Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them,

“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

                                                                                      Matthew 28: 16-20


It was the smallest kingdom in the world. It consisted of a single mountain jutting up into the clouds whose peak had never been seen by human eyes. Coming down from that peak was a stream of life-giving water which had healing properties.


People of this small kingdom were extremely healthy  because they drank this water. And although they were a small nation, they had health which most of the nations around, with all their resources of gold, and oil, and iron, did not possess.


The king of this kingdom had been instructed to take his subjects out beyond the borders of their small kingdom with this living water to bring healing to the nations around them.


But they had a better idea.


They decided that instead of taking this living water out for healing to those nations, they would arm themselves with powerful weapons and begin pushing back their borders because these nations were half-sick anyway. And gradually, of course, the small nation grew larger, and larger, and larger until finally it engulfed the entire earth.


The king proclaimed a victory feast. And in the middle of the feast there was a rumbling in the earth. The dishes on the banqueting table began to dance, and rattle, and bounce on the floor and smash. Somebody came running with news that the mountain in the center of the kingdom had become a volcano. Now instead of giving forth life-giving water, it was spewing an ocean of lava that soon engulfed the king and his kingdom.


Centuries passed. The nations of the earth were back to what they were before. Going about their business.

And around this ancient mountain, the survivors’ descendants were farming and herding their sheep and their cattle in what was again the smallest nation in the world.


Again the stream of living water was flowing down from the mountain peak in the clouds. The new king was told,


“Take your subjects out beyond your borders to the nations around with this living water and bring



And he was instructed, “Do not expand your borders -- get beyond your borders.” This time he and his subjects obeyed. And in a very short period, the earth was made whole and ready for its final healing.


It doesn’t really much matter whether we’re a congregation that has met in the same spot for five generations, or whether we are a booming missionary enterprise with four thousand missionaries in thirty-five nations, our tendency always is to establish our own religious kingdom, with well-defined borders.

Guard those borders with our lives. Build up the kingdom inside. And then begin to expand.


That’s how Israel looked upon its destiny. They took the land, established themselves there. And when they got strong enough, they began to push out their borders. They grew larger and larger under the kingdom of David and then Solomon.


Occasionally, a prophet would come along who would proclaim that this was not the purpose of the kingdom, but that the purpose of the kingdom of Israel was to proclaim and bring life-giving water to the whole world.


On that day, living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea; it shall continue in summer as in winter. And the Lord will become king over all the earth; on that day the Lord will be one and his name one.  Zechariah 14: 8-9


Behold, is it not from the Lord of Hosts that peoples labor only for fire, and nations weary themselves for naught? For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

                            Habakkuk 2:13-14  


The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on at the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings shall be glorious.    

                                 Isaiah 11: 8-10


There were moments when that nation of Israel caught that vision and began to rise up to it. But very quickly there were always leaders who would make sure that the light didn’t get too bright and would kill it…


So the chief priests and Pharisees gathered the council, and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all; you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.”      John 11: 47-51


The church was created by God for the same reason -- to take living water out to world beyond.


So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.”                                  Acts 1: 6-8


But they kept sitting in Jerusalem. You know…building up the kingdom inside Jerusalem. “If you want to see something really good, come to us.” Until God had to blast them loose and send them out finally with persecution.


That exact same tendency is in us. We always want to do that too. We want to build our little kingdom, define our borders. And then say, “If you really want to the truth, this is the place to come. Look what God is doing among us.”


Then as the people pour into our wonderful “thing” we get larger and then we can push out the borders and it becomes greater, and greater, and greater.


But that is not what our Lord ever created us for. The Lord, very clearly, has called us to get out beyond our own borders, beyond our own little kingdoms. Lose ourselves and our kingdom in the sending forth of His gospel to the world beyond.


We are to go out like Abraham went out -- “not knowing whither”. The direction of the Body of Christ, from its beginning until its fulfillment, is always out.


So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go forth to him outside the camp, and bear the abuse he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but seek the city which is to come.

                                      Hebrews 13: 12-14


And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal.        Luke 9: 1-2


After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was to come. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”                    Luke 10: 1-2


All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…                     Matthew 28: 18


The call of the Spirit of God to us, corporately and individually, is to forget about fooling around building our own thing, developing our own kingdom.


To go beyond our own borders, out there, outside our little kingdom, to the nations of the world…to the people outside with living water and manifest God’s mercy to the world out there. Specifically this means, we have to go out beyond our own place.


But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and the end of the earth.

                                 Acts 1:8


We start out in Jerusalem where we are, but we move out beyond that ---


into territory which is unfamiliar,

and which is very often uncomfortable,

and strange and even dangerous.


For some of us that may mean we go into another land or another part of the country.


But it can also mean that you enter into the unfamiliar world of your neighbor’s house,

                        or the corner bar,           

                        or the drinking fountain at work,

                        or the half-way house, the convalescent home.


Someplace where you no longer feel safe and comfortable and at home and secure.




Whether it’s to the streets and lanes of the city to the poor, the maimed, the halt and the blind.


Or the highways and hedges where the people are running away. But we go out. We are also called to go out beyond our own kind.


Now those who were scattered because of persecution that arose over

Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the

word to none except Jews.                               Acts 11: 19


Oh yeah, they went out,

but everywhere they went,

they looked for their own kind and that’s where they stuck.


We do the same thing.

Even when we go to a foreign culture, we try to make it our culture.


But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming

to Antioch, spoke to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the

hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number that believed turned

to the Lord.                                         Acts 11: 20


Now, these men finally took the big risk. It wasn’t a one shot deal for the Greeks, but a continuous commitment to these people. It was a sharing with them as brothers.


They weren’t writing back to their Board, or sending out a prayer letter, or taking pictures. They were not exploiting these Greeks in any way.


They were sitting down with the Greeks and identifying with them. And as a result, in the city of Antioch where this went on, a powerful church emerged which became a springboard to the whole world.


God help us to get out beyond.


Whether we’re Jews, or Greeks, Lutherans, or Pentecostals, young or old, wise or foolish, to get out beyond our own kind.


We are called to get out beyond our own tastes.


Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”                                 Luke 15: 1


Jesus was compromising holiness by spending time and eating with “bums”. And he was in fact degrading himself, cheapening his message, and endangering his disciples by doing such a thing.


The truth, of course, was not that the Pharisees were concerned about holiness, but that their taste was offended, their sense of propriety. Their refinement was being threatened.


And how much in our lives, that we regard as sacred, is nothing other than our own taste. Our abominable, arrogant refinement which has nothing at all to do with the kingdom of God and everything to do with our egos.


So the Spirit says to us, “Get out beyond your own taste -- what you consider “good”. Take my living water out beyond that and I promise you that you will enter into the realm of power in my kingdom such as you have never seen before.”


We are called to get out beyond our own methods.


One man esteems one day better than another, while another man esteems all days alike. Let everyone be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. None of us lives to himself, and none of dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. To this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God…”      Romans 14: 5-10


So some worship God and honor him by observing certain days.

It doesn’t say they belong to the church of the antichrist. Paul says it’s okay.


Others honor God by observing all days alike.

Some fast.

Some eat.

Some shout, “Praise the Lord!” at the top of their lungs.

And some whisper their praises with baited breath.


There is no limit to the ways we can honor, and worship, and serve the Living God. But we need to get beyond our own method of doing it and enter into genuine fellowship with people who are serving God

by means of some other method.


Genuine fellowship, around Jesus, with these people.


If we fail to do that,  and we only identify, and fellowship, and spend time with people who use the method we use, the “real” method, we will make a god out of our method. And very soon we will be joining people, not to Jesus, but to our method of serving Jesus.


We need to get out beyond our own resources.


Jesus said, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread. nor money; and do not have two tunics.                       Luke 9: 3


We have to be willing to put ourselves in situations where our resources are of no avail --- doesn’t matter how much money you have, or how good looking you are, or what kind of gift of gab you have, it doesn’t help at all. And you are thrown utterly on God.


We need to allow ourselves to be in situations and deal with people where the need is so great, we are overwhelmed. We can’t handle it and we have to turn to God.


One of the advantages of street work (and this isn’t a commercial) is that it’s a tiny exercise in being out there like a dummy. You’re out there and it doesn’t matter whether you have sales experience, or you think you have a line, or anything else. Suddenly you’re swimming in sea of humanity and depending on God for something to say and do .

The same thing can happen when we take on a need, a human need that is just too much for us. We don’t know what the answer is. We don’t know how to handle it. Nothing we seem to have does it and we have to cry out to God constantly.


The Spirit of God is gathering together, here as in many other places, a fellowship. And the purpose of His gathering people of so many diverse backgrounds is, certainly not that it should become the biggest outfit in the city, nor that it should be the showcase that others come to try and copy.


The reason He gathers us together is so that He might send us out from here with living water.


As time passes, many of us in this fellowship are going to find ourselves moved permanently to some other place. And eventually all of us, with no exceptions, will be in some other place --- this place will be gone.


Meanwhile, whether we’re here or there, we’re going to be going out.


So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.

Therefore let us go forth to him outside the camp, and bear the abuse he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come.                   Hebrew 13: 13 - 16


All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.    

                                       Matthew 28: 18


  If we are in the Spirit at all, we’re going to be going out.