John Wesley (founder of the Methodist) said; “I look upon the whole world as my parish”. If the world is the place of mission, the task of doing it requires much more than being awake. There are defined actions from the commission of Jesus: go and make disciples; baptizing them…… teaching them…. This task was never meant to be easy. Why? Jesus added at the end the comforting words:” I am with you always to the end of age “(Mt 28:20), posing the problem of despair we will face in the light of this challenge. Fishing for men and woman is not that easy. I’ve seen many come to Christ but many have got away. Sometimes it’s just catch and release. So what are we really facing?
Paul the Apostle warns the Ephesian Christians to take their stand against the devil’s scheme and the powers of the dark world and spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:11,12). We are called to be ready like armed soldiers to do battle against evil. Yet we are also called to conquer evil with good (Rom 12:21), and love our enemies (Mt 5:44). When Jesus confronts us with loving our enemies, he is clearly referring to those who persecute us; it could be your colleague at work. Praying for them and blessing them is simply the first step toward salvation. People are not the real enemy, even if they behave like one. The real enemy is clearly the Kingdom of Darkness. The Kingdom of Darkness is full of piggy habits of selfishness. People adopt this deceptive kingdom and become captives to self-centred living. That’s why Isaiah predicts a new Kingdom, an eternal Kingdom with different values (Isaiah 9). This new Kingdom will be marked by the ministry of Jesus (Isaiah 61), breaking the hold from the kingdom of darkness. Jesus claimed his Kingdom in Luke 4: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.
Linda and I will be visiting our missionaries in Cambodia, North Africa and England in September and October. We will be there to encourage them in this mission of God’s Kingdom, breaking the kingdom of darkness. This is no easy task, yet worth living for.