The Mandate For World Evangelism (Parts 7 & 8)

May 19, 2013

Special Guest Editorial by Kip McKean

Part VII: Forgiveness

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times…. Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:21-35

Today, Easter Sunday, we are celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We will sing, preach and pray in thankfulness for His grace that forgives all our sins. Jesus died on the cross and in fact became sin for even the “worst of sinners”, so that everyone who follows Jesus would have a new life, a new purpose and a new hope.

Jesus died for: Adam and Eve – They were “unrighteous parents” as they brought sin and death into the world. (Romans 5:12) Cain – He was bitter towards his brother Abel. In a “fit of rage” fueled by jealousy and hatred, Cain killed Abel. (Genesis 4) Abraham – Our “father in the faith,” who gave his wife Sarah to another man out of fear for his life, twice! It would be surprising if Sarah did not struggle with bitterness towards Abraham. Tamar (daughter-in-law of Judah), Rahab, and the two women that Solomon judged – He died for all four of these “sinful women” who offered their bodies for money.

David – An awesome leader that led Israel to unprecedented victories, but committed adultery and then murdered one of his “mighty men” to cover up his sin. Amnon – Who “emotionally abused,” “molested” and “raped” his half-sister Tamar. Absalom – Who used charm, manipulation and the promise of a “better leadership” to steal the hearts of the people of Israel from his father, David. (2 Samuel 15:1-12) Ahithophel – The once trusted advisor who betrayed David for Absalom. (2 Samuel 15:12) He later commits suicide. Peter – Who was one of Jesus’ best friends, who denied Him three times at His moment of greatest need.

The Prodigal Son – Though a story, Jesus died for everyone who for whatever reason, left their parent’s teaching of righteousness and went into the world. Barabbas – Jesus died for him and every criminal, imprisoned or not, such as: Jack the Ripper, Jeffrey Dahmer, Adolf Hitler, and Osama Bin Ladin. Judas – Jesus died for this longtime friend and disciple who betrayed Him for money with a kiss. Demas – A fellow preacher and disciple of Paul. (Colossians 4:14) He later deserted God, because he loved the world. (2 Timothy 4:10)

Alexander the Metalworker – A non-Christian who “strongly opposed the message” of Christ as well as the messenger, Paul. He harmed and hindered Paul’s work. (2 Timothy 4:14-15) Christ died for all His persecutors, even the thieves on the cross. “Enemies of the cross” – Disciples who persecuted Paul and the message of the gospel. (Philippians 3:18) Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11:26, he was “in danger from false brothers.” You and me – Jesus died for each of us. Our innumerable sins crucified him. Jesus taught we must follow His teachings and His example to be true disciples. (John 8:31-32) He taught to be forgiven, one must forgive.

Global Leadership Conference 2013
The movement is gearing up for the upcoming Global Leadership Conference this August entitled “Prophets and Kings: They Longed To See What We See”

If we remain bitter from hurts caused by sin and do not forgive our unrighteous parents, unrighteous brothers and sisters, our unrighteous preachers and elders, our unrighteous wives or husbands, our unrighteous disciplers, our unrighteous children (both physical and spiritual), our unrighteous friends, unrighteous strangers, our unrighteous persecutors, then at the judgment God will not forgive us. Without Jesus, we are just as unrighteous as anybody who has sinned against us. In fact since every sin we commit is ultimately against God, how many more times have we sinned against God, than any one person has sinned against us.

No one has the “right” to be bitter. Let’s not have the heart of the unmerciful servant! Renounce and repent of the bitterness that comes from being unwilling to forgive even the most hideous of sins. Jesus died for all sinners. Therefore, forgive from the heart each sinner that has sinned against you. To have world evangelism, God’s church must be unified. To be unified we must love and continually forgive our fellow disciples. Yes, people’s unrighteousness may have “hurt” us as many as 77 times, but let us be a merciful people and forgive 77 times, 78 times, 79 times…and so reflect the mercy of our Father in heaven. Let’s celebrate being free from the penalty of sin and the power of bitterness.

Part VIII: “Is It Worth It?”

“While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Matthew 26:6-13

Jesus was anointed at Bethany just two days before the “Last Supper.” A nameless woman poured a very expensive perfume onto Jesus’ head. The disciples in the house of Simon the Leper were shocked, because in their minds the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor. Immediately after this passage of the “money controversy” surrounding Jesus’ anointing, Matthew records that Judas began his betrayal and went to the chief priests. Seemingly this was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” for Judas. (Fueled by mistrust, conflicts about money have embittered many to turn against Jesus.)

In the above passage, Jesus rebuked this woman’s critics, his own disciples! He explained this is His anointing before his burial! Then he said, “whenever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” (Matthew 26:12) Jesus knew by faith the gospel would be preached throughout the world in the apostles’ lifetime. He built a movement of disciples who were willing to “do anything, go anywhere, give up everything” including surrendering their lives to accomplish the monumental dream of world evangelism. Jesus’ words about the world impact of the gospel, reinforces what the previous seven articles have taught, that God desires the world to be evangelized in a generation.

In a closer examination of this passage, other issues must be raised. Jesus says that this woman’s story will be told in memory of her. What will be told in our memory? What eternal impact will our lives have? And is the price of world evangelism worth it? Interestingly, in Mark’s account of this moving event, Mark adds that Jesus said of this humble woman, “She has done all she could.” (Mark 14:8 – J.P. Phillips) What an incredible commendation by our Lord!

Cocoa Beach Sunday Service
Excitement fills the air as we anticipate yet another beach service along the beautiful coast line of Cocoa Beach!

Are we as individuals doing all we can for Jesus and world evangelism? Forget for a moment the challenges in the ICOC churches and your particular situation. Are we winning souls and after our friends are baptized continuing to “teach them to obey everything [Christ] commanded?” (Matthew 28:20) To love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself must include a lifestyle dedicated to being a “fisher of men.” (Mark 1:17) But if one is not catching any fish, or even baiting the hook, is one a fisherman? If one is not making disciples, is one a true disciple? How can we say we love God and not be passionate about His mission?

Sunday was an incredible Easter service! The singing was angelic, the communion encouraging, Carma’s baptism was so inspiring, the response to our continuing study of Romans was so heartfelt. Many heard God’s upward call in Romans 8:37 that admonished each of us to walk in the Spirit as “hypernikomen” – “super conquerors!” (translated in the NIV as “more than conquerors”) Sunday, God increased our attendance to 332, which is a record! (Let us not forget, that by the end of last summer, our membership was reduced by over half leaving only 120 members at that time.) As your evangelist and partner in the gospel, I would like to take this time to commend all of you in the Portland Church because it is evident, everyone is doing “all you can for the Lord.” Individually and collectively, all of us have been humbled by our sins, mistakes, setbacks, and the ensuing criticisms. Yet where Satan intended to harm, God has purified our lives and motives in the fires of criticism and hardships. Having been discipled by God, we should be even more capable to be about the mission of Jesus than ever! (Hebrews 12:7-12)

Our Lord went to the cross abandoned and hated by most — which was so powerfully portrayed in Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of the Christ.” However, the memory of Jesus for those who later responded to Him was one of overwhelming gratitude. Let us never forget, He was always more hated than loved by the world. Ask Jesus, “Was it worth it?” Surely His answer will be, “Look at all those who are in heaven for eternity with me.” (Hebrews 12:2) Paul expanded on this theme when he wrote to the disciples in Thessalonica, “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and our joy!” (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20) His joy and glory and crown were all the disciples he had initially won to Christ when he, in three weeks, started the Thessalonian Church (Acts 17:1-4), as well as all those who believed in their message: the fruit of making disciples! Though we, like the nameless woman who anointed Jesus, may be unknown in the world, be confident that our names and sacrifices are known to God. The greatest act of faith “expressing itself through love” is to lay down our lives while preaching the message of the cross which changes the course of eternity for all who dare respond. Let it be said of us that “they have done all they could.” Then and only then is there hope for the world to be evangelized in our generation. And to God be the glory!

1 Comment

  1. by Zeyna on October 28, 2015  12:07 am

    A few weeks ago, I made a comment cpnmariog examples of “great faith” and “little faith” in Matthew.There are two examples of “great faith” that Jesus points out in Matthew (the centurion in chp 8 and this woman in chp 15). There are also two examples of “little faith” (Peter in chp 14 and the disciples in chp 16). I think there might be some similar characteristics between the first two examples that are absent in the other two examples. In verse 20, Jesus again tells the disciples they have “little faith” (NIV). I've always thought I've been like that sometimes that I couldn't do something because my faith was too small However, it doesn’t seem like the Disciples need more or bigger faith, because he explains it with an example of “mustard-seed faith” (which is smallest of small) which could move a mountain. It appears that what makes the disciples faith ineffective in this instance has nothing to do with size, but the instead has to do with the object of the faith. In fact, even faith as small as a mustard seed, when it is faith in Jesus Christ, can do the most powerful things.So, this might also help explain the other references to “little faith” in Matthew. It may be confusing to read that word translated as “little faith” and wonder why we can’t increase the size of our faith do great things. However, It is encouraging to to me to realize that the Power of God working in the world around us is not dependent on the size of my faith, but rather the object of my faith

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