Model – No cookie-cutter approach
21 Aug 2019
The Bible is a missionary book from beginning to end. God not only reveals his love, justice and grace through his Word, he also uses it to prepare us to serve in his mission. He provides a model of how mission is to be accomplished and the many ways that his grace might be extended to the ends of the earth.
God’s ultimate purpose is ‘to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ’ (Ephesians 1:10). Yet, just as humanity’s rebellion was the cause of creation’s frustration (Romans 8:20), so the starting point of God’s redemption is the reconciliation of people to himself through Jesus. This is accomplished in a myriad of ways as God’s people speak the gospel message, live gospel transformed lives and do deeds that reflect the grace of the gospel to those around them. That is, by speaking, living and doing the gospel.
The only way people can find peace with God is by hearing and responding to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel must be communicated clearly and effectively to people from every nation, tribe and tongue on earth (Matthew 24:14). This is the very heart of God’s mission and the heart of what he calls us to do. The gospel must be proclaimed, but there are many ways to do this; preaching in public, speaking to individuals, translating Scripture and internet evangelism.
God’s word must go out, but it goes on the lips and lives of his people. When the Holy Spirit filled the disciples at Pentecost, the immediate evidence was in words. They spoke in many tongues, Peter preached about Jesus, and 3,000 people were baptised in one day (Acts 2:41). As this new church met together, they lived out the implications of the gospel and many more people were drawn to Jesus. It was not only hearing the word that drew people in but seeing the power of the gospel lived out.
The way that we live as followers of Jesus helps others to make sense of the gospel that we speak. Jesus said that people will know that we are his disciples by the way that we love each other (John 13:34-35) and Paul shared both the gospel and his life with the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 2:8). Mission is accomplished by declaring and displaying the message of Jesus through practical love and merciful deeds.
Followers of Jesus are to be conspicuous in their love. We must care for those in need and demonstrate the undeserved grace of Jesus as we serve those who are hurting (Luke 10:30-37). These good deeds complement our proclamation of Christ and will even impact those who accuse us of doing wrong (1 Peter 2:12).
There are many ways to serve God’s mission. He has shaped us all differently which is why there are doctors, electricians, business people, artists, church planters, surfers and teachers serving as missionaries. Regardless of their vocation or location, they lead people to Jesus by speaking the gospel message, living gospel transformed lives and doing deeds that show the mercy of God.
Is God calling you to join the mission field? Get in touch.
 See Dean Flemming, Recovering the Full Mission of God. (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2013)