This is post #8 of a series entitled Peacemakers for the Cause of Christ – Facilitators of God’s Peace in a World Looking for Peace. We hope you’ll enjoy these 31 podcasts and blogs that focus on our great need in today’s society for peacemakers; men, women, and children who are willing to step away from all the contempt, division, and hatred, and step in toward the blessed call of being Christ-centered peacemakers for the greater glory of God. Here you’ll find very practical and biblically-sound advice on building bridges instead of walls, offering hope instead of despair. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Click on the link below to listen to the podcast version of this blog!
Truth #3: Peacemakers Take an Honest Inventory of Themselves.
Today’s Lectio Divina: Then (Jesus) said, “Everything I told you while I was with you comes to this: All the things written about Me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms have to be fulfilled.” He went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way. He said, “You can see now how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day, and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in His name to all nations—starting from here, from Jerusalem! You’re the first to hear and see it. You’re the witnesses. What comes next is very important: I am sending what My Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until He arrives, until you’re equipped with power from on high.” He then led them out of the city over to Bethany. Raising His hands, He blessed them, and while blessing them, took His leave, being carried up to heaven. And they were on their knees, worshiping Him. They returned to Jerusalem bursting with joy. They spent all their time in the Temple praising God. Yes. Luke 24: 44-53 (MsgB)
Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus of Nazareth, the Risen Christ, Son of the Living God, stood before His gathered friends outside Jerusalem and gave them his farewell speech. After three years of words and works, all of which were focused like a laser on Kingdom Come (the sudden in-breaking of God’s right to rule and reign over His Creation), the Master had His followers’ undivided attention.
As we discussed earlier in this series, His disciples, who had gone to hell and back over the last 40 days, fully expected a different speech than what Jesus actually offered them. They believed that Messiah had now come and that it was time to wrap up human history. Their leader had overcome anything and everything their enemies could throw at Him. He had risen from the grave, the champagne was on ice, and the disciples were itching for a big celebration party. Hallelujah! It is finished!
But, as we all know now, Jesus had a completely different agenda in mind. This was not a celebration speech where all the loose ends are gathered up and stored away, but in truth, just the opposite. This was His “Kingdom Inaugurated” speech, telling His friends that God had just completed the first step of world-wide redemption. And as we read Jesus’ words here at the end of the Gospels, each sentence is designed, not to simply sum things up, but to kick off a whole new dispensation of time. Eventually, this truth will begin to sink in for these guys and gals, and within a few years, they will all began to realize that the world, as they knew it, was not coming to an end, but was now entering into a new phase. The Scriptures call it The Last Days.
And as we mentioned in earlier blogs/podcasts, this unique dispensation of time, where Jesus sits at the right hand of God while the Holy Spirit is being poured across the planet on all flesh, has been going strong now, without too many hiccups, for nearly 2,000 years. Yes, an honest look at Church history shows us that The Last Days has produced its share of embarrassing moments when the Church called by His Name has done some pretty destructive stuff. But, it’s also true that the world has experienced one amazing uplift of life that has come because of the good God-work done by those who call upon His Name. For two thousand years now, women, men and children from every tribe, nation, and tongue have rolled up their sleeves for the greater glory of God, gone out into their world, with Christ’s love in their hearts, to share that same new lease on life that His first-century disciples experienced as a result of all that Jesus had done in and through their lives.
Witnesses to the resurrection power of Christ.
Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?
Yet, when it comes to being a witness for the cause of Christ, it’s been my experience as a pastor for over thirty years, that most of my parishioners don’t have clue on what it might look like for them to be witnesses to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Sadly, most of us delegate that “witnessing” work to the trained evangelists, believing only a handful of specificially designated, extroverted Christians are called to be witnesses to the world.
But, did you realize that the New Testament takes a completely different viewpoint toward all this? As my pastoral mentor, John Wimber, used to tell his entire church, “When it comes to being a witness to the Gospel of Jesus, everybody gets to play!”
So, as I see it, in these Last Days, more of us would personally benefit, and the world might be bountifully blessed, if you and I would take the time to sit down with Jesus, and dialogue with Him on who He sees us to be. And as a result of those conversations, I’m guessing more of us might be willing to simply give away the “good” Jesus has deposited in our lives if we’d simply lower the bar of what that might look like for common folks like us.
Just think about. What if more of us felt comfortable with simply and freely being first-hand witnesses to the “good” the Master has done in our personal lives, for the greater glory of God?
So, this week, I’d like to walk you through Truth #3 in becoming a Christ-centered peacemaker:
Truth #1: Peacemakers Understand the Times in Which We Live.
Truth #2: Peacemakers Find Themselves in Christ.
Truth #3: Peacemakers Take an Honest Inventory of Themselves.
As I see it, this is where the rubber meets the road. So, if you dare, join us next time, because we’re gonna get really practical in helping you put down on paper some of the wonderful blessings Jesus has bestowed in your life.
Because, quite simply, no one can effectively bear witness (or tell others) about the good things Jesus has done, if you are not aware of it in the first place! So, bring a pencil or pen and some note paper next time. And, oh yeah, don’t forget to bring a willingness to see what Jesus just might show you, for the greater glory of God!
My Prayer: Thank You, Jesus for the work You accomplished two thousand years ago. World history has been transformed because of all You said and did. But even more importantly, my life has been transformed because of this same resurrection power! Holy Spirit, in the days ahead, please bring forth in me a sense of real gratitude for all the Father, Son and Spirit have accomplished in and through my life. For Your Name’s sake. Amen.
A Few Questions to Ponder: In truth, as the first-century disciples came to the realization that everyday life was going to continue past Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, one of the key things they did was to sit down and recount all the things Jesus had accomplished in and through their lives. Our Gospel texts are here today because of that work of recalling what Jesus said and did throughout their previous three years together. In what way can I make it a higher priority in my busy schedule to regularly set aside time for a similar recounting of all Jesus has said and done in my life?
So, how are you experiencing God’s presence as you are becoming a peacemaker for the cause of Christ?
Peacemakers for the Cause of Christ – Facilitators of God’s Peace in a World Looking for Peace.
We hope you’ll enjoy these 31 podcasts and blogs that focus on our great need in today’s society for peacemakers; men, women, and children who are willing to step away from all the contempt, division, and hatred, and step in toward the blessed call of being Christ-centered peacemakers for the greater glory of God. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
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