Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What is the Job Description of a Christian?

What is the job description of a Christian, i.e., what are you supposed to do according to the Bible?

I believe that there is only one job description.  That job description is this:  "Change lives."

How do we do that?  We do that through proclaiming the name of Christ.  

Let's begin with a serious look at God.  The Bible tells us that God is love.  It is not an adjective that describes God but rather a noun.  God is love.

When I study the life of Jesus Christ, I become more and more convinced that the most important characteristic of Jesus was that of "obedience," even obedience unto death.  (Philippians 2:8).  

The decision was made for Jesus to be born of a woman and to also be reared as a man with limitations of humanity, except for a sinful nature.  Jesus thus voluntarily gave up some of His Godly powers such as being omnipotent (all powerful) and omniscient (all knowing).  Jesus was still fully Divine but also human.  

Jesus said, "I can do nothing on my own accord, only what the Father tells me."  (John 5:19).  Jesus also said that even He did not know what day He was coming back and that only God knows that date.  (Mark 13:32).

With this background, let's make some sense out of this.  Two important events should help us.  The first is what is referred to as, "The Great Commission."  Jesus proclaimed that we are to, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  (Matthew 28:19-20).

The second event is found in Luke 9:1-2, "Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.  He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick." This was their first mission.

I believe this means that part of our job as Christians is to change lives by healing the sick and casting out evil.  How do we really do this?  By proclaiming the name of Jesus through His authority and by the power of the Holy Spirit.  

The authority comes from Jesus which He stated in Matthew 28:18:  "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."  Jesus commissions us with that authority in His name.  That is why we typically end prayers by saying in the name of Jesus.  That is what gives the prayer authority.  It can't be in the name of Pastor Al, e.g., but in the name of Jesus who has all authority.  

The power of the Holy Spirit.  The Greek word for power here is dunamis.  We get the english word dynamite from it.  It is the very essence of God and this power is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.  Jesus told His disciples to stay in the upper room and don't do anything until they received the, "Promise," which would be the power (dunamis) of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus knew that without the power of the Holy Spirit that the disciples would not be able to do anything.  Jesus then ascended into heaven.  

The disciples waited 10 days in the upper room before they received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).  Jesus was on the earth for 40 days following His resurrection.  Pentecost means 50.  Subtract 40 from 50 and you have 10.

Now the disciples had the authority and the power to change lives.  So, how do we do that?  We do it through obedience to God.  For example, if your grandchild had a fever or headache, you would place your hand on his or her head and simply pray, "Dear Lord, please heal my grandchild of his illness and I ask it in the name of Jesus Christ."  You would get no credit if he or she got better nor would you receive any blame if nothing happened.  It's not about you.  It is through the power of the Holy Spirit, and not your personal power, that is going to be doing the healing.  However, your job is to be obedient.  

Our primary faith belief is that healing will happen through the Holy Spirit in the authority and name of Jesus.  This is our faith belief.  However, there are clearly times when, for whatever reason, God does not grant the healing.  Two very big examples can be highlighted.  The first is Paul the Apostle.  In II Corinthians 12:8, Paul petitions the Lord to heal Him three times but his prayer is denied.  The second big example is seen in Luke 22:42, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away form Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."

We change lives by being obedient to the will of God.  Sometimes, just a hug to someone who needs one; a telephone call to see how one is doing; and even just a smile.  

I believe our primary job is to be obedient to the will of God, just as Jesus was.  We get no glory nor blame for whatever happens.  It is not about us.  It is always about the Lord.  The final authority of what happens, when we put our faith in action by doing something, is always God.  

Thus, if I pray for someone to get well, I am doing everything God wants me to do.  I have great faith that my prayer will be answered; however, the outcome is not my responsibility.  My responsibility is to just do it.  God will make the final decision and it is always in His hands.  As Jesus said, when He prayed to His Father to "take this cup away from Me" (going to the cross), Jesus said, ". . . nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."

We change lives by being obedient to God and having the faith to put our belief in action by proclaiming the name of Jesus through the authority He has given us and the power of the Holy Spirit.  

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