Josh Christophersen

Reign In Life

We Decided To Be Comfortable

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A long time ago, God sent his son to our world.

The creator became the created.

God became a human.

He traded the comfort of his world for the inconvenience of ours.

He came down. He moved in. He put on our flesh.

Then he subjected himself to rejection and a brutal murder so that we could have a way to be saved, rescued, adopted, restored, healed, and washed clean.

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King Saul And The Great Commission

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Jesus, upon leaving this earth, left us with what many refer to as “The Great Commission” (Matt 28:19-20). The Lord Jesus sent us on a mission and said to “go”.

In 1 Samuel 15 we see similar language used in God’s interaction with King Saul.

In 1 Sam 15:3 we begin with God telling Saul thru Samuel to “go”. And God gave specific directives of what he wanted him to do.  Saul chose to partially obey and felt so good about himself that he built a monument to himself (1 Sam 15:12).

Samuel confronted Saul and said, “the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go'” (sound familiar?). He asked him why he disobeyed God in his partial obedience and had done what was evil in the sight of the Lord (1 Sam 15:18-19) by not destroying everything, including the sheep, the oxen, and King Agag.

Saul tried to spiritualize his disobedience by saying that he did what he did to sacrifice to God. Samuel responded by saying, “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam 15:22).

Saul finally admits that his partial obedience was sin and that he did it because he “feared the people” (1 Sam 15:24).

In God’s economy, partial obedience is disobedience.

Now back to us.

The Lord has sent us on a mission and told us to “go”, just like he told Saul. Like Saul, he gave us specific instructions on what he wanted us to do: make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded.

Are we only partially obeying, doing almost everything that God said but neglecting to make disciples?

If partial obedience was evil in the sight of the Lord for Saul, is it not also evil when we partially obey by neglecting to make disciples?

Do we, like Saul, spiritualize our lack of effort to make disciples by listing all of the sacrifices we make for God: “I get up early to spend time with Jesus. I go to church almost every week. I give money regularly. I’m the first person to serve when there’s needs. I show up at all the prayer meetings.”?

And do we do it with a bit of smug religious superiority, building a virtual monument to ourselves in our own minds, for our exemplary show of commitment?

Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt 4:19) and he commanded us to go and make disciples. If we are obeying in other areas but disobeying in this area because, like Saul, we “feared the people”, then we, like Saul, need to call it what it is: sin. It’s evil and it’s disobedience.

We need to repent, turn to the Lord for the courage, boldness, love, and power that he gives through his Spirit to those who obey (Acts 5:32), and then radically reorient our lives around shared mission to particular people and places.

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” (Matt 28:19-20)

(Image Credit: The U.S. National Archives)

Fishers Of Men Or Keepers Of The Aquarium

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Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt 4:19)

Kermit Long said, “We’re no longer fishers of men, but keepers of the aquarium, and we spend most of our time swiping fish from each other’s bowl.”

Are we “fishers of men”?

Are we “making disciples”?

Or are we only “keepers of the aquarium”?

The final words of Jesus while he was on the earth were to “go and make disciples”. (Matt 28:19)

Final words are important. Jesus used his to command us to make disciples.

Are we obeying?

Allow me to engage you hypothetically for a moment.

There are roughly 315 million people in the United States at the time of this writing. Let’s just say for conversation sake that a little less than 1% were followers of Jesus (3 million). If those 3 million spent one year and each made one new disciple; then after one year there would be 6 million. Because a disciple is made by teaching them to obey Jesus commands, and Jesus commanded us to make disciples, these 6 million disciples would be seeking to make new disciples.

Let’s say that after one more year, each one made one disciple. So now after two years the 6 million has multiplied to 12 million. Keeping on the same track, after three years there’d be 24 million, after four: 48 million, after five: 96 million, after six: 192 million, and after just seven years of every disciple making one disciple by the end of each year, the entire nation would be converted.

In only seven years.

How many Christians are in the US?

How long have they been here?

What are we doing?!?

Has keeping the aquarium replaced being fishers of men?

Jesus said follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men.

If we’re not fishing for men, are we really following Jesus?

(Image Credit: State Library Queensland)

What If You Were A Missionary?

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What would your life look like if you were a missionary sent from a foreign land to the city where you currently reside?

Where would you live?  Where would you work?

How would you get to know people?  How hard would you try?

How much would you interact with your neighbors, your coworkers?

If you were a missionary, what would your prayer life look like?  How often would you fast?  How well would you know your bible and how often would you study it?

What would your relationship with your fellow missionaries look like?  How often would you see them?  What would you talk about?  How would you encourage them?

If you were having a gathering where unbelievers might show up, what time would you get there?

What kind of time frame would you have for getting a church up and going?  How long would you expect it to take?

If you were a missionary, how would you interact with culture?  Would you take part in it’s holidays, celebrations, and traditions?

What would you do to know the culture and be aware of how the people you’re on mission to do life?

How would you use your home if you were a missionary?  How often would you use it to meet and entertain unbelievers or other missionaries?

How much money would you give to the mission?  What would you do with the money you kept?

How much would you tip waiters and waitresses when you went out to local restaurants?

Would you spend time and money worshiping the gods and idols of the people you were on mission to?  How would you set yourself apart?

What would you do to rest?  How much time would you spend on entertainment?

If you were a missionary, how much of your free time would you spend on the mission?  How often would you think about the mission?  How much time would you give to thinking up up new strategies to reach people with the gospel?

What would you and your spouse talk about?  What would you spend time doing as a couple?

How would you train your kids?  What would you do for school?

If you’re single, would you get married?  If so, how would you date?  Would you date an unbeliever you were on mission to?

If you were a missionary, how would you relate to those leading the mission and training you and your fellow missionaries?  How would you help and support them?

How would you work together with other missionaries from other missions organizations locally?

How would you stay focused on the mission?

How would you stay encouraged?

“Our citizenship is in heaven.” Phil 3:20

“As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” John 20:21

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”  Mark 16:15

“Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matt 28:18-20

What would your life look like if you were a missionary sent from a foreign land to the city where you currently reside?

Looking at the verses above, it appears that if you’re a follower of Christ, you already are a missionary sent from a foreign land to the city where you now reside.

Are you living like one?

(Image Credit: The Library of Congress)