Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

I was born on July 7, 1947, in El Dorado Springs, Missouri. During a worship service in 1955 as a child of 8, I accepted Christ as my personal Savior. Ten years later in the fall of 1965 as a freshman at my denominational regional college, I felt a burden to be part of an evangelistic missionary community.

The name of the group reflected our passion and focus: Mission Crusaders. We traveled to various churches on weekends to promote missions and share our testimony of God’s love along with evangelizing the communities. We sang, taught Sunday School classes, testified, preached and shared Jesus on a one-to-one basis with those who would listen to our stories.

Fast forward 48 years—and it has been fast! I have just announced my retirement to my district in my denomination. During those 48 years, I graduated from college and seminary, have been a pastor for 32 years, worked in my general denominational headquarters for eight years and most recently served as a district superintendent. My passion to talk about Jesus never has diminished. I do not believe it will lessen after I retire, because talking about Jesus is such an important part of life.

In our Scripture passage, Jesus has commissioned 70 men to become His very own Mission Crusaders. Their double-pronged job was to lay the groundwork for His arrival into the communities and to do the work of evangelism.

As Mission Crusaders, We Are Called by Christ (Luke 10:1-2)
The bottom line is that there is no reason for us to go to anyone if we have not been called by Christ to confess and repent of our own sins. What message do we have to tell others if Christ has not transformed and changed our own lives?

“Spirit-filled Christians never will be like the rivers which flow into the Arctic Ocean—frozen at the mouth” someone once wrote in an old illustration book. What did those 70 talk about to their neighbors? What are we tell to our neighbors in 2013? Our story—how Christ came into our lives and changed our destiny, ideas, thoughts, hearts, lifestyles…our everything!

I truly believe it is the duty of every Christian to be a living witness for Christ. The testimony can be by lip or by life. We must “by our lips and lives express the holy gospel we profess” writes G.B.F. Hallock.

As Mission Crusaders, We Are Called to Share with People (Luke 10:8)
Evangelism is telling the truth in love. It is a double-edged sword—healing on one side, condemnation on the other. We don’t mind the healing part, but the “dust off our feet” side is a different story.

Sharing the truth that God condemns sin is not easy. If we talk to people in a condescending, self-righteous manner, they will recoil and never talk with us about the most important issue of their lives: God’s redemption. God reaches down to humankind with tenderness and compassion to redeem us (John 3:16).

How do we express love and compassion to those around us? Love is an unconditional expression that closes its eyes to economic, social, race or other demographic status. It takes people as they are in life and hopes to raise the standard of compassion and care. Only in rare circumstances do we need to condemn harshly. Following the example of Christ who died for us should be the Mission Crusader’s way of calling people to repentance.

As Mission Crusaders, We Are Called to Give Our Best Human Effort (Luke 10:16-20)
The Christian community believes in faith, not works, when it pertains to eternal life; however, James reminds us: “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” Human effort can be expressed through friendship, attitude, personal interest, openness and opportunities of testimony. We must not fail to share Jesus to the best of our ability. Do not compare yourself with anyone else who shares Christ. Who is it that Jesus is calling you to talk with about Him?

The story is told that when stagecoaches dominated travel, a man bought a ticket to travel west. He was asked, “What do you want, a first-, second- or third-class ticket?” He responded “I’ll take a first-class ticket.” After purchasing the ticket, he went to get in the stagecoach and found there was only one compartment in the coach. He thought to himself, “What made the difference between the three classes?” He felt cheated, but got in anyway.

After a while, the coach came to a steep incline. About halfway up the hill, the driver set the brake. Leaning over he shouted out, “First-class passengers, keep your seats; second-class passengers, get out and walk; third-class passengers, get out and push.”

Today, we need some third-class passengers who know how to get out and push. Who knows how important your evangelistic effort is to the person who is your neighbor!”

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