On teaching Missions
I am involved with the discipleship of our older teens at church and this year I have been focusing on what Missions really is. Its easy to think about the person we send across the ocean to work with natives in a foreign land as a missionary, but in actuality, missions is so much more than that.
As I build my case for for what missions means, I have to start with the involvement of the Holy Spirit in that work. This is my third time teaching the class this year and God has put it on my heart to spend some time digging into the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and how that impacts us in our walks as Christians. I think we ignore, take for granted, or misunderstand that aspect of our faith.
This past Sunday we did a community object lesson. I made some chocolate dipping fondu and brought in various fruits and things to dip into the chocolate. The chocolate that was in the pot was shared by everyone present and we were connected by that breaking of ‘bread’ moment. I expressed to them during the discussion that just as the chocolate that covered their selected treat was the same as the chocolate in the pot, the Holy Spirit that is present in each of our lives is no different than the godhead from which it proceeds. And, just as the food that enters their body impacts their health and energizes them, the Holy Spirit is doing a similar thing in their spiritual lives.
There was a lot of material discussed that evening about the Holy Spirit so I sent an email to them the next day high-lighting some of the information. I am going to capture that data here in my blog so that I have a reference to it in the future. Who knows, maybe it will springboard some discussion here as well.
Hello Missions class!
Last night I left a question kind of hanging out there – which is more real, the physical or spiritual world? Beau had answered the spiritual and Kalya had offered up some insight to the physical. They are both right in that they are both just as real. God gave us a real physical body to respond to this real physical world around us. At the time of our salvation, He gave us the Holy Spirit as a means to deal with and understand the spiritual influences in our lives – namely, Him and His kingdom.
In the light of eternity, we will spend but a brief flash concerned with this physical world. So we could ask the question, “which reality has the most impact?”
I know I threw out a lot of information at you guys last night, so let me step back and give a ‘brief’ overview of where I was trying to take the material.
God/Christ/Holy Spirit = All aspects of the same God. Not different gods, not parts of one god. All are God. They each share the same attributes. God has chosen to reveal Himself in this manner so that we might more fully understand who He is. You might be thinking that it really confuses the matter and you would be right in that we should recognize that God is bigger than what our imaginations can even understand. That is a big statement so let it sink in.
You were created in God’s image. When God formed man, He stopped and had a conversation with ‘Himself’ and said,”Let US make man in our image.” This is a representation that their is a unity of purpose within the Godhead.
That purpose included you before the world was ever created – He has been concerned and working toward your salvation. In His Godhead, He predestined a purpose of His will that you would one day have the ability to have a relationship with Him. In order for that to happen, He knew that He would have to make a way for you to be redeemed from a fallen state and, stepping from Heaven, He became man in the form of Jesus. Christ’s death provided the redemption (the payment needed to set us free) that we could not accomplish on our own, and finally, it was necessary to provide Himself in the form of the Holy Spirit in order to draw, convict, and indwell us so that He could become the guide and power in our lives. I say all of this so that you have some understanding of how Loving God is toward you.
When God created Adam and Eve, He breathed life into them. They were designed for eternity but their sin caused death to enter into creation. God had told them on the day that they ate from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil that they would die. Their rebellion brought judgment on all of mankind. We are all born under a sentence of death.
Before Adam and Eve rebelled, God had walked with them in the Garden of Eden. He had a close, intimate relationship with them. So their sin not only brought death, but it also broke that intimate relationship that they once had. For them and for their offspring. God desires for us to know Him because of His great love for us, so we see in the old testament how He dwelt among man in the Holy of Holies within the tabernacle. Only the high priest could enter that place and only one time a year. God’s glory was represented inside the Holy of Holies in the form of fire.
Why is this important to know? Remember that the building of the Tower of Babel, a monument to man’s glory, was stopped when God confused their language so that they could not understand each other. They no longer had unity. The day of Pentecost, as recorded in the Acts chapter 2 shows us God at work to repair the relationship and the unity through the coming of the Holy Spirit. Christ’s death had purchased the redemption that was necessary to re-establish that intimate relationship that Adam and Eve had known with God. Before our salvation, we were dead spiritually and just as God had breathed life into Adam and Eve, the Holy Spirit came upon those in Jerusalem in the form of something that sounded like a rushing wind. God breathed life into spiritually dead people through the baptism of His Holy Spirit. The Holy of Holies moved from the tabernacle and into the very lives of those men and women who were present on the day of Pentecost. God displayed His glory through flames of fire above the heads of those present. Just as He had displayed His glory within the tabernacle. And then those people started speaking in the languages of those that were around them, languages that they had not known before, witnessing to them of God’s glory and grace.
- God had reversed the curse of death. While we may die physically, we will know eternal life in His new kingdom.
- He had re-established an intimate relationship with mankind.
- His glory was displayed in power and grace.
- And He provided the means by which we can have unity.
John 15:5 captures these words of Christ, “I am the vine and you are the branches, if a man abides in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing.”
Christ indwelling you in the form of the Holy Spirit is the only way you can be empowered to do His will. His Spirit brings life, purpose, discipline, unity, and so many more things to the true believer. That’s why it is important to understand the Holy Spirit in order to fully appreciate what Missions is all about.
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witness both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
So, what are your perceptions of the Holy Spirit?