Easter is Over What's Next
by Rev. Brian Mathis
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Easter has come and gone and today as a Christian what has changed in your life. Were you part of a great service; where God was honored and glorified? Do you have a new desire to be on mission for Jesus and following after His will for you or are you in the 80% of those who sat on the pew this past week and nothing has changed. Maybe it’s because to many of us are hearers only. We come to church seeking the entertainment value of the musical performances and just enough of the word to make us feel good about ourselves. I know that might seem a little harsh; but if you look around its time we stop playing Christian and understand what our real mission is. Jesus did not die on the cross and go to the grave so we could dress up on Sunday’s and be entertained by a speaker and minstrels. Jesus commissioned His followers with a job to do. However, do we really know or understand what that Job looks like or even is.
In Matthew 28:16-20 we read these words from Christ to the eleven disciples who had walked with him after the resurrection;
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)
And in Mark we read:
14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:14-18 (ESV)
In Luke we read;
45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Luke 24:45-49 (ESV)
John also shares what Jesus instructs and it is found in Acts;
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:6-8 (ESV)
In each account we are provided direction for what we should be doing as Christians even today some 2000 years after the accession of Jesus and the out pouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The first one is we are to be witnesses to the nature and resurrection of Jesus. We may not have personally seen Jesus walking and talking after the three days in the tomb. However if Jesus has a true place in your heart you know and understand we serve a risen King. The second instruction is for us to make disciples those we witness to need to grow in faith and relationship with the Jesus through the Power of the Holy Spirit. When individuals begin to grow and allow the Holy Spirit to guide, direct and empower them as promised by Jesus they will be able to go and create disciples themselves. This is the tricky part and is when more preachers and teachers get confused. We are not called to shape people to be like us but instead to be like Jesus. We should not seek to have disciples but we should be teaching and preaching so that people are transformed into a likeness of Christ that others will see and desire to know for themselves.
The last part of the instruction is simple we are to start were we are. Those we interact with and are already ministering to must be reached for Christ. Not just saved and sanctified but taught and trained just as Jesus taught and trained the disciples. As the Holy Spirit begins to replace the desires of the flesh individuals will begin to move out from their Jerusalem and begin to spread the Gospel outside the walls of your church. We create who we are. It is a simple fact of nature and as a man I can only create other men; as a Disciple of Christ living under the authority of the word and power and instruction of the Holy Spirit I am empowered to lead guide and direct others to a saving knowledge of Christ and an empowering of the Holy Spirit and so is every believer who knows and understands the true mission of the Christian and church today. I challenge you today to examine yourself are you a witness and disciple of Christ, are you prepared to move outside your Jerusalem and reach into the Samaria that waits outside the walls of your church. Be blessed today as you walk in the light of His Word.
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