Monday, September 26, 2011

The Ultimate Joy

After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you! Yes, you are our pride and joy. 1 Thess. 2:19-20
These words from Paul, addressed to the church at Thessalonica, reveal the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that he, Timothy and Silas feel about the work that they have completed in the lives of these people. They have wholly invested their time and energy into fulfilling the great commission: they have shared the gospel with them, they have made disciples of them, and they have reaped an eternal reward in them. We can have that same reward if we also are willing to commit our lives to the work of the gospel. The third crown in this little series-within-a-series is the crown of exultation, and it is for those who have spent their lives fulfilling the great commission (Matt. 28:19-20).
Daniel 12:3 says, "Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever."
So, how do we fulfill the great commission?
  • Physically, verbally tell people about Jesus. Share the gospel with as many people as possible. You don't need special training or unique skills to do this. If you are able to speak, you are able to share the gospel.
  • Become a missionary, wherever God has called you. Begin in your home, and go out into your neighborhood, your city, your state, your country, and throughout the world.
  • Support those who are missionaries. Give financially to those who are out on the front lines. God hasn't called every single person to travel to the remote parts of the world, but if you can afford to buy Starbucks once a day, you can afford to give financially in support of the people who are called to that life. God will reward your faithfulness to support the work of missions as much as he will reward those out doing the ministering.
  • Pray! Pray for the missionaries. Pray for the lost. Pray for the salvation of the world. 
  • Disciple. God didn't call us to make converts; he called us to make DISCIPLES! As new people, who have just accepted the Lord, begin to show up at your church or at your campus ministry, take them under your wing and teach them how to read their Bible, how to live out their new faith, how to be the church, so they don't end up just going to church, or worse, end up fizzling out and returning to their old life.
And what's the result?
  • Ultimately: More people in heaven. Fewer people in hell. 
  • More people living abundant lives here on earth, rather than just "getting by".
  • More people who are turning around and finding more people to share the gospel with and to disciple themselves.
  • More glory to God as lives are transformed and the enemy is defeated.
  • And personally: a lasting joy in heaven for each person who has been obedient to fulfill this calling. Notice that Paul said that the people would be their joy in heaven. When we get to heaven, part of the joy that we experience will be the actual people whom we have affected for Christ in this life. Every time we share the gospel with someone, a seed is planted. They may receive Christ at that moment, or it may happen 10 years down the road and we may never know. But one day, we will finally see the effect of a seed-planting life, when we learn that that one person who we shared the gospel with years ago, never saw again and thought would never come to Christ, actually did, and as a result, ended up sharing Christ with hundreds more people. One day, we'll finally get to see just how big (or how small) of a ripple we really caused in this world. 
You know, it's so easy to allow our past mistakes, failures, and missed opportunities to cripple us, making us feel like we are incapable of doing better or like we just don't deserve another chance. We're afraid that people could never take us seriously after the way we used to live our lives, so why bother trying. We dwell on the failures and allow it to keep us from living up to our potential. But God didn't call the equipped; he equips the called. And he has called you!
Romans 8:1 says, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
If you have placed your trust in Jesus, then your past mistakes have been erased. You don't have to worry about working your way out of the pit of your failures; Jesus did that for you on the cross. All you have to do now is get walking. And you can start by telling someone about Jesus!


  1. A gift for you from the wilderness of cyberspace Rev 12:6... There will be no rapture. Not one child of God will be put in a hell fire no matter what their sins. It never entered the heart or mind of God to ever do such a thing Jer 7:31, Jer 19:5 and this is proven by the word of God at Prophecy is fulfilled, Rev 12:5, 13 the true word John 1:1 of God is delivered to the world as a witness and then the end will come. Prove all things.

  2. Hi Val,
    Thanks for your comment. I must respectfully disagree however. The Bible is very clear about the fact that hell is a real, literal place, and that those who reject Jesus Christ WILL spend eternity there. Jesus references hell more than anyone else in the Bible. I will give you just one example from Matthew 13:40-43: "Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and ALL WHO DO EVIL. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father's Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!" (emphasis added)

    Also, Jesus tells us in John 14:6 that "No one comes to the father, but through me." You are correct that no one will be kept out of heaven BECAUSE of their sins, no matter what you have done; HOWEVER, if you do not accept Jesus Christ, you WILL go to hell. I encourage you to study the scriptures for yourself in more depth. I think you will find that these two verses are backed up by MANY MANY more.

    And in regards to the rapture, I agree that there has been much debate over the time or existence of such an event. However, I believe that if you search the scriptures, you will find that it IS a very real event that will happen. You can take a look at my earlier posts on the topic, like this one: and I encourage you to do more research on your own.

    Here's another great resource:

    God bless!