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Saved and Sent - Luke 10 - Mercy Hill

Made for More / Mercy Hil Church
The Truth Network Radio
February 18, 2023 7:00 am

Saved and Sent - Luke 10 - Mercy Hill

Made for More / Mercy Hil Church

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February 18, 2023 7:00 am

It’s Sent Weekend! This year we have a special guest speaker, Jeremy Dager, from Port City Church in Halifax, NS. We’re so pumped to hear from one of our family of church planters as well as opportunities for you to jump into missions both short-term and long-term.

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It's very, very honouring.

And I'll also say I'm pretty sure that's the most applause any American's ever given to a Canadian. So it is honestly, it is a real honour to be here and just to think about what Pastor Andrew just said and to be a part of Scent Weekend. It's surreal for me to be a part of Scent Weekend in this capacity, namely because for ten years I sat out there and participated in Scent Weekend just like you are. And then eventually at some point, being the one sitting out there listening, I realised God was calling us to go. And so it's kind of surreal sitting on this side of it and being able to see so many of you here and realising that what this weekend is for so many people is this is a moment that will most likely change the trajectory of your life.

It's weekends like this that God uses in the life of the ordinary Christian in order to radically reshape the way that they think about their life. And that certainly was the case in our life when we, for about nine years, wrestled with the decision. I say, you know, I wrestled with it for nine years. Julianne was not wrestling up front.

She was pretty hard, no. You know, but for about nine years we wrestled and prayed through what would it look like for us to go to a place that's very near and dear to my heart. My family lives up in the Maritimes of Canada and eventually we got to the point where it was just clear the Lord was calling us to go. And so I don't know what that looks like for you this weekend at all of our locations.

I don't know what God is doing in your life. You might have walked in here and thought, this is cool, I'm excited about this weekend, not knowing exactly what God was going to do, but like I said, He's going to radically reshape the trajectory of your life through a weekend just like this. That was certainly true of one of the couples on our team. I'll share one story just to give you a little bit of an update on where we're at. So for the last six months we have been meeting as a launch team, and God has graciously put together 55 people when we started in September, and half of those are my kids. And so we have a team of 55, and over the course of the fall that team grew. You know, you guys, if you've been around for any amount of time, knew that we were praying for St. Mary's University right there in Halifax. We ended up having a St. Mary's student join our launch team. And so that was exciting to see, and just how God was bringing people onto our launch team. So we've been meeting for the last six months as a launch team, working through the book of Acts, like any launch team does. And God has just been super faithful to just bring new people into our mix, and just be able to really use our team to see the gospel go forward. It's funny, I was telling our launch team not too long ago, I was saying it's crazy, like we tell you guys to like go and to evangelize, and like they actually do it, you know.

So it's been really encouraging. But there's one couple that moved up with us from North Carolina, Matt and Emily. And I just kind of want to set the stage, because this might be where some of you are at. You know, Emily was doing a PhD at UNC, and she had made the conscious decision. She said, when I graduate with my PhD, we're going to move to a church plant, with a church plant. She didn't know which one, but they had both decided in their heart that when they, when she finished her schooling, that she was going to move. And it just so happened that she finished the same time that we were moving to Plantport City Church. And so they contacted us and said, this is what they said, they said, we're moving to Halifax.

I was like, okay, well, I mean, there's a process, but that's fine. And over the course of a few months, they filled out the application, and we met with them. And it was just super clear, like the Lord had put this on their heart, and God had providentially set it up so that they could go with us. And so they actually moved several months before we did, in March of 2022.

And so they moved up and started to kind of establish their life up there. And Emily was, she's doing research at Dalhousie University, another one of the major universities there in Halifax. And she's doing research. And one day she finds herself sitting next to a gentleman who just got a job there, who's fleeing from the Middle East. And he's fleeing, and he was able to get asylum in Canada. And she finds herself sitting next to this guy named Araz. And Araz doesn't really speak a lot of English, but he's certainly glad to be in Canada there. And over the course of the fall, we got to watch as Emily and Matt led Araz to Christ.

And then at the end of the year, Araz jumps onto our launch team. And so, you know, you just, it made me realize, you just don't realize that when you make a decision, now that is a big decision for them to move to Canada in that way. But when you make a decision like that, you don't know what God is going to do in your life. You don't know how He's going to use you. There's no way that they could have known that God was going to use them in Halifax, Nova Scotia to bring someone who is from a closed country in the Middle East to Christ.

But God did. That's how He works. Right? So here's what we're going to do. We're going to look at something tonight that is not unfamiliar to this church at all, but we're going to go ahead and look at it and just kind of revisit this truth that the Gospel saves and sends us.

Basic truth. If you've been around here for any amount of time, you know that that is true of Mercy Hill, but it's also true of Mercy Hill because it's true of the Gospel. So the Gospel, it not only saves us, it sends us. So it is a both end. It's both end.

It's not an either or. The Gospel saves and it sends us. So the Gospel did not just come to you to stagnate, but rather it came to you in order to flow through you. So you've maybe heard Pastor Andrew giving this analogy before.

You think about our life as a Christian. We ought to look more like a pipeline rather than a pool. One of the things that's been very intriguing to me in my time in Halifax is how many people have pools, which is very odd because you can really only use it for two months out of the year. And so, you know, it's interesting because like now this time of year, like what you see is you see all these pools that are like gross. They're like green stagnant ice.

You know, you can't even skate on them. Like they're purposeless. But I think about the Christian life and I think, man, that is not the picture that God has for us. God does not intend for us to simply be a container of the Gospel, but rather a conduit of the Gospel. So let's just do an honest assessment today and ask ourselves, does our life right now look more like a stagnant pool or does it look like a flowing river?

We just need to do an honest assessment as we come to the table this week. Could it be said that you are a conduit for the Gospel or are you merely just a container of the Gospel? And here's what the next 30 or so minutes — this is what I'm not going to do. This is not going to be a guilt you into going sermon, okay? That's not what this is because at the end of the day that doesn't work. That's not how the Gospel is applied. It does no good for you to get fired up today and then to go back home and live the same way that you're living tomorrow.

That doesn't do anyone any good. That doesn't move the mission of God forward. Instead, what I want us to see today is that your worth, your value, your identity as a follower of Jesus, it's not in how missional you are, it's not in how evangelistic you are, in how many missions trips you've gone on, it's not in how many interest meetings for church plants you've attended — your identity as a Christian is not in you going anywhere or in doing anything. That has already come for you in Jesus. And so we can sit here and honestly evaluate where are we at in this sending peace because our identity and our hope is not in that.

And what ends up happening is when that truth gets deep down into your soul, what ends up happening is that you will find yourself, you will want to live a set life. So with that truth in mind, let's go ahead and look at Luke chapter 10. Luke chapter 10 is where we'll be. We're going to read the first 12 verses in Luke chapter 10. So here's what Jesus says in verse 1. It says, after this, the Lord appointed 72 others and he sent them on ahead two by two into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And so Jesus says this in verse 2. He says, the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way. Behold, I am sending you as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no money bag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, peace be to this house. And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide.

For the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, the kingdom of God has come near to you.

But whenever you eat, you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you. Nevertheless, know this, that the kingdom of God has come near. And I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town." All right, so here's what's going on in Luke chapter 10. Jesus is sending out, it says, the others, okay? That's this group of people that Jesus is sending out here. Now it's interesting because in Luke chapter 9, Jesus had just sent out the 12 apostles. So in Luke 9, Jesus sends out the 12, but here in Luke 10, he's sending out the others, 72 of them. And I think what's interesting about that is if we only had Luke chapter 9, we would think that maybe this whole sent thing is only for the paid clergy.

Like it's only for the experts. But that's not true because here in Luke 10, it says that Jesus sends out the others. This is a different group all together. And so what we see here in Luke 10 is that clearly this idea of being sent is part of the everyday normal Christian life. So for every single one of us here at all of our campuses, we have to realize that being sent is a normal part of the Christian life. Now it might seem strange or it might seem foreign to us, but it is very normal for Jesus.

And it's a very normal part of the process of following Jesus. Now I've had to learn in Halifax that there are normal things in that culture, in that context that for me are a bit strange, okay? One of those things, and I started hearing this a lot when we moved in the summer was people were saying to us like, hey, did you get your snow tires? I'm like, uh, what do you mean by that? And so I learned that in Canada, particularly in places where it snows a lot, okay, what you need to do is you need to switch out your tires every year.

So right around November ish, right? If you play it right, you, you go to Costco and you say, Hey, here, I need to put my snow tires on and you put your snow tires on. Then you bring your summer tires home and you stick them in your garage. Okay. Now you say, that's interesting.

Why is that the case? Well, let me show you a picture. Okay. That was my car on Tuesday.

Okay. I had to shovel out my car because my children still had school on Tuesday. And so it was funny.

We're driving to school on Tuesday. And I remember looking over at Julianna. I remember saying like, I think we made a good choice with the snow tires.

Like I'm, I think this was a good decision. Like that's a part of their normal, like everyday life. It was strange to me. Being sent is a part of a normal everyday Christian life. And what that means is that no matter where you're at in your journey with Jesus, being sent is not something that you add on later.

It's a norm from the very beginning. In fact, I was talking to the Mercy Hill College team this week. They were talking about the evangelism tool that they use when they're sharing the gospel on campus. And when someone places their faith in Jesus, one of the first questions that they asked them is, okay, who are you going to go tell?

Who are you going to go tell about this? Right from the beginning. So if being sent is a part of the normal Christian life, how do we, how do we do that?

What does that look like? Well, I think Jesus gives us a few things here that can kind of help shape that in our minds. We're going to see that Jesus gives us a problem, a promise, and then he gives us a plan. All right? You can take the boy out of the South, but you can't take the South out of the boy. Right?

We've literated that bad boy. So Jesus, first he gives us a problem. Jesus shows us the problem. Do you find it interesting that when Jesus sends out the 72, what he commends them to do, his focus is not on praying for the harvest.

His focus is what? It's on praying for the laborers. That's interesting because you would think that as Jesus sends them out, he would say, hey, pray for all of those lost people.

But he doesn't say that. The focus of Jesus' prayer is pray for laborers to go into the harvest. So it's not for lost people. Essentially Jesus is saying pray for the church.

I love what David Platt says. He says Jesus' concern is not that the lost will not come to the Father. Jesus' concern is that the church will not go to the lost. So the issue here is not that there's not enough lost people or even that the lost people won't respond.

The issue is in our church is that there's not enough saved people pursuing lost people. And I think this is where we just need to do a little heart diagnosis to understand that in our sin, we don't want to go. Like we might know we need to go, but we don't want to go. We'd rather stay. That's kind of how it works in our sin.

And so what ends up happening is, you know, and hear me say this too. When I say go, I think it's really important for all of us to understand as we kind of move our way through the rest of this sermon. When I say go, I mean go overseas.

I mean go with a church plant. I mean go across the street to your neighbor. I mean go across the hall in your dorm.

I mean go across the classroom in your school. When I say go, I mean that holistically. So again, understanding our heart. We don't want to go.

We want to stay. And I think two of the most common obstacles that we face in the Christian life that keep us from going, that keep us pooling the gospel and not piping it to others, are one, control. And the other, the idol of comfort.

So just real quick, I just want to camp on those two idols. Let's just camp for a second on the idol of control. What is the idol of control? Well essentially, for many of us, we struggle with the fear of not being in control. Of not knowing how things are going to work out.

And so we bow to this idol of control. And so what ends up happening is we need predictable problems. We need to know how things are going to work out and we don't like it when we don't know how things are going to work out. I mean just think about something as simple as like the weather app, you know? Like why is it that I choose to look at the weather app like six or seven times a day? Like my day is no way changed by me looking at, like I don't go home and like, oh man, I need to change my wardrobe, you know? No, what it is is it gives me a small sense of control over my life.

Like if I know what the weather's going to be then I can somehow control my life better. And something as simple as that I think reveals this idol of control that exists in our life. And so the idol of control, oftentimes it makes us want to know that when we share the gospel it's not going to flop. Or the idol of control, it makes us want to know that when we invite our neighbor to church that it's not going to ruin that relationship. Or we need to know that when we move to a new city with a church plant that it's not going to mess up my kid's future.

Or maybe it's, if I choose to do a summer project, I need to know that that's not going to mess up the future of my career. So we need to know these things. We need to have control over these things, but the reality is that control is an illusion. And that's actually a good thing. Because what that reminds us is that we're never in control. God is.

And he's good. And that's okay. And we'll revisit that in just a minute. So that's the idol of control. But then maybe for some of us it's not that.

Maybe it's the fear of losing our comfort. I love what C.S. Lewis says. He said, I couldn't say this, only C.S. Lewis could say this. He says, I don't go to religion to make me happy.

I always knew a bottle of port would do that. He said, if you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable I certainly don't recommend Christianity. And that shouldn't surprise us because right before we get to Luke chapter 10, Jesus says in Luke chapter 9, if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. So we want to follow Jesus, but only to the degree that it doesn't interfere with my hobbies or my money or my dating or my politics or my relationships or my retirement or whatever that may be in our life. And so we fear losing comfort.

So let's just be honest before the Lord today and ask ourselves, are any of these idols maybe at play that are keeping us from saying Lord I'll go? I mean I know in my life for nine years that was a bit of a wrestling match. Like the wrestling match was like man, we kind of got into a place in our life where man things were blowing and going here at Mercy Hill. Like I had a good job. Like no one was asking me to leave, at least not to my face. We were financially stable. We loved the neighborhood that we lived in.

Our kids were having fun in school on their sports teams. I didn't want to mess that up. Because to forfeit that and to say okay God I'm going to go somewhere that I don't really know meant that I'm not really sure how this is going to work out. And I'm not sure if I'm willing to give up these things that are known entities to walk into a lot of unknown entities. So I began to take all these good things that the Lord had given me in my life and I began to smother them and put a death grip on them. And it took a long time for the Lord to be able to pry those things out of my hand to the point where we said okay Lord, I get it. I'm not in control.

I never have been. It's yours. My kids future is yours. My marriage is yours. Our financial stability is yours. All that, it's yours. It's yours.

We'll go. And so for some of us maybe the start this weekend is going to the Lord and saying Lord I repent. God I've been bowing to the idol of control. I've been bowing to the idol of comfort in my life, Lord.

That is keeping me from doing what you're clearly calling me to do. So Jesus gives us the problem but then secondly he gives us a promise. He reveals to us a promise.

So look back at verse two before Jesus sends out this group he wants them to be reminded very clearly of God's heart, of his Father's heart. And so what Jesus says in verse two he says the harvest is plentiful. I had such a visual of this this week as I was reading through this because just this last fall my parents were up visiting and there's a part of Nova Scotia if you go about an hour north of the city of Halifax to a place called the Annapolis Valley. And the Annapolis Valley is very famous for at least in Canada it's very famous for their apples. They have massive apple orchards up there. It's a beautiful beautiful place. And so we thought it would be fun let's do a day trip up to the Annapolis Valley and we'll go to an apple orchard.

I think it was like a Wednesday. And so we go with me and Julianne take my parents and we go up to this apple orchard. I remember walking around this I mean massive apple orchard. Rows and rows and rows and rows of apple trees. And it was just the four of us. And I was reading that this week and it was just like that image came to mind right I just thought like here we are the four of us very few and just thousands upon thousands of apples Jesus says there's a massive harvest.

The laborers are few but there's a massive harvest. Without a doubt there are many people who the Father desires to draw to himself. And the thing is this this should not come as a surprise to us.

This should not have come as a surprise even to the others. Because you read all back through scripture what you realize is there's verses like Ezekiel 18 23 where God says have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked declares the Lord and not rather that he should turn from his way and live. This is the Father's heart Psalm 67 says may God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us that your way may be known on the earth your saving power among the nations. That's what that's God's heart.

That's what he desires. Isaiah 54 22 says turn to me and be saved all the ends of the earth for I am God and there is no other. And then one that I'm sure we're familiar with 1 Timothy 2 4 says that God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Jesus is reminding them of a truth that is an old truth that God's heart is for lost and the harvest is plentiful. So when we look at our family member or when we look at our coworker or when we look at our neighbor or our classmate or our teammate do we actually see them as someone who God can save but also someone who God wants to save? Like like is that the eyes through which we're looking? This plentiful harvest or maybe we have subtly slipped into this covert cynicism maybe this hidden unbelief in our heart that God doesn't desire to do that.

Let's just pan out for a second. Let me just give you guys just some very sobering statistics and for many of you this probably these are not new statistics but every single time I see these that is very sobering. So right now currently there are seven thousand three hundred and twenty five unreached people groups. So an unreached people group essentially if we had a room of a thousand people there would only be twenty of them that would claim to be an evangelical Christian. So that's what an unreached people group is. A two percent or less in that people group would be what we would call an evangelical Christian. So okay that's pretty staggering but then you go one level below that there are three thousand one hundred and seventy five unengaged unreached people groups.

Those are people groups where if they left their home and traveled for several days that they would not meet somebody who could tell them who Jesus was and what the gospel was. So what does that look like numbers wise in terms of population? Well that's forty three percent of the world's population that lives in either an unreached or an unreached unengaged people group. Forty three percent of the world's population.

Many of the sent out ones that you saw on that video they're in places that are unreached and several of them are in unreached unengaged places. But it gets even more sobering because just in South Asia alone. Think about where Nick and Shannon are at. Just in South Asia alone there are one point seven billion unreached people. People that wake up every single day and they have no clue who Jesus is. I mean talk about a plentiful harvest. This is probably one of the most sobering of them all. One hundred fifty seven thousand six hundred and ninety people die each day without Christ.

That's two people every second. Jesus says the harvest is plentiful. And God reminds us so clearly in Isaiah fifty nine he says behold my hand is not shortened that it cannot save or my ear too dull that it cannot hear. God's heart is for the lost. God desires to bring lost people to himself. And so maybe this weekend our prayer would be God make my heart that of your heart. Help me to see and to love the lost like you do.

The lost in my neighborhood and the lost around the world. Now this promise though that Jesus gives us the harvest is plentiful it also means that there's a lot of work to be done. And so Jesus he also gives us number three he gives us a plan. So what I want to do is kind of walk through what is this plan that Jesus gives us as followers of him for how it is that we engage the mission.

How is it that we live not as containers but as conduits. Well the first thing is the plan starts with prayer. Jesus's plan starts with prayer. The main emphasis of what Jesus is giving these others here is is prayer.

That's what he says in verse two. Pray earnestly. So what that means is that prayer is never an afterthought to the mission of God. Prayer is the primary means that God sees his mission go forward. Like like prayer is not like oh shoot we got to pray let's pray about that. And prayer is primary to the mission of God. I think thinking about every great revival in the history of revivals. You go back you begin to do a little church history and what you realize is that every great revival that has ever existed has started with prayer. I mean even now just several hundred miles away from here in Kentucky at Asbury University you think about what God is doing not just at that campus but on other campuses as it spills out. One of the things you realize even just as you watch the videos is that that is a culture of people that are in desperate prayer. I was talking to my aunt.

I actually have one of my aunts and uncles. My uncle's a pastor over on Prince Edward Island and we were just chatting one day and she was mentioning to me about a revival. One of the last great revivals that happened kind of in this lifetime from 1949 to 1952 there was a revival in the Hebrides Islands in northwest Scotland.

I never heard of it. But apparently it was this massive revival that took place and she was saying how you know a lot of the revival that took place in the Hebrides Islands actually spilled over into churches in the Maritimes and she was saying how my great great grandfather who the pastor of the church before my uncle how he was very much influenced by this revival that took place and so I began to do a little research and a little study and I found a journalist who had traveled recently back over to the Hebrides Islands to interview some of the people that were still alive that were still alive that had been alive during this revival and he interviewed one woman. She was in her late 80s and this is what she said. She said the revival was marked by an attitude of brokenness and desperation. A spirit of necessity and audacity. A manner of prayer that could be daring and agonizing. So you think about prayer for just a second. Like just just let's think about the nature of prayer. Prayer essentially is an admission that the only thing that we bring to the table is need.

Like in the Christian life the only thing that we bring before God it's not our good works it's not our righteousness the only thing that we bring to God is our need. Essentially in need and prayer is an acknowledgement of our dependence on God. Prayer is essentially putting into theological is putting this theological truth into practice. Prayer is essentially saying God you can I can't. So prayer is coming to God and saying God I need you to change my heart because I want comfort and I want control. I need you to change my heart because I can't on my own. It's saying God I need you to change the heart of the lost around me because I realize that no words of mine are going to save anyone.

God I can't but you can. Here's a very sobering question if you were to ask yourself this if God answered your prayer to save those who you specifically prayed for just in the last week to come to faith in Christ how many people today would be in the kingdom? Maybe it's not sobering for you but it is for me. Like if God just miraculously said fine you know what I'm gonna take everyone that you prayed for that is far from me and I'm gonna save them. That you prayed in the last week.

It's a very humbling thing to think about. Jesus says pray. So maybe our next step for sent weekend is to do exactly what Jesus says is to pray.

We need to start with prayer but then we move on and we see that the plan not only involves prayer but it involves word and deed. So look back at verse 9 Jesus says heal the sick in it and say to them the kingdom of God has come near to you. So Jesus says heal the sick bring signs of the kingdom. So why do we feed the hungry? Well because when Jesus comes back to rule and to reign there will be no more hungering or thirsting. Well why is it that we help those who are hurting?

Well it's because when Jesus comes back to rule and to reign there will be no more pain. Jesus is saying to them look show them and then tell them that there is a better kingdom to live for. Like show them my kingdom and then tell them that there is a better kingdom to live for. So let me ask you today whose kingdom is it that you are living for? Jesus is saying here tell them that the kingdom of God has come near to you. Let me speak to those of you in here that may be not a follower of Jesus.

Maybe you're here and you've been wrestling with this decision. Do I even want to follow you? You're talking about being sent. I'm not even sure I want to follow Jesus. Jesus is saying to you today, today is the day. The kingdom of God has drawn near to you today.

Today is the day of salvation. So before you can live a sent life you need to see that God has come to you. He has saved you.

He desires a relationship with you. So the plan starts with prayer and involves word and deed but then the plan is also, it's also urgent. Jesus is stressing the urgency of the message. In verse four he says carry no money bag, no knapsack, no sandals and greet no one on the road. Now Jesus is not telling the others here to be rude.

Like this is not Jesus saying like be rude to others. No, that's not what he's saying. What he's saying is, he's like the mission is urgent. We can't delay. There's no time to have conversation along the road, okay?

It's really hard for Canadians, okay? It's like no, I just need to get my groceries, okay? Like I want to talk to you about all things but like no, we don't have time for that. Jesus is like we don't have time for those conversations.

Like this is an urgent task. Jesus essentially, he's trying to help us see here that there's not time for delay. What that means is that our good intentions aren't going to carry the mission of God forward. Meaning like man, we, how many of us have lived the Christian life where we've said like man, I've meant to, I've always meant to do X or like I've always had it in my heart to do Y. So we've lived less of an urgent mission in our life, we've lived a good intention mission. And Jesus is saying here, no, no, good intentions aren't going to carry the mission of God forward.

Jesus doesn't want her good intentions, he wants our obedience. I thought about this, I can throw him under the bus because he's totally redeemed himself but, you know, growing up my dad, my dad was very much a man of his word, you know, very much a man of his word. There was one thing growing up that he, he just, he failed to do and that was build us a tree house, okay? So my dad, for the longest time, he would tell my brother and I, I said I'm going to build you guys a tree house, I'm going to build you guys a tree house.

And we're like great, great, you know? Then at about age 17 I'm like dad, it's cool, I don't really need a tree house anymore, you know? And I think about that, my dad had, he had very much good intentions to build us a tree house, but the tree house never got built.

Now he totally redeemed himself because he built an epic tree house here at our house in Greensboro and so that was, everything's good now, you know? But I think about that, I'm like, good intentions are good but that doesn't move the mission of God forward. There are things in your life that you have had good intentions to do in relationship to being sent for the last month, for the last year, for the last 10 years. There's been an application that sat on the table, there's been a conversation that you've been meaning to have and it sat in the good intention bucket and Jesus is saying the mission is urgent, you need to act on it now. So let me ask you, is there a missions trip that you need to be a part of? Is there a gospel conversation that you need to have?

Is there an application for a summer project? Maybe it means moving to another country, even in your retirement. Is there something that God is calling you to act on now? The mission is urgent but then lastly, Jesus says the plan, it's also risky.

It's a risky plan. What does he say in verse 3? He says, go your way. Behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.

This is helpful because what Jesus is doing here is he's sending the others out but he's also being really helpful in terms of setting expectations. Okay, so one of the things I've learned over the years is like, it's really good to set expectations. So for a long time, you know, for my wife and I, we would go on car rides, you know, traveling different places to visit family and so what would end up happening was, you know, we'd get in the car with, you know, three kids and then four kids and then five kids and I remember, like, I would get so frustrated because I had these grand visions in my mind that, like, we were gonna have such beautiful conversation. In fact, I would come with, like, questions, like, we're gonna have these great conversations in the car, you know, and I remember her saying to me one day, like, she said, hey, what is your expectation for this car ride? And it was the first time that I actually vocalized out loud, like, how dumb my expectation was, you know. I was like, we're gonna talk, we got all these life plans that we're gonna think through and talk through and she's like, we have five kids in the back. Like, they literally need to eat every 20 seconds, you know. And so what we began to do is she began to say when we would go on a car ride that was more than four hours, she would say, hey, before we get going, let me just ask, like, what are your expectations for these next four hours, you know.

And eventually I said, you know what, if we could get a 20-minute combo in here over the course of four hours, that'd be great, you know, let's just string together like little 60-second intervals, that'd be perfect. But it was helpful because I set my expectations and the ride was a lot better and Jesus here is setting the expectations for the others. Listen, Jesus is never vague, he's never ambiguous, he's never unclear about the cost of following him. That's what he just said in Luke chapter 9, take up your cross.

It's gonna be really hard. And just so we're clear, a quick animal kingdom lesson here, okay. Wolves eat sheep, okay, in case we forgot. What Jesus is saying is wolves are dangerous.

Here's what I want us to see. See, I think a lot of times when we think about taking risk, we think about risk as a one-way street. What I mean by that is we oftentimes think of risking it for the mission of Jesus in this way.

We think, okay, if I share the gospel with my coworker or my friend, I might risk losing that relationship. Like that's how we think about risk. Or we think, if I go on that Go team this year, I'll risk giving up my precious vacation time that I might want later in the year. Or we think, you know, if I give that money to the church, I'll risk maybe not having enough money for retirement.

Maybe one more. If I decide to move at that church plant, we think, man, I'll risk being able to find a job and, I don't know if I'll be able to provide for my family. You think if you're a college student, you think, man, if I risk going to do the summer project, man, I'm gonna risk potentially having an internship that will be helpful for the future of my career. And so oftentimes we think in the Christian life of risk, it's kind of like a one-way street. I just want to say risk is never a one-way street. Because what happens is, when we choose to remain stagnant instead of living sent, we risk wasting our life.

Risk is not simply, I'm going to risk risking this part. We risk walking in the good works that God has prepared before us, as Paul says in Ephesians 2 10. And so the risk for us and not living sent is that we stand before God and we'll have to give an account and say, God, you prepared these good works and I just chose not to walk in them. So Jesus is not promising you that living a sent life will be easy. In fact, he's saying it'll be really hard. He's not saying that living a sent life is going to be safe.

I mean, here he says very clearly, it's probably dangerous in some way, shape, or form. He's not even promising you that living a sent life won't come at a cost. Jesus is trying to help his disciples and the others to count the cost. But what he is saying is that living a sent life is worth it.

Because he's worth it. Because he's the good shepherd. So he sends out the sheep, the lambs among wolves, but he sends them out as the good shepherd.

And so he says in John 10 10, the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy, but I came that they may have life and to have it abundantly. I'm the good shepherd. And the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. So yes, being sent means going out among the wolves, but we go with the assurance and the presence of the good shepherd. And the good shepherd, he didn't just simply risk his life for you.

He gave his life for you. I'll end with this. I was listening to a talk that Jenny Allen gave recently. It was on risk.

It was very powerful. And she says this. She says, obedient risk fast tracks growth. Risk causes you to want God because you need God when you're scared. And so I think for some of us, we have gotten to the place in our life where we think, man, I'm not sure I can do it because maybe I've never done that before.

We think, man, I'm not sure I can do it because I have this fear in me. And we become stagnant in taking risks for God and being sent by God in this way. I thought about through the lens this week of just some of my favorite stories in the Bible.

We just sang about this. Think about the story of David and Goliath. I was thinking about it this week through the lens of risk. And, you know, I think it's interesting like when you go back and read the story of David and Goliath, one of the things you realize is that God never guaranteed David victory. Like there's nowhere in there when David steps up and he gives this great speech about taking down Goliath, like there's nowhere in there where God says like, hey, David, like, man, I'm going to make sure that that giant like falls down. So like David is going into that, not with the end in mind. We read that story because we know the end.

And we're like, man, look at David. He's courageous. And he is, but he's courageous because he didn't know the end. We know the end.

David didn't need to know the end because he knew the God who held the end. So maybe for some of us in here, that's where we're at. We just say, you know what, if I'm being honest with myself, man, I don't know. It's risky. I thought about this for our family. You know, the reality is when we pulled the U-Haul out of our cul-de-sac here in Greensboro, I could not guarantee that it was going to work out okay. I got to know.

I hope it would. Like when we drove away and we drove up to Halifax, Nova Scotia, I could not guarantee my family that the church was going to just blow up and thrive and we were going to be living our best life in Halifax. I couldn't guarantee them that.

I still can't. But what I can guarantee is that God has called us to go. And God is good. And that is enough.

And that's where the rubber meets the road. Is in your life the truth that God has called you? That's clear. He's called you to go.

Some way, shape, form. This is the truth that He's called you to go and that He's good. Is that enough?

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Let's pray. Heavenly Father we thank you that Father you are the good shepherd. And Father you gave your life for us.

God what a gift. Father you came to us. Father would we be obedient? Father maybe obedience starts, and I pray your spirit would do this God, maybe obedience starts by searching on our hearts and revealing the idols in our life that keep us from being sent. So Father where there are idols of control and comfort, Father would you lead us into repentance. Father where there are good intentions in our life that we have put off, God would you give us the courage to step forth. God where there is fear in our life to take risk, Father help us to be reminded that you, God you're good. And you've called us. And Father settle that truth in our hearts where that is enough. God thank you. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-18 18:11:29 / 2023-02-18 18:29:13 / 18

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