Jesus came into our world with a goal in mind. The apostle John says, The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil (1Jn 3:8, NASB). The Lord came with the knowledge that He was going to die and be resurrected to set us free from the clutches of Satan. He approached His task aggressively and founded His church with an evangelistic explosion on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). But prior to the actual happening, Jesus revealed His strategy to His disciples. What Jesus said to them gives us a clear picture of His intentions for the Churchs mission and some steps we must take to realize the goal.
We can easily become distracted by the world and settle into a passive church routine. The turn of a new year often brings us to a point of re-evaluation. We think about new years resolutions and plan to go to the gym more this year. I would like to go much deeper than that today. Lets examine Jesus revelation of the Church to His disciples and take stock of our involvement in His work.
What is Jesus saying?
- Jesus said He is establishing a new structure for the people of GOD called the church (v 18).
- Jesus said, I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven
God will confirm your forbidding and permitting (v 19).
- Jesus said,
and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. The church was conceived for offense (v 18).
How are we to respond to Jesus founding of the Church as an offensive force?
- Put your focus on the things of GOD.
To become an offensive force we must first die to the world (v 24). The cost of becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ is a complete sell out (v 25).
- Reject passivity.
He wants us to go looking for those in trouble. He wants us to rescue people who are held captive by the devil (1Ti 1:15).
- Dont get saved and then sit on the bench!
Jesus has invited you into the game. Get in! (1Co 3:1, 2)
- Get free.
If you are oppressed or addicted, job one is to get the chains off (Heb 12:1).
- Listen to Jesus.
The Lord is already on offense. If you listen to Him, He will lead you into the fray (1Jn 3:8; Jn 14:26).
- Grow in basic Christian disciplines.
Great athletes, great players, great anythings never stray to far from the fundamentals. Read scripture, tithe, pray, fellowship, worship and witness.
- Read Scripture: The Bible has Gods revelation of Himself in it. If we are to have a solid life we must base it on truth. The Bible is truth.
- Tithe: If you do, God will bless you and the Body of Christ and some people who desperately need to the hear and experience the love of God.
- Pray: The Lord wants to intervene in countless situations.
- Fellowship: Satan wants to isolate you. The Christian life is to be lived in community. Each one of us needs the other. When we get lonely, depressed or otherwise disconnected from the rest of the body we are sitting ducks for temptation and foolish decisions.
- Worship (attend church services): Worship brings the presence of God. You can feel Him come as we worship. When He comes the enemy is driven away and any struggle or unbelief fades into the background.
- Witness: You have a story to tell. When someone gives you the opportunity to tell it, tell it. You will be sowing seeds of hope and truth and love into the lives of others. That is offense!
- Learn about your authority and your gifts. Jesus has not sent us into spiritual warfare without any spiritual weapons. God has granted authority to His disciples. But we must learn how to wield it.
We should come to church with an attitude. We are here to learn to do damage to the enemys kingdom and how to protect ourselves while we are in the fight. I also believe anointed worship releases the Lords power. So, worshipping together as a congregation is very important.
We must sell out and take risk to move forward offensively. We will not fulfill our calling unless we do. As a Christian, Jesus has given us the authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, that is evil spirits. He has given us the authority to release Gods power through prayer. He has given us the power to hear His voice and receive direction from Him. He has given us power to heal the sick and raise the dead. He has given us the power to be free from sins domination and the power to tell anyone who will listen your story. We cannot do any of these things on our own, but as God directs us He will supply.