From Darkness to Light
Two Sunday’s ago we witnessed an incredible and powerful movement of the Spirit of God. At the morning service a large number of people in the congregation responded to a challenge from God’s Word by publicly acknowledging their willingness and desire to dedicate themselves to actively serving God in whatever ways He called them to – particularly to making disciples. This, after all, is what God has called each of His followers to do (Matthew 28:19-20). Genuine disciples of Jesus seek to make more disciples.
At our church camp last weekend our speaker, Phil Wilson, spoke on this aspect of evangelism and discipleship. From Mark’s gospel, chapters 1-2, we learnt that Jesus’ message was about announcing the dawning of the kingdom of God – that He was this new King who had come to rescue people from their slavery/bondage to satan, sin and death (Mark 1:14-15). Jesus called people to follow Him; to become His disciples and join Him in His mission (Mark 1:16-20). This involved living life with Jesus; becoming like Him; doing what He did. Jesus proclaimed the kingdom in word and deed – God’s power was evident (Mark 1:21-28). As we seek to do the same, trusting in the equipping of God’s Spirit, we can expect to see God’s power at work too.
In the midst of His earthly ministry Jesus ofter took time out to pray – to commune with His Father (Mark 1:35-38). This was essential to Him in the carrying out of His ministry. If it was essential for Jesus, how much more essential should it be for us? Sadly, busyness has become the normal excuse for not fulfilling God’s mission in our lives. Another way God’s kingdom was spread was through the telling of stories – people’s personal testimonies to the power of God transforming their lives. Having been touched by Jesus people couldn’t help themselves but tell others of what He had done for them (Mark 1:40-45). What is God doing in your life? Have you told anyone?
Oftentimes, in the gospels, we see that people came to Jesus with the help of others (e.g. paralytic in Mark 2:1-12). Evangelism is so much easier when people live on mission together. This mission is an ‘all of life’ thing – it happens everywhere. Jesus often socialized with sinners in order to minister to them and point them to the reality of who He was and the kingdom he was bringing about. Mission/evangelism must be relational. Jesus’ purpose was about bringing new life to people, not making them slaves to a dead religion. Living in His kingdom is about life transformation, not merely about following a set of rules in order to look good on the outside (Mark 2:18-22).
Finally, the responses to Jesus and his message varied – some were interested and others rejected Him (Mark 2:23-28). Ministry for Jesus involves making sacrifices; of being willing to face rejection and ridicule. However, when someone does have their spiritual eyes opened and their hearts are convicted of the truth of Jesus and his gospel; when they confess Him as Saviour and Lord, then all of the hardship will pale into insignificance, for God has used you to bring about life from death – to rescue a person from darkness and bring them into His kingdom of light! What could be better than that?