God’s supernatural

Jesus called together his twelve disciples. He gave them the power to force out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and sickness.– Matthew 10:1

 Indeed, I will tell how Christ worked miracles and wonders by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have preached the good news about him all the way from Jerusalem to Illyricum.– Romans 15:19

God himself showed that his message was true by working all kinds of powerful miracles and wonders. He also gave his Holy Spirit to anyone he chose to. – Hebrews 2:4

While we do not deny the validity of the Word of God, many of us have not experienced this kind of New Testament power in our personal ministries.

Sometimes the question arises whether a Christian is really secure in Christ if he/she can come under demonic attack. The Bible warnings concerning demonic activity are all addressed to believers; so it is evident that Christians can come under attack. There is also abundant evidence that God has provided the resources for the believer to be victorious over such attacks. But the responsibility for choosing truth, for using the armor, for doing the resisting is clearly on the Christian. God does not do that for us. He commands us to use the resources He has provided. This issue in this struggle is not salvation; it is fellowship with the Father and victory in the Christian life.- Timothy Warner

Dr. Richard De Ridder, who was also a missionary in Sri Lanka, said that what deeply impressed him was the irrelevance of so much of traditional Reformed theology to the Sri Lankans and their situation. He realized that this theology seldom spoke to their real needs. He noted that Satan, demons, angels, charms, etc., are neither of great concern nor do they receive much attention in the West. Yet these are living issues for the Christians in Sri Lanka. The greatest joy for Dr. De Ridder was the proclamation of Christ’s victory over the power of evil, and to see the shackles of slavery to elementary spirits broken by Christ.

John’s disciples asked, ‘Are you he that should come, or do we look for another?’. Jesus answered not with logical proofs, but by a demonstration of power in the curing of the sick and casting out of evil spirits. So much is clear. Yet when I read the passage as a missionary in India, and sought to apply it to missions in our day, I had a sense of uneasiness. As a Westerner, I was used to presenting Christ on the basis of rational arguments, not by evidences of his power in the lives of people who were sick, possessed and destitute. In particular, the confrontation with spirits that appeared so natural a part of Christ’s ministry belonged in my mind to a separate world of the miraculous – far from ordinary everyday experience. – Paul Hiebert
When Jesus came, He introduced the Kingdom of God into the present world.  This was a direct confrontation or invasion of the kingdom of darkness ruled by Satan.
The god who rules this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers. They cannot see the light, which is the good news about our glorious Christ, who shows what God is like. – 2 Corinthians 4:4
We need to take Satan more seriously.
Even though it is not God’s will that any should perish, the world today is full of those who are perishing.  There are three billion of them out there and our task, as instruments of God’s hands, is to reach out to them and bring them into the Kingdom through the new birth.  This is the great missiological challenge.
We do the best we can to reach the lost for Christ, knowing full well ahead of time, on both biblical and experimental grounds, that we are not going to win them all.
Charles H. Kraft writes: “We’re hearing more and more about power encounter these days among non-charismatics. We are more open and less afraid of spiritual powers than we used to be.” He proceeds to refer to outpourings in the South Pacific, stating that “the early acceptance of the gospel occurred when there was an ‘encounter’ demonstrating that the power of God is greater than that of the local pagan deity.”
biblefacts
Advertisements

Conversion

Jesus warned us that this turning away from the past may involve painful sacrifices, even the loss of family and possessions.

It also means to a reappraisal of every aspect of our world view, our behaviour and our relationships.

Our World View

The heart of every culture is a “religion” of some kind. These religious beliefs function like tectonic plates that give shape to observable patterns of life in the cultural community. J.H. Bavinck puts it simply:

“Culture is religion made visible; it is religion actualized in the innumerable relations of daily life.”

B.Harvie Conn builds on Bavinck’s insights: he stresses…

“…the core place of religion in the structuring of culture’s meaning and usage.”
Religion is “not an area of life, one among many, but primarily a direction of life …. Religion, then, becomes the heart of culture’s integrity, its central dynamic as an organism, the totalistic radical response of man-in-covenant to the revelation of God.”
“Religion” is a whole cluster of basic beliefs and values, which is the reason why for our purposes we are looking at “worldview” as an equivalent expression. True conversion to Christ is bound to strike at the heart of our cultural inheritance.
Our Behaviour
The lordship of Jesus challenges our moral standards and whole ethical lifestyle.  This is not “repentance” but rather the “fruit that befits repentance,” the change of conduct which issues from a change of outlook. Both our minds and our wills must submit to the obedience of Christ.
Our Relationships
At the day of Pentecost, after Peter finished speaking, those who received his message were baptized, devoted themselves to the new fellowship and found that the Lord added to their fellowship daily.  Their “transfer” meant they were spiritually distinct rather than that they were socially segregated.
“Jesus is Lord” means more than that he is Lord of our world view, behaviours and relationships, and more so, he is Lord of culture. It means that He is Lord of the powers, having been exalted by the Father to universal sovereignty; principalities and powers having been made subject to Him.  Many from the majority world believers have spoken both of the reality of evil powers and the necessity to demonstrate the supremacy of Jesus over them.
Power in human hands is always dangerous.  We are called to mind the recurring theme of Paul’s two letters to the Corinthians – that God’s power, which is clearly seen in the cross of Christ, operates through human weakness.  Worldly people worship power – Christians who have it know its peril.
Conversion is in essence a turning to God which continues as all areas of life are brought in increasingly radical ways under the lordship of Christ.  Conversion involves the Christian’s complete transformation and total renewal in mind and character according to the likeness of Christ.
conversion

Humble sensitivity

We desire to see in every follower of Christ something very special.

 I myself, Paul, appeal to you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!—2 Corinthians 10:1

In other words – a humble sensitivity of Christ’s love.

Jesus’ intended that our mission in the world to be modeled on His own.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”– John 20:21

Jesus Himself had to self-humble Himself in order to serve us. It is that same mind in us, humility of mind, to count others more important than ourselves.

Jesus shared our human nature and was tempted as we are, and learned obedience through His suffering and tasted death for us.  During His public ministry Jesus befriended the poor and the powerless, healed the sick, fed the hungry, touched untouchables and risked His reputation by associating with those whom society rejected.

awe

Communicate the gospel to others

To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gifts of the Spirit to all who repent and believe. Our Christian presence in the world is indispensable to evangelism, and so is that kind of dialogue whose purpose is to listen sensitively in order to understand. But evangelism itself is the proclamation of the historical, biblical Christ as Saviour and Lord, with a view to persuading people to come to him personally and so be reconciled to God. In issuing the gospel invitation we have no liberty to conceal the cost of discipleship. Jesus still calls all who would follow him to deny themselves, take up their cross, and identify themselves with his new community. The results of evangelism include obedience to Christ, incorporation into his Church and responsible service in the world. – Lausanne Covenant

The Bible’s overriding purpose throughout is to bear witness to Christ, to proclaim the goon news that He is Lifegiver and Lord and to share that story to people so that they may trust Him.

We find Jesus, as our Lord, demanding total allegiance. In fact, some first-century Jews saw the gospel as undermining Judaism.

“Fellow Israelites, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this place; more than that, he has actually brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” – Acts 21:28

First-century Romans also feared for the stability of the state, since in their view the Christian missionaries were being disloyal to Caesar and advocating customs which were not lawful for Romans to practice.

And are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe. And Jason has entertained them as guests. They are all acting contrary to the decrees of the emperor, saying that there is another king named Jesus. – Acts 16:21;17:7

Still today Jesus challenges many of the cherished beliefs and customs of every culture and society.

The apostle Paul remains a great example of one whom Jesus first stripped of pride in his own cultural privileges and then taught to adapt to the cultures of others, making himself their slave.

For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them.  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law.  To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law.  To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some.  I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings. – 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

PrayforEasterBroadcasts_2000x833 jpg

 

 

 

Core identity

Moved by the love of Christ, we seek ways of living and serving that fit who God has made us and that allow us to carry out our purpose with full integrity and wisdom —

Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.[a]  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. – Colossians 4:5-6

 

 

 

Our Core Identity

 

Core Mandate

The mandate to bless the nations began with Abraham.  God’s promise to bless all nations through Abraham provides the biblical foundation and the proper heart attitude for ministry.

“Blessings” refers to God’s gracious favour and power bestowed on those who respond to Him by faith.  The blessing so His favour draws us into relationship with Himself, resulting in peace, well-being and salvation.

In Christ, we discover the demonstration of God’s liberating power,  Paul highlights the relational and powerful dimensions of blessing in Christ most explicitly in Galatians.

Implicit in the Abrahamic blessing, we find our mandate as well as our message.

 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.” – Galatians 3:8

Our core message of the blessing which is in Christ aligns with our core mandate to bring Christ’s blessing to all nations.

Followers of Jesus in every country

Every human being who has a physical or spiritual need is a valid mission field for those who want to incarnate the love of Jesus, regardless of where they live.  At the same time, it is easy to see where the greatest concentrations of this unevangelised population lie.

This good news of the kingdom [the gospel] will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end [of the age] will come. – Matthew 24:14 

Just in terms of these five nations — Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and China — the challenge we face in ministries like the one I am with, Partners International, and many other mission ministries, is the opportunity of reaching them.

Make-Disciples-Website-Banner-

Has Everyone Heard?

China on course to become ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years

GAUDIUM ET SPES

When The Disciples Were First Called Christians

“Where People From every Country and every Culture Find Christ”

The Top 20 Countries where Christianity is Growing the Fastest

10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the Great Commission