In the two previous articles in this series, Behind Enemy Lines: Situational Awareness and Understanding the Mission, we said that, as believers in Christ, we are living “behind enemy lines” and that as followers of Christ, it is our mission to share the Gospel and make disciples for the Kingdom of our Lord. Now we'll see how God provides all we need to accomplish our mission by:
· Equipping the messenger,
· Preparing hearts for the message, and
· Connecting the heart to the message.
Equipping the Messenger.
“When he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
Jesus was moved with a deep compassion for people, comparing the multitudes without a savior to helpless sheep without a shepherd (infantry squad without a squad leader). The Holy Spirit of God, living inside the believer, will give us the same gut-wrenching compassion for our loved ones, friends, co-workers, comrades in battle, and even those who mistreat us.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
“When they (Jewish religious leaders and the Roman ‘feds’) saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
The Holy Spirit, who lives inside the believer, providing assurance, comfort and guidance, also provides power to be an effective witness to the gospel. Peter and John were common fishermen who hung out with Jesus for a few years, listening to His teaching. When the Holy Spirit came in power on Pentecost, the head knowledge became heart knowledge. They couldn't help but talk about what they had seen and heard!
Preparing hearts for the message.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).
At the same time God is preparing messengers, He is busy preparing hearts to receive the most important message they will ever receive! It might be a family member, friend or co-worker, or the soldier by your side in a firefight. Sometimes opportunities to share God's message come knocking loudly at your door, but more often they just “happen.” I remember a lot of those ─ the medic on the SF “A” team who “happened” to be dating a Christian girl, who “happened” to be talking to him about spiritual stuff, resulting in his “happening” to ask me about the things she was saying!
Connecting the heart to the message.
There's a great story in the New Testament where we see the process at work. Acts 8:26-40 tells of Phillip, whom God had prepared as the messenger, an Ethiopian man who “happened” to be reading one of the prophets, and, a “divine” appointment. Phillip ended up sharing the good news about Jesus, and the Ethiopian received the message in his heart, was baptized in a convenient pool of water and went on his way rejoicing.
Although the story of Philip and the Ethiopian was a bit more spectacular than we see in our normal everyday life as Christians, the process is the same. There is an equipped messenger, a prepared heart, and a connecting that impacts eternity. The architect of the process is the Holy Spirit of God.
Jesus Christ is the Lord of the harvest! He told his disciples:
“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37, 38).
God has a plan and doesn’t need “Super-Christians” to make it work. All God wants is workers. Look in the mirror and see one of God’s harvest workers. Now that you are available, the Lord of the Harvest will do the rest. Remember, harvest workers are always behind enemy lines.