Such a Great Salvation (19)
But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6.9-12
We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. 2 Corinthians 10.13
A sphere of influence
We have a great salvation. Our Lord Jesus Christ has broken the hold of the enemy of our souls; liberated us into His Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit; and sent us into the world, which He has reconciled to God, that we might bring our great salvation to bear on every place, person, and thing in the world.
Of course, you and I cannot bring salvation to the whole world. But we must work hard at our salvation, in the fear of God and the power of His Spirit, so that we may realize increasingly the exceedingly abundantly more of our great salvation for every aspect and area of our world – your world and mine.
Paul mentioned his having a sphere, appointed to him by God, within which he was to live and work out the great salvation he had received from Jesus Christ. Paul’s sphere was geographically vast and ethnically and culturally diverse; but it was united by language and law, and doors opened to Paul wherever the Spirit led him throughout his sphere.
Our sphere is probably neither as vast nor as diverse as Paul’s. But it is ours. How can we identify our sphere? Jesus used the term, πορευθέντες, “as you are going,” to help us determine the measure of our sphere (Matt. 28.19). As we are going each day, day after day, we leave our footprints and establish our presence in a variety of places – home, neighborhood, workplace, school, gym, church, marketplace, and other places where we pursue recreation, diversion, community services, or professional advancement. We go to many of these places, if not every day, at least every week. We see the same people there. We experience the same environment and conditions. And Jesus sends us there as a fragrance of Him, as light in a world of darkness, to fill our world with Hispresence (Eph. 4.7-10).
As we work out our great salvation, we must seek and wait on the Lord to show us how He intends us to affect the places to which He sends us each week with the Good News of His Kingdom and glory.
Think of all the places you go each week. What are they? What are they like? What do you do there? What opportunities are available to you to bring the fragrance of Jesus – by your deeds and words – into those environments?
Jesus was certainly sensitive to the places God had sent Him. Think of Him in the temple, contemplating the commerce and longing for more prayer. Did He just walk away from that environment, as though He, the Savior of the world, could do nothing about it?
Think of Him in the home of the Pharisee, where a woman has broken a vial of sweet-smelling liquid over His head, and people are beginning to grumble about the waste. Did He simply sit by and let them humiliate her? Or did He commend her for the beauty she added to that place – beauty that ultimately drew people’s attention to Him?
Think of Paul, writing to believers about their workplaces. Doubtless most of those places were fairly dreary and unadorned, and the people, many of whom would have been slaves (75% of the Roman world were slaves), dirty and grumbling and doing as little as possible. Did Paul tell them just to lay low and put up with this lack of excellence, diligence, and industry? Or did he instruct them to do their work heartily, as unto the Lord, with a view to earning enough to meet their own needs and to help others?
Think of Martha, and the way she employed her energies in her home to make people feel at home – to ensure they were as comfortable and at ease as they could be. Jesus did not condemn her diligence as a homemaker; He merely reminded her to keep it in a proper perspective.
Jesus came to this world – His place – and He so affected it that cultures, societies, even languages and institutions and whole cities and nations, were forever changed. The great salvation Jesus brought to His followers has impacted all kinds of places, in every age of history, in ways that have brought the goodness of God to the world with lasting effects.
Is that your vision for the places Jesus sends you each day?
We must not neglect our great salvation where it can bring the goodness of God into the places of our world. We need to think more “savingly” about the places we go each week. Together, these constitute the sphere appointed by God to us, where He expects us to bring the salt, light, and leaven of our great salvation to bear on anything and everything that needs some shoring-up for good.
What does excellence in all things require of us in these places? How can we bring the joy of our great salvation into the merely mundane, ordinary, soulless world of the places we go to each week? How can the hope that is within us – of knowing God in His glory and showing that glory to the world – radiate from within us into the places we go, putting those places on notice that a new world is coming, and we are its avant-garde?
The place to begin impacting the places of our sphere with the reality of the Kingdom not of this world, is in prayer, and in the Word of God, searching the Scriptures and listening for the Lord to show us how we, like Jesus and Paul, can bring the light of the Kingdom to shine wherever any lingering darkness of sin continues within the places of our world.
You are sent to the world as Jesus was, to bring near the Kingdom of God (Jn. 20.21; Matt. 4.17). Identify the places the Lord has sent you. Offer them up to Him, like John Knox, praying, “Lord, give me Scotland, or I die!” Then gear up for the daily challenge of working out your great salvation in the places of your sphere, bringing the joy of Christ and His Kingdom to your world with ever-increasing glory.
1. Make a list of the places you go each week. For each place, identify one change that would bring more of the Kingdom of God to light there.
2. Should the Gospel, in all its radiance and brilliance and goodness and love, become established in the place of your world, what would be different?
3. Do you believe God has called you to make a Kingdom difference in the places of your sphere? Explain.
Next steps – Preparation: Watch this brief video (click here), then download the worksheet and map out the places of your Personal Mission Field – where you go each week. Show your work to a Christian friend, and ask for your friend’s prayer as you begin working out your great salvation in the sphere of your world.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.
Salvation for Your World (1)
- T.M. Moore
- March 1, 2019
So where does this great salvation come to light?
Such a Great Salvation (19)
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.