Thursday, May 17, 2012
Today’s Topic: On Mission
Today’s Text: Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
What is your mission?
Do you have a personal purpose statement?
What is the ultimate objective of your life?
These questions, and many more like them, haunt us at various times of our lives. I have had my time with the Lord on this issue, and I have reached an absolute conclusion based on absolute truth. For me and everyone like me who is a born again follower of Jesus Christ the mission is the same – make disciples of Jesus Christ.
I’m praying that you do not stop reading. Listen, this is very serious business. We have been declared children of God and joint heirs of all things with Jesus Christ. We have been forgiven of our sins by being washed in His blood shed on Calvary’s cross as the full payment for our sin. We have been set apart as His chosen people and as such will never be judged or condemned for our sin. We have been given the Holy Spirit to reside in us – the very eternal Presence of God the Father in His fullness abiding in us. We have been granted access to the powers and provisions of God to meet every need. Yet daily we tend to choose to live by a culturally dictated and personally defined mission, rather than the mission mandated by the Master.
When Jesus spoke the words of Matthew 28:18-20 to His disciples after He rose from the dead, He spoke them with all the authority of eternity. In His last words to His followers, as He passed the torch of God’s mission for the world to those who loved Him and were committed to follow Him at all cost, He had the authority to tell them anything. He could declare absolutely anything as His final words. As the One and Only earthly representative of God the Father, He chose to declare the Father’s mission statement for the rest of earth’s history. He said one thing and one thing only – go and make disciples of all nations.
It is called the Great Commission, but for so many in the church today it is the Great Omission. I have concluded that one reason is that we have been duped into believing that the Great Commission was given to the church as an organization, not to the church as an organism. As an organization, the church can program and delegate certain responsibilities based on skills, and many in the church claim no skill at making disciples. We don’t believe we are qualified to witness about our faith in public, and we don’t think we have the time or training to get involved in personal mentoring of those who are being saved. So we assign committees, teams, and pastors to do those things, because fundamentally we believe the church is an organization.
But the church is not an organization, it is a living organism – the Body of Christ. As such it carries the spiritual DNA of the One who gave birth to it. For sure there are many parts to the Body, and each one has a specific function. But each cell of each part, no matter what its role, is fundamentally identical. Each cell – you – have the exact same Holy Spirit as any other cell. You have the identical purpose of every other person in the Church – to go and make disciples of all nations. We have all been given the same mission. We may have different functions and methods of accomplishing that mission, but we all agree on one thing – it is our mission!
But we also agree that we must accept the mission, and place the highest priority of our personal life on the accomplishment of that mission. Knowledge of the mission is irrelevant if there is not action to accomplish the mission. After all, to be brutally honest, how can we claim to love Jesus if we do not first serve Him rather than ourselves? Are not our choices and priorities ALWAYS an indicator of what we love most?
As parents, our mission is not to raise children to enjoy life and be successful– our mission is to disciple children to live for Jesus. As employees and employers, our mission is not to become wealthy and have more things – our mission is to make the most of every opportunity to serve others with the unconditional love of God so that they can be made into disciples of Jesus. As members of a church, our mission is not to proclaim self-righteousness through participation in programs – our mission is to worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth by accepting His mission and doing it for His glory.
In a few hours I will be joining a group of men and women from our church on the mission of Christ. We are going to be on a roof replacing shingles for a family that needs help. We have bought all the materials. We will provide all the labor. We will pour out God’s love on them. Why? Because it is our mission, and nothing is of higher importance in our lives than serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We will go and make disciples.