Photo Credit: Slideplayer
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us, Selah, that Your way may be known on earth, Your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You! – Psalm 67:1-3
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb… – Revelation 7:9
What would possess us to have life-altering, death-defying good news…and then keep silent about it? Does fear motivate us? A lack of love? What keeps us silent?
How does one keep to herself the most beautiful truth and person ever encountered in life? With both freedom of speech and freedom of religion, how is it that I speak so little of Jesus? This Jesus who turned my life around so many years ago…and continues to transform me in ways beyond imagination.
I want to be done with that kind of silence.
After Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, and, some 40 days later, just before he ascended to the Father, he spoke a powerful charge to his followers:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20
I’ve always loved that sending of Jesus’ followers. It was given to those with him that day…and every one of us since. Simple and clear, we are called to:
- Go. [next door and to the nations]
- Make disciples. [give witness in word and deed to the truth of the Gospel]
- Baptize them. [as an expression and witness of a life surrendered to Christ]
- Teach them to observe/obey all Jesus commanded us. [in word and deed, life on life, following Jesus]
Then he gives this wonderful promise at the end:
“I am with you always.” His great declaration of “I AM”.
This week a documentary debuted around the US. The film The Insanity of God was taken from the book, by the same name, authored by Nik Ripken with Gregg Lewis.
It follows the lives of a missionary couple, Nik and Ruth Ripken…and then the focus turns to people they meet, from many nations, who chose to follow Jesus. Often against great resistance.
Ripken tells the story of a Russian pastor named Dmitri. This pastor, refusing to recant, was imprisoned for his faith for 17 years. Every morning, Dmitri would come off his cot, look toward the eastern sky, raise his hands, and sing to God. It was his own heartsong, asking for strength for the day.
On the day his execution was set, and the guards walked him out of his cell, the prisoners all around him stood at the door of their own cells, raised their hands and sang that very song. Dmitri did not die that day but was miraculously released and restored to his family.
[Also watch Todd Smith’s story-song of Dmitri’s life [“Dmitri’s Heart Song – Jesus Is Alive“]
“”For us, persecution is like the sun coming up in the east. It happens all the time. It’s the way things are. There is nothing unusual or unexpected about it. Persecution for our faith has always been—and probably always will be—a normal part of life”…Those who number themselves among the followers of Jesus—but don’t witness for Him—are actually siding with [the persecutors]…of the world. Believers who do not share their faith aid and abet Satan’s ultimate goal of denying others access to Jesus. Our silence makes us accomplices.” – Nik Ripken, The Insanity of God
Watching that film and hearing story after story of people who loved God more than their own lives…rekindled the fire in my own heart. I do love God…grateful for his forgiveness of my sins, and the love He showed me in the person of his son, Jesus. He is worthy of both our worship…and our witness.
Worship with me to Hillsong United‘s “To the Ends of the Earth“.
Overtaking my heart
You take me in
Finding peace again
Fear is lost
In all you are
And I would give the world to tell Your story
Cause I know that You’ve called me
I know that You’ve called me
I’ve lost myself for good within Your promise
I won’t hide it
I won’t hide it
Jesus, I believe in You
And I would go to the ends of the earth
To the ends of the earth
For You alone are the Son of God
And all the world will see
That You are God
You are God*Movement Church
*Lyrics – To the Ends of the Earth – Hillsong United