Like Matthew, Luke records Jesus’ commissioning his disciples at the ascension; however, Luke his recollection is more specific: “
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Only through the Holy Spirit can great commission be executed. To accomplish this purpose, Jesus specifically promised the disciples two things: power (the Holy Spirit) and witness.
His followers must have divine power. The power they were to receive was divine power; the word is dynamis, the same word used of Jesus’ miracles in the Gospels. It is the Spirit’s power. The endowment with the Spirit is the prelude to, the equipping for, mission. The role of the apostles is that of “witness” (martyrs). He expounds upon their understanding by putting what they have witnessed into perspective. The Gospel of Luke shows the disciples coming to know Christ on their travel to Jerusalem. They were to take the knowledge gained on their journey and go from Jerusalem into Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Horizons have been opened, and the gospel is about to blow the roof off everything they ever imagined.
Their witness had purpose! Jesus clearly made the connection. He instructed them to wait for the Holy Spirit because it will make their witness purposeful, it will bring their knowledge into practice. In the same way, your witness and story has purpose. The promise in the Holy Spirit is that he gives purpose because you have a mission. He allows your life to be a witness to your faith. He bridges the gap and makes life worth living as you go out on mission for Him for a new kind of Kingdom.
Emil Brunner once wrote: “The Church exists by mission as fire exists by burning.” It is at the heartbeat of our calling and purpose. Over the course of the next two weeks, Tabernacle will have church members involved in three different mission trips. For me, this is a thrilling time! At the time of this publication, a group will be half-way through their service at Camp Hawkins in North Georgia as they serve families with special-needs children. This Sunday, another group will be headed for our third annual trip to support Club 180 Ministry in Cumberland, Kentucky, by hosting a week of kid’s camp. Then on Monday, our very own Nicholas Dedman will be heading to France for several weeks as he serves with a Baptist Collegiate Ministry team in the southern part of that country. It is exciting to see so many at Tabernacle seeking to fulfill Christ’s great commission!
Whether you go to Mt Airy, Cumberland, Southern France, or just back to work this week, God wants you to go in the power of His Spirit. He wants you to go on mission for Him. Be in prayer for our teams, but be in greater prayer for our collective witness as we seek to fulfill Christ’s commission in Carrollton, the Southeast, North America, and to the ends of the earth.
Expecting His Best,
Stephen V. Allen