A survey of the Gospels reveal a Messianic expectation among the Jewish people. For example, Luke tells us that “the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ…” (Lk.3:15). The most important question among the Jewish people was, When would the Messiah come? Using this strategic genealogy, Matthew answers two questions about the Messiah: who was he? and what did he come to do?
Christ’s command to go and proclaim his gospel is clear enough. There are, however, several barriers that stand in the way of his church fulfilling their mission. In this text, we’ll look at several barriers the first disciples faced–and the present day church faces as well. Christ answers those barriers and fears with two powerful statements about himself.
The Book of Job
The meaning of the book of Job is found in the privileged voice of God in the divine speech(es) of Job, in chapters 38-41. Job’s reply to the divine speech (“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ears, but now my eye has seen you”) tells the reader the effect of God’s speech on Job, but the book never explicitly tells the reader why or how the divine speech satisfied Job. I argue that the paternal and maternal metaphors used by the Lord to describe his relationship with both animate and inanimate creation allow Job to “know God” in a way he had not previously known Him: as a father. Job was then able to once again trust God and became for the reader a paradigm of faith and piety.
Jesus told the familiar parable of the Good Samaritan in response to someone’s question about eternal life. But what does helping others have to do with the kingdom of God?
After his disciples returned from ministering to people, Jesus made a surprising statement: “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” What? After seeing such success as demons were being cast out, the sick being healed, and the gospel was being preached? Even while there were still so many pressing against them for ministry even now? Why does Jesus command them to rest? Christ teaches us the importance of “taking care of our tools.”
Why should anyone engage in missions? If we focus upon ourselves, then it’s not hard to make a case against it. Jesus answers our fears and concerns, however, with two powerful statements about his mission.”All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” and “I am with you always.” Because of these two truths, there is nothing more foolish and fruitless than to oppose the mission of Christ–but there is also nothing more safe, wise, and profitable than to take up that mission.
Isaiah 6; 2 Timothy 2:10
Isaiah had one of the most famous visions of God in all the Bible. He was cleansed by God, and called to ministry by God in God’s very presence. Yet, he was called to what would seem to be a failing ministry. Why? Paul was called to be the apostle to the Gentiles, and he died a Roman prisoner, abandoned by nearly everyone. Why?
Through these men’s ministries and preaching, we see something important and foundational to God’s purposes in calling us today, even when He calls us to suffer and to seem to fail.
1 Corinthians 13
If the truth of God is the content of ministry and the context is His people, where does love for one another come in? According to Paul, it is the necessary foundation for all ministry, for without it we are nothing.
Cultural ideas of Jesus often influence our thoughts of Him. A crucifix, a frail figure in a long robe, etc. Scripture, however, gives us a clear–and very different–picture of Christ after His death and resurrection. He is exalted at the right hand of the Father. In this sermon, we’ll complete our short study of Christ’s death and resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15
The Corinthian church was divided over many issues. One of them is that some were claiming “there is no resurrection of the dead.” Paul answers this objection by reminding the church of Christ’s resurrection.