Mission

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Introduction:

How many know what that theme song is or from?

TV Show in the 1960’s, Movie series beginning in 1996.

Good guy, bad guy, tension, action and thrill scenes, heartache, heroes, and someone coming out on top.

The very idea of “mission” conjures up thoughts of military action or a business mogul who has taken their industry by storm.

Story: Mission and basketball

Last week we explored the importance of mission, vision, and core values. We touched on the text for today which comes from Matt. 28:18-20 and you can turn there now if you would like.

For many of you, you may be saying to yourself, self…I have heard about the mission of the Church for years, I don’t need another sermon on it. Tell this pastor to move on.

And to that I would say, you are right. You have probably heard about the mission of the church many times and can clearly say what that mission is.

But here is what can happen – over time we become so used to what we think we understand that we actually begin to forget.

We forget why we exist because we begin to exist for our own selves and our own comfort. We forget about God’s mission because the church becomes about our personal mission of self-gratification instead of self-sacrifice.

All In will most likely not bring new information to you but I believe it will be a critical period in which we rediscover God’s purpose for us in fulfilling His mission in our world through us.

Sometimes it seems that the mission we know we are called to is impossible and need to be reminded that it is the farthest thing from impossible and being carried out even in the midst of our cloudy vision.

Our passage this morning comes to us with the tear- streaked eyes of the disciples as they are trying to come to grips with what has happened over the past week. Christ was celebrated then brutally killed – all in the matter of a week. Now they hear he is no longer in the grave and they go to a meeting place on a Galilean mountain outside of the city where Christ had told them to go.

Movement 1:

As they gather, Jesus appears to them.

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Let’s take a look at the context:

What we know as the Great Commission is sandwiched between a great affirmation and a great promise.

One writer says, “The great affirmation contains those words of the risen Jesus as he goes ahead of his 11 disciples into Galilee. He says, ” All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” It’s a staggering claim. When you think that Matthew is writing his Gospel perhaps one generation after the crucifixion of Jesus, and here a man crucified as a state criminal by the Roman authorities claims to be the one to whom Caesar himself will bow the knee; that he is the Lord not just of the church, he is the Lord of history, he is the Lord of governments, he is the Lord of nations, he is the Lord of the universe; that is the statement, which is the affirmation that the early Christians made when they confessed at their baptism Jesus Christ is Lord. It’s more than just a personal statement, it’s more than just a political statement; it’s a cosmic statement of supreme and universal Lordship. And the Great Commission flows out of that great affirmation. It is because Jesus Christ, this crucified Jew is the Lord of the nations, that his followers, his disciples have a mission to the nations. Notice that word “therefore” links the great affirmation with the Great Commission.”

And then following the Great Commission is a great promise, that as we fulfill the Great Commission, Christ will be with us to the very end of the age.

And so we have confidence in Christ and His authority and the comfort of His abiding presence to do what? To fulfill the Great Commission.

In the Great Commission, there is only one verb and it is “make disciples”. In all English translations, we see the word “go”. In Greek, this word is what is known as a present participle and is active. So instead of the word “go”, it should say, “Therefore, as you are going, make disciples of all nations.”

The emphasis is not on “going” it is on making disciples. “Eleven disciples to whom Jesus is speaking here were all Jews who had left their jobs, everything that they owned, to attach themselves to this man, to become an apprentice to him. That’s what a disciple means, an apprentice or a student. Now, says Jesus, just as you have apprenticed yourself to me and learned from me during these past three years, now you invite the non-Jews, the Gentiles to also do the same.”

We are both a part of His mission and on mission. We are a disciple becoming more Christ-like and making Christ-like disciples.

And that formation happens in community.

“…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.”

“Baptism is a corporate event. You are baptized into the community of all those who profess the name of the Triune God. So, it is in the context of community that people learn what discipleship means. Discipleship is not something we can learn in solitude, we cannot learn it individualistically. It is in community, the community of the baptized, that we learn what it is to be an apprentice to Jesus and to grow into the mission and the purposes of Jesus.”

The mission of God is embodied in those who profess the Lordship of Christ and are a disciple becoming more Christ- like and making Christ-like disciples.

This happens in community.

As we show up to the Galilean mountain and worship, Jesus gives us 4 things for the journey of being and making disciples.

Movement 2:

  1. His Authority

First, Jesus His authority. Notice how He parsed His words: “All authority has been given
to Me, therefore you go.” The implication is clear: As we go with His message, we’ll have His authority. Jesus made this even clearer in Acts 1:8, saying, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me.” And there is a difference between power and authority. Think about standing in the middle of a road as a bus approaches and you seek to stop the bus from moving with your sheer power. But try again and be dressed as a police officer. You walk out into the middle of the roadway and you hold up your hand. You may not have the power to stop the bus but you have the authority to. We have been given Christ’s authority.

This is a great comfort because we can mess it up, botch the job, and think we’ve failed. But the Holy Spirit has a way of using some word or verse, for the power isn’t in our personality or intellect, nor in our skills of persuasion. It’s in His Spirit-anointed Word, and His Word doesn’t return void.

  1. His Purpose

Second, having reminded us of His authority, Jesus then stated His purpose for the church—to “make disciples of all the nations.” This is a global task.

Galatians 3:28 (NIV)

Jesus broke all of these barriers and we are called to reach every person with the love of Christ.

  1. His Plan

So how do we do it? Jesus gave us three steps— as we are going, we baptize and teach. This is the process by how we fulfill the Great Commission. We call people to embrace the love of God, bring them into a relationship, and invest in them.

  1. His Presence

Lastly, Jesus ends the Great Commission by assuring us of His presence. Dr. David Jeremiah says, “As we draw on His authority, adopt His purpose, and implement His plan, we’ll enjoy His presence”: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

In the verses preceding Jesus’ commission to the disciples gathered, we read these words.

Matthew 28:16-17
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

The turmoil of the weeks leading up to this point would cause anyone to question. Even those closest to Jesus. But the disciples worship the risen Christ. They made a choice to worship even in the face of doubt.

When we truly embrace the risen Christ and worship Him, then He enables us to carry out his mission with his authority, purpose, plan, and presence. But it starts with responding the voice of Christ, saying “Come and follow me”. Surrender, self-sacrifice.

Luke 9:23-24
And He was saying to all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”

Conclusion:

As with every faith community, GracePoint has been through its times of struggle, the ebb, and flow of the life of a church. In recent years, we have seen the attendance dip, families depart, children and teens disappear, and a beloved pastor transition.

It is in our face that there are things, and there are people, that we are missing. There are ministries that are stalled, non-existent, or never began. There is hurt, there is disappointment, there is perhaps a need for repentance and forgiveness.

GracePoint is NOT an impossible mission, this is a church filled with people who Love God, Love Others and long to Serve the World. I don’t know about you but I am so encouraged about where we are and where God is taking us.

We have to constantly turn to God and fall on our faces and cry out to Him. We seek His strength and wisdom to know where to put our foot next.

As we have been seeking Him we are experiencing a renewal. The presence of God is moving in fresh ways and illuminating passion, creativity, ideas and the desire for more of God in our individual lives and His church.

The mission of God is accomplished through people. It’s not about a program or an event. It is accomplished through people who are totally surrendered to God and engaged in the simple acts of living a life of worship.

Response:

A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition (Contemporary Version)

I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will. Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you, Praised for you or criticized for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and fully surrender all things to your glory and service. And now, O wonderful and holy God,

Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, you are mine, and I am yours.

So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth, Let it also be made in heaven. Amen.

All In
All In
All In