Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Mission of the Church

*this is an excerpt of a sermon preached at the GBCB Youth Camp this Summer*

Matthew 28:18-20

b. The World-Wide Mission

There is more to this mission than just making disciples of the people that are around you. Look ay what Christ says, “make disciples of all nations.” When Christ says go it applies to your everyday sphere of influence, but it also applies to “all nations.” Since Christ used the terms “nations” I think that it is appropriate to distinguish these two different areas of our mission as “foreign” and “domestic.” The goal of the foreign mission is to transport and adapt the domestic mission (which we already talked about) to people groups who are not disciples of Christ. This is what they are doing at The Master’s Mission. They have a passion to see disciples in every nation. I hope that this week some of that passion rubs of on us. John Piper said this about our Lord’s great commission to the Church: “There are three possibilities with the Great Commission. You can go. You can send. Or you can be disobedient. Ignoring the cause is not a Christian option.” Whether you go back to Brandon, FL and never leave again, or go to Kenya and plant churches there you are a part of the Church and you have a mission.

In Matthew 24:14 we see Christ talking about this mission. Our job is to proclaim the Gospel to the entire world so that the nations my know King Jesus and submit to Him, and honor Him. As we saw earlier this week God is committed to His own name, and His reputation in the world. We must have this same commitment to see God glorified world-wide through nations of people trusting Him with all their affections. Let me point out something to you about this Matthew 24:14 passage. Let me do so by starting with this question, “how many of you have looked at the Mission of the Church outlined in Matthew 24:14 and been overwhelmed.” Maybe you thought, “how can every person in the world hear the Gospel?” This is an understandable feeling, but it is unnecessary for two reasons. First, Christ promises that the “gospel… will be proclaimed,” and that “the end will come.” It is a done deal. We can be confident in the sovereignty of God to do what He has promised. Remember, “All authority in heaven and on earth” has been given to Christ to complete this mission. If we are disobedient to Christ's command then it will not be the mission that looses. The mission is a done deal, Christ has accomplished it. Ultimately we will be the one’s who lose if we are disobedient to Christ’s command. God has given us an opportunity to be a part of his world-wide cause, and if we do not take advantage of that then God will still accomplish His purpose but we will not get to be a part of it. God will simply pass over us and do his supernatural work without us.
The Second reason that you should not feel overwhelmed with the mission of the Church is less obvious. Christ says that the “gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Look at that word “nations.” When the bible talks about nations it is not usually talking about nations as we might think (i.e. geo-political nations like the U.S., Argentina, China, etc.). Nations usually means ethnic groups with distinct cultures, and languages. It makes a lot of sense for Christ to command us to reach these different groups. The cultural, and language differences that exist between these groups makes it hard for the gospel to spread from group to group. When we think of the mission in these terms Revelation 5:9 becomes and important text, “And they sang a new song, saying, are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” This means that the mission is able to be finished. If the mission were to reach every single person in the entire work then how would we ever finish. Because the number of people groups, or nations, does not change all that much we can “see the finish line.”

With the finish line in sight I want to point one more aspect of this text out to you. Look at what v. 9 says. Here we see the price of the mission. We will have to suffer to complete the mission. The people that we are rubbing elbows with at the Master's Mission understand what this verse means. They understand the tribulation, and suffering, and even death is the price of the mission. The apostle Paul understood this when he penned Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” You have a choice. You can be radical about the mission that Christ has given the Church, or you can pursue a nice comfortable life. You cannot do both. The price of completing the mission will be suffering. The choice is yours. You can go; you can send; or you can be disobedient.


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