Sundays: 9 & 11am LATEST MESSAGE

As You Sent Me, I Send Them

Charlie Boyd - 1/31/2021

With all the chaos going on right now politically and socially—with all the injustice and dishonesty, the deception and hypocrisy, the violence and the growing censorship—the question for the church is today is this: What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus at such a time as this? What does it mean to follow Jesus in the midst of all this? Back in the summer, I ran across something that defined what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. It’s from Dallas Willard, and it’s really good and thought-provoking. So here it is again—here’s Dallas Willard’s definition of a disciple—"A disciple is a person who has decided that the most important thing in their life is to learn how to do what Jesus said to do. A disciple is not a person who has things under control or knows a lot of things. Disciples simply are people who are constantly revising their affairs to carry through on their decision to follow Jesus.”[i] I love that. In these troubling days, the most important thing you and I can be doing is learning how to do what Jesus said to do, and to be constantly revising our affairs to carry through on our decision to follow Jesus. And that’s what we try to do every Sunday morning. We open up God’s Word and we’re seeking to learn from Jesus how to do what Jesus has told us to do. And that means, we constantly have to think about what we are doing, why we’re doing it, and how we’re doing it. And, we have to be constantly evaluating and revising how we are living to bring our lives more in line with what Jesus has called us to do. And, we’re going to learn more about that today. For some time now, we’ve been studying our way through the Gospel of John and we’ve come to chapter 17—a chapter commonly referred to as Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, but to me, this is the real “Lord’s Prayer” because on the night in which Jesus was betrayed, the night before he will die on the Cross, Jesus prays for his church. He prays for the disciples/the apostles who are there with him that night, and, he prays for all those who will come to faith in Jesus through their eyewitness testimony and their preaching which ultimately gets passed down from one generation to the next through what has come to be known as our New Testament until 1900 years or so later it comes down to us. In other words, in John 17, Jesus is praying for you and me and FG. Honestly, I can’t think of a more important passage of Scripture for such a time as this because in this prayer we hear Jesus’ heart for his church, we hear what he wants most for us. And, knowing that Jesus prayed for us just before he died for us should cause us to want to be an answer to his prayer.

READ John 17:13-20—Jesus says in v18—“As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” He’s talking about “mission” from the Latin “missio” which means “to send.” He was sent from the Father on a mission to this world, and in the same way, he’s sending us out to carry forward his mission. Here are the two main questions we will ask and answer in this message. And here they are right up front. First, what was Jesus’ mission? The mission of Jesus was to show the world the glory of his Father. Second, what is our mission? Our mission to show the world the glory of Christ. Jesus’ mission was to glorify his Father in heaven. Our mission is to glorify Christ.

First, Jesus’ mission was to show the world the glory of the Father (look at vv1,4,6). What is “glory?” The word “glory” means weighty as opposed to frivolous, it means substantial as opposed to unimportant, it means—lasting as opposed to temporary. To show that something is “glorious” is to show that it lasts, that it has weight, that it is something that really matters. Jesus came to show the world God’s glory because he knows that the root of all our personal and cultural and national problems is a “glory” problem. For example, when you decide that money is more important than honesty or honesty is more important than money, you are making a theological decision about “glory,” and that decision has practical application. When you decide that money is more important than honesty, you’re saying that God is not that important. You’re saying that you are more important than God or what God has to say. Really, you’re acting as if God isn’t even there or that God doesn’t matter that much. Here’s the deal—the church has no mission if the glory of God is not more important than everything else. So, every one of us has to decide what really matters, what really lasts, what’s really valuable, what’s truly glorious. We have to decide to live for the glory of God. And that means, we have to constantly revise the affairs of our lives so we carry forward Jesus’ mission in the world. Jesus’ mission was to show the world the glory of God.

Second, our mission is to show the world the glory of Christ (v10). Jesus doesn’t send us into the world to talk about God in general, but to talk about Jesus as the way to God in particular. To glorify God is to make much of God. To glorify Jesus is to make much of Jesus. We are sent into this broken world to show people, to tell people, that there is a God in heaven, and this God is a good, loving, merciful, just, and holy God. And,we tell them and show them by the way we live that Jesus is the way into knowing God and the life he offers. That’s our mission and every Christian has been entrusted with that mission. God calls some to be on mission to people in faraway places. He calls others to be on mission by sending them into their communities. He sends them to reach the people in their sphere of influence. Most of us are sent out on that mission—to make much of Jesus in your spheres of influence at home, at work, with your friends and relatives and neighbors, and new people you meet along your way.

The question is: Can you talk about Jesus as easily as you can talk about politics? Can you explain your faith in Jesus as easily as you talk about social justice? If you exchange the glory of God for the glory of politics or the glory of all the social change you feel needs to take place, you are treating God and his mission as having less importance than the other important things in your life. The bottom line is this— To be on mission with Jesus in your sphere of influence requires you to be able to have conversations about Jesus and your faith in Jesus as naturally and as easily as you talk about all the other things that are important to you. It requires you to talk about who Jesus is, why he came, and the difference he’s made in your life in a conversational way. And in these conversations, it’s not about you convincing someone that they are wrong and you’re right. It’s not about you getting them to pray a prayer to receive Christ—of course, if that happens, that’s great! —but, it’s mostly about you “glorifying” Jesus. It’s about you making much of Jesus—much more about Jesus than all the other important things in your life. And it means that you are careful not to let any of those other things get in the way of being able to talk about Jesus. Jesus prayed this for you and me and FG—v18—Father, as you sent me into this world, so I’m sending my church into the world. Jesus’ mission was to show the world the glory of God. Our mission is to show the world the glory of Christ. How will you revise the affairs of your life so you can carry forward the mission Jesus has entrusted to you?