Today, we reach the final week of the MORE series; the series where we’ve been solely focused on the truth that God wants MORE for us. His desires and designs for you amount to far MORE than a life centered on happiness, or accomplishment or comfort. To this point in the series, we have centered on faith and death as fundamental things in the MORE God wants for us. This week we consider those two things as the operands in an equation — the MORE equation. Namely, faith plus death equals life. If you begin with a strong core of faith and put into practice dying to yourself and what you want in this life, the result is true life. As is written in John 3:30, He must become greater; I must become less. And when that truly happens, you begin to genuinely experience the life God desires and designed for you — the truth of Ephesians 2:10 that you are God’s masterpiece and there are good things in the plan He authored for you even before you were born.
So, we might get that God wants MORE for us, and it might be making some sense that the MORE He wants involves us growing in our faith and making this life less and less about us, but that still seems to be mostly about us. Isn’t there, I don’t know, MORE? There is. There is, in the sense of our one true mission in life being about sharing the gospel — picking up where Jesus “left off” when He went back to be with God and left the job of sharing what He did for us with the whole world. But if every Christian really got that, wouldn’t our world look different? I think it would, and I believe there are two fundamental questions that Christians wrestle with that keep them less than fully committed to that singular mission.
Doesn’t everyone know?
Seriously, right?! We live in Southeast Michigan. I see churches all over the place. There are billboards with “gospel” messages. Most of the people I work with or live next to have heard of God or know who Jesus is; they may not believe, or actively go to church, but they’ve certainly heard … right?!
Does God really need me?
Honestly, the world cannot really be dependent on my diligence, right?! God cannot really be working His plan around whether or not I get off my couch. God’s going to save whoever He’s going to save and reach whoever He’s going to reach, and what I do (or don’t do) isn’t going to make much, if any, difference. He doesn’t really need me … right?!
In a context like ours (in Southeastern Michigan), you would be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t know about God, or know Jesus’ name. But that isn’t really the question at the heart of our singular mission as a Christian in this life. Someone may know about God, but do they really know Him? Someone may recognize the name of Jesus, but do they really know what He did for them? Those are the real questions which demand that someone goes and tells them. God’s command to “go” (Mark 16:15) and tell them absolutely includes you. The world, and your world, may have already heard, but they don’t really know the beautiful and simple message of the gospel:
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:9-13 (NIV)
Imagine if people really heard how simple it was. Imagine if you could be the one to tell them. Everyone doesn’t really know, and God absolutely desires for you to be His messenger to a world who desperately needs Him. So, does God really need you, then? It sorta sounds like it. Yes.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Romans 10:14-15 (NIV)
How can they hear without someone preaching to them? That word preaching is better translated as “heralding” or proclaiming. God isn’t saying everyone needs to hear the message from a preacher (at least not how and who we define as a “preacher”). The MORE God wants for us involves heralding and proclaiming; heralding and proclaiming to the ones He brings into our everyday. The person He walks into and out of our life for a season (which could amount to just a few moments to maybe an entire lifetime). God’s plan and purpose is for us to share the message of His grace, mercy, love, forgiveness and Jesus’ redeeming sacrifice. God is waiting for our faith and our death to produce life in other people.
That may sound like a horrible plan to you, leaving this sharing up to people as broken and flawed as you and I. But, make no mistake, it is His plan — His beautiful, simple and merciful plan.
It was how it was for you in coming to Christ, right? Can’t you look back and name one (or many) who shared the message of Jesus with you? Faith plus death equals life. I promise that if you practice this equation over and over in your life, you will experience the truth of it. And, in the process, you will add (and maybe multiply) others to the kingdom of God.