Mission statement

A buzz word that is on the street is “mission statement”. When you first think of that word, you think of it as a business terminology, which it is. According to “Wikipedia” “A mission statement is a statement of the purpose of a company or organization. The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a path, and guide decision-making.”[1] There are even groups out there saying that everyone should have a mission statement, whether in their own life, career, or ministry. I have to say, it seems a little weird to “create” a mission statement for my own life, but I see the value in it. A mission statement gives direction to your intended goal. If you do not have any goals, it doesn’t matter what direction you go; but if you have “end goals” you know what direction to direct your energies. 
Today I “stumbled” upon a verse, and the first thing I thought of was, “This is a clear mission statement given directly from Jesus’ mouth. Acts 1:8 “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Now I have read this multiple times and never really caught this. When you accept Christ as your personal savior, the Holy Spirit is indwelt within you to help you. With the Holy Spirit indwelt in you and helping you, Jesus says, “you will be my witnesses”. You might be asking, “What is a witness?” According to Mr. Webster, a witness is “someone who testifies of a fact or event, or one who has personal knowledge of something.”[2]  The disciples were told to tell others what they personally know about or what they saw. The disciples saw the many miracles in Jesus’ life, and that he was put death, buried in a tomb (proof of the death), and was resurrected on the third day.  They personally knew that he was God’s son (Matt. 3:16-17).  Now the disciples were told to tell others what they know and saw about Jesus’ life, death, burial, resurrection; starting where they were at (in Jerusalem) and to go out from there (to Judea, Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth).
Just to shake things up a little, the word “witness” (martys) is where we get our word “martyr” from. I liked how the Frigburg lexicon defined martys: “as one who tells what he believes, even though it results in his being killed for it.” Remember, Jesus told his disciples that they will be empowered with the Holy Spirit to proceed with this new mission, because He knew in their own power, they would be fearful of telling others, but when they are empowered by the Holy Spirit, they will be bold witnesses for Jesus. 
This same thing is what Jesus wants from us.
Now we were not there to see Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, or the works in his life first hand, but we have a reliable resource (the bible) that tells us these truths. Having the bible, we know what is true and like the disciples, we need to tell others what we know about Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection. 
I know that a time or two (okay many more times than that) I have been afraid to tell others about Jesus and maybe, so have you. But I encourage you to let the fear melt away, because the Holy Spirit is with you; helping you and empowering you. Starting were you are at (your Jerusalem), tell others what you know about Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection. 
Take this mission statement seriously!
Jesus said, “be my witnesses” and you might be one who turns this world “upside down.”
Acts 17:6…“These men who have turned the “WORLD UPSIDE DOWN” have come here also, 

Remain Close to Jesus

In the setting of an agrarian society, Jesus uses a very easy agricultural illustration to help the disciples understand his truths. Jesus uses an illustration of a fruit producing vine (grapevine) to show how the disciples must be rightly related to Jesus. The idea is that they should remain close to Jesus if they want to produce fruit that glorifies God.

Jesus made his final “I am” statement, declaring that he is the true vine. A vine gives it’s branches nutrition and productiveness. Jesus is portraying himself as a vine and his disciples are considered the “branches.” As a “branch”, his disciples would receive Jesus’ divine strength, his unbelievable joy, and long lasting fruitfulness as long as they remained close to Jesus. 

We had recently purchased a little farm in the country. There was many grapevines already there. The one that I started to nurture was on a fence in our garden area. It ran up to the top of the fence and teed off each direction 25′. As summer came, it was beautiful with all of the buds and the promise of a lot of grapes. The grapes never even got as big as a pea before they dried up. The branches continued to grow longer and the leaves were beautiful, but no fruit was harvested. After doing some research, I found out that grapevines must be pruned to have a nice fruit harvest. Instead of letting the branches to grow as long as it wants, they continually need to be pruned back to the main vine. 

On a typical grapevine the main vine (trunk) comes up sometimes around three to five feet and tees off and the branches extend from the tee somewhere around four to six feet. The branches are pruned back to keep it close to the vine. Since the branches stay close to the vine, they receive more nutrition which produces larger, more impressive clusters of grapes. If you have ever seen a grapevine up close that is loaded with grapes it is a beautiful sight. 

Jesus tells his disciples in John 15:4-5 to:

“Abide (remain) in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

If you want to produce fruit that glorifies God, 
Remain close to Jesus, because away from him we can do NOTHING.

Sometimes we think that serving and doing things is producing fruit for God. It can be (and should be), but if you are running off doing your own thing without God’s direction, you could be just like my 25′ branches on my grapevine that looks pretty, but are unfruitful.
Be like the picture above, showing how the branches are close to the vine drawing everything that they need from the vine. 

According to the text, there are three things that will come from Remaining close to Jesus:

1. Effectual prayer: 
  “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7

We all have heard this verse used out of context and for personal gain, but as your heart is close to God’s heart, you will be praying for the things that God wants. 

2. Continual (long lasting) fruit:
“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. John 15:8 

When we produce godly fruit, the people around us see it and God is glorified by it.

(The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control;…  Galatians 5:22-23)

3. Unbelievable Joy:
“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. John 15:11

No matter the outward circumstances, there is inner happiness and peace that only God can give. 

Remain close to Jesus 

Changed Lives

This is probably the strongest argument for proof of the resurrection. The changed lives of the disciples prove that Jesus resurrected. At the death of Christ, the disciples fled puzzled because they were expecting Jesus to be their new political ruler to overtake Rome, yet later after the resurrection, they were empowered with the Holy Spirit to be bold witnesses of this resurrection. (Matt 28:19, Acts 2:4) They went out and turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). At their first outreach, Peter stood up with boldness and preached to thousands. (Acts 2: 14–41) Being eyewitnesses brought them assurance of the reality of the resurrection and it also brought them confidence to step out by faith into the opposition that the religious rulers had waiting for them.

As you witness to your friends, be sure to use your own personal testimony telling them how God changed your life. No one can argue about what God has done in your life.

In Acts 26, King Agrippa could not argue with Paul about what God did in Paul’s life. King Agrippa’s only response was, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.”

The Argument of the book of Romans: Salvation: Sanctification and Glorification

Sanctification is the process of living a holy life (6:1–14). Once one is justified, he is now dead to sin (6:1–2). He needs to realize that he is a new creation (6:3–10). His desire to live in his old ways should be gone, and he should consider himself dead to sin (6:11). Absolutely, one must present his body to God as an instrument of righteousness (6:12–14). There should be a contrast between one’s new life and his old life, since he has a new Master to serve (6:17–23).

There is a future glorification that a believer is guaranteed, and the present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to it (8:18). All of creation, including believers, groans because it is awaiting the future glorification of God’s children (8:19–25). Even the Holy Spirit groans and intercedes for the believer (8:26–27). Since God is in complete control, the believer has the assurance that God’s plan can not ever be interfered with. Even if the believer has to go through suffering, it is part of God’s plan to bring glory to himself (8:28–30). The one who is justified can not ever be separated from God, because no one can bring a charge against God’s elect. (8:31–39).