Following Jesus into his mission

Jesus trained his disciples to do his mission and them sent them out to do it everywhere

A. Review

1. Jesus announced the presence of the kingdom of God – God’s generous rule. The mission of Jesus involved five practices that demonstrate God’s generous rule:
a. Announcing good news to the poor;
b. Healing the sick and driving out demons;
c. Raising the dead;
d. Eating and drinking with sinners;
e. Gathering a preview community to live out the life of the Kingdom.

2. The good news is that the future has come into the present. God’s generous rule has broken powerfully into this present evil age and now everyone has access to its benefits through simple confidence in Jesus.

3. Jesus saw his mission as invading Satan’s domain and destroying the devil’s work.

4. When we act as agents of the kingdom of God a clash of kingdoms will always occur.

B. Jesus the Spirit-giver

1. Jesus didn’t do his miracles as the divine Son. If he did, it would be most unfair (and unrealistic) for God to expect me to do the same things unless I’m divine (which I’m not). However, if Jesus did his miracles as a man empowered by the Spirit, then it is reasonable for God to expect me to do what Jesus did, provided he empowers me by the same Spirit.

2. Jesus did his miracles as a man empowered by the Holy Spirit.
a. This is the key message of John the Baptizer. Although John had an impressive prophetic ministry, his central message was that a ‘greater one’ is coming who will baptize with the Holy Spirit (Luke 3.15-17; Matt 3.11-12).
b. All three synoptic gospels begin with John’s message and the baptism of Jesus.

3. At his baptism, the Spirit descends upon Jesus in the form of a dove (Luke 3.21-22).
a. Only after receiving the Spirit does he begin his remarkable ministry (Luke 4.14-15).
b. However, one key aspect of the ministry of Jesus is to baptize with the Holy Spirit.

4. Jesus didn’t do his miracles because he was the second person of the trinity.
a. He did them as a man empowered by the Holy Spirit to demonstrate for us what a Spirit-filled life looks like.
b. Jesus intends his followers to receive the Holy Spirit as he did and then to live the same kind of supernatural life that he led.
c. He gives us the same Spirit so we can live the life he offers and do his mission (Luke 24.49; Act 1.4-8; 2.1.4)

C. The mission of Jesus – one more time

1. Luke begins his account of Jesus’ public ministry in his hometown of Nazareth. Jesus set his ministry agenda by quoting from Isaiah 61.
Luke 4.18-19 (cf. Matthew 4.23-24)
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.
a. He ends his reading with the extraordinary statement, “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”.
b. God’s generous rule has broken into this present evil age and is seen in the works of the kingdom – healing the sick, driving out demons, eating with sinners, inviting everyone, especially the socially excluded to bring their lives under God’s generous rule.
c. The gospels show that he spent the rest of his time on Earth fulfilling this passage.

2. We can trace this through the next few chapters. Jesus carries out his mission statement.
4.31-37 Jesus drives an evil spirit out of a man in the synagogue at Capernaum.
4.38-39 He heals Simon’s mother-in-law.
4.40-41 He heals various sicknesses and diseases and drives out many demons.
5.12-14 Jesus heals a man with leprosy by touching him.
5.15-16 Crowds come to listen to Jesus and be healed.
5.17-26 A paralysed man is healed when Jesus forgives his sins. This causes a stir.

3. In his second volume, Luke summarizes the mission of Jesus as follows, ‘how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power and he went about doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, for God was with him’ (Acts 10.38)
a. Jesus announced good news that access to God is now freely available to everyone through simple confidence in Jesus.
b. He demonstrated this by healing the sick and driving out demons – undoing the works of the devil. (Luke 4.40-41; Matthew 4.23-25; 8.14-17; 9.35)

4. Note the connection between being empowered by the Spirit, doing good and healing all who are under the power of the devil.
a. Note as well that Luke sees sickness, disease, demonic oppression and social exclusion as being ‘under the power of the devil’.
b. The power of the devil includes: sin, sickness & disease, death, poverty, oppression, affliction, intimidation, fear, depression, hatred, greed, despair.

D. Jesus calls men (and women) to follow him

1. Jesus gathers around him a group of men (Luke 5.1-11 Simon, James, John; vv. 27-31 Levi) and women (Luke 8.1-3) who follow him.
a. They form an eschatological community – people who learn to live the life of the future in this present evil age.
b. A preview community called together to display God’s generous rule.

2. Out of this community, Jesus chooses twelve disciples (Luke 6.13-19). Mark tells us that he chose them ‘ that they might be with him, and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons’ (Mark 3.14-15).

E. Jesus trains his followers to do his mission

Jesus trained his disciples to be agents of the Kingdom.
1. Firstly, he modelled his ministry to them, proclaiming and demonstrating his mission.
a. He called them to be with him while he preached the good news of the kingdom, healed the sick and drove out demons.
b. He showed them how to do it, while he watched them (John 4.2).

2. The mission of the twelve – Jesus sends his disciples on a mission trip through the villages of Galilee (Luke 9.1-6; parallel Matthew 10).
a. He gave his disciples power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases (9.1).
b. He sent them out in pairs on a training run in Galilee, practising on the lost sheep of Israel.
c. His specific commission was ‘As you go, preach this message, ‘The kingdom of heaven is near’. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give’ (Matthew 10.7-8).
d. On their return, Jesus begins to teach them about the nature of his mission.

3. The mission strategy of the seventy-two. Jesus trains a larger group of followers and sends them out on a training mission (Luke 10.1-23).
a. There is a plentiful harvest, but a shortage of workers (v.2).
b. Find the person of peace. Stick with this person.
c. Eat and drink whatever they give you.
d. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you’ (v.9)
e. If they reject you, shake off the dust and move on (vv.10-12).

F. Jesus commissions and sends his followers

Luke’s gospel ends with Jesus telling his disciples to wait until they receive the Holy Spirit. ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high’. (Luke 24.46-49)

Matthew and John both give accounts of the great commission.
Go! Make disciples of all nations … baptize them … teach them to obey everything I have taught you. (Matthew 28.19-20)
As the Father has sent me, I send you. (John 20.21)

1. The scope has been broadened to all nations, to the ends of the earth but the orders are the same – proclaim … demonstrate.

2. His disciples were to make more disciples of the same kind – disciples who make disciples. The disciple-making process involves ‘teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you’.

3. On hearing this commission, it is unlikely that the Twelve would have scratched their heads and thought, ‘I wonder how we make disciples’. Rather, they knew that they were to do to new disciples what Jesus had done to them:

I do, you watch (or receive);
I do, you help;
You do, I help;
You do, someone else watches.

G. A disciple is a person who follows Jesus into his mission

1. A disciple is a person who follows Jesus into his mission. We continue the kingdom mission of Jesus (Matthew 10.7-8; Luke 4.18-19) by preaching good news, healing the sick and driving out demons.

2. Making disciples involves equipping new Christians (and those Christians who have managed to avoid discipleship) to bring good news to people by announcing free access to God’s rule by simple confidence in Jesus and demonstrating this good news by applying forgiveness, healing and deliverance (defined both broadly as ‘liberty’ and narrowly, as evicting demons).

3. Jesus expects that everyone who believes him will do greater works than he did (John 14.12).

H. The Normal Christian Life

In John’s gospel, Jesus makes an extraordinary claim. Not about himself, but about those who follow him. He says, “I tell you the truth, everyone who believes in me will do the works that I am doing. (John 14.12)

This is a shocking statement. And very scary for those of us who think we’ve got our Christianity together. The problem is that there is no way of avoiding the fact that Jesus expects his followers to live the kind of supernatural life that he lived.

Jesus made his claim the night before he died. By this time, he had healed every kind of disease and sickness, including blindness, leprosy and paraplegia, driven demons out of troubled people, calmed storms, multiplied food, walked on water and raised several corpses back to life.

Hands up if you feel like your life currently measures up to Jesus’ expectations?

Just in case you think there might be an exegetical loophole that enables us to escape the plain meaning of Jesus’ words, notice that ‘the works’ clearly refers to the miracles that he did. In fact, the NIV translation committee has helpfully translated the same Greek word (ta erga) as ‘the miracles’ in the previous verse (14.11).

It may be true (though I doubt it) that the ‘greater works’ which Jesus goes on to claim for us may refer to the work of salvation. No one became a ‘Christian’ (in the usual evangelical definition) during the earthly ministry of Jesus.

But that doesn’t cancel out the fact that Jesus expects the miracles that he did to be a normal part of our lives as they were of his.

The miraculous isn’t something that is reserved for specially anointed Christians. Todd Bentley caused quite a stir at Lakeland until his marital problems took him out. Benny Hinn cops a lot of flak. But, love them or hate them, he lives up to Jesus’ expectations. I don’t doubt that the power of God is at work. I just don’t like the model.

Nor is the miraculous life reserved for the twelve – a way of God authenticating the ministry of the guys who write the bible.

Jesus’ statement is clear. ‘The works that I do’ are available to ‘everyone who believes in me’. Jesus thinks that all of his followers, that is, everyone who puts their confidence in him, will live a normal, supernatural life.

‘Normal’ and ‘supernatural’ belong together in the Christian experience. If this is not the case for you, then something is deficient in your Christian experience.

I. Stories

Rachel’s cold – getting a bigger picture of God
Ellen – ‘I know her name’.
Wedding guest – ‘Tell her I’m not mad with her’

1. God expects the supernatural to be a normal part of our lives.
John 14.12 ‘Everyone who believes in me will do the works that I am doing …’
No exegetical loopholes (either we believe it, or we have to ignore it)

2. Groups – tell us about a time when you experienced God at work in a clearly supernatural way.

J. Why don’t we see the supernatural very often?

1. Bad theology – ‘God doesn’t do that any more’
– ‘Sometimes sickness comes from God’

2. Bad models
Platform ministry by ‘God’s anointed men’
Weirdos

3. No one showed us how to pay attention

4. Miracles are for the mission, not for the church

K. Doing the Kingdom Mission of Jesus

1. Why does Jesus want us to live a supernatural life?
Healings and prophecy are the calling cards of the kingdom. ’Surely God is among you’.

2. Jesus taught ‘the good news of the kingdom’ (Matthew 4.17).
What is the good news? God’s generous rule has come near to us. It is freely available to everyone through simple confidence in Jesus.

3. What does good news look like? Matthew 4.23-25 a. Jesus proclaimed good news, then he demonstrated the good news by
forgiving sin
driving out demons
healing the sick

4. When we analyse the ministry of Jesus we tend to focus on the proclamation and forget about demonstration. They go together. The reason the son of man came was to destroy the devil’s work. 1 John 3.8

5. What, not how.
a. I often hear Christians tell me that they can’t heal the sick, raise the dead or drive out demons because they don’t know how. This is an excuse.
b. It is true that the Bible doesn’t tell us how. We get lots of examples, but no method.
c. ‘How’ is a mystery. We never know ‘how’ until we start doing the ‘what’.
d. If we start doing ‘what’ Jesus told us to do, he will show us ‘how’.

L. Getting Started

John 5.1-20
At the pool of Bethesda, surrounded by sick people, Jesus heals one guy. Why only one?
The secret of Jesus’ success lies in his relationship with his Father.

1. God is always up to something
My Father is always at his work to this very day and I too am working (John 5.17)

2. On my own, I can do nothing. With God, I can do anything!
The son can do nothing by himself … (John 5.19a)

3. Find out what God is doing and join in
he only does what he sees his Father doing because whatever the Father does the son also does. (John 5.19b)
a. Learn to pay attention – two step discipleship plan:
i. see hear (ajkouw)
ii. do obey (uJpakouw)
b. Start small. Work up to the big things.

4. Daddy loves me and shows me what he is doing
For the Father loves the son and shows him all he does (John 5.20)

M. More stories

Janise’s colitis
My colitis
Mary’s hep C
Julie’s cancer
Caloundra cancer healing
Headaches and colds
Grant’s migraine (CRM conference)
Grant’s migraine (CRM conference)
Fiona (Nowra – headaches, anxiety)

Some Heading

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