God is always on mission.
After healing a man on the Sabbath and facing the wrath of the religious, Jesus said these amazing words, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working”, John 5v17.
God doesn’t take a Sabbath.
He doesn’t have a day off to rest.
He doesn’t need a conference to be refreshed.
On mission day in day out.
All over the world at every moment the mission of God reaching people who are helpless, healing the broken, saving the forgotten.
And today He simple invites us to join Him.
Never off mission. On it till the end.
The unusual missionary
This woman was an outcast according to the Jew.
A Samaritan, and a woman with a sinful past.
Yet she became a great missionary.
1. She left behind her water jar, v28.
Every missionary has to leave something behind. You cannot carry everything and be effective.
2. She went back to her home town, v28. Missionary work is not all far-off work.
3. She invited the people on a journey of discovery, v29. People don’t want the answer they want to be invited to find the answer themselves.
4. The invitation was based upon her own story which convinced her enough it was worth pursuing, v29.
5. Her testimony brought belief, v39. Faith can be birthed on the hearing of someone else’s experience not necessarily their own, Jesus didn’t tell them everything they had done, but they believed nonetheless because of the woman.
Everyone a missionary.
I am not .. but am … John 3:28
John the Baptist knew who he wasn’t. He wasn’t the Messiah.
Many are on a mission today. A mission of wanting to become someone, trying to make a name for themselves.
Many have tried to pretend they have something that has never actually been given to them, v27.
Many are trying to be great, anything less is failure, v30.
It’s time for the many to acknowledge who they are not.
I am not the be all and end all.
I am not the answer to everyone’s questions.
I am not the healer.
I am not the Saviour.
It’s not until you know who you are not, that you open up to who you are.
In every circumstance today, to be able to say I am not, is so important.
Shortly after this, John the Baptist was beheaded. He stepped into becoming I am not for the last time.
It always gets better
The house may be abused but zeal will birth prayer again.
When the wine is no more greater wine is coming.
Destroy the body of Christ and it will rise.
The mission of God is unstoppable!
Jesus was here before it all began. He has no beginning, He is outside of time. Before all time there was the Word. He is pre-existent before anything was existent.
In 500 BC the Greeks believed the abiding principle was to be found in one word, ‘Word’, the translation from Logos. Later the Stoics talks of the Logos as the world soul. At the time of Jesus, Philo developed this further by saying it is God’s firstborn son (but still an idea) and implying pre-existence.
John knew this when he wrote the gospel: John 1. But John also knew the Jewish thought:
The Torah was created before the foundation of the world.
God created through the firstborn and the firstborn was the Torah.
To the Greek, John says this principle you hold to is actually a personal being and has become human.
To the Jew, John says your thought of pre-existent logos is correct but there is more. This logos has personal attributes and He has been here and I have seen Him.
Jesus the Word walks into the beginning.
He is logos, the true meaning of life.
Because of this He will be there at the end. When the end ends He will still be there. He has no end.
There have been no accidents in your life. You might not know why some things have happened but He knows.
The promise is that not only is Jesus the meaning of life, not only is Jesus, God, but he is outside of time and because of this He is already in your tomorrow.
This is an enormous comfort. You will never be alone. You will never have to wait on Him to catch you up. He is not following after you. He is there.
What leaders need to know about leaving.
You need to know where to leave as much as when to leave, v50
Bethany was the home village of Martha, Mary and Lazarus and he and the disciples would often go to their home.
Bethany was the place where Lazarus was raised from the dead.
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey from Bethany; a journey of victory.
He brings the disciples again to Bethany. A familiar place, but a place of miracles and of purpose. It is here that Jesus realises He must leave them.
Your where is as important as your when.
You need to know how to bless and leave at the same time, v51
Though everyone of them had failed him and some quite badly. Though all of them needed instruction on the cost of true discipleship which they had failed to pay at the cross.
Not many leave without lifting their hand against one another.
You need to leave during the blessing not the desertion.
You need to know that leaving is actually not about what is behind but what is ahead, v51 Jesus was taken up into heaven. When God steps in to take He leaves a worshipping community, great joy and a church praising God.
Everyone can play a part
When you are being led out God will always have someone coming in.
Even in your worst hour you can always lead people.
Simon was forced to carry the cross, it made him unclean and unable to participate in the Passover that he would have travelled weeks to come to the city for. He carried the cross to Calvary and how he walked away from that experience is unsure. On his return home he would say that he didn’t make it to the Passover but did he say that he actually carried the cross for the Passover lamb? I hope so.
Judas was part of the original discipleship team who spent 3 years with Jesus. It’s not how you start out that counts.
Judas had a political agenda and was probably disappointed in Jesus who didn’t become or do what he wanted, v2
The will always be people who share your same disappointment in God. Be careful of them.
Judas was available to the wrong person, v3
If the door is open it isn’t theft (U2 Cedarwood Road)
Judas had to journey to his betrayal, he discussed the topic and worked through a plan, v4
Betrayal is rarely impulsive.
Judas was able to please people, v5
Unity isn’t always the sign that all is good.
Judas handed Jesus over but actually Jesus had to be sacrificed, v7
The worst act can be sitting in the hand of God.
Reports of wars and civil disorder.
Nation fighting nation.
Christians seized, persecuted and imprisoned.
Fleeing to mountains.
What year is this?
It is now.
I’m looking at you.
The parable of the tenants resulted in Jesus being under threat like never before because it was such a targeted story.
The vineyard is always Israel, everyone knew this. But this time Israel is not avenged with a happy victorious ending. The vineyard is removed from them.
May this never be! This was the cry of the people.
But Jesus was not looking at the people. He was looking at the leaders.
The leaders had become the enemies of the owner, of God.
They would no longer lead, the mission would be given to others.
True mission is to bear the image of God. To demonstrate His nature and character. To love. To reach others. To have compassion. To stand for justice.
This is the fruit that the owner looks for.
A failed Israel will have to embrace the Gentiles as God’s people.
God has a people and He has a mission for this vineyard, it is to bear fruit.
There will be people who accept this mission as a capstone, the cornerstone of their life, the foundation to how they live.
There will be people who trip over this mission and are hurt. But what is broken is their selfish living.
There will be people who will be crushed by this mission. They will be taken out not because they fulfilled mission but because they didn’t do it.
The mission is the stone, the stone is Jesus and we are called to represent Jesus in our life to those who do not know him. That is called fruit.
I’m looking at you.