This has been an incredible journey for me to this point. We have finished our last week in this series at The Dwelling Place, but have only begun to scratch the surface of how this all applies to us practically as the church. Our goal was to lay a firm foundation for our ecclesiology. I believe the first layer has been laid well. It’s now up to all of us to act as wise builders on a good foundation.
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, (20) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, (21) in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. (22) In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22
The premise for reconstructing our thoughts on our mission is the fact that throughout history God has been the “Missio Dei” – the sending God. From the beginning God sent His Word and His Spirit and created all things. He sent man in the garden. He sent men throughout OT history. He sent Jesus into the world. He sent the Holy Spirit. And, as we will see, He sends us.
So what is our mission?
First, our mission is to be new people. Romans 6 is clear that God redeemed us and has in Christ brought us from death to life.
“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
We are to live our lives consistently with the new identity we have in Jesus, walking in newness of life. We should live different lives that reflect the life of Jesus in us. There should be a marked difference in us as compared to the world we live in. We are now light in darkness.
Second, our mission is to be God’s message. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is our life speaking. As Christ followers, we worry so much about sharing or not sharing Christ. You might not think so, but I believe every person who has genuinely chosen to belong to Jesus has had to deal with the fear of sharing Christ, or not. Some may think it’s not their job. Though our word are important, we shouldn’t worry about our words as much as our life. Paul says we are a letter that is being read by all that see us.
“And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:3
Paul continues this thought here in chapter 5 saying we are new creations in Christ, all things are new. What things? All things pertaining to who we are versus who we were.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (18) All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (20) Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-20
He also makes it clear that by reconciling us to Christ he also gave us a ministry and message of reconciliation. We are God’s message of reconciliation lived out every day. We are to live in such a way that God’s appeal is evident to all we come in contact with.
“For the love of Christ controls us..” 2 Corinthians 5:14
Paul reveals the evidence of this new creation and the motivation of our shared life message. It is love. There is such an incredible love deposited in us that it cannot be contained. It constrains or controls us.
Third, our mission is to be sent ones. We are to be missional people just like our Father. In John 20:21 Jesus tell us that just as the Father sent Him, He sends us. Jesus is our model for sent life. In the Gospel we see a Jesus who did not come to build a religion or religious building or systems. We see a Jesus who showed us how to live as the church.
Jesus commissioned His disciples in Matthew 28 to go and reproduce this life in others.
“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (19) 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, (20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
The words “Go therefore” actually mean “as you go.” The church is so diverse, made up of unique and gifted members with different functions. God’s plan to redeem all things is evident in the diversity of the body of Christ. God plans to infiltrate all aspects of life to redeem all. We have been sent by Him. Where ever we go and whatever He calls us to do in life, we are to be His message of reconciliation lived out in love. We must be intentional in relationship with those in the world. We are His message.
Are you living consistently with your new life?
How are you being missional?