We were privileged to have Mr. Ralph Leong share the message this past Sunday: After the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, before He ascended into heaven, what did He do and what did He teach? Luke tells us in Acts 1 that Jesus spent 40 days on earth, presented Himself alive to the apostles appearing to them with many proofs, and speaking about the kingdom of God. We can assume that He would spend the last days on earth teaching the disciples what was the most important things about Himself, and preparing the disciples to carry out His mission. In fact, that's what He did. Jesus spent most of His time explaining His purpose in coming, dying, and rising from the dead, and commissioning the disciples to go into all the nations to share about Himself. In short, He taught about missions.
There are three things we can learn from Luke 24 regarding missions:
Motivation for Missions: Jesus wasted no time in teaching the whole point of His coming. He reminded them that He had been telling them that He is the fulfillment of the OT prophecies while He was still with them. The whole purpose of His coming was to suffer, die and on the third day rise again. The resurrection vindicates all that Jesus have said about the Father and about the Son. Jesus came to bring glory to God. He lived for God's glory (John 12:23, 27) and this is our true motivation for missions.
Method in Missions
If the motivation and focus of missions is God's glory, what is the method? What is the most effective way to bring people into a saving knowledge of Jesus? In Luke 24, Jesus used the Scriptures to open eyes, minds, and eventually their hearts to believe.
Unbelievers are spiritually blind, and unless or until the veil is lifted from their eyes, they cannot see and thus cannot sense the real value of God in Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can change peoples hearts into believing. We are also important for God to use for His purposes. The disciples were so thrilled after learning Jesus is really alive, that they had to get up and go tell others about it.
Message of Missions
So if our motive for missions is for the glory of God and the method of missions is relying on the Word of God to penetrate peoples hearts, what is our message? What did Jesus tell them to proclaim? Repentance and forgiveness of sins.
There has to be an admission of personal guilt or shame before repentance can make sense. But when there is admission, there is forgiveness. The bad news is that we are all dead, incapable of saving ourselves. Not only are we dead, we are willing participants in our rebellion against God.
We need a Savior, someone who can bring us back to life, to show us God's love and to win over our own resistance to God. The good news is that God has already done something (or everything) to take care of the problem of sin - by having Jesus die on the cross for us, and raising Him up on the third day, to show His great mercy and grace.
Our motivation for missions is for God's name to be glorified all over the whole earth. Our method is to go and use God's word. Our message needs to include both God's wrath and God's grace.
Are you willing and ready to go?