The other day, I was watching a program called “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” The home video showed a man on a snowmobile attempting to jump over a highway using a huge bank of snow next to the road as a ramp. Notice, I said attempting, because the result was almost fatal. Perhaps funny in one sense of the word, but the crazy stunt nearly cost him his life. At the beginning of the video clip the show’s host, Tom Bergeron, said, “Do not try this at home.”
Those words stuck in my mind. It would be absurd to think I would even consider a stunt like that, at home or anywhere else. The phrase, “don’t try this at home,” really means do not try this unless you are a trained professional, prepared for the consequences, and your life insurance is up-to-date. In other words, do not attempt this unless you really know what you’re doing!
Have you ever thought about how unbelievable the Great Commission must have sounded to the first followers of Jesus? He said “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations . . .” Matthew 28:18-19 (NLT) In Luke’s account, Jesus said, “It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem . . . and you are witnesses of these things.” Luke 24:47 (NLT)
With less than three years of training, Jesus sent His disciples out to proclaim the Gospel and to make disciples in every people group throughout the world. Educationally, socially, and religiously, this small band of followers was not what the world would call “the A-Team.” Yet, Jesus chose them and commissioned them to evangelize the world! The Bible says, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself,” and after His death and resurrection, He gave to His disciples “the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
After giving the disciples their marching orders, He gave them His version of the “don’t try-this-at-home” warning. He said, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before . . . But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:4, 8 (NLT)
Proclaiming the Good News and making disciples of all people groups, is not something we can do on our own. Transforming rebellious, sinful, selfish people into fully committed followers of Jesus is a work only the Holy Spirit can do. What is truly amazing is God chose to accomplish this work through human beings! We are sent to do a work only God can do – make disciples!
In light of this, we should remember the words of the prophet Zechariah, “It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven’s armies.” Zechariah 4:6 (NLT)
Don’t try this at home, or anywhere else, without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Remember; never attempt God’s work without God’s power!