In the introduction to this series, I shared several ways a person could live the one life they have been given. We cannot dismiss the truth that Jesus has given His people a commission to live a “sent” lifestyle. The word “sent” means, “caused to go.” Think of it this way in terms of an equation – someone caused someone else to do something. Every part of the equation is important. The sender must have authority over the one sent. Example: I sent my son to the store to the buy milk. I have authority over him. When it comes to living our lives as Christians, God is the someone, He is ultimate sender. He has authority over our lives. What do we know of His sending nature?
- God sent a flood upon the earth to destroy the wickedness of man who had chosen to walk in a way that was contrary to His perfect design.
- God sent a rainbow as a promise that He would never again destroy the earth by water.
- God sent Moses to deliver Israel from the slavery of Egypt after their cries rose to Heaven.
- God sent plagues upon the nation of Egypt to bring the house of Pharaoh under conviction and to demonstrate His power over creation.
- God sent ravens to feed His prophet Elijah at Cherith to reinforce the truth that He cares for us in the most basic way.
- God sent His Son to this earth to redeem a fallen creation through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Remember the equation above- the someone else is the Christian, we are the sent ones. John 17:18 highlights this sending, “As you sent Me into the world, I also have sent them in the world.” Through our relationship with Jesus Christ, the mission of God has become our mission. His love has caused us to love, care for, and pursue the lost, the hurting, and the broken. Even a casual reading of the New Testament reveals its missionary spirit. This is most clearly seen in the book of Acts where the missionary spirit of God and His people move along three avenues.
First, we see the people of God gathering and speaking.
Acts 2:46 “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.”
Acts 2:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know– 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”
Second, we see the spirit of God directing and convicting.
Acts 16:6 “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.”
Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
Finally, we see the church of God sending and commissioning.
Acts 8:14 “Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.”
Acts 13:1 “Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”
These avenues help us to understand the final part of the equation – the “to do something” is the work of the gospel ministry. We are to join God in His work and spend our lives in the pursuit of gospel advancement.