Nicolaus Zinzendorf, the great German pastor and reformer of the 18th century, gathered together a group of Christ-followers that were known as “The Lord’s Watch”. In 1727, this community of believers started a round the clock “prayer watch” that lasted unbroken for 100 years. There were about 300 people in this community of faith at the beginning, and various ones covenanted to pray for one of the 24 hours in the day. In 1792, 65 years later, with the lamp of prayer still burning, the little community had sent out 300 missionaries to the various unreached peoples from the West Indies to Greenland and even to North America. They, as a community of believers, understood that they were on mission together and they were utterly, and radically dedicated to making Jesus known.
I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to be a part of a community like that… a community of faith that is marked by their persistence in prayer and their radical devotion to the mission of God together.
It’s been a privilege for me to step in to our pulpit during this “On Mission/Transformission” series we’ve been in through the book of Acts at Wildwood Church. It has become my prayer that we as a faith family would better understand what it means to be the sheep (people) of God that are united as the flock (church) of God gathered together and launched out on mission together to impact the world with the Gospel of God for the glory of God!
In preparing to preach Acts 20, I had the privilege to travel just outside of Tallahassee to a farm to get a better idea the imagery that is used throughout Scripture to describe the people of God and the church of God. Some 700 times we read about sheep, lambs, flocks and shepherds.
But what transforms our perspective of being a flock together on mission is when we realize how highly Christ has valued the sheep that He has bought. You know, what’s interesting about this whole imagery Scripture gives of the people of God as sheep is that we have this tendency to think of sheep as cute, cuddly animals. But in reality, sheep are dirty animals filled with parasites, lice and all kinds of worms. They have to be washed in different chemicals to cleanse them. They are obstinate, senseless, dumb animals, which is humbling when you realize that this is the image that God has used throughout Scripture to describe us. But don’t miss the beauty of the Gospel: that Christ came to die, not for the strong and successful, but for the weak and sinful; not for the clean, but for the dirty.
If you’d like to listen to the sermon in it’s entirety, you can do so here: http://wildwoodchurchonline.org/sermons/