - the powerful and those without. When its Source is revealed and believed in, lives will change for the better. From then on, the believer can count on that he will never be forsaken – no matter what happens. Matt.24:35; Heb.13:5; Matt.6:1-34,33.


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