I want to offer a series of posts over the next week or so about the dangers of men living an AWOL life and how they may recover a sense of meaning and fulfillment in the Jesus’ Great Commission as recorded in Matthew 28:18-20. For sake of brevity I will need to chop them into smaller portions. I hope you take the time to follow along. (this is part 3)
How did Paul go from AWOL to living a life with a clear sense of purpose and a measurable sense of accomplishment?
Paul found his meaning in the same place that 12 other men found meaning. Yes, the simple Sunday School answer here is “Jesus”, but allow me to take it a step further. Paul and the apostles found meaning in Jesus’ command. “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).” If a man is to have a mission, he must be able to take orders. How does a man avoid living an AWOL life? He obeys the command and engages in the mission.
The 12 men to whom I refer are the apostles. 11 of them Jesus called early in His ministry. One was added just before Pentecost. Paul was added later (1 Cor. 15:8). However they are numbered, the result of their lives is unquestioned. They turned the world upside down for Jesus Christ (Acts 17:6). These men went from being fishermen, tax collectors and in Paul’s case a spiritual terrorist to making what is arguably the greatest contribution to human history in the birth of the church. Because of them, the gospel has gone global. Why the change? It can all be traced to the command that was given to them. They did what Jesus said for them to do.
The command is all encompassing. “ALL AUTHORITY in Heaven and on earth has been giving to me. Go therefore and make disciples of ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe ALL THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU. And behold, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, to the end of the age (Matt. 28:18-20).”
In this command is a mission that will give a man purpose and keep him from living an AWOL life. How does a man avoid going AWOL?
- He must surrender all. (All authority)
- He must challenge his comfort zones and expand his sphere of influence. (All nations)
- He must commit to radical obedience. (All I have commanded you)
- He must practice the constant presence of Christ. (With you always)
More to come . . .