The calling and confidence of church

Most Monday mornings I feel like resigning.  Did I explain God’s Word well enough?  Was my sermon understandable? Was I faithful to the biblical text?  Should I have used more illustrations?  Would another minister do a better job?  Is it all worth it?

Monday morning blues can be quite typical for those in the ministry of the Word.   I constantly need to remind myself that the success of the church is definitely not up to me (thank goodness!). I need to remind myself of the calling and confidence of the church.

Why do we exist as a church?

We exist, not because we have nothing better to do, but because we want to make disciples of Jesus.

We want to see people transferred from darkness to light (conversion) and then transformed to be more like Jesus (sanctification)

Or in the words of Jesus himself in Matthew 28:18-20, where he summed up the task of the church:

What is a disciple?

(1) Someone who is transferred from darkness to light

(2) Someone who is being transformed to be more like Jesus

All our ministries, every single one, are directly and indirectly geared to making disciples of Jesus.

Whether you are a newcomer or regular welcomed well at the front door by a Meeter and Greeter, or  shown an open seat by a friendly sidesmen, or encouraged by the music & songs, or edified by the sermon, or able to chat to others over coffee, or phoned later in the week to say, “we’re so glad you visited”, or visited yourself by people in the church, or part of a newcomers or regular Bible Study – all our ministries are geared towards the disciple-making of children and adults.

1. We want to see Jesus glorified

The first line of the Lord’s prayer is, Hallowed be Thy Name. God’s name is hallowed, set apart and lifted high when Jesus is glorified.  Jesus is glorified when sinners turn to him in repentance and faith.  As a church, we want to see Jesus glorified and made more famous.

2. We obey Jesus

The Great Commission is not a suggestion, it’s a command. We are commanded to make disciple and to exert ourselves to that great end. We as a church have no choice. We must do it.

3. We believe in the reality of heaven and hell

I always find attending funeral services is very sobering.  I see the coffin, sometimes open, and I know that person is somewhere.  Where will you be 7 minutes after your heart stops beating?

We believe that we will be somewhere.  Jesus spoke of an eternal heaven and an eternal hell; and Jesus always spoke the truth.

We are convinced that every day people are dying and are facing a Christ-less eternity, we must do what we can to share the glorious, life-saving, hell-neutralizing gospel of Jesus.

4. We love people

We love people enough to warn them of the future, inevitable day of the wrath of God and the reality of an eternal hell.  If we hated people we would simply tell them what they want to hear. If we hated people we would say that sin doesn’t matter and all roads lead to heaven.  But we don’t hate people, we love them.

The task of disciple-making sounds like it will be tough and dangerous and even life-threatening. Why do we have confidence that our task will succeed?

Fortunately, the One to whom all power and authority has been given, has promised  in Matthew 28:18-20 to be with us till the end of this current age.

And not only that, listen to Jesus’ promise in Matthew 16:18:

The gates of Hell/ Hades are not the forces of Satan, but rather death itself. Jesus promises that because he will conquer death, the church will never die out.  The Church and those in the church will conquer death, because Jesus has defeated death. We are assured that Jesus is with us and we will never die, even if we perish in this world. Jesus promises to build his church. We are on the winning team. We must expect conversion and growth. We must plan for conversions and growth. We must be willing to spend money for conversions and growth, all because Jesus said I will build my church.

For example, Iran is one of the most ‘closed’ countries, where Christians are persecuted the most. The Iranian revolution of 1979 established a hard-line Islamic regime. Over the next two decades, Christians faced increasing opposition and persecution: All missionaries were kicked out, evangelism was outlawed, Bibles were banned, and several pastors were killed.

The church came under tremendous pressure. Many feared the small Iranian church would soon wither away and die.

But the exact opposite has happened. Despite continued hostility from the late 1970’s until now, Iranians have become the most open Muslim people to the gospel in the Middle East.

Last year the mission research organization Operation World named Iran as having the fastest-growing evangelical church in the world.*

Jesus said, I will build my church.

We can have confidence in the gospel and should expect growth in our churches, because Jesus keeps his promises.

So, I won’t resign. I’ll keep putting my trust in Jesus and his promises.

 

*https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-story-of-the-irans-church-in-two-sentences