There’s a sign in the parking lot of my church at every exit to remind us that when we leave the church parking lot, we are entering the mission field. We aren’t to keep what we learned to ourselves, but we are to apply it to our lives and share it. “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:18-19).
This morning’s reading in Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest” broke down this Scripture, and gave me a peace to stop my own struggle of how to be obedient to God’s Word. “The key to the missionary’s work is the authority of Jesus Christ, not the needs of the lost.”
We are inclined to look on our Lord as one who assists us in our endeavors for God. Yet our Lord places Himself as the absolute sovereign and supreme Lord over His disciples. He does not say that the lost will never be saved if we don’t go— He simply says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” He tells us to go on the basis of the revealed truth of His sovereignty, teaching and preaching out of our living experience of Him.
If I want to really know the sovereignty of Christ, I must know Him myself. I must take time to worship the One whose name I bear. Jesus calls to us, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). That is one of my life verses, but in context today, I understand it in another layer. The world applauds our work, while the Lord asks us to humble ourselves, stop our own efforts, and allow Him to work through us.
Go therefore simply means to live. Jesus gives us the description of how to go. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) He takes upon Himself the work of sending us, and He supplies the power and direction of the Holy Spirit to lead us in His purpose for us.
He also gives us the way to keep going, no matter what. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5) Where we are placed is then a matter of indifference to us, because God sovereignly engineers our goings.
Paul testified that no matter our circumstances, it is the sovereign Lord’s work that matters. “And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:22-24) That is how to keep going until we are gone from this life.