As Christians, we have been called to an impossible task. Jesus told us that we are to make disciples by going and sharing the gospel with our neighbors and the nations, teaching them all the commandments of God, and baptizing them (Matt. 28:18-20).
Not only are we to do this work because Jesus commanded us to do so, which is a good reason, we are also to spread God’s gospel because we are God’s ambassadors (see my last post: Be an Ambassador). We are the means God uses to bring His message to others.
An Impossible Task
At first thought, this task seems impossible. There are people in our own backyards and around the world, who want nothing to do with Christianity. Whole nations have rejected it. Laws have been passed to punish those who spread it. Friends, family, and co-workers deride us for believing it. And that is just what others are saying. If we honestly examine ourselves, we will find doubt, fear of man, and a desire for our own comfort ripe within.
With so many people, and even ourselves, against us being ambassadors for God, how are we empowered for this mission? Others do not empower us, nor do we empower ourselves. So then, how are we empowered to overcome the obstacles of gospel proclamation and disciple making?
The Holy Spirit Empowers Us
In Matthew 28:20, after Jesus gives the Great Commission, He tells His disciples,
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Then in John 14:15-18, He tells His disciples after He leaves He will ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to them. For He will not leave them as orphans in the world.
In keeping with His earlier promise, before Jesus ascends, He says to His disciples,
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).
And indeed the Holy Spirit is sent to them on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). On this day, the Holy Spirit was poured out on Jesus’ disciples, empowering them to be God’s ambassador to the nations.
Likewise, all those who believe in Jesus as their Savior receive the Holy Spirit and are empowered for their God given mission (Rom. 5:5).
So then, God empowers us for the mission He gives us. We do not take up His mission in our own strength. We are to rely on God for strength, wisdom, and courage to carry out His mission. A mission that seems impossible but is not when we rely on God to strengthen us. One way we can rely on the Lord is through prayer. Asking Him to work in us and among those He has called us to reach with the gospel.
Questions for Reflection
- Do you try to do God’s work in your own power?
- Can you think of a personal example, or a biblical example, where men tried to act in their own strength to do the work of God?
- Would you share a personal example where God has worked through you to reach others with the gospel as you relied on Him to do so?