Be The Church: Mission Possible

This morning, we’re going to continue our message series ‘Be The Church’.  We know that the church is those called out by His name and that it is critical that we gather together on a regular basis and not just for the church services. Last week, we found that there is truly power in the prayer of His people.
This week, we’re going to take a look at the mission that we have in being the church.  Since the church is the body of Christ, we find that the much of the mission that is given to us is the same as that which Christ Himself carried.  There are many aspects to this mission and different assignments through which it is carried out.
Our mission, should we choose to accept it:
To know God and to make Him known.
Psalm 96:3
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of action movies – especially the 007 and Mission Impossible series.  Non-stop suspense and adrenaline-filled action around every corner and, of course, more cool gadgets and weapons that one could ever ask for.

These movies are all about mission, opposition, strategy, and using the right gadget at the right time; usually just in the nick of time to keep us on the edge of our seats.

Shouldn’t our lives in Christ be just as exciting and thrilling?  Everyday a new assignment from God as we continue on His mission and a whole arsenal of spiritual gifts at our disposal in order to fulfill that mission.  The Holy Spirit speaking to us and guiding us each step of the way.  Sure there is opposition, but He makes us aware of the enemy’s schemes and tactics so that we can walk around every snare laid before us and gives us the power to overcome and a way out of each temptation.

Too often, we live our spiritual lives on hold waiting for God’s specific call or guiding.  However, He has clearly commanded us to make disciples of all of the nations; this is not something that we have to sit back and wait for a specific call to do.  We need to live our lives with the mission that is on God’s heart on our own heart as well.  We need to live our lives more in the green where we GO! and share the good news of His salvation and less in the red.  Yes, it is important to do things in His timing and to be in the center of His will, but we need to be careful not to miss His will by waiting on it while we further our kingdom when He has already commanded us to GO! and bring His kingdom to earth.  The Spirit will prevent you from ministering in areas where we should not and ways we should not if we remain submissive to Him and teachable (Acts 16:6).
In Luke 4, we see that Jesus quoted Isaiah 61 and in doing so proclaimed His mission, which also very much so applies to us today.
(when saying the word ‘me’, we should be declaring this over and about ourselves!)
Isaiah 61
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
What a revelation!  The Spirit of the Lord is on us – in fact for us today, the Spirit of the Lord is in us.  That same Spirit who rose Christ from death to life lives in us and works through us.  The Spirit empowers us to carry out our mission, He does the miraculous through us, and speaks to us in order to direct us in how to carry out our mission.  How powerful and effective our lives would be if we could fully grasp this and submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit!
If you are doubtful or uncertain of whether His Spirit dwells in you, receive it today in faith.  He promised that those who ask for the Holy Spirit will receive the Holy Spirit! (Luke 11:11-13)

    because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
It’s easy to look at all of the disappointing and discouraging things that occur around us.  No matter what is occurring in our lives and no matter what comes our way – there is always good news.  We always carry with us the testimony of what God has done for us and what He has promised to do for us.  This good news is applicable in any circumstance and can bring encouragement and light into any situation and even in the darkest valleys of our lives and others’ as well.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

    to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
There are so many around us every day who are brokenhearted and who are bound and held captive by so many things.  Jesus came that we might have freedom and life to its full.  Not only have we been called to be overcomers and given victory in every area of life, but we also are to reach out to these ones held captive and to proclaim freedom and to release these prisoners from their darkness!

2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

When we walk in obedience to Him and to His mission, we find favor in the Lord.  Just as scripture tells us that today is the day of salvation, this is the year of the Lord’s favor.  Anytime that we choose Him and move in His will, we receive His favor. (Prov. 8:35-36).  God’s grace is given to us as a free gift even though it is undeserved and can never be earned.  His favor, however, is earned as we are obedient to His mission for us.  In His favor, we find ourselves fully equipped and resourced to fulfill His mission as we cooperate with Him.  Let’s get out there and proclaim it, THIS IS THE YEAR OF THE LORD’S FAVOR FOR OUR HEARTS ARE TURNING TO HIM!

and the day of vengeance of our God,

Just as we see throughout scripture and especially through Israel’s history, when God’s favor rests on His people, His enemies had better watch themselves!  We are to never seek revenge, in fact, we are called to bless those who curse us!  However, justice will be served as vengeance is the Lord’s.  He has made it clear in His word – you are either for Him or against Him – His friend or His enemy; there is no middle ground of complacency.  When the favor of the Lord comes and rests on His people, you do NOT want to be on His wrong side!

to comfort all who mourn,
3     and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.

It’s difficult to remain hopeful during seasons of mourning, grief, and despair.  These are meant to last for a season, however, that season will come to an end and needs to at an appointed time.  What we have the opportunity and mission to do for those in these seasons is to offer comfort, hope, and the reasons to trade that mourning and despair for joy and praise.  The Lord’s desire is that, at the right time, that we choose to take off our ashes and sackcloths; mourning and despair and put on His crown of beauty and garments of praise.  Only He is able to make something beautiful out of our ashes; but He is fully able and willing if we hand them over to Him!  Part of our mission is to make this known to those down and out!

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.

We are on a mission to bring about change.  What has been torn down and destroyed for generations, we will restore!  Lifestyles of bondage that we’ve accepted as normal, we reject and begin new trends.  The future generations do not need to struggle in the same ways that we do, but can be given hope and faith.  This mission is not for or about us, but for His glory and splendor.  Even though we are choosing to be on this mission, it is the Lord who has planted and grows us into great oaks who will not be moved – we simply cooperate with Him and stand amazed at how He works in and through us.  There will be certain opposition, but the momentum that we begin now will serve the generations to come who will boldly and fearlessly take a stand on Christ our Rock and the firm foundation He has laid and prepare a way for them.  The enemy has stolen, killed, and destroyed from us for long enough – it’s time for us to rise up and begin to build on Christ’s foundation and to tear down the work of the enemy in the authority Christ has given us – to bring fullness of life and freedom!

5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.

7 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
We find that once we choose to enlist in the mission that God has called us to, that things begin to change for us.  As we are faithful and committed to His work and kingdom, He takes care of ours.
Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
As we live mission-minded, He replaces our disgrace with His inheritance and everlasting joy!  Our lives should be ones defined by missional living – not just bumping through life, but intentionally living life with a purpose asking what God would have you do and how you can bring His kingdom to earth.
No secret agent would ever set out on a mission without understanding clearly what the goals are and who the enemy is.  Jesus has commissioned us to GO! and make disciples and has made us full aware of the plans of our enemy to steal, kill, and destroy; to bring division, sickness, bondage, and deceit.  We first become disciples of Christ to learn about Him and His mission, then set out on our assigned mission to make other disciples.  We first know Him, then make Him known!  We make known that He is the only way to experience the fullness of life, eternal life, freedom, and healing.
Truth is: there are people around us every day headed straight for hell.  They live life everyday without the hope that we have.  They don’t know the truth about who God is and how to get to know Him.  They don’t worship Him and some do not even acknowledge His existence.  Truth is: they are not running to the church to find the truth and freedom that they need.  We need to step up, be the church, and fulfill the mission that we’ve been called to.  We can’t just sit back and let the enemy have his way in the lives of those around us any longer!
These ones have been assigned to us – they are part of our mission.  It’s not by chance or accident that these are within our realm of influence, but rather by divine appointment.  That doesn’t mean that all will accept Him, not even Jesus Himself had a perfect track record of having others accept the truth and He was perfect!  Our responsibility is not the results.  We do have a responsibility, however, to make Him known to them – to introduce them to the God that cares so much for them who has the answers that they are seeking.  The only one who can satisfy our desires and give us complete freedom!
Jesus didn’t say, ‘Invite them to come and be a disciple’, He said ‘Go and make disciples!’
It’s time for us to accept His mission and GO!