Note from JesusDear Disciple,
Disciple-makers live to do one thing: they live to make other disciples! I gave the Great Commission to My original disciples, and I also told them to teach all the new disciples to obey the same commission. My primary command in this commission was to “make disciples of all the nations.” My disciples are to do it by going to people of all nations, baptizing them in Our name, and teaching these new believers to obey what I had commanded My original disciples to obey.
Few have done the going-to-all-nations part of My Great Commission as passionately as Paul. He realized the importance and urgency of this call:This urgency, this necessity has been laid on me. … God chose me and entrusted me with this mission.Paul’s passion didn’t involve just going to other places, people, and cultures. Paul realized that going to other cultures included giving up his rights as he entered into that culture, shared in that culture, and spoke to people in the context of that culture. He made himself a “slave” to the people of the culture he was trying to reach. Here is how he expressed this truth:And, even though no one (except Jesus) owns me, I have become a slave by my own free will to everyone in hopes that I would gather more believers. … I’m flexible, adaptable, and able to do and be whatever is needed for all kinds of people so that in the end I can use every means at my disposal to offer them salvation.What Paul did could be called incarnational ministry — entering into the world and culture of the people you are trying to reach, living authentically in that cultural world, and learning to speak My truth in the language and lifestyle of that cultural world. Incarnational ministry is what I lived when I came to earth (John 1:9-14), and Paul followed My example.
This entering into the cultural world of others is what I am calling you to do as well. Love people enough to live with them and know their world. Grow to understand their hopes, their dreams, their fears, and their brokenness. As one who has entered their world, you then have the opportunity to speak My truth, share My love, and invite them to know My grace. This process is costly, but as Paul makes clear, it is more than worth the effort:I do it all for the gospel and for the hope that I may participate with everyone who is blessed by the proclamation of the good news.Entering into and adapting to other people’s world to share My grace with them can apply to your neighbors, co-workers, fellow students, etc. as well as people in other countries and other regions.Verses to LiveFar from trying to force someone to accept your culture as you proclaim My good news, please learn from My example and learn from the words Paul shares in the second set of verses below. All authentic ministry is incarnational ministry. That means it is costly, yet it is worth every sacrifice! As I promised immediately after I gave you the Great Commission, I will be with you always.Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him — but some of them doubted!
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:16-20 NLT)
Despite what I’ve said here, I [Paul] have never staked a claim for such things [that is, financial support from the Corinthian church], and I have no intention to start now; that’s not why I’m writing. I would rather die than have anyone (including me) invalidate my right to boast. You see, if I preach the good news, it’s nothing to brag about. This urgency, this necessity has been laid on me. In fact, if I were to stop sharing this good news, I’d be in big trouble. You see, my story is different. I didn’t volunteer for this. Had I volunteered to preach the good news, then I would deserve a wage, a reward, or something. But I didn’t choose this. God chose me and entrusted me with this mission.
You’re looking for the catch. I know you’re wondering, “What reward is he talking about?” My reward, besides being with you and knowing you, is sharing the good news of the Anointed One with you free and clear. That means I don’t insist on all my rights for support in the good news; that also means that I am free of obligations to all people. And, even though no one (except Jesus) owns me, I have become a slave by my own free will to everyone in hopes that I would gather more believers. When around Jews, I emphasize my Jewishness in order to win them over. When around those who live strictly under the law, I live by its regulations — even though I have a different perspective on the law now — in order to win them over. In the same way, I’ve made a life outside the law to gather those who live outside the law (although I personally abide by and live under the Anointed One’s law). I’ve been broken, lost, depressed, oppressed, and weak that I might find favor and gain the weak. I’m flexible, adaptable, and able to do and be whatever is needed for all kinds of people so that in the end I can use every means at my disposal to offer them salvation. I do it all for the gospel and for the hope that I may participate with everyone who is blessed by the proclamation of the good news.
(1 Corinthians 9:15-23)Response in PrayerFather, free me from any and all ethnocentric, nationalistic, and racial prejudices and pride. Help me as I seek to understand those I am trying to reach with the gospel. Holy Spirit, I ask for Your help and Your power to have the wisdom to reach people in the best possible way with the good news of Jesus and to have the strength to offer myself in service to them. I want all people to know Jesus and the life He offers us. Help me, O LORD, I pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.’A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware. © 1998-2022, Heartlight, Inc. ‘A Year with Jesus’ is part of the Heartlight Network.All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
To Win Some
Source: Passion for Praise