Monday, October 27, 2008

Devotional 271008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good afternoon. It was good to be able to rest for a day after preaching at a retreat. The blessing of preaching in a retreat was to give myself a chance to reflect on a designated subject matter. The theme for the weekend retreat was on self-denial. It is a basic lesson for Christian living. Yet, it is almost impossible to accomplish such goal by our own strength. There is only one problem that gets on our way to such perfection – self-centeredness or pride. Our whole world will definitely be better only if we are able to deny ourselves and obey Christ. If we put off our old self and put on Christ, we will enter into a renewed relationship with others.
I always believe that I am the one who will benefit the most from my own sermons. I am sure this principle applies to all Sunday school teachers and Bible study leaders. I don’t know about my audiences, but I thanked God for giving me a chance to renew my faith in Him through the retreat. As a matter of fact, the more we meditate or reflect on God’s words, the more we can discern God’s teaching from religious traditions that we may have inherited from the past. Let’s attempt to carefully study the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 again, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”
In this passage, Jesus Christ did not say - Go and save souls (the salvation of souls is the supernatural work of God), but - "Go and teach," i.e., make disciple of "all nations," and you cannot make disciples unless you are a disciple yourself. When the disciples came back from their first mission they were filled with joy because the devils were subject to them, and Jesus replied, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10:19-20).The great essential of the missionary is that he remains true to the call of God, and realizes that his one purpose is to disciple men and women to Jesus. There is a passion for souls that does not spring from God, but from the desire to make converts according to our point of view.
The challenge to the missionary does not come on the line that people are difficult to get saved, that backsliders are difficult to reclaim, that there is a wedge of callous indifference; but along the line of his own personal relationship to Jesus Christ. "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" (Matt 9:28b) Our Lord Jesus did not only put this question before the two blind men that he was about to heal, but before all of us today; this question faces us in every individual case or circumstances we encounter in life. The one great challenge is - Do I know my Risen Lord? Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit? Am I wise enough in God's sight, and foolish enough according to the world, to bank on what Jesus Christ has said, or am I abandoning the great supernatural position we have in Christ, which is the only call for a missionary, and that is boundless confidence in Christ Jesus? If I take up any other method I depart altogether from the methods laid down by Our Lord Jesus Christ in His great commandment for us, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:18-20).
The more we abide in Christ and have full confidence in His authority in both heaven and earth, the more we have assurance in obeying His command and to teach ALL nations about Christ. We are not called to save souls, but to be witnesses of His transformation power for our lives. When we faithfully obey His words and teach others to do the same, God will convert people and add to His church the number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:47b). Hope you find time to meditate on your way home…
Love you because it is my joy in Christ,

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