After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field..”. – Luke 10:1-2

In Luke 10 Jesus is sending out 72 of His followers ahead of Him into various cities. He is sending them to preach and show the message of Christ. They are able to perform miracles and tell those cities about Jesus. The 72 come back amazed at what they have seen God accomplish; they, “Even the demons submit to us in Your name.” Do you see it? They didn’t stay home where they were comfortable; they left the comfort of their homes and went out “into His harvest.” And they had a chance to witness amazing things that they would have missed if they had resisted.

I know what you are thinking, “Here comes a push for missions.” You would be correct but I want you to rethink what missions is. Most often when the word missions gets mentioned, people immediately think about some foreign country and sharing the Gospel overseas. That is certainly one aspect, and currently we have Pablo, Bethany, and Carolina in Romania serving as missionaries, and we hope to send a team at some point to help in their ministry. Another thought you might have is the summer Missions Trip to Cherokee, NC. This is a great opportunity to share the Gospel and encourage the people in Cherokee with the love of God. Both involve getting out of our comfort zones. But what if missions is even bigger than those two places?

Throughout the Bible the idea is always to “go” somewhere, not stay. I’m not saying that go means Romania or Cherokee, although it could. Maybe your “go” is a ministry in Baltimore City, or maybe your child’s PTA at school, or maybe it’s coaching in the local sports programs, or maybe it’s your neighborhood, or your family. Those places can be just as much out of our comfort zones, if not more. What amazing things will we miss seeing God do if we resist His call?

The point I hope we all get is that missions is really a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week thing. Any time you walk out your door, any time you leave church on a Sunday you are entering the mission field. As Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Our faith is not just about Sunday 10:30am till 12:00pm; it is about what we also do with the remaining time.

What does God want you to do for Him today, tomorrow, and the next day? How can you share and show the Gospel to the people God has in your life? What community activities could you get involved in? Where does God want you to go? What can you do at work? Answering these questions can begin to form your mission field. It is easy to stay where we are comfortable, but God isn’t calling us to stay and be comfortable. He is calling is to “go”

The Answer

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” – 1 Peter 3:15

Peter in this passage is writing to encourage believers that are suffering from persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ. He encourages them to give an “answer” to everyone. The word for answer in this verse is the Greek word “apologia;” when translated, it literally means “to give a defense.” It was often used in reference to a courtroom setting, in which someone has to give a defense for their actions. Peter wants the believers to whom he is writing to be able to explain their faith, to let others know of the hope they have found.

Going along with this thought is the fact that I started my Apologetics class this week in my Liberty Online Graduate Program. Apologetics comes from the same word used in 1 Peter 3:15; the class is a study in defending the Christian faith against other religions and the many different ways of thinking found in the world. However Peter’s instructions do not just apply to those who study this particular subject; this is a call for all believers. We should be able to respond to others about the hope that we have found in following Christ. It is said that sometimes the only Bible someone will see is the way we live our lives. What example are we setting and what answers do we have when someone asks us about our faith? Are you able to explain the hope you have in Christ? How has your life changed because of Christ? What are you doing now that brings glory to God? It is more than just saying you come to church on Sunday morning.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…”

The End

“They will see His face…” – Revelation 22:4

The Book of Revelation can often be an afterthought for believers. The book is hard to understand. The scenes that are playing out, the various beasts, judgments, and well just about everything else, seem to confuse and make no sense. I hope in some future sermons to look into this book and see that in spite of the confusing passages, John is teaching about the great hope and final victory in Christ.

In Revelation 22, the Apostle John is writing the final words of the book of Revelation. In the timeline of events, this is at the conclusion of the End Times. The Rapture has occurred, the 7-year tribulation is over, the 1,000 year reign of Christ during the millennium is over, the Great White Throne Judgment is over, and a New Heaven and Earth have been created; all is back to the pre-sin world as it was at the time of Creation. John now mentions these 5 beautiful words that should bring hope to all believers: “They will see His face…”

Scripture says over and over that things are going to get worse, not only for the church, but also within the world itself as the End Times approach. Feelings of hopelessness and fear can enter into our lives as we think about all the things that could happen in the future. Just reading the newspaper these days can bring about fear for today’s world. However, God desires for His people to be faithful no matter what hardships come our way. In fact, the Bible speaks of rewards for those who remain faithful to God in times of trouble. In the end, though, we get the ultimate reward; we get to see the face of Jesus Christ. Christ is our hope that we look to, and when this world passes away, we will be with Christ. I cannot think of anything more hopeful than getting to see my Savior face to face. I don’t know what you are going through but I know that reflecting on those 5 words can change a lot about how we look at our lives and our situations. “They will see His face…”

False Gods

He said, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and you have followed the Baals.’ – 1 Kings 16:18

When the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was torn down, and the Asherah which was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar which had been built.” – Judges 6:28

The passage from 1 Kings is from the section of verses that we looked at this past Sunday during our study of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. The people of Israel had turned to other gods and forgotten the True God, the Only God. We looked at the how God showed up and burned the sacrifice on the altar and the people repented and turned back to God.

The second passage is from the message for this coming Sunday as we look at Gideon. However, you can see that the people of Israel during the time of the Judges dealt with the issue in the same way as the people in 1 Kings: they turned to the same false gods. These events are likely hundreds of years apart, yet the same core problem is found within the nation.

We also, even today can fall into the danger of serving false gods. We might not have altars or Asherah poles set up in our homes, but we do face false gods or idols in different ways. There is a very easy definition for what a false god or idol in our lives could be, anything that we put ahead of God is an idol. Viewing something as more important goes against the commandment to have God be number one in our lives.

Work is one that probably comes up most often – what about working so hard that you do not even have any time for God? But what about idols that might be harder to realize? Could family and friends be an idol? In some ways they actually could be if you start putting those ahead of your faith. There was a time when the most important aspect of families coming together was centered on the foundation of faith. Now there are so many things that can pull a family in so many directions, and often the first thing that drops off is church life and the strengthening of faith.

Now, I am not saying all activities are bad, but I am saying that as believers we want to make sure the right thing is at the top of our list, and that is God.  If we start at the top with God, then the other things will fall into their rightful places. Reading through the Old Testament helps us realize the danger of not keeping God in the proper place in our lives.