We Must

Three Imperatives for Followers of Jesus Christ

by Murray CorneliusWe Must

No one likes to be told what to do. So it is no surprise that the word “must” is one word we really do not like to hear. We resist being informed that we “must” do this or “must not” do that. Adam and Eve really did not like it when God said, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die” (Genesis 3:3).

But Jesus used the word quite regularly, applying it not only to Himself, but to those who followed in His ways. Here are three important things that He said He “must” do and, in turn that we must also do.

We must pray.

Jesus informed His mother that He had to be in His Father’s house.

Luke 2:48-49 (ESV)

“… [Jesus’] mother said to him, ‘Son … your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.’

“And he said to them, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ ”

The reference to his Father’s house is a reference to prayer; for the house of the Lord is a house of prayer! It was not only the place where God revealed His purposes, but it was the place where all nations could come and seek the face of the one true God. When Jesus visited the temple in Jerusalem, he was angered that the outer court had been transformed into a place of business. The issue was not really the money changing, but that there was no place for the nations to worship and pray.

Mark 11:15, 17 (ESV)

“And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.

“And he [said] to them, ‘Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations”? But you have made it a den of robbers.’ ”

The mission of the church is fuelled by prayer. Prayer must, first and foremost, be about the purposes of God in this world. Throughout the New Testament we are reminded that:

  • Doors for the gospel are opened through prayer (1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:3).
  • Workers for the field are raised through prayer (Matthew 9:37,38).
  • Resistance to the gospel is broken by prayer (Acts 26:17-18).
  • Apostles are emboldened by prayer (Acts 4:29,31).
  • The gospel spreads rapidly by prayer (Colossians 1:6).

Jesus showed us we must pray.

We must preach.

Jesus recognized the power of proclaiming the kingdom of God.

Luke 4:43 (NIV)

“I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”

John 9:4 (NIV)

“As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”  

Jesus obligated himself to the mission, to the very reason He came to earth.

There are still nearly 7,000 unreached people groups in the world with less than two per cent of the population living as followers of Christ and less than five per cent as Christian adherents. These realities help us to focus on the unfinished task of the Great Commission. At the very least, there are 1.5 billion people without access to the gospel message.

We know who has not yet heard the gospel, and we know where they live in this world; with over 2,000 unreached Muslim people groups, the world of Islam must be clearly in our focus.

Like the Apostle Paul, we must aim to “preach the gospel where Christ [is] not known” (Romans 15:20).

Jesus showed us we must preach.

“The mission of the church is fueled by prayer. Prayer must first and foremost be about the purposes of God in this world.”

We must suffer.

Jesus knew the cost would be high.

Luke 9:22 (ESV)

“The Son of Man must suffer many things … and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Mark 8:34 (NIV 1984)

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.”

Unfortunately, this call to “deny ourselves” has gone out of the vocabulary of the church and been replaced by a message of blessing and prosperity. But we must recognize that Jesus is at home in the midst of suffering. We must follow Him. But it will cost the church as we go to the difficult places in our world, like the Middle East and North Africa.

Jesus showed us we must suffer.

I am praying that, from our Canadian churches, God will raise up five couples and some single friends who will respond to God’s call by living among the Arabic-speaking people. There is no time to spare. This call will not be easy. It will not be without cost, but will be eternally rewarding for all.

I wish I could tell you the names of our families living in North Africa—but for their protection they must remain nameless. What I can share is that in one country which is 99 per cent Muslim, our Canadian friends have seen over 40 people come to Christ and be baptized in the last three years. In another country, our workers report that there are now over 15 support groups for young mothers, an extensive ministry to children, and an established Bible training centre for pastors. God has opened the doors, and our global workers are reaching lost people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We must multiply these stories!

The mission of God will be accomplished by the knees of those who pray, the feet of those who go, and the hands of those who give.

-Anonymous

ReadMurray Cornelius is the executive director of International Missions with The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. This article appeared in the October 2011 issue of testimony, the monthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. ©2011 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photo © istockphoto.com.

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