grass hill 450

A Heap of Truth, a Pinch of Grace, and a Serving of Pain

 grass hill 450

January 7, 2012 will forever be seared in my mind. I had been plagued by numerous questions for well over a year – questions like “What is God’s plan for my life?” and “Did He already make it clear, and I just did not see it?” And there I was, on a slopped grassy knoll in the northern hills of Thailand on a missions exposure trip, still suffering from these questions. I could not get over them. Could it be because I didn’t understand God?

If you’re like me, maybe these questions have kept you up at night. But shouldn’t they? I mean, we are talking about something of utmost importance, right? I eventually learned that God does, indeed, have a plan for my life. But it’s not just a plan for me, it’s a plan for all eternity. His plan is a mission of redemption.

For God to get through my stone-cold heart, He needed to pull out the Holy Spirit beat-down stick, you know, the kind with rusty nails in it. I needed to be 8,000 miles away from my life – stripped of all comfort and placed within members of His body – to ultimately see His plan. Because it’s the kind of plan that is so immense, so borderline impossible to see, that I had to experience it first hand. And once I tasted the sweetness of His incredible plan, I could only cry out with pure joy.

God’s plan is a mission of redemption. Once I tasted the sweetness of His incredible plan, I could only cry out with pure joy.

Our God – the creator, the wonderful, the merciful, the supreme, the everlasting God – is a missional God! He has infinite skill, total experience, and complete knowledge of how to spread His name among all of creation. Our God is the ultimate missionary.

The often-quoted “Great Commission” gets used for all sorts of teaching topics. The truth is, Jesus did not give a new mandate. He only repeated the very message God the Father set forth since the beginning of time. Go back to Jonah, Abraham, and even Adam, and you still won’t get to the beginning of that mandate. We find His mandate in the first three verses of Genesis: “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3)

You may be as skeptical, as I was when I first began to understand this plan, but really, how could we not be skeptical. Missions are for those people – those super Christians, those gifted evangelists, those talented preachers, those crazy zealots. Right? It’s simply what we’re used to seeing in our Western Churches.

But that’s where we are mistaken. Missions are not just for the special, strong or talented. We are all called – no, SAVED – into being missionaries!

We are not saved for our own good, but for the glory of God. We are saved from a deserving death into an unworthy life of riches so that our testimony and very breath would spread the light of Genesis 1.

We are saved from a deserving death into an unworthy life of riches so that our testimony and very breath would spread the light of Genesis 1.

We learn in John 1:1-5 that Jesus was not only the very light in that darkness, but that He was always the plan and His means of executing that plan was always through missions. Look to Adam for God’s mandate to be fruitful and multiply. God’s first man, our human father, our lineage, was more intimate with God than we could imagine and he knew the glory of God and knew His holiness. Adam spread that glory for his 930 years of life. In the sovereignty of our Lord, we can even see His plan in the names of our forefathers. The total plan of Christ is in the very details of the genealogy of Adam and his descendants (Genesis 5) – Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalael, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah. In Hebrew, this reads: man, appointed, mortal, sorrow, the Blessed God, shall come down, teaching, his death shall bring, the despairing, rest. Oh the glory of the Word of God! Jesus planted His mission of redemption in our earliest and most precious historical records.

Our God is a missional God and we will miss out on the full blessing of knowing Him if we are not actively living in that missional light, actively self-talking the gospel to ourselves and then actively pouring out that same gospel into the darkness of this world. We have been grafted into an eternal covenant with the LORD of all – the creator of the universe!

Our God is a missional God and we will miss out on the full blessing of knowing Him if we are not actively living in that missional light.

“Listen, you heavens, and I will speak; hear, you earth, the words of my mouth.” (Deuteronomy 32:1)

“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:6-7)

“I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 8:11)

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’” (Revelation 7:9-10)

We are most blessed when we are walking in His light and His ways. The message of Christianity is not that God loves us so much that He sent His son to die for us, because that makes humanity the object of God’s design. When we are the center of Christianity, we can then decide what is best for us, what our lives are about, our dreams and aspirations, what church should be like for us, and worse yet, what God can and cannot do.

No my friends, the message of Christianity is the exact opposite. God loves us for HIS glory. HIS greatness. HIS mercy. HIS majesty. So that HE would be made known among all nations, kindreds, people, and tongues! God is the object and center of Christianity. No longer will we decide what’s best for us, what our lives are about, our dreams and aspirations, what our church ought to look like, or what God can and cannot do. With the correct biblical understanding of God’s heart and plan, we can bow at His throne, submit to His will, lean on His ways, seek His council, desire His word, breathe His grace, receive His blessings, and ultimately find total joy in all suffering for His name’s sake.

With the correct biblical understanding of God’s heart and plan, we can bow at His throne, submit to His will, lean on His ways, seek His council, desire His word, breathe His grace, receive His blessings, and ultimately find total joy in all suffering for His name’s sake.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20)

So, brothers and sisters, I plead with you to take up the missional redemption plan of God and to partner in His work of making His name known among all creation.

Glory and honor to God, forever and ever. Amen.**

 

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Image Credit: Leireunzueta, Creative Commons

**If God has been stirring in you, you have a perfect opportunity here locally to attend the internationally-renowned class called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. This class is the comprehensive study of God’s heart for all people. For more information, check it out here!

Editor's Note: This article is part of our STG Men's Series. Check out the rest of the articles here!

This article is part of our STG Men’s Series. Check out the rest of the articles here!


About

Matt works as an independent agricultural consultant across California. Recently married to STG author Jaime Strmiska, they both find their greatest joy in serving others and moving others closer to Christ. Matt was pummeled, then saved by God in 2010 and has a strong passion for mobilizing the Church into action. World evangelization begins at his home in downtown Fresno and keeps him on the run anywhere God will take him.


  • Michelle Walter

    Enjoyed this immensly! Very thought provoking…..going to miss all the men’s wise words. Many thanks to all the guys!

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