The second point that Roland Allen makes is that “all missionary desire and effort proceeds from the presence of Christ in the souls of His people.” To understand the importance of this, we must look at two statements Jesus made to His disciples before His ascension.
The first statement was told the disciples from the time Jesus called them and throughout His ministry with them; “Come follow Me” (Matthew 16:24; 19:21; Mark 8:34; 10:21; Luke 9:23; 18:22). The point of this call is further explained in Mark 3:13-14; “He…called to Him those whom He desired, and they came to Him…that they might be with Him.” Let us not forget that this command to “follow” Him did not end with Jesus’ ascension. After the resurrection, Jesus had a conversation with Peter about whether he really loved the Lord. Peter asserted that he loved the Lord three times. Jesus ends that part of the conversation by saying, “Follow Me” (John 21:19). This is repeated in verse 22. No missionary work can be effective without closely following Christ who left us here to do His missionary work. Let nothing and no one come between you and HIM!
The second statement is, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). The word “age” is understood as a “very long time, eternity”, which confirms that he was not just referring to the time when He was here on earth. What a comfort and a motivation to know that Jesus is with us, particularly when we seek to follow God’s will. Jesus is intimately engaged in our effort to reach every people group with the gospel of grace.
These two ideas must work together in our souls so we do not become lazy about following Him or think that He is not with us. Pursuing a close relationship with the Lord Jesus assures us that He is with us, especially when circumstances seem against us.
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