(6/14) Introduction Ė So, here is a question. I have no set answer. I just want your opinion. Okay? Paul tell us in Romans 14:10b-12, "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God." 12 So then each of us shall give account of
himself to God. And again in 2 Cor. 5:10, " For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. In your opinion what will be the criteria of that judgement. What will God examine?
I honestly believe it will be the three great commandments that Jesus said:
1. Did you love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength?
2. Did you love your neighbor or others as Jesus loved you?
3. Did you do all you could to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who donít know it; to the world?
I. The essence of the great commission is to Go into all the world and make disciples. Hereís another question. Do you think this command is for special or called people or for all Christ-followers? How are we doing with that?
Repeatedly throughout Scripture, weíre told to go! In fact, the word go shows up more than 1,400 times! Being a God- Follower or more specifically, a Christ-follower is in itself a call to action. To follow Him is to walk in His ways and obey His voice, or His commands. Do we all agree with that?
Here are some specific examples of the call to Go.
Abramó"The Lord had said to Abram, ĎGo from your country, your people and your fatherís household to the land I will show youí" (Genesis 12:1, emphasis added).
Itís interesting that Abram was called from a place before he was called to a place. He left behind his old life for a new one without knowing where he would end up. This is just like our relationship with Christ. We experience new life, yet we arenít sure to where weíre being led. God wants us to live in the journey and be willing to go even if we
arenít sure where Heís leading.
Mosesó"So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt" (Exodus 3:10, emphasis added).
Moses had left Egypt 40 years ago, a lifetime ago because he killed a man. He was living a quiet life. He was not eloquent and had trouble controlling his anger. Yet God chose him to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. And because God equips those He calls, Moses couldnít fail if he obeyed God. Moses was an unlikely person to follow the call to go. So
was Saul. So are you. "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong" (1 Corinthians 1:27).
Deborah and Barakó"Then Deborah said to Barak, ĎGo! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?í" (Judges 4:14, emphasis added).
Sometimes God uses someone else to give us the message to go. Deborah heard from the Lord and encouraged Barak to free the Israelites. God will not fail to accomplish His purposes in this world, and Heís willing to use anybody. Sometimes God wants you to see the urgency of the go, and sometimes He wants you to help someone else see it.
Isaiah - Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." 9 And He said, "Go," (Isaiah 6:8-9a)
Sometimes God shows us the need and waits for us to respond. He wants someone who cares as much as He does. He shows you the need and lets you choose. In Matthew 9, it says this, "36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His
disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." Jesus wants people who will go because they see what He sees.
Jeremiah - Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." 6 Then said I: "Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth." 7 But the Lord said to me: "Do not say, ĎI am a youth,í For you shall go to all to whom I send
you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8 Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you," says the Lord." (Jeremiah 1:4-8)
God has specifically created some of you for the specific purpose of going and representing Him. Ask Samuel, John, and Jeremiah.
Ananiasó"The Lord told him, ĎGo to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saulí" (Acts 9:11, emphasis added).
Ananias probably wished he was anywhere but Damascus that day. Here in this passage, God tells him to go see Saulóthe man whose purpose in traveling to Damascus was to imprison or kill Ananias and all his friends. Understandably, Ananias questions Godís plan. Yet we see God reaffirming His command, "But the Lord said to Ananias, ĎGo! This man is my
chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my nameí" (Acts 9:15-16, emphasis added). God wanted Ananias to see the urgency of the go even when it was dangerous and scary. And Ananias did go, causing the greatest missionary in history to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts
Philip - 26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. Now notice, at this point the mission is not defined. Just the place and the command to go. After he obeyed and went, did God show him his divine appointment. And
behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot." (Acts 8:26-29)
Listen, sometimes, God might take you from a place of affluence, or from a successful business or a successful ministry and take you into what seems like desert. It may be a desert. I have felt like God has led us into a desert and I keep asking why. Maybe it is for Claudia, or Linda, or these 3 girls, or Jim and Elissa, or Ann. If God has led you into
a desert. It might just be because there is a ministry there. You donít stop going. You look for a people, or a place to represent Jesus, because you are His personal representative- His ambassador.
To every Christ-Follower, Jesus says, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the
age." Amen (Matt. 28;18-20)
II. Now, here is our Problem.
A. Do you know what it is? Here is what it is. We havenít had a burning bush experience like Moses. We have not had an angel appear to us with a message like Philip did. We havenít had a vision of Godís throne like Isaiah. We didnít sit at the feet of Jesus like the Apostles. We didnít hear Godís voice like Abraham and Jeremiah. So, our tendency is to
think that the Go is for people who have heard or felt something special. Yet Jesus said, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;" (Matt. 28:20). We donít feel the heart of God or Jesus. Many of us are like Moses when he said, "Here am I Lord, please send someone else." (Ex. 4:13). We donít realize that our commitment to follow Jesus is a commitment to
be His personal representative. Say it aloud, "I am His representative!"
B. We donít realize or trust the Power that we have. God told Moses, and Jeremiah, and others what our Lord Jesus told us. He would be with us. He is in us by His Holy Spirit (Cp. John 14:16-17, Acts 1:8). He will enable us to speak His words and show His compassion. But to experience it you have to go. He never asks us to go it alone. The one who says
go also says, I am with you to take away your fear, to give you boldness, to give you the words. He just wants us to be the instrument through which He touches people.
C. We donít know where we are to go. Now the call to go, as you know or have heard is a verb tense that means as you are going. Letís explore that for a few minutes. That could mean as we usually teach it that is to become a full time missionary or a pastor and to go to Africa, India, China, Baltimore, Mexico, Washington D.C. or some other nation or
city and make disciples.
It could also mean to go on short term missionary trip each year as we did to Mexico last year and Paw Paw this year.
It could also mean as you go back home to your husband, parents, grandchildren or children, this afternoon. It could mean as you make contact with your neighbors. It could mean, actively learning and sharing your faith with strangers or friends. It could mean as you return to work or school tomorrow Ė make disciples. Do you remember when Jesus healed
the man with a legend of demons? This is what the text says, "Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 "Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you." And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him. (Luke 8:38-39)
At the end of Acts 9, Paul is sent home to Tarsus. Do you think He was silent about his new faith? I donít think so. Galatians 1:19 tells us that he went into the country around his home (Cilicia) and into Syria. He went to tell the story of Jesus and His love.
It could mean as you go to the rod and gun club, the Lionís club, the ball game, or the golf course, you should look to make disciples and / or touch peopleís lives for Jesus. Jesus is with you and in you to minister as He would in this world. As you drink that first cup of coffee or start the car or truck in the morning, you should be asking, "Lord,
what would you have me to do today," or, "Whose life can I touch today for you?" That is your mission
Godís call on your life is for you to go. When you leave here today you should leave with the urgency to go. You will be leaving a sanctuary and will be entering a war-zone and a mission field. Whatever your job is, you must remember that first and foremost you are a follower of Jesus Christ. And His personal representative. You have been called and
chosen, saved and set apart, and commissioned to Go.
Jim you are a Follower of Jesus Christ, and His ambassador, cleverly disguised as a welder
Pat you are a Follower of Jesus Christ, and His ambassador, cleverly disguised as a meat cutter
Marvin you are a Follower of Jesus Christ, and His ambassador, cleverly disguised as a retired barber.
Steve you are a Follower of Jesus Christ, and His ambassador, cleverly disguised as communications guy.
All of you all, are Followers of Jesus Christ, and His personal Ambassadors, cleverly disguised as ordinary people, but commissioned to represent the King of Glory.
III. Roadblocks of the Go
A. Living for Christ among the shadows of your past: Saul was the up-and-coming Pharisee. His greatest accolade was supervising the killing of Stephen by a mob of his people (Acts 8:1). As we said before, heíd gone to Damascus on a mission to imprison and persecute the Christians.
"All those who heard him were astonished and asked, ĎIsnít he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasnít he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?í" (Acts 9:21).
When we respond to Godís go, we get a fresh start with Jesus. But people arenít quick to forget. Sometimes you fall right back into the trouble you were in before. To the family who knew you for your character flaws. To the business you built dishonestly. To the friends who knew you for your sins. Saul ended up preaching Jesus to the Jews who knew him
as the persecutor of Jesus. Your greatest roadblock to living out Godís go is often a reputation from life before you responded to Jesus. Yet we see in Acts 9 that Saul didnít let the shadows of his past stop him or even slow him down. When we step into Godís plan for us, He gives us strength and grace to accomplish what He has asked us to do.
B. Feeling unprepared to be used by God: One of the biggest questions when God calls us to go is often "How long am I supposed to wait and prepare before I act on the go?" For some the going is instant. You donít have many answers but you have a testimony like the man with the legend of demons, or the man born blind in John 9. For some you need to get
before you go out. Sometimes, God calls us but we have unhealthy relationships, addictions, or repetitive sins that keep us spiritually malnourished. To respond to Godís call on our life and to live out the go, we must get healthy spiritually and emotionally. Sometimes that takes time. Remember that health doesnít mean perfection, but rather a growing
obedience to the standard of God.
For some that also means, training because God wants you to leave all to serve Him and the people He loves. Saul went to the desert for 3 years. Some will have to go to Bible school or seminary to prepare.
But all need to assemble with people who are disciples to grow
Saul also spent time with people whoíd been following Jesus longer than him. In Damascus, he spent some time with Ananias. In Jerusalem, he went to Peter. To live out the go in our lives and withstand the roadblocks, we need to be connected to people familiar with the way. Saul would spend the rest of his life connected to other believers. Saul (later
Paul) prayed with them, ate with them, and even debated with them on occasion. We need to be connected to a spiritual community, just as Saul was. Get active in Church, find a small group, find a serving team and surround yourself with people who push you to grow like Jesus.
C. Not understanding Godís plan: Last weekís episode of A.D. explored what Saul was likely feeling. He struggled to understand why God would use Peter, an uneducated fisherman, to fulfill His plan.
The reality of knowing Jesus is this: The more mature I become in my faith, the less I think itís my job to know what the next step will be.
"As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a motherís womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things" (Ecclesiastes 11:5). Isnít that great!
There are many who will walk away from the go on their life because they want understanding before they take a step of faith. Yet God doesnít work that way, because that is not faith. When you make yourself willing to go, God will direct your way (Prov. 3:5-6).
D. Knowing Godís plan will bring pain: Going doesnít spare us from hardship even though when we go, great things are accomplished.
Saul spent just two weeks in Jerusalem before they had to sneak him away to the next city, because his response to Godís go earned him two death threats. In the coming years, this would become the norm for Saul. He was threatened everywhere he went, beaten within inches of his life multiple times, and imprisoned in at least four different cities before
his life was over. Undoubtedly, there were times when he questioned how Godís plan for his life could bring so much pain.
Yet from a prison cell awaiting execution, Saul (Paul) wrote, "For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake." (Phil. 1:29)
Embracing Godís command will cost you something. Thereís no question about it. For you to embrace the go might mean you lose a relationship, follow God across the globe, or give up a cushy retirement to invest in Godís kingdom. You could lose friends, lose a job, or lose opportunities and more.
IV. The Results of the call to go. Because Abram responded to Godís go, the Jews have a homeland. The whole world has been blessed by God
Because Moses responded to Godís go, we have the Bible and Israel was liberated from bondage. Because Philip responded to Godís go, the Ethiopian treasurer found God and maybe many more Ethiopians did as well. Because Ananias responded to Godís go, the greatest missionary of all time was filled with the Spirit and turned loose on this world. Because
Paul responded to Godís go, churches all over Asia Minor and Southern Europe were established and much of the Bible was completed.
V. The reality is that God has a go for every one of us today. He isnít a passive God; Heís active. Jesus spoke about a Heavenly Father who loves the people of this world so much that He would go from the ninety-nine to save the one lost sheep. He chose this overzealous Pharisee named Saul to become His leader in the early churchóa man who almost got
himself killed twice within two weeks. He chose Philip to go to a desert place to find a divine appointment that may have changed a whole country.
For most of us in this room, the go isnít to become a missionary or to put your life on the line tomorrow. For many of you, the go is becoming a better parent. A better spouse, A Better employee, or A better neighbor. The go is starting a faith-filled conversation at work tomorrow. The go is writing a check for one of Godís sons or daughters across the
world. Or a Childrenís Bible club, or mentor a young man or woman or a young couple.
What might the results be if you left here this morning on mission for God? You just might change the world.
You wonít have all the answers. You might not know where the money will come from, you might be called crazy, and youíll probably be terrified in the process. But when we go, we donít go it alone. In your go, there is a greater awareness of Jesus. In your go, there is a greater sense of the reason youíre here. Do any of you remember the 1969 Cheerioís
commercial? "Get yourself Go withÖ"
If each of us responds to Godís go for our lives, we could be in the center of the greatest movement of God this world has ever seen. It will cost something, it will require you to step out to follow God even when you donít know what the next step holds, but it will change this world. Today is the day to go!
INVITATION / CLOSING
In closing today, I want to speak directly to one more group of people who need your own go. Maybe the idea of God having a special calling for your life sounds ridiculous because youíve never experienced a personal God. Understand this: The motivation behind the go we talk about today is you.
Two thousand years ago, God came to earth because you were far off. He lived perfectly, died a sinnerís death, and rose from the dead. He chose to go from His home in heaven to this broken world to redeem you. He then commanded His followers to go around the world to reach every single one of us with this message. Today, youíre here because a going God
has reached out to you, and if youíll respond, today you can live the life you were meant toótaking your go from the God who created you and planned out your life.
What is your go today? Whatever your step to take is, donít let this day pass without responding to Godís call for your life. Imagine what your family might look like a month from now if you respond to the go. Imagine what our church would look like in a year if this room were full of people responding to the go. Imagine how different our national
landscape could look if today, across America, thousands of churches embraced Godís go! Letís see what God can do through His Church! Letís respond to Godís Word by embracing His call for us. Letís be the church of the go! Who will say, I will respond to Godís call to go?
Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman