Acts 26:17-18 “‘I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'”
What a magnificent commission! However, if we think this commission is unique to Paul, we miss out on a great deal. It is actually the commission of every cross-cultural missionary, for starters, and in a sense, of every believer in Jesus Christ. Like Paul, we are saved from among our own people and those who do not know God’s law, and then we are sent right back to them to communicate the Gospel so that they too may be saved “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.” This commission is available to all who will accept it, but too few do. We raise all sorts of objections, mostly on the basis of our own inability and our own comfort zones, forgetting that it’s never a matter of our ability in the first place, and Jesus is the ultimate example of someone who left their comfort zone behind in order to be obedient to God. If we claim to follow Him, we need to be willing to do the same. Many limit this sort of commission to those they consider “professional Christians,” when nothing could be further from the truth. God wants His representatives in every honorable profession, and we don’t have to wear a collar to do so.
Being a child of missionaries myself I saw this truth from childhood. Both as a child and as an adult I have heard people, not in jest, use the term “real live missionaries.” Frankly, I find that sad. Those who accept God’s commission are certainly worthy of respect, but as examples and compatriots, people to be actively emulated, rather than simply put on pedestals. The fall from a pedestal is pretty painful! Paul’s commission was no more than an amplification, or really just a restatement, of Matthew 28:18-20, which is often called The Great Commission, and it is generally agreed that was issued to all believers. As a pastor I would say that I spend the majority of my ministry time seeking to help people take their eyes off of themselves and place them on Jesus, so that they may grasp the magnificence of His plans for them. Self-centeredness is the source of untold misery! We all need to grasp what we are “saved out of” so that we may be “sent to,” not just to guarantee our personal ticket to heaven.
Father, thank You for this strong, clear Word this morning. It is a big push to get back to the book You had me start! Help me be effective in communicating what You speak through me, so that many indeed may be saved “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God,” for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!