This past Sunday as we looked at 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16, I made the point that the resilience of the Gospel makes God’s people resilient. In this section of Scripture, we find there are people hindering the work of the Gospel but that, despite persecution, God is still working in His people and His mission cannot be stopped.
The Great Commission, found in Matthew 28:18–20, calls every follower of Jesus to be about the work of making disciples. At Grace Polaris Church we summarize the Great Commission in our mission statement like this:
Grace Polaris Church exists to honor God by multiplying devoted followers of Jesus through worship, community, training, and witness.
This is an extraordinary mission and makes us all wonder, “How is this to be accomplished?”
In the world of celebrity Christianity, we often expect the famous and gifted people to be the ones who will share the Gospel, grow big churches, and see a bunch of people come to Christ. We might think we lack the knowledge and ability to share with others confidently, so we leave it to the extremely talented ones. As I said on Sunday, “The extraordinary call to make disciples of all nations will not come because of the extraordinary giftedness of a few, but will happen through the obedience and faithfulness of ordinary followers of Jesus.”
God has designed us to use His proclaimed Gospel, not just from a platform, but in personal conversations to change the lives of people far off from Him. This is not for extraordinary people, but ordinary people like you and me.
I closed with four main points of application as we make disciples in our daily lives. Allow me to elaborate on each one a bit:
- Be intentional about making disciples in your family. We have a tendency to both overlook and overemphasize this. God has given many of us families and calls us to prioritize them. I have a son who just turned two years old and my wife is pregnant with our second child due in February. I find myself dreaming about their futures all the time. I think about their personalities, who they will marry, the sports and instruments they may play, and a host of other things in life. But do I think about their spiritual life and devotion to Christ? We cannot expect youth groups or Christian schools to make disciples of our kids for us; this is our priority as parents and we must own up to it.
- Go out of your way to serve others. We can overemphasize making disciples of our family to the neglect of others who might be more of an inconvenience to us. The Gospel compels us to care for others, and going out of our way to serve people shows that Jesus has changed us and can also change them. It calls us to not only look at those who are close, but also those who are far off. Give up a night a week to serve people in a neighborhood you don’t frequent, talk to someone at school or a work that you wouldn’t naturally care for, or invite people into your home that you may not think of as close friends.
- Pray that God would make you bold in the face of opposition. People will try to hinder the spread of the Gospel. In our sinfulness we all run from God and our hearts must break for those who reject Jesus. We will not make disciples of those we do not love.
- Show resilience because Jesus is so resilient. In the midst of a chaotic world (especially during an election year), we hear much discussion about what the next several years could be and we can be worried. But our confidence in Jesus—who was resilient to endure the cross and die for us—can make a huge impact on people as we recognize that He is the one who truly rules the world.
The resilience of the Gospel makes God’s people resilient and if we stand as resilient people, then ordinary people can be part of an extraordinary mission.
Zac Hess joined the pastoral staff in 2013 after serving as an intern during his seminary studies. He grew up on a farm in Ashland, OH and later met his wife, Sarah, who grew up as part of Grace Polaris Church. Zac pursued biblical studies at both Grace College and Grace Theological Seminary. He loves sports, the outdoors, reading, and a good cup of coffee. Zac and Sarah are the proud parents of Jacob.