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The Gospel Mission – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
January 30, 2022 3:00 pm

The Gospel Mission – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Anne Graham Lotz with this introductory encouragement as you join us this week for Living in the Light and her message, Passing the Baton of Truth. We're so glad you've joined us for this week's Living in the Light with Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz. It's a reminder that our gospel mission may at times seem like mission impossible, but one which God and His Spirit can be mission possible. Here's Anne beginning in Matthew chapter 28 with today's message. Jesus makes it very clear, this is in His own words in Matthew 28 verse 18. He says, all authority has been given Me in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you, and surely I am with you to the end of the age. Now that's a mission impossible, except for one thing, that Jesus is with us until the end of the age.

You don't do this by yourself. He's with you. The mission is to take that gospel message as a messenger into the whole world, and not just African, Asian, Russian, but the world that's between your own two feet, okay? Your neighborhood, your schools, your businesses, your workplace, your family, you're to take the gospel into the world that you inhabit and make disciples and share the gospel. So open your Bibles to 2 Timothy chapter 2, and Paul as he challenges Timothy to carry out this mission, he says you're to be strong, you're to be smart, and you're to be serious. So first of all, he challenges him to be strong, and that's chapter 2 verse 1, and sometimes strength is a command, isn't it? And I can feel so overwhelmed with things that are going on that I begin to feel my spirit is folding, and then I remember, be strong. And sometimes strength is just an act of your will. You just need to buck up. You need an attitude change. So he says be strong, and sometimes life can be very hard.

I've said that before. You know, life is hard, and sharing the gospel in a wicked world is hard. And Paul says in verse 3, as Timothy I'm sure would say the same thing, Paul, the assignment you're giving me is so hard, it's too hard. I can't do this out here where they're crucifying Christians and throwing them to wild animals and putting them in the lion's den, and this is hard. And Paul says in verse 3, so? Endure hardship. You know, then I thought about the great apostle Paul, and you're going to tell him it's too hard?

2 Corinthians 11 verse 23, I have worked much, this is his testimony. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, been exposed to death again and again. Five times I've received from the Jews the 40 lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked.

I spent a night and a day in the open sea. I've been constantly on the move. I've been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea, in danger from false brothers. I've labored and toiled and I've often gone without sleep. I've known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food.

I've been cold and naked and besides everything else, I have a passionate heart for the church. And you're going to tell him it's too hard? Endure the hardship. So when we think about taking the gospel message into the world around us, yes it's hard, so what?

You just be strong. And then he gives three examples, three illustrations of what it takes to stay focused as we're taking this gospel in. And he says first of all you're to be separated from the world in verses three and four and he said it's like a soldier who separates from civilian life keeping his focus on the goal which is to win the battle. We can't live according to the world's pattern which is whatever is right in your own eyes if you feel like you can do it and get by with it, whatever the decision of it is, is, is.

So you just go with the flow and we can't do that. We live according to the pattern of scripture. And the priority of the world which is me first or pleasure, we can't do that because our priority is the kingdom of God first and the glory of Jesus. And you know the pace that the world keeps us so busy, busy, busy, busy it makes no time for God. We have to walk with God, don't we? Walk at his pace, making time every day to read our Bibles and pray and seek his will and do what he calls us to do. And you have to be separated.

You can't be entangled with the things of the world. Paul says in Corinthians, be ye separate. And it's for our own good that we might maintain our focus on the goal.

And not only separated like a soldier but dedicated to the rules like an athlete. And the athlete, he says in verse five, keeps the rules of the game so he can win it. So you and I, if we want to be effective on our mission, we have to keep the rules and this is the rule book, okay?

This is our playbook. So you have to read your Bible. You have to apply the Bible to your life. You have to obey it and live it out if you're going to be effective on your mission. And Paul says stay focused, separated from the world, dedicated to the rules, motivated by the hope of harvest. And in verse six he talks about the farmer who works from sunup to sundown just for the hope of harvest. When we're passing out the gospel and we're passing the baton and we're sharing the gospel, we do it for just the hope of the harvest.

And sometimes it can be discouraging, can it? And we've done our best and we've worked hard to share our faith and the person seems like they've received it and then a drought comes along or a flood or insect and, you know, what we thought was springing up into real faith just seems to disappear in front of our eyes and we just keep on sowing the seed of the word of God. So it may be the person that you share the gospel with, maybe the person you share God's word with, maybe at that moment they don't respond, but you just keep on sowing the seed of the word of God. You keep on sharing the gospel and in God's own time and through prayer, we pray the Holy Spirit will come along and it'll start to make sense and it'll blossom into real faith in that person's heart.

But we do that just for the hope of the harvest. I love Galatians 6, 9, which says, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Don't quit. Don't quit.

Don't give up. You just keep sowing the seeds of God's word, you keep sharing the gospel and you will reap a harvest. But we do it for the hope of harvest. We do it as an athlete just to win the race.

We do it as a soldier because we want to win the battle and stay focused and stay fired up. In verses 8 and 9, he gives the heart of the gospel. He says, Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel. The heart of the gospel message is just Jesus. For God so loved the world that he created you, brought you into existence, that you might know him in a personal relationship, that you might enjoy him, that he might enjoy you. And sin came into your life and into my life and separated us from God. But God who so loved you didn't give up on you.

Instead he just initiated this incredible plan of redemption. To send Jesus, his own son, not God Jr., God in the flesh, who came down to be born of a virgin, to live among us, to finally give his life on a Roman cross as a sacrifice for your sin. And when you believe Jesus died for you, if nobody else needed a savior, you did. And when you believe Jesus died for you and you thank God for the sacrifice and you claim it for your sin and you ask him to cover you with his blood, he forgives you of your sin. He puts his holiest bit within you and he gives you eternal life, which is a personal relationship with him right here and now in heaven when you die. That's the gospel.

Get fired up. It's the only way you can be saved. It's the only basis for salvation. And in verse 9 it says God's word, and I'll just say God's gospel is not chained. It's not confined. I can share it here and you receive it and you share it with somebody and somebody shares it with somebody and the gospel just goes wherever it chooses.

So get fired up. We have a gospel message that has wings, you know? Not confined to just your little sphere. You share it in your sphere and then it goes out from there and goes out from there and Paul says I'm not ashamed of the gospel. I know it's the power of God. There's a built-in power to the gospel. For the Jew first, listen to me, power of the gospel for the Jew first. You know a Jew? Share the gospel with them.

Tell them that the Messiah has come, that the Messiah loves them, that he's coming back to the Jew first and then to the Gentile. So get fired up, convinced of your message, committed to your mission. In verse 10, I endured everything Paul says for the sake of the elect that they too may obtain the salvation that's in Christ Jesus. So I wonder what you've endured for the sake of the gospel. I don't want to hurt anybody but let me just tell you that you put your faith in Jesus and you're saved. If you don't, you're lost. If you put your faith in Jesus, you're going to heaven.

If you don't, you're going to hell. And that applies to everybody in the whole world, every gender, every race, every culture, every age. So when we talk about children, I believe there's an age of accountability. I don't know when that age is. Some churches believe it's 9, 10, or 11, but I know that little children, 2 and 3, can receive Christ by faith as Savior. They can be told enough that they can make that commitment. But let's just say that when they reach the age of accountability from heaven's perspective, it doesn't mean that it's necessarily according to your church, but when God sees that that child is beginning to make decisions on his or her own, thinking for themselves, they've been presented with the gospel, and if that child is under the covenant, you know, up until then, they're under the covenant that their parents have made with the Lord. So if you're a Christian parent and you have a little child, the wonderful thing is that when God made a covenant with you, he made it with your children also until that age when they can make the decision for themselves, whenever that age is.

But if you're not a Christian parent, there's no covenantal covering for your children. And I think of all the children that have never been told that there's a Savior, never been told in such a way that it related to them, and I wonder about the children within your own home, your grandchildren, and I just want to fire you up that we need to tell them when they're young. We need to get them before the devil does. We need to share the gospel when they'll listen to us.

So get fired up. I believe there are people all around us that need Jesus, and I believe there are people around us who would come to Jesus, if they knew how, if they knew you had somebody to tell them, somebody who would tell them with love, not judgmentally, you need Jesus, you know, but let me share what Jesus has done for me. And when you're going through this hard time, he can give you strength and comfort and hope, and that's what he's done for me, let me tell you what he's done for me. And you make it winsome and inviting. But if they don't come, they're lost, and there are people all around us who are going to hell.

And they go to ball games and they get excited about whatever, and they're watching, you know, the red carpet, and they're wondering about the latest food fad or whatever it may be, and it's just heartbreaking, isn't it? So one of the prayers I have for myself, God, help me make the message and my witness winsome, relevant, inviting, enticing, that they would want to know my Jesus because of what they see in me. So stay fired up, convinced of the truth of your message, like Abel was in the beginning, so convinced that he would lay down his life, and committed to the mission because faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the word of God. How can they hear if nobody tells them, if there's no messenger, and your mission is to be the messenger that takes the gospel into your own world?

Don't worry about Africa and Asia and, you know, your world, your sphere of influence. So stay focused and fired up, stay faithful. Stay faithful in verse 15 to God's word. And this is one of the first verses I memorized as a child, but I learned it in the King James, and so I'll read it out of NIV. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, who correctly handles the word of truth.

And we're trying to emphasize that. Be very careful not to put words into God's mouth. You want to see exactly what the passage is saying, you list your facts as they're stated in the passage, then you look at those facts, don't read into them, and sometimes the tendency in a familiar passage is to think, now what did my pastor say and what did my son in school, and you're trying to be more spiritual than you are, I guess. Instead, just look at the facts.

What does that fact mean? Can you find a lesson from that fact? And you correctly divide the word of truth, and then you apply it to your life, and then you live it out. And when are you going to read your Bible? Every day you listen for God to speak to you through it. Every day you live out what he said to you. So stay faithful to God's word, and then as you share the gospel, stay faithful to God's warning. In verse 14, he says, warn them against quarreling about words, and I guess that's arguing the gospel so that we argue to win, instead of really not wanting to win them, we just want to be right. Avoid godless chatter, verse 16.

Verse 23, avoid foolish, stupid arguments. And I think there's a warning that when we go to share the gospel, people who, you know, that makes them nervous, and so they'll pepper us with questions, like, well, you know, you're sharing this, but what about all the people who've never heard, you know? Or, you know, what about all these other religions? And, you know, you say that, but my neighbor who's a whatever, and he says this, and don't get sidetracked. So one way to handle that is just, I don't know about other religions, I don't know about your neighbor, and God will take care of those who have never heard, but you've heard. And let me just tell you what the Bible says. And then you just share what the Bible says, what Jesus has done in your life, share your own testimony, but stay faithful to the word of God, stay faithful to the warning, because the devil himself will try to get you sidetracked, try to get you diverted, try to get you caught up in politics, or some of these other issues today, and have you argue about this or that, and they're missing the point, aren't they?

I've got one young friend, and he asks so many questions, and at first I was excited because I love questions, and I love to answer questions, but after a while the questions kept coming, and I thought, you know, he keeps asking questions so that he doesn't have to deal with the answers. So that's a warning to me too, not to get caught up in the secondary issues, and then stay faithful to God's work. In verse 20 and 21, in a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay. Some are for noble purposes, some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the ladder, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the master, and prepared to do any good work. So in the master's household, and I'm assuming that's in heaven but in God's kingdom, there are two kinds of messengers, two kinds of workmen, and some are wasted, and some are all saved, all in the master's household, but some are living wasted lives, and some are worthy lives. Some are useless to God, some are useful.

Some are ignoble, some are noble. So let me tell you this, that God can use any vessel. He can use small ones and big ones. He can use vessels that are educated or not educated. He can use vessels that are male or female. He can use vessels that are black or white or brown or any other culture, nationality you can name. He can use vessels that are young and middle-aged and old. He can use any and all vessels except for one. He can't use a dirty vessel, which is why when we're aware of our sin, we come back to the cross and we confess our sin, not for forgiveness.

You understand that, right? If you've been to the cross and you've received Christ by faith as your savior, you are forgiven. Praise God. Past sin, present sin, future sin, sins that we think of as little, medium, big, they're all under the blood of Jesus. When he died 2,000 years ago, all of my sin was future to him. So when he forgave me at the cross, his blood covers all of my sin. I come back to the cross to confess my sin, not for forgiveness, but that I might be cleansed, that I might be filled with his Holy Spirit, that I might be a vessel useful to the master.

So as you work and you seek to be a master to fulfill this mission, how useful are you? And we can look good on the outside, can't we? We can fool everybody about how spiritual we are and we've been to the co, we've been to the seminar, we can quote verses and we can say things, but God looks on the heart. He doesn't care about the outward appearance. I mean, he does, but he looks on the heart. He's not impressed with our reputation.

He's not impressed with opinions of other people about us. And God looks on the heart. So stay faithful to God's word, to his warning, to his work, and then to God's way. God's way is a way of purity. In verse 22 of chapter two, he says, flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. And evil desires of youth, sometimes we think of that as lust or immorality, but I think evil desires of youth, arrogance, assertiveness, selfishness, self-centeredness, wanting what they want when they want it, and Paul is saying run away from sin. And run after God.

So we have to do things God's way and flee sin and teach our children by our example to just run away from it. Don't think that you can handle a temptation, that you're strong enough to, if you've had difficulty with alcohol, you can go back into that place where they serve it. And if you've had difficulty with pornography, you can't go back on the computer where that thing is. Don't toy with temptation. Don't tolerate it. Put it out of your life. Run away from it. It's okay to run.

You can ask Joseph. When Potiphar's wife grabbed him, he just ran and left his coat in her hand. He knew when he had to run. So run away from it, that you might run after God.

And as you run away, the purity in your life, I believe, is linked to spiritual power to make a difference. And I was taught that in Revelation chapter 2 when Jesus just blisters the church at Thyatira. He looked at them with the eyes of blazing fire.

He was angry with what was going on there. And what was going on there was immorality within the church. And then he says, if you overcome this immorality, if you run away from sin and you run after God, he said, I will give you authority over the nations. And I thought what he was saying to me was, if you run away from sin and you run after me and you put sin out of your life and live a life of holiness and purity, I'll give you power to make a difference around the world. I think that's one reason our church is, sorry, I don't mean to be critical, but just honest, I guess, so powerless. There's sin in the camp. And you and I are the church.

So I think the search for the sin starts here in my heart and your heart to see what needs to be brought to the cross and confessed that we might be cleansed, that there might be power once again in God's people to make a difference and an impact on our generation. So be focused, fired up, faithful, to do things God's way with purity. I'll just point out verse 24, with humility, the Lord's servant.

You know, the kids are taught today to be self-promoting and aggressive and get what they want. And I love Jesus in John chapter 13, the night he was betrayed, when he should have had people coming around him to encourage him, to hold him up, to pray for him, to sort of wipe his brow, and instead they were all arguing about who was going to be the greatest. And it was triggered because when they came through the door there was no servant there to wash their feet, and there was a basin and there was a towel and there was water, but nobody would wash their feet. So Matthew says, Peter, you wash my feet. And Peter says, not me. And he says, John, you wash your feet.

No, I'm not going to do that. And they go around, nobody will wash anybody's feet because they all think they're better than the other person. This is the night he was betrayed, after three years of ministry. And Jesus gets up and he takes off his cloak and he picks up a towel and he gets that basin of water and he washes the feet of his disciples.

And he said, if I've done this for you, you go out and do it for somebody else. We are to be the Lord's servant. There should be a humility in our lives. Jesus said, the greatest among you is the one who serves. There are a lot of people down here that think they're the greatest. They're going to get a shock when they get to heaven.

The people we walked by, people that we didn't even notice, pay attention to, we didn't know their names, they were never on TV, they didn't write a book, they didn't have a radio program, you know. They're just the Lord's servants. And they're going to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

I wonder if that's you. Humility and sincerity, verse 25 and 26. He says, those who oppose him, he must gently instruct in the hope that God will grant them repentance, leading them to a knowledge of the truth. And they'll come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil who has taken them captive to do his will. And I think one of the things this applies to is when your children are out of the passing zone, you know, and you see them rejecting the Lord and they're turning away from him and you want to just grab them by the shoulders and shake them and you want to get in their face and you see them doing things they should never be doing and you want to just lay them out and he says, that's not so effective. You have to be sincere and gentle and just pray that God gives you the opportunity.

You just love them, keep the lines of communication open. When God gives you the opportunity, you say a word, but it's up to God to convict them in their hearts and bring them to that point of repentance and to bring them out of the snare of the devil because the devil, make no mistake about it, is after our children, especially the children of Christian leaders. He's after Christian homes and the homes of Christian leaders and he will take them captive to do his will and so that's a spiritual battle. And we engage in that spiritual battle. You can read Ephesians 6. You put on your armor and then you pray and you pick up your sword, which is the word of God. You can hear Living in the Light with Anne Graham Lotz weekly and for ways to experience the God-filled life as you pursue your personal Bible study, go to She'll help you get started with free resources you can use and share with others. Join us here each week for Living in the Light.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-15 15:41:06 / 2023-06-15 15:52:41 / 12

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