Scripture Reading: John 17:20-23
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
We are blessed to be a blessing – we have many opportunities to share this:
We struggle to be a blessing to others – but we risk losing the spark of the Spirit.
Jesus was on mission to draw people into the loving embrace of the Father.
Prayer is a powerful mission tool – it changes lives and opens doors.
In a challenging world, where its hard to publicly be a Christian, prayer is powerful.
Over the past six weeks we have explore what it looks like to be a blessing to others. We have reminded ourselves that God is amazing, his grace unconditional, his love beyond measure, despite the state we seem to be in. With such an amazing God who comes to us, he sends us out to be a blessing to others in sharing that love. We have seen how simple acts of kindness can change hearts, how listening to another person shows they have value and worth, how eating and socialising opens doors of opportunity for the Gospel, and how being sent renews our own souls as we pass on the message of grace to those around us. In the midst of this we have been encouraged to be conversant with the Gospel, listening closely to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and becoming acquainted with the Scriptures so God can use us when the Spirit opens doors of opportunity to share the Gospel.
It’s a daunting task being on mission with God. There is so much we can do, so many people we can connect with, its hard to know where to start. Too often Christians don’t engage in mission simply because they find it all too much. That’s why we broke it down for you to 3 people. 3 people you can listen to, eat with, show kindness, and speak to about Jesus. I don’t believe this is optional for the Christian life. It is a necessary part of walking with Jesus, a part that if we don’t use we lose. It’s like not using certain muscles, they eventually atrophy, deteriorate and become useless. It’s like having a glass of water that we dare not share in case we run out ourselves, not realising that the fountain of life is waiting to fill it again and again and again. This approach is literally killing our churches. They are getting older, tired, and shrinking in number as funerals rapidly become the more frequent public event next to Sunday worship.
In Jesus high priestly prayer (John 17), Jesus prays for the mission he has been sent to realise. He then prays for the disciples who took up the call to follow him. And then he prays for those to whom the disciples are being sent, that they may know Jesus just as the disciples know him. For Jesus mission was the natural and essential element of his ministry. He was sent be the Father to reconcile the world to the Father through him. His entire ministry was not about him, but about those around him. He calls the disciples and shows them what it is to be a follower of Jesus. His ministry is more than words, it is full of activity. He eats with people, both the religious and those outside the faithful. He performs acts of kindness and service to all who need it, both Jew and Gentile. He doesn’t discriminate, or judge, he allows love to be his guide, even to the moment of his death. His resurrection conquers death, and his ascensions reassures us that there is much more beyond this life to those who believe in him. Jesus was on mission, and he prays for those who are yet to be called that they too may join him on mission.
I was once asked by a lady about how she can help her husband find Jesus. He was a educated man, but very anti-religious especially Christian. I asked her to pray for him. On many occasions she came back to me pleading for help, and each time I asked her to pray for him. One day he showed up out of the blue and said, “can you tell me more about this Christian thing, and can you not tell my wife?”. Over several weeks we worked through the Christian faith together. We had a family camp about to happen, and she asked him to go, so he suggested he be baptised on that camp, but again, “don’t tell my wife!” So, I baptised him, and her tears of joy moved everyone as I baptised him on that camp. Later she asked me what changed him, was it my teaching? I said no, it was your prayers. Prayer changes lives. It changes your life. It changes the lives of those around you. It does amazing things, opens tightly closed doors, breaks through on the most objectionable heart. If you get nothing more out of these past several sessions, please take this one, pray everyday for 3 people and ask God to bring them to Jesus.
We can make a difference in the lives of those around us. We live in a world that seems to be fluctuating between hostile and uninterested in Christianity. Too often we have been embarrassed, made to feel shame, attacked, ignored, rejected, and abused because we are Christians, and that’s before we tell people we are. Satan wants us to be silent, but the one thing he can’t silence is our prayers to Jesus. The greatest gift we can give to another person is the hope of life for eternity in the presence of a grace filled loving God. It’s a gift people don’t realise as special until the Spirit opens their eyes to it. It is a gift we too often take for granted. The most effective way to share it is to simply take a couple of minutes each day and pray for another person. We are a people who have been blessed beyond our imaginations, called to bless people into a life with Jesus for eternity. Let’s get on our knees and ask the Spirit to open the way for others to share this with us.