GPS: God’s Parcel Service, Pt. 2
(A Personal Look at Discipleship, Pt. 8)
Study Guide , February 4, 2018
Pastor Clay Olsen
The message in a church had been on evangelism, and the closing song was ‘Till the Whole World Knows’. So when they all began to sing one little girl said to her brother, “ I think we’re going to be here a long time!” ‘Till the whole world knows!’ Kids take things straight up, don’t they? But, again, of all the disciplines of the Christian life, this one is the most daunting…evangelism, or witnessing. That’s why it’s very important not to make our personal task so big nor confuse it with what God is actually looking for us to do…or looking for us to be; as in ‘our identity’, like we talked about last week.
As we pointed out, having a clear identity about who we really are as well as having a clear identity of who others really are has a great influence on what we will then do about it all. As in; once I have a clear understanding that God has commissioned me into His service as an Ambassador to represent Him to the Seekers as well as the Non-Seekers in the world around me, it then frees me to just do my part and it allows God to then do His part, as in; it frees me to be the ‘Representative’ of His and His truths to others and let’s Jesus be the Redeemer, who alone can do the work of redeeming others to Himself and re-birthing others into His family. And that is very liberating to know. It relieves us of a work that only Jesus can accomplish, that of saving souls, and it inspires us to just do the work that Jesus has assigned us to do; share His gospel. We share, Jesus saves.
However, that also means that we do have to get on with doing what Ambassadors of Christ need to be doing. And that’s what we are trying to help you do. So let’s now do some things that will really help…help you carry out your commission as being Christ’s Ambassador as you carry out Christ’s Great Commission.
For one thing, becoming an active ambassador for Christ requires adopting an ‘Ambassador Attitude’ in your spheres of influence. Really, much of the reason we often just don’t think about acting like an Ambassador for Christ to others in our spheres of influence is because we just don’t think like an Ambassador for Christ. We haven’t adopted an ‘Ambassador Attitude’ in our daily lives. And it’s hard to change what you do unless you change how you think. Remember, that’s what one of the powerful proverbs was all about, as in: Prov 1:1-3- “These are the proverbs of Solomon, the son of David and king of Israel. They will help you learn to be wise, to accept correction, and to understand wise sayings. They will teach you to develop your mind in the right way.”Also Prov 4:23- “Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.” ERV
Until we develop our mind or develop our thinking into thinking like an Ambassador we probably won’t get on much with acting like an Ambassador. But when you do more and more adopt and then develop an ‘Ambassador Attitude’ it will then start affecting the way you see others, the way you talk to others, and even how you talk about God around others.
One of the helps in adopting and developing an ‘Ambassador Attitude’ is to start focusing on not just on talking more to others about God, but first on talking more about God around others. Really, think about it: A large part of the reason we have not gotten more comfortable in talking to others much about God is because we have not gotten more comfortable with talking much about God around others. Here’s a fascinating thing the Apostle Peter says about that, which will also then be a great boost in developing your ‘Ambassador Attitude’. 1 Peter 2:9- “But you are His chosen people, the King’s priests. You are a holy nation, people who belong to God. He chose you to tell about the wonderful things He has done. He brought you out of the darkness of sin into His wonderful light.” ERV
Many of us were blessed to know Pete Walston, or Ambassador Walston. And the Chapel was blessed to have him in our fellowship and in our leadership before he went home to Heaven. Pete was an Elder in the Chapel and he was also an Ambassador in the World. One of the things that characterized Pete’s life was a lot of ‘God talk’. He just talked a lot about God around other people. He took the Apostle Peter’s words straight up…he chose to tell others about the wonderful things God had done in his life. For example: his standard answer to most everyone’s standard question of “How are you doing?” was: “Well, the Lord’s been good to me.” So right away, he had injected the Lord into his daily conversation. And the thing is, Pete had lost his sight in his early 20’s, but the first thing he talked about was how good the Lord had been to him in his life. How great was that?!
Another version of what the Apostle Peter said put it like this:1 Peter 2:9-10- “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…” NASU We are called to proclaim the excellencies of Christ in our conversations as we go about our daily lives with people. As Ambassadors for Christ we are to talk about the One we represent. We are to inject ‘God talk’ into the way we talk and into the things we talk about, everything from the excellencies of creation to the excellencies of conversion to the excellencies of the Christ’s coming again…or coming back; coming back to Earth. The Scriptures call for us to “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Col 4:6 NASU So ‘season’ your conversations with people with grace, or salt and pepper your talk with ‘God talk’. Begin injecting talking more and more about God around others and you will find yourself becoming more and more comfortable in talking about God to others.
Actually, Ambassadors tend to talk a lot about the one they represent. In fact, as soon as others find out that someone is an Ambassador, they pretty much expect them to talk about the one they represent. Really, they would find it a bit odd if they didn’t talk much about the one they are representing as this person’s or country’s Ambassador. Can you imagine being an Ambassador of the United States in a foreign country, but then hardly ever talking about the United States to anyone in that country. The people in that country would find that a bit odd since they are expecting you talk like a representative of the United States. Which brings us to a very interesting place.
Remember those schemes that the Devil uses to distract and discourage and diminish Christians worship of God and their service to God? Well, one of the Devil’s schemes in relation to this ‘discipline of witnessing’ is to try to convince Christians that other people around them really aren’t seeking what they have share with them, and he also trying to convince those who are Seekers that they probably already have all they need to have anyway, even when all the while something in their heart and in their soul is telling them they actually don’t. But what a stand-off the Devil has created between the Saved and the Seekers. He does not want us to think of ourselves as who we really are; Ambassadors for Christ and Sowers of the Gospel. And he does not want us to think of others as who they really are; either Seekers or Non-seekers. And he does not want those who are Seekers to do anything more about seeking to fill that hole in their soul that only a relationship with Christ can fill. But the reality is that God has imparted this reality of God in the mind of man with the witness of His creation, and He has imprinted the Laws of God upon the heart of man in the witness of man’s conscious need for God. And what we are to understand about those among the ‘whosoever will’ that are responding to this witness of creation and this witness of conscience is that they really are seeking that which will finally fill that hole in their soul; the Person of Jesus Christ. And you see, what they are seeking is what the saved, what we, already have; the truths of God, the words of life, the Lord of life; Jesus Christ. All we have to do, as Ambassadors of Christ is to get the words of life into the hands and hearts and minds of the Seekers so that they can find the Living God.
And that brings us to another help. One of the benefits of being involved in a local church family is that you can then participate in the things in which that local church family is involved. And when others find out you are involved in a local church it just makes sense to them that you would then be doing whatever projects or service assignments that your local church is doing. And as we have stated before, we have often recommended and even prepared helps for being involved in getting Gospel information out to others. And we have then done so by way of letting others know that this is simply one of the things that we do as a part of the service of Chapel By The Sea. That’s why we developed this Witness Handbook and this Jesus Knocking Witness card, and others in our church, like Pastor Robert and Brother Roger and others have developed similar helps in helping us each be more active Ambassadors for Christ.
We are recommending another such help. We’re even suggesting that you see yourself as joining in this particular service of the church. It’s a service we could call: ‘God’s Parcel Service’, or ‘GPS’. Now, you right away might be thinking about ‘UPS” like: ‘What can Brown do for you?’ We have one of UPS’s finest right here, our own Ambassador Mike Hyden. But really, the only reason we are talking about a name like ‘God’s Parcel Service’ is simply to underscore the concept of what we have been talking about; and that is the fact that Seekers are already seeking what the Saved already have; the information about how anyone can have an eternal relationship with the Creator and Redeemer of the World, Jesus Christ. It’s like they have already ordered the materials in their heart and soul and they are just waiting for some GPS delivery person to deliver them their parcel. Now, they may not be really clear about all of that in their mind, but as we pointed out; if they are a Seeker, they are waiting for, they are seeking for something to come to the door of their soul. And you and I are the GPS: God’s Parcel Service.
Here’s something else we are to know: One of the things that Seekers seek is for some assurance concerning having an eternal relationship with God. They may have even been a part of some church for many years, but are still wrestling with questions about assurance of their salvation. Actually, a lot of already saved people still wrestle from time to time about assurance of their own salvation. That’s why we titled our handbook: Assurance of Eternal Life with God: We All Need It. We All Can Have It.” It’s just helpful for anyone for having assurance of their salvation. But again, Seekers long for assurance even if they are getting by with a ‘hope so’ kind of faith in their minds rather than a genuine ‘know so’ kind of faith that their soul is still seeking. Again, Satan has been trying to deceive them into settling for this ‘hope so’ kind of faith. But what Satan can’t do is stop that ‘gnawing in their soul’ that’s telling them there’s something more. And that ‘something more’ is what those who were once Seekers, but are now Saved – Us…that ‘something more’ is what we now have; the Gospel of Grace…the truths of how to be Born Again…the message of how any Seeker can finally have assurance of their salvation.
And so we actually are going to have some parcels, or some packets, with these words of Assurance that we can each distribute to any and to all we can in our service as Ambassadors for Christ as we carry out our ‘Discipline of Witnessing’ to the Seekers around us. You can even tell people it’s one of the services we do at Chapel By The Sea; we deliver Assurance Packets to everyone. And note this too: Non-seekers need this information as well. Telling the difference is often God’s part, unless it becomes evident to us as well. But the thing is, either way, our part is to do the sowing, right? It’s like we find in Eccl 11:6- “Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.” NASU We are to become more and more active in ‘sowing’ and leaving the results of the sowing in God’s hands. I’ve always loved Dr. Bill Bright’s statement on successful witnessing: “Successful witnessing is sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God.”
We are also planning to include another help, another paper on Assurance, that is meant to set the tone of like coming alongside of another person and just sort of thinking out-loud together about having Assurance. For example, I’ll just share the first paragraph of that handout with you now: “Regardless of a person’s spiritual journey or religious affiliation, the reality is that we all need assurance that we are in right standing with our Creator and Redeemer. And the great news from the Scriptures is that we can each have this assurance. And whether we are in a good place health-wise and home-wise and business-wise, or in a crisis in our health or home life or business, each of us longs to know that we are secure in our relationship with Christ. And the good news is; there is a sure way to become sure.” And then the hand out continues to unveil several gospel truths. Of course, the handbook goes into it even further and clearly lays out a step-by-step explanation of how a person can be sure they are going to Heaven. We thought we would include that witness card as well. And we plan to also have a brief cover letter to let them know what’s inside the parcel or packet that you are giving to them. And we hope to have a supply of these packets ready soon so that you can begin delivering them as God’s Parcel Service. (Again, the name were using here is just to get us to grasp the concept of it all. But if you like it, you can use it…whatever it takes, right?)
What we are trying to do is to provide more and more helps for each of us to become more active and more faithful in practicing this discipline of Discipleship of Witnessing, as we obey God and bless others in carrying out the Great Commission as Ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ. We want to be as useful and helpful to our Savior as we can as He builds His church, His forever family.