It's In the Name
|Pixabay, Public Domain|
He guides us. The direction He takes us leads to transforming us into people who look like Him. He has a mission in mind that becomes a goal in this transformation.
When Jesus was about to return to His Father after His resurrection, He commissioned His followers with these words: “…go and make disciples of all nations...” (Matthew 28:19).
The scope of the task was somewhat new to the disciples, but the message and the mission were not. Followers of Jesus had been engaged in spreading the Gospel from the beginning of His ministry (i.e. Matthew 10).
In fact, people of God having an impact for God on the unbelievers around them had been God’s mission as far back as Abraham. God formed a nation of witnesses, of believers, whose words and actions were designed to showcase Him before the nations.
“He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3)
The paths of righteousness that He leads us on are meant to bring glory to His name through the salvation of those who have seen Him revealed in us.
I read an interesting book review this morning, written by Darryl Dash, who is a church planter in the city of Toronto. In the review, Darryl highlights the point made by the author that holiness, or righteousness, leads to mission.
Somehow we got it into our heads that the two were mutually exclusive, or that holiness and mission couldn't exist at the same time.
But that was never God’s intent. He created a nation, Israel, to be His people for the purpose of winning the nations. They were to be so different from all the rest that they would immediately draw attention to themselves, and to Him, and cause their neighbours to say: “What makes these people so different?”
They failed in that task. Rather than influence the nations around them for good and for God, they were influenced by the nations around them and fell into the evil practices of their neighbours. God’s name was tarnished. Sound familiar? God punished Israel for bringing shame on Him rather than bringing glory to that wonderful Name.
We, the church, are called to be those righteous people on mission who will bring glory to God’s name by reflecting Him well in the world.
Peter writes: “…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light…Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:9, 11, 12).
The sheep are here for the glory of the shepherd. We can bring glory to the Lord—or bring shame upon Him—depending on whether or not we are willing to let Him guide us in those paths of righteousness for which we have been designed.
We are on a mission to the nations. He has, as He said, “…other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also…” (John 10:16). We are witnesses to Him, and for Him—for good or for ill.
To bring shame on His Name, or to bring Him glory.