Sermon – December 30, 2018
We gather today to commission the Brubakers for work in China. God has opened doors for them to strengthen relationships between Crossway and our mission partners in China, and to forge new relationships as well. So, today, we gather to bless them on their journey. But we are not just laying our hands on our friends and commissioning them for the work on the field. In a very important way, we are commissioning ourselves this morning. We are commissioning ourselves to the Brubakers, to the work that they have taken up, and to take upon ourselves the very work that marks their lives. Let us pray for the Brubakers, that they might:
1. Be our pride in Christ
Paul’s letter to the Corinthians was meant to draw them closer to him. He wanted them to see the redemptive value in being an apostle in the manner that Paul held his apostleship – in weakness and in suffering. Here, he pleads that he might be the boast of the Corinthians, opposed to those who only have superficial boasting, that the Corinthians might see the true and abiding work of Christ in the life of Paul. We ought to boast in the same: Christ’s true and abiding work in the Brubakers, who are led to China for nothing else but the glory of the name of Jesus Christ and the salvation of souls. They ought to be a source of pride for us, even as we seek to have the same work of Christ done in all of us.
2. Be propelled by Christ
Let us also pray for the Brubakers, that they, like Paul, might be driven by a love of Christ. It will be easy to be distracted, to simply bide their time in China until they move home. Paul was driven by his love for Christ: his desire to make Christ known was not just for others, but was also propelled by his own love of Jesus. But he was also propelled by Jesus’ love for others. May the Brubakers be compelled in the same way – not simply to do a nice thing and return, but to see the name of Christ honored and souls saved.
3. Be perceptive of Christ
Paul no longer sees Christ with only human eyes, making out of him whatever he can reasonably draw from experience. But he sees beyond what his eyes can see, knowing that Jesus was not resurrected simply to live again, but as a whole new creation. Thus, he cannot see people only by what is on the outside anymore either. Rather, he sees them as new creations in waiting, not simply as Greek and Jew, but as a whole new people created for God. Let us pray that the Brubakers have this same perception of people. Let them not just see Chinese people whom they can make be more moral or more western in their outlook. But let them see the people that surround them as possible new creations through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
4. Be proclaimers for Christ
Finally, let us proclaim the importance of the great exchange we have experienced in Christ. He has become sin, when he knew no sin, that we might become God’s righteousness. Thus, he reconciles all those who believe to God. But, along with this reconciliation comes the important commission from God: we are now ambassadors for Christ – God speaks through us that all might be reconciled to him. This passion ought to drive the Brubakers and us: let the world be reconciled to God, for Christ has died for us. If we desire that all be reconciled, know this: they will only be reconciled as we take the gospel to them. Be faithful in your desire to proclaim Christ; and pray that the Brubakers might also be faithful to this end!