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As Christians, you and I are on a rescue mission. You see, as followers of Jesus Christ, we have received the cure for the world’s disease that is the consequences of sin. And so now, as the Church, we are called to go out into the world and rescue people from their disease. And I tell you, when you get involved in that rescue mission, your Christian life will be infused with so much passion!
I know this because I’m trying to live this. One of the trips that we do with Summit is called the Berkeley Mission. In it, we take students out of the classroom and take the knowledge and truth that they have learned and apply it into real life. So, we go up to Berkeley, CA which has no shortage of atheists, skeptics and all kinds of wild belief systems and worldviews; and we engage them in conversations regarding morality, God and ultimately the Biblical truth about Jesus.
One thing that we have discovered is that by the end of these trips, after spending all day every day talking about the truth, students get fired up for Jesus like nothing else!
We get some insight into this from the Book of Philippians. Philippians is often referred to as “The Book of Joy”. And what we find is that students who go on these trips discover a newfound joy.
For example, a few years ago, on one particular trip, on the very last night, we were at an event with several atheist and skeptic students at Berkeley. They offered three different presentations followed by a time of Q&A about why they believed that Christianity was false. And we engaged in conversation. Then the president of their Atheist Club said, “You guys are free to go. This ends our formal event. But if you would like to stick around and talk, feel free to do so.”
Nobody left the room.
Instead, conversations started breaking out everywhere between our students and the atheist students. After nearly two hours, I had to pull students out like pulling teeth because it was so late in the evening. Even all the way to the car and the entire drive back, our students were just buzzing with joy and excitement about Jesus’ truth.
Why were they so filled with passion, joy and excitement for Jesus? Well, we see a similar account in the church in Philippi. Within the text, the words “joy” or “rejoice” is mentioned 19 times in these four short chapters. And I believe that sometimes people make the mistake in thinking that the main theme of the book is “joy”. Actually, I think that joy is simply the byproduct of something else that is actually the main theme of the book. And that is the church’s partnership in the Gospel with Paul.
Paul writes in Philippians 1:3-5:
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…”
So, you see, this church in Philippi was so filled with joy because they chose to be involved in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and partnered in Paul’s ministry. And when you live your life for the Gospel of Jesus, and start engaging the world, your Christian life will become so much more real, exciting, dynamic and passionate!
Now, you will get knocked around a little bit. But you will be living on mission from Jesus. And there’s nothing in the world like that!
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