Sent or Went?
And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!" Romans 10:15, NKJV
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. 1 John 2:19, NKJV
I was driving into church the other day and the Lord spoke to my heart, There’s a difference between "sent"and "went." I pondered the concept and looked up various Scriptures on the topic.
It’s interesting and sobering. Let’s look at this topic today and ask some important questions as it relates to our own lives—our choices, ministries and destinies. At this moment in time, were you “sent” to the city, job, church or place you’re at, or is it that you “went” there because it was what you wanted to do for one reason or another?
What do these Scriptures tell us?
Those who are “sent” by the Lord to places, stations and destinations in life have the backing of heaven. They are on assignment and in step with His purpose. There is a divine flow to their lives and the various crossroads they encounter. The result of being “sent” is the production of eternal fruit as well as evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control in a person’s life.
SENT: To be “sent” is from the Greek word, “apostellō” and has the meaning: going to a place appointed, to send away, dismiss, to allow to depart that he may be in the state of liberty, to send off or to drive away. In other words, the Holy Spirit is the One leading and orchestrating the sending, departing and dismissal movements.
In our observation, God “sends” some people to a specific assignment for the benefit of those they are sent to. Missionaries and church planters would be in this category. These pioneers are “sent” to a city or nation to start a work that brings God’s blessings to a people. We have also observed that God “sends” some people away from a place for the benefit of that same place! The Holy Spirit knows people’s hearts and when people become a hindrance or are contrary to what God wants to accomplish, then the Spirit will “send” them away so that the work of God is not hindered.
WENT: “Went” is from the Greek word, “exerchomai” and carries the meaning: to go or come forth, of those who leave a place of their own accord or of those who are expelled or cast out. People who have their own agenda or have not submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ would be in this category. The Scripture is pretty clear that those that “went” did so of their own accord and were not being led by the Spirit. Their departure simply evidenced the fact that they were not really with those they had been with…they were not “one of them.”
Again, in our observation, we have seen this at play in various situations in life. Take divorce for example. In some cases, people “went” from a marriage that they were really never in. The Spirit did not lead them, but they left of their own accord. We’ve seen it in the church world. Sometimes people have a different vision or agenda than the senior leaders and when they can’t get in agreement, don’t get their way or become offended a spirit of pride rears its ugly head and people depart. They were not necessarily “sent”—they just “went.”
In a worst case, people who should know better become bitter and that bitterness turns people against Christ—anti-Christ. In other cases, people allow the enemy to find their vulnerability and deceive them into believing lies. They do not hold fast to what they know and so they go. The sad news for those that “went” is that unless they get back in step with the Lord from a place of genuine humility, they will flounder or shipwreck their faith. “There are some, you know, who by relaxing their grip and thinking anything goes have made a thorough mess of their faith.” (1 Timothy 1:19, The Message) History is full of people that were called, gifted and anointed, who ended up missing out on God’s destiny for their lives because they “went” and were not “sent.”
So, how about you? What does the fruit of your current lot in life tell you? Are you where you are today because you were “sent” or because you “went”? If you were “sent”—you can rest in the fact that all of heaven has your back! If you “went”—thankfully you can repent! The Lord is full of grace and mercy and when we surrender to His plan—He will find a way to lead us back to His plan!
Say It: “Father, thank You for enlightening me to the difference between being ‘sent’ and ‘went.’ Thank You for leading me by Your Spirit and for having my back (Or, help me to repent and get back on track with Your plan.) In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
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