When we become Christians an amazing thing happens that we need to take advantage of. The Holy Spirit becomes part of us, and from the instant of our conversion, we are no longer alone.
Bob noticed his son Jimmy had suddenly stopped eating his lunch. Hot dogs and Tater Tots were Jimmy’s favorite Sunday lunch, so Bob was surprised when Jimmy put his fork down.
“Something wrong, son?”
“Nope. Well, maybe.”
“What’s on your mind?”
“Dad, what does ante up mean?”
“Yeah, when they passed the offering plate in church today, you whispered ‘time to ante up.’ What does that mean?”
Mary gave Bob that look. Bob knew he was in trouble.
“I was just making a little joke. Ante up means paying someone what you owe them.”
“Do we owe God money?”
How would you answer Jimmy? Do we owe God money? Is that what offering is? A debt to God? Are Christians obligated to give, and, if so, is there a required amount?
You know what happened. God created Adam and Eve and placed them in a perfect environment call Eden. The one and only condition was clear. Don’t eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That’s in Genesis chapter 2.
That was it. One rule. And they broke it. Satan in the form of a serpent convinced Adam and Eve to disobey God.
God expelled them from Eden and covered their naked bodies. Then He made a promise. One would come to defeat Satan and restore the relationship between God and mankind.
A few thousand years later God sent Jesus. He was that Promised One who defeated Satan. The opportunity for a restored relationship with God was now available to everyone.
However, Jesus went back to Heaven. But before He left He revealed in a command the unique plan of God to let the world know. We call it the Great Commission. Jesus told His followers they were responsible for letting people know how they could have a relationship with God through Jesus.
You and I are God’s plan A. Amazing isn’t it? The perfect God sent His perfect Son to bridge the gap between God and man. Then He placed His imperfect followers in charge of telling their friends and neighbors. And those that accepted what Jesus did were responsible for telling their friends and neighbors.
So it has been for around 2000 years.
What if we fail? What if plan A doesn’t work out? That’s the screwy part. There is no plan B. We do this or it doesn’t get done.
Plan A people fit into two categories. One group has heard the command but has chosen to leave it to others. The excuses vary, but the result is the same. They don’t tell anyone.
The other group has heard the command and has decided to obey it. There is one problem with this group. They feel unqualified. They really want to do what is expected, but they don’t know how to get started.
For those who have chosen to be obedient help is available. When Jesus returned to His home in Heaven He sent a Helper. We call Him the Holy Spirit.
Here’s the deal. Once my relationship has been restored to the way God intended it to be then there is nothing more I can do to improve my life. Others must come before me. I can’t do it by myself, and God knows that. So I have the Holy Spirit available to help me fulfill the command we call the Great Commission.
What’s your relationship with God like? Has it been restored by the sacrifice of Jesus? Yes? Great. Now we both can focus on others.
I admit I’ve neglected my responsibility in this area. If you have also maybe it’s time for both of us to rethink our lives.
Others need to hear. That’s the plan. We are God’s Plan A.
No teacher would make a presentation without a lesson plan. It might be a mental check list or it might be a written document. Nevertheless, there would be a lesson plan.
This post is the fourth in a series about the Great Commission, a command that each follower of Jesus is expected to obey. The Commission is recorded in Matthew 28 verses 19 and 20.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matt 28:19-20 NASB
In previous posts (click on The Great Omission tab on the menu bar) we looked at “Go” and “make disciples.” In this installment we’ll look at baptizing in the name of the Father and the son and the Holy Spirit.
What does that mean?
Let’s understand what it doesn’t mean.
“the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” is not a magical phrase that spiritually validates baptism. Neither does adding “in Jesus name” to the end of our prayers make them acceptable to God.