The Life-Transforming Power of the Gospel
THE BIG IDEA: Our mission is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. When we do this, it has the power to transform their lives.
“God’s purpose in saving you was not simply to rescue you and let you keep busy until He shipped you off to heaven. His purpose was much bigger, much more stunning: He commissioned you to demonstrate the will of God, “on earth as it is in heaven,” transforming this planet into a place radiant and saturated with His power and presence.” (Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind).[i]
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In our last chapter, we looked at how God has called us to be missionary Christians – people who focus on reaching others with the love of Christ. We learned that a missionary is not someone who crosses the sea, but someone who sees the Cross. You don’t have to cross the sea or travel to a third world country to be a missionary. All you need to do is recognize that Jesus died for the lost, broken and hurting people in the world, and if you have experienced His grace, you have a responsibility to share His Good News with others.
Jesus said: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18).
I always say that because Jesus told us to preach the gospel to every creature, I’ll preach to a dog if it will stand still long enough! Jesus promised that as we go into the world preaching the Good News, He will confirm His Word with signs and wonders following. As we lay hands on sick people, they will be healed. As we encounter people who are oppressed by demons or troubled in their minds, they will experience His peace, joy and freedom. They will be made whole – spirit, soul and body – by the power of the Gospel. Jesus said that as we share His Good News with others, He would supernaturally protect us. It doesn’t matter what kind of wild animals we might encounter, or what kind of dangerous foods we might eat, He will protect us from harm.
The Lord has really been challenging our church to be a missions minded community. He is calling us to be missionary Christians. The Gospel isn’t just about me being happy I’m saved and going to Heaven – it’s about recognizing our responsibility to our world. My prayer is that this chapter would stir up you with a sense of your responsibility to be a missionary Christian and reach out to the world around you.
My Mission Trips:
As I’m writing this book in the spring of 2010, our church in Beausejour is preparing a team to go on a mission trip to Costa Rica. (Note – since I originally wrote this, we have gone on two more trips, and are currently getting ready to go on our fourth Costa Rica mission trip in July of 2014). I have had the opportunity to go on several mission trips in the past.
In July of 1993, I travelled to Mexico with 16 teenagers and four leaders including myself. From the first night of ministry at the Comunidad Cristiana Church in Harbour City, California, to the final one at the Templo Evangelico San Pablo Church in Tijuana, Mexico, our team ministered to hundreds of people. We shared the Gospel through music, drama and preaching in local churches. Our group also served the community by visiting an orphanage, painting a hospital, and reaching out to people on the streets, in parks, on beaches, and in malls. It was a life changing experience for all of us.
I met my wife Liza on this trip. I had been working with the youth group in my church, and we were preparing our team to go to Mexico when we discovered that Liza had gone on a number of mission trips, including a trip with YWAM to Guyana and three trips toMexico. We also found out that she spoke some Spanish, so we invited her to join us. We really got to know each other on that trip. So I encourage young men to go on a mission trip – you never know, you might meet your wife there!
In March 2001, I was a part of Regent Christian Academy’s high school mission team to Mexico. We partnered with Amor Ministries in building homes for two needy families in the Tijuana area. Amor’s singular focus is the mobilizing of volunteers to build simple homes for poor Mexican families. Richard Fletcher, a science teacher in the school, led one team, and I headed up the other. At the end of our week, we left two families with homes to live in – a tangible expression of God’s love for their families.
My wife and I took a team of Revolution Master’s Commission students on a mission trip up to the Yukon Territory in May 2007. We partnered with Pastor Lisa Wengel and the students of the Island Life Discipleship Centre in Nanaimo. Our goal was to share God’s love with the First Nations people of Northern Canada. In one of our first services in a gymnasium in Lower Post, we ministered the Gospel of Jesus Christ and saw some people give their hearts to Jesus. There were radical, miraculous healings as well. Two of our students, Kalyn from California and Daiane from Brazil, were ministering to an elderly woman. The woman asked them to pray for her leg because she had cancer in her hip and she was in incredible pain. They started praying passionately for this woman, and discovered that her leg was at least three to four inches shorter then her other leg. Her faith was incredible because she believed that Jesus would heal her.
Daiane and Kalyn continued praying for the woman’s leg to be made whole. At one stage they both noticed that the length difference between the two legs was getting smaller. This spurred them on with renewed passion to keep praying for God’s restoration in her body. When they felt a release to stop praying, they looked at the woman’s legs: They were the same length, and she could stand normally! The three of them rejoiced and were so amazed at what God is able to do. Praising God, they blessed and hugged the woman. From there, we went on to minister in White Horse and Carmacks, and we continued seeing Jesus perform powerful miracles.
If you’ve never been on a short term mission trip before, I want to encourage you to consider the possibility. Something happens to you when you go on a mission trip – it changes your life. When you go to another country to minister, not only do you help the people there, but you get ministered to as well.
I’ll never forget the home that we stayed in when I was on my first mission trip to Mexico. It only had three walls – the house opened right up into their back yard. There was no running water, and yet, a poor family that had so little was so generous with everything they did have. North Americans can learn so much by spending a week in a third world country. You would realize how good you have it here, and how blessed you really are. The sad thing is that most North Americans don’t think they’re rich, when the truth is that we are among the most blessed people in the entire world.
Paul’s First Missionary Journey Continues:
“Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the multitude of the city was divided: part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles. And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them, they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region. And they were preaching the gospel there.” (Acts 14:1-7).
Here is another example in the Book of Acts of the Gospel being preached with signs and wonders taking place. When Paul and Barnabas went out as missionaries, they took the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. That word Gospel comes from a Greek word, euaggelion that means the glad tidings of salvation through Christ.[ii] To say that they preached the Gospel means that they proclaimed Good News. What is the Gospel?
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Paul’s missionary story teaches us three things about the Gospel of Jesus Christ…
Pastor Chris Jordan
[i] Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind. (Destiny Image Publishers, January 2005).
[ii] The New Testament Greek Lexicon.