So, let’s wrap up this month of missional reflection and action by spending some time with the input given on the final Sunday.
In the first week we discussed how the harvest is still plentiful and the workers are still few. In the second week we looked more closely at Jesus’ modus operandi for equipping the saints and discovered that instead of human reason which speaks about being filled with knowledge and having as much on board before we set out as possible, Jesus preferred that his sent ones simply traveled with much, much less so that there would be less distractions away from the kingdom gospel and more connections made possible through genuine relationships forged by intimacy with Jesus and a common heart’s desire.
In the third week we discussed 5 key principles that were sketched in Luke 10:5-9 and explored the idea that all missionary endeavour happens when sent ones carry the peace or the whole of Christ in such an accessible way that anyone who is open to engage with that peace will in fact offer the hand of friendship and present an open door for kingdom encounter.
In the final week we took a few moments together to explore what it then looks like to become and be a kingdom community, one which is best described in Acts 2:42 with words like ‘devoted to the apostles teaching’ (i.e. representing Christ and his kingdom), ‘everyone had everything in common’, ‘signs and wonders’, ‘experiencing the favour of all the people’ ‘and the Lord added to their number daily, those who were being saved.’
The clearest way to measure this new standard of the kingdom is to identify what the disciples had become as compared to how they were traveling before this transition; before this pivotal shift in Jesus’ ministry modelling as it were.
So, the process of becoming a kingdom community OR by definition a people who together carry and represent God’s presence is most easily summarized by looking at the difference in Luke 10 and the chapters that follow from what culminates in Luke 9. Luke 10 doesn’t indicate that churches were started as a direct outcome of Jesus’ equipping the 72 OR does it???????
Let’s see …… Jesus identified people groups that he sent people to before he went. The mission effort was executed TOGETHER. Intimacy with Jesus was the key for being filled with more of Jesus and this primary divine resource working off the back of human effort IN Christ undoubtedly had the greatest empowering impact for kingdom advancement.
In what way does this not sound like ‘church?’ At the very least is it not key shaping which was a pre-cursor in every way to the difference it would make when the Holy Spirit was poured out and the body of Christ IN community (because it was IN you and me) was birthed by God the Father.
If we agree that the author Luke’s development of all of this is found in Acts 1-8 THEN the summary of the process of becoming kingdom communities that are led in the mission of the Father God in such a way that the outcome is ……’and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved’ (cf. Matthew 16:18-19) could look a little like this ……..
- From building monuments and staying next to Jesus where they felt important in themselves BUT not really listening to him (Luke 9: 26-33) TO GOING to those Jesus leads them to and doing ALL he said without questioning the process or method. (Luke 10:1-17/Acts 2:42)
- From pride in what THEY DID (Luke 9:10) TO joy in what Jesus did THROUGH THEM (Luke 10:17)
- From a LACK OF LOVE for people (Luke 9:12) TO loving people UNCONDITIONALLY – who they are / where they are (Luke 10:7-8; 25ff/ Acts 2:45;47)
- From wanting a messiah BUT NOT A NOT A CROSS (Luke 9:18-27; 37-45) TO GOING AS LAMBS AMONG WOLVES and not giving up when people REJECT the favour of God (Luke 10:2-15; Acts 5ff)
- From arguing about STATUS and EXCLUSIVENESS (Luke 9:46-56) TO being one of many NO-NAME MISSIONARIES who SHARED JOYFULLY the responsibility to ANY and ALL who had ears to hear, including those considered to be despised and outlawed (Luke 10:8-37; Acts 2:42-47)
- From following Jesus with our contract preferences (Luke 9:57-62) TO following Jesus and RELYING on him fully. (Luke 10 / Acts 2:42-47)
Luke 10 is a passage where we can plainly see the keys to Jesus’ equipping of his followers as missionaries, as carriers and representatives of his presence so that through a greater intimacy with him, together we might engage with the people groups he has given us responsibility for, that in so doing Jesus can turn up where he sends us and build HIS church by adding to the number of followers daily, those who are being saved.
Whichever way you look at it, is was this process being played out that caused Jesus to say more, confirm more and be more overjoyed than it would seem at just about any other time recorded in the gospels (Luke 10:18-24).
The purpose of the Missionary Mobilization Month of May was to wring every last drop of revelatory moisture out of this primary even pivotal moment in Jesus’ ministry. It has timeless principles that can be applied in every culture and in every sphere.
Are we ready?
Reflection-Action 1 After you have read through the input above, open Luke 10 and just reflect on anything that stands out for you now and if you can, identify some simple actions you can take in this next season as a result of what God is revealing to you. Prioritize these actions and share with someone you trust what you would like to happen now. Agree with the trusted person on an accountable way forward.
Reflection-Action 2 This is one of the Reflection-Action’s from week 1‘If there is a revelatory shift from human founded wisdom and knowledge based skill deployment towards operating out of denied self, trusting in the consistent resource and provision of the divine that is identified in the course of Luke 9 and 10, can you identify it? If you can, do you think it’s incidental or pivotal? Support your belief about this with verses from the two chapters if you can. Does this have any impact on your heart’s desire to serve the kingdom of God and the way you serve? Can you find words to describe the impact if any?’ Take a few moments to re-visit your answer form a few weeks ago OR if you didn’t answer it then, have a go now.
Reflection-Action 3 Can you identify any changes in heart conviction or attitudes within yourself as a direct result of this month’s revelatory reflection and action? Write any down, pray and seek someone to pray with about them and make an agreement to share with each other over a couple of weeks of coffees, what you believe God is asking you to do with all of this. What will you do with what you have received?