Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 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.” (Matthew 28:16-20)
Introduction to series
* Following on from “Getting our hands dirty” series earlier this year
* That was about how we engage in mission as a parish, this is thinking more about what mission actually means and how we can all get involved.
* Looking at:
* Working with other Churches
* World Mission
* Getting involved
Mission of God
* What is mission?
* To answer that question we have to look at the bible and see what it says.
* I don’t think we get the full picture by picking out one particular passage, we need to get a sense of the whole thing, the whole story.
* The bible is an amazing book, it is a story of love, of heartbreak, of passion, of redemption. A story of millions of people over thousands of years. It charts the rise and fall of kings and civilisations. It is magnificent in its scale and scope but ultimately it is the story of God’s mission to His creation, beginning in that first week of creation, continuing through the journey of the Israelite nation and climaxing on that weekend in Jerusalem, it is the story of God reaching out in love to bring the whole of creation into a relationship with Him.
* Theologians have a phrase for this: “Missio Dei”, literally “the mission of God”
* God’s mission is and always has been about restoring his relationship with everything and everyone
* “God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him (Jesus) and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things” (Colossians 1:19-20)
* God is a missionary God and we are His people.
* So we come to the Great Commission that we heard earlier.
* Jesus is talking to His disciples after the resurrection. He has completed his mission, he is about to return to Heaven, and he is giving his followers some final instructions.
* So what does He tell them?
* “build yourselves some nice buildings and wait in them until people come to you and if they do then you can tell them about me”?
* “Go back to your jobs, to your old lives and forget about all we’ve done, we had fun but it’s over now”?
* No, he says “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations”
* Jesus sends the disciples out to continue God’s mission.
* The Greek could literally read “as you go, disciple”
* In the Jewish culture the role of a disciple was to follow their Rabbi or teacher and to become like them. God wants us all to be disciples of Christ, to become more like Him in how we think, speak and act.
We are called to go out, to show God’s love and help others grow in their relationship with Him, to make disciples of all nations, all people.
* So Mission is not just a trip overseas for a few weeks (although that is important), it is certainly not something that we can just delegate to a subgroup of the Church leadership.
* Mission is at the very heart of our faith, of who we are as Christians and should influence absolutely everything that we do.
* So how do we apply this in our lives?
* There’s a saying that “it is not the Church of God that has a mission in the world, it is the God of mission that has a Church in the world”!
* Mission is at the heart of who God is, He is always working in the world, our job is to be on the lookout for opportunities to join in with what God is already doing.
* This is not just a calling for ‘mission specialists’ but for all of us.
* Absolutely some people are called specifically to be evangelists, some to be teachers, some to be overseas missionaries but we are all called to be like Christ and to share God’s love with those around us.
* In our evening service last Sunday we were looking at the end of Colossians where Paul encourages the Colossians to be “watchful and thankful, making the most of every opportunity”
* Story: Friday, thinking about sermon while walking into town, saw one of Wrekin View kids mums carrying heavy shopping home but was thinking about sermon so didn’t offer to help and was halfway down the road before I realised that that was exactly the sort of opportunity that Paul was talking about!
* In that Colossians passage Paul also says “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through Him”
* Wherever we are, whatever we are doing we must live lives of faith that proclaim God’s love, not just with words but with actions as well. At home, at work, at school, at the shops, at the pub, at the football, even at Church we should be looking for opportunities to join in with whatever we see God doing. That could be offering to pray for someone, it could be offering to carry someone’s bag, it could be inviting them to Church, it could be inviting them for coffee, it could be anything but it can’t be nothing!
* God is a missionary God, He sent Jesus into our world to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God. 2000 years have passed, generations and generations of Christians have passed and now it is our turn. We are called to go, and as we go we are called to disciple, to share the love of God with those around us so that they too can live in relationship with our great God