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Weekly Wisdoms

The church shouldn’t just be a meeting place for Christians; it ought to be a sending place for Christians.

Many Christians are so enveloped in “church world” (i.e. a continuous Christian environment) that they have very few opportunities to reach out to nonbelievers. In such cases, the church turns into a social networking place to meet other Christians. Instead, the church needs to be a place where believers can be built up and strengthened in faith, and then encouraged and empowered to be sent out into culture for the ultimate cause of sharing Christ with all people.

That’s exactly what Jesus was getting at in Matthew 28:18-20, when he told his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The Greek word for “nations” (ethnos) means a multitude of people. So, Jesus is simply saying that as you’re living and as you’re going about your business, make disciples of the people you’re around.

Even back in the Old Testament, God was trying to get his people to spread his name, his glory, and his fame among the people of the Earth. In Psalm 96:1-3, the psalmist writes, Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

God calls us to share his story with people. That call requires that we be in the world in order that we have opportunities to witness. That’s why the church needs to be a sending place for Christians.

Simply by being in your presence, non-Christians ought to be able to tell that you have spent time in God’s presence.

In Acts 4, Peter and John were brought to the rulers and elders of the people (v. 8) to be questioned by them. But when Peter and John came to those people, who were Jews, they were astonished [by Peter and John] and they took note that these men had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). In other words, the Jews could tell that Peter and John had spent time with Jesus simply by the way they lived.

Indeed, Jesus had so changed their lives that an “aroma” of God was coming from them. Having that “aroma” requires being like Christ, and the only way that we can become Christ-like is if we abide and dwell in God’s presence–and doing that requires a conscious decision. You must decide to practice His presence!

Also, by being in God’s presence, we will bear good spiritual fruit. In John 15:5, Jesus promises, “If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.” In other words, by spending time with God you will develop valuable spiritual fruit. Then, the world will see your fruit and recognize that you have been with Jesus.

In addition, when you spend time in God’s presence, you will experience an increase in your joy, contentment, peace, and satisfaction. Specifically, David told the Lord, in Your presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11, AMP). Clearly, God will pour joy into your life when you spend time in His presence. Then, you can take that joy and show it to those around you.

There are great changes that can occur when you spend time with God. In God’s presence is the only place where you can become more like Christ. Then, once God has changed you, the world will be astonished and see that you have been with Jesus.

 

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