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True Spiritual Food

John 4:32-34
“I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, jesus“Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.

So when Jesus says in John 4:34, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work,” he means, “My food is to give eternal life.” That is, my source of strength to give eternal life is to give eternal life. I give life because I am life. I am the way the truth and the life (John 14:6). My food is to be what I am. And I am life. Living water. Bread from heaven. I don’t just eat food. I am food. I don’t get life. I give life. – John Piper Sermon1

These verses are hitting me in a new way today.  I’ve been thinking a lot about discipleship and what that looks like.  I get excited about helping and meeting with people.  And yet Iw older…where am I going to find the time, or the strength to do all those things?  I think part of the answer is found right here and it isn’t something the commentators have really hit upon.

But first a brief glimpse back.  I remember looking at guys at Mars Hill that were in leadership and wondering how on earth do they do all the things that they are doing and keep their devotional life up and their walk with God intimate.  I think there is a great gospel truth here.  Is there a danger in never spending time in the word and meditating on truth…absolutely.  But let’s look at Jesus’ words here.

“I have food that you do not know about”

and

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent me”

Most of the commentators will sayt that Jesus was placing the spiritual needs of the wold over his physical.  I think that certainly is a valid interpretation, well it is at least true of Jesus.  But I think there is something more profound in these verses.

I think that Jesus is showing us a spiritual truth by using a physical example.  He does this all the time.  But what is he saying?

That he should not eat?  No.  That we should not be concerned with eating?  No.  What he is saying is that eating food is strengthening and nourishing tot he physical body in the same way that doing the father’s will is to the spiritual body.

Let’s look at the obvious role of food in our lives.

1.  We need it to survive.
Food sustains us, gives us energy, nourishes our bodies.  God designed us to not be self sustaining but to draw upon God’s good gifts of food to sustain us.

2.  Food is delicious
Do you know that God didn’t have to give us taste buds?  Now are there “evolutionary” steakreasons for begin able to detect, tartness or sweetness.  Sure.  But our taste buds do so much more than that.  We can enjoy delectable desserts and delicious ribeye teaks seasoned perfectly..mmm.  Food is also a gift to us.  It speaks of God’s glory.  After all he thought up flavors.  I mean just watch the food network for a few hours and marvel…and salivate.

So food performs at least these two functions for us physically.  Nourishment and enjoyment.  Now let’s transpose this into the spiritual realm  Jesus is saying that doing the Father’s will is just like food.  Doing the father’s will is our spiritual food. Then it fulfills those same two functions:

1.  It sustains us, it nourishes us, it strengthens us.
2.  It is something delicious to be enjoyed.

Now what is the will of God, the Father?  Isn’t it the gospel?  That sinners would be saved?  That eternal life would be given?

So then, in the context of discipleship, discipling others isn’t necessarily a drain on your life, it is actually life giving.  It sustains you, and it allows you to marvel and enjoy God.  It is a gift.

My wife and I experience this regularly.  We have people over and just talk.  Talk about CommunityGroups_slide3-1200x600God about Jesus about what is going on in our lives.  Or in our CG every week.  As much as we may dread it before hand.  There has almost never been a time where we didn’t walk away more energized and excited about God.  That is a great truth that we find in the bile.  The things we actually think will drain us, fill us up.  And the things we go to to fill us up actually drain us.

Let us meditate then long and hard on Jesus words.  This was Jesus’ food and it is our also.

http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/the-food-of-christ-is-to-give-eternal-life

Idols? I don’t bow down to a stone statue…

I love Tim Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods.  In it, he dissects our common belief that idolscgods are a thing of the past.  Idols are little wooden or stone statues that people believe are gods and bow down to, worship and serve.

Surely we don’t do that today.  Especially in America and Europe where we are so scientifically advanced.

Yet in many countries today this “ancient” form is still widely practiced.  Talk a walk around in India or other hindu/buddhist nations and you will see this very thing.  Household gods.

idolBut what about us in America, does this talk of idols and idolatry in the bible have any significance to us.  Tim Keller, presbyterian ministry at Redeemer Church in New York City, says yes and he defines an idol as:

“whatever you look at and say, in your heart f hearts, ‘If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.”

That is a devastating definition if you read it carefully.  What are you living for?  What do you strive for?  What is driving your life?  It could be sex, money, fame, prestige, success, being good person or parent.  We must honestly assess ourselves and answer this question.

The Bible then says that if anything other than God is the center of our life, then we are in trouble.  You see the problem is that God has created us for himself, and put “eternity in our hearts” so that only and infinite being can fulfill and eternal whole.  The problem is Idols can’t deliver, the promise satisfaction, but they can’t deliver.

C.S. Lewis says it this way, “A car is made to run on gas, and it would not run properly on anything else.   Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself.  He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food of our spirits were designed to feed on. ” (Mere Christianity p. 50)

Now the truth is Idols today have become much more subtle or have they?  Idolatry is not merely a surface thing, it runs deep into the human heart and can manifest itself in material ways and often does.  But the cruelest and the darkest idols are buried deep inside of us.

So although we may not bow down to the God of Mammon, do we worship money today? money Though we don’t bow down to the Goddess of beauty, how much money is spent on trying to make ourselves look younger and more beautiful?  Though we don’t bow down to the God of sex, are we consumed with finding our next mate?  Or are we locked to computer screens worshiping the unlimited amount of images available to us?  Though we don’t worship the God of Success, do we spend our whole lives trying to achieve something, neglected our families, friends and even our own health?

The truth is Idolatry is running rampant in America today.  Just turn on the television to be bombarded with images of what we “ought” to be like.  Idolatry.  Go to any magazine rack and see all the promises portrayed on the cover, Be a better loverGet the abs you’ve always wanted, How to make your business succeed.  And here’s the real kicker, every week, every month its the same promises.  But they never deliver.

Now let me say this before we close.  The things that we idolize are not in themselves bad things.  Sex is a good thing.  Success is a good thing.  Money is a good thing.  These things become idols when they are elevated to supreme position in our lives, when they sit on the proverbial throne of our lives.  A place that is meant for one being; God.

State of the Heart

state of the unionI was just watching President Obama’s State of the Union and was struck by the aim of most of the corrections mentioned for our nation.  Education, Jobs, Prevention, Rights…etc.  None of these things are bad, but none of them reach out deepest need: A new heart.  What good is it if a man gains the whole world but loses his soul?  CS Lewis puts it well in his book Mere Christianity, basically saying that education doesn’t change a man’s heart it only makes him more sinister and efficient in his evil.  The problem is not how much we know, but the orientation of our hearts.

God is the single greatest gift and need that our hearts need.  A Godward heart will lead to a lot of the reforms that these other attempts are aiming at.  But they cannot give us a new heart.  One that genuinely looks outward, and thinks not of self.  This is godliness and not something that can truly be achieved without the redemption accomplished by Jesus and the application of it to our hearts by the Holy Spirit.  So that we are not constantly concerned with our needs and wants, but rather how much we can give.

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us…

how_deep_coverBeing father has some really neat moments when you get a glimpse into the heart of God.  I like to take my daughter on walks around the neighborhood.  She’s one and a half and walks around in control, for the most part.  It’s fun to walk up and down the sidewalk and explore the trees and flowers, and bits of trash we find.  It’s really one of the most enjoyable things I get to do.

Sometimes we have to cross the street and I get to explain to her how to be safe, looking both ways and then holding daddy’s hand.  But I had this terrifying thought the other day…what if I were to look outside and see her straying towards the street with a car zooming down it.  There couldnt’ be a stronger force in me moving me to get to her as fast as I can to save her from destruction.   Any father knows what this rush of terror and adrenaline feel like.

I would gladly throw myself in front of the car for her life.  I would sacrifice my life and health in an instant if it would save her.  Then it occurred to me, this is exactly what God, the Father, has done for us through Jesus.

Think about that.

We were all kids straying into the busy street, and Jesus went for us to die in our place, so that we could live.

Amazing…

The blessing in trials…

handsThere is a radical thing that happens to you when you are a Christian.  The hardships, the trials, the turmoil that comes in the midst of life, is seen as a blessing and we can actually thank God for these things.  These hard decisions that draw us to Him.  To plead for His action.  To realize that he really is true and present.

The world sees these as inconveniences and as threats to peace.  But the Christian can know that it is the very trials that are bringing us to Jesus.  They give us opportunity to trust Him, to really trust Him with the uncertain circumstances that we all face from time to time.

Learning about God in seminary is one thing, learning about him in real life, with real, hard decisions to come to him with and to trust him with: Those are gold.  gold

Wisdom is better than much silver and gold.  Wisdom says, “trust me, I am God, I am the creator, I am the sustainer, I am the provider.  I provide not only the circumstance, but the way out.”  And in that God gets glory.

Oh how deep is the Christian life.  Our trials are turned into blessings, occasions for growth.  And our faith does grow.

My faith is growing.  We don’t have to worry, but we get to wonder.  How is He going do it?  How’s God going to provide this time?

These are precious answers.  And God is the precious remedy.

Thankful, in the midst of great trial and uncertainty.

Cades Cove

Am I called to missions?

Well, I’ve come to the end of the semester and we are finishing up our Missions class.  It certainly has had a profound impact on me these last 13 weeks.  And I suppose the most obvious question is:

Am I called to be a missionary?

missI think, through my previous posts, that I have fleshed out the difference between Mission, Missio Dei and Missions.  The question I am dealing with here is the latter.  Misison and Missio Dei are really the same idea and as Christians we are all called to God’s mission.  (For more see this post).  But for me I have to ask whether or not I am called to missions, that is going to the unreached people of the world, or at least going one-two cultural barriers away.

 

And the answer…drumroll please!

I don’t know.  But I really appreciated how Dr. Childers’ ending class.  He gave us a realistic picture of what becoming this sort of missionary might look like.  And usually, it is a long process.  So where do I go from here?

Prayer, as always.  But beyond that I think it is actually getting my feet wet.  I’d like toprayer go on a short term mission sometime soon and get to experience what this might look like.  In God’s providence I’ve made some new friends who are missionaries and perhaps a day is coming where I could visit them and perhaps even bring others with me.

This is an important question for us to consider.  There are vast scores of people who have never heard the gospel and we ought to be burning to bring it to them, whatever that looks like.  But a couple issues arise.

(1) Perhaps the most penetrating is that you cannot commend what you do not cherish.  There it is plain and simple.  The best motivation for bringing the gospel to others is our vast love for it.  Because we have been so radically changed and freed, why wouldn’t we want to bring that great news to others.  So an obvious answer is to dig deeper into the gospel ourselves.

(2) At least living in America, there is the constant threat of comfort and dare I say it, entertainment.  We can become all too easily distracted here.  TV, Movies, Video Games…we could go our whole lives without ever really thinking of other people.  This is the danger of living in America, but it is not beyond the life-changing grace of God that comes in Jesus Christ.  I’m praying for this, for myself, a constant vigilance against the American Dream.

With that I close this blog series and pray that God would work in my heart, and that he would work in yours, to be open to whatever work God might call us to, wherever he might call us, and whenever he might call us.

Thank you, Dr. Steve Childers for beginning to open my eyes and grow in my heart a Holy Passion for the Nations.

-justin

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So what is Mission?

Indians-dancing-at-Mission-HN000275aWhen I hear the word missions My mind almost immediately conjures up images of distant and remote tribes needing to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, but is this the biblical image?  Is it only the most dedicated Christians who go over seas?  Can you be an authentic Christian without a radical commitment to missions? These are a few of the pertinent questions that need to be answered if we are to adequately understand what the bible means by mission.

Mission isn’t what we do, it is what we are

Missional is a term used today to describe a lifestyle of Christianity.  You may have even32534 heard the phrase being on mission.  These are not new concepts.  They have a new attractiveness because as Christians in American culture we have forgotten what it means to be a Christian.  John Piper urges us that we can’t be committed to Christ without being committed to his cause.  He says that a persons “commitment to missions is the measure of the authenticity of your theology.”1

I’ve struggled with this identity of doing verses being a lot for the last few years.  We so often want to make missions about something we need to go do.  But the true understanding of mission is that it is what we are by virtue of knowing the God of the Bible.  John Stott says “God centered theology is always missional because God is a sending God.”2

God has been sending from the beginning.  He sent Adam and Eve to cultivate and create culture (Gen 1:28-27, 2:15-17).  He sent Noah and his family in to the Ark.  He sent Abraham to the promise land.  He sent the Israelites out from Egypt and back to the Promise Land.  He sent Israel to be a light to the Nations.  He sent His son to save the world and the Son and the Father send the Spirit to bring about his Kingdom.  God is a sending God because God is a giving God.

mission-signMission is simply knowing God and being so changed, so radically transformed and awed by his beauty and greatness and splendor that you can’t help but tell others about him.  I’ve heard it explained this way.  When you first fall in love with someone, don’t you talk about them all the time.  Don’t you want other to meet them, to get to know them the way you do?  This is how it is with God.  When we know him, i mean really know Him, we love him, and when we love him we pray prayers like the Psalmist did.

So if we are not feeling a radical commitment to mission and we believe that we are Christians what do we do?  Run to Him, run to the Cross, run to Jesus  and plead with him.  That you might know him more, that your heart would be changed.  Dive into hisjesus word and be transformed.  Pray that the Spirit might come in to your heart to change you.  The problem is we all to easily take our eyes off of Jesus’ glory and turn them in on ourselves and we live anxious lives worry about our needs, rather than trusting God’s grace, goodness and provision, and giving ourselves to others just as he did just as he did.

 

1John Piper, RTS MIssions Lectures

2 John Stott, Missions Class Notes

The enduring faith…

We read a fascinating article earlier semester about how Christianity has outgrown each of the cultures that it has thrived in over the last 2000 years.  The Article discussed 5 major eras: Jewish, Roman, Viking, Saracens, and Western.  What emerged was a fascinating picture of just how unique and universal Christianity is.

Jewish Era (0-60 AD)

It is always important to remember that the first Christians…all of them were Jews.  With the outpouring of Pentecost the faith started to spread far and wide.  With conversion of Paul, who was to be the apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15) and with the monumental events of Acts 10-11, with Cornelius’s conversion and the Gentile inclusion, Jewish Christianity was in crisis.  Was Jewish custom, culture and Law to be required of Gentile believers?  With the history-changing decision at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, Christianity forever severed it’s full Jewish heritage and truly became a religion of all peoples everywhere.  Jewish culture, law and tradition could not keep bound the radical message of Christianity.  Christianity had been de-judaized and the message adapted to the Roman World.

The Roman Era (60-400 AD)

And so Christianity spread well beyond the borders of Jerusalem, Samaria and Judea, indeed it was going to the ends of the world.  Rome, in that day, was the center of the world.  And as the Christian population grew over four centuries it became a formidable force.  And with Constantines’s Edict of Toleration in 313, persecution ceased and hardships eased.  Christianity would soon become a state religion and would be synonymous with Rome.  But this proved to be detrimental to its identity and its mission.  With Christianity popularized all of a sudden there were hundreds of thousand nominal Christians.  In order to continue its expansion to the ends of the earth and not be bound by imperial boundaries Christianity needed to be de-Romanized.

The Barbarian Era (400-800 AD)

As Rome officially fell in 476 AD, the Roman world became more susceptible to attack and it was eventually overrun with Goths and Barbarians from the North.  And what happened was that “within a short time, the conquerors were conquered by the power of the gospel, as some of the barbarians who invaded embrace the faith of those whom they had overthrown.”1  With the Intitution of Church on the rise, monasteries start to spring up all over the place.  The Celts were perhaps the most influential monks of this era as the brought their message far and wide.

The Viking Era (800-1200 AD)

And then came the ferocious and swift attacks of the Vikings.  Their tactics allows them to cover great distances with speed and they reeked havoc on most of Europe.  Yet little by little these captors were attracted to and turned by the Faith to become believers themselves.  It was also during this time that Islam rose to a World Religion.  Muslims soon controlled most of the Middle East and were heading north and west in expansion.

The Saracens (Muslims) (1200-1600 AD)

With the disaster of the Crusades, Christianity’s vibrancy looked dim.  With the Reformation came new life and vibrancy to Christianity.  When Luther had translated the Latin Vulgate into german vernacular he essentially de-latinized the gospel, and it was again available to the common tongue.  This had huge ramifications on the Faith.  And would help spawn a new age of missions.

The Age of Great Advance (1600-2000 AD)

The way was now paved to take the gospel far and wide and pillars such as William Carey did just that.  And the gospel was taken again to non-western nations.  This trend is continuing even today as a majority of vibrant Christianity has now shifted to the south and to the East (South America and China).  And so what we are witnessing now is the de-westernizing of the gospel.

So throughout each era, and throughout each culture, Christianity has survived and even has thrived.  Why?  Because the message of the gospel is truly radical and truly boundless.  It can speak into every culture in every time, because it is a timeless work.  The Word of God is not bound by any man, by any culture, or by any institution.

 

*Blog post based on the Article “As the Waters Cover the Sea: His Glory Expands to the Nations” by Robert A. Blincoe from Pathways to Global Understanding, YWAM Publishing; Revised edition (December 12, 2007)

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The importance of worldview…

Worldview_social_network_logo

Do you ever wonder what it is, under the surface, that is driving all of your actions?  Your fears, your beliefs, your decision making processes?

In short, it is your worldview, and we all have one.  Our worldview answers these four questions:

  • What is real?
  • What is true?
  • What is right and wrong?
  • What do we do?

Notice the last one: what we do.  It is important to first understand that we do have a worldview, then to understand what our worldview is, and finally to see how our worldview plays out practically in our daily lives…because it does!

evolutionFor example, if you believe that evolution is the sole reason we are here, devoid of meaning or ultimate cause and/or driving force, then ultimately you end up with a life that is meaningless.  And if you believe that your life is meaningless it gives you permission to whatever you want, because you are living for now.  And in the end it ends in despair, because deep down inside we all know, we all want to believe that we were made for a purpose.  Frederick Nietzsche is perhaps the prime example of this line of thinking.  He believed in what is called nihilism which basically teaches that we come from nothing and to nothing we return, therefore all of life is meaningless.

Nietzsche was famous for declaring that God was dead, and was admired by many, but263px-Friedrich_Nietzsche-1872 how did he life end?  Most people don’t think about that.  Nietzsche died in an insane asylum declaring that he himself, was the crucified one.  In the end this is no way to live.

This worldview can allow you to do atrocious things to others because ultimately they are meaningless as well.  Communist and atheist, because they don’t believe in God and don’t believe in meaning, this allows them to perform all sorts of human atrocities.  So we can at least admit that religion isn’t really the source of all the world’s atrocities.

Most of us don’t think through the implications of what we believe.

treadmill

In other major world religions, Islam, Judaism and some forms of Christianity, who do affirm a God and do affirm a day of judgment is coming.  Your can life become abouttrying to do more good than bad, so as to earn there way into heaven rather than hell.  But this can end up putting you on the performance treadmill which results in a life of constant anxiety and bondage.

But only Christianity presents a truly unique worldview.  Christianity does affirm God, does affirm a Judgment day, does affirm the existence of Heaven and Hell.  But only Christianity teaches that God became a man, and died for our sins and earns for us the right to go to heaven, freeing us from all the burdens of performance and from the despair of meaninglessness.  Christianity, among al the world views, present us with the most cogent, and attractive way of living.  Because we can live lives as truly free people.  Only Christianity has a mechanism for change in our hearts that truly results in a transformed life.  In a life that allows you to freely love God and love others without need for recompense.

In order to bring the gospel of grace into others lives, we need to understand their worldview.  Because Jesus is the truth, he speaks into every situation, and every worldview at it’s most fundamental level and offers a better way.

Three Aspects of God’s Mission.

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What is God’s Mission?  Well, three verses can give us this answer, they are Genesis 1:27-28, sometimes called the Cultural Mandate, or Creation mandate, and Matthew 28:18-20, known as the Great Commission, and finally Mark 12:29-31 (Deut 6:4-5, Lev 19:18) known as the Great Commandment.  These three together give us the most comprehensive picture of, not only what Christians ought to be doing, but what all of humanity ought to be doing.  Let’s take them in succession.

The Cultural Mandate

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  – Genesis 1:28

Vitruvian-Man-Leonardo-da-VinciHere we see the most overarching purpose of humanity, as given by God.  Humanity is to be fruitful and multiply, that is make babies, fill the earth and have dominion over all things.  Fill it with what?  People, ideas, arts, cities, technologies, ingenuities…etc.  Have dominion over it?  That is rule over it, take responsibility for it, steward it well.  The interesting thing is that this is known as building culture, and we have been doing it ever since God issued this command, albeit imperfectly, as a result of the fall.

We are constantly creating culture.  In America, we prize ingenuity, creativeness, the entrepreneurial spirit.  One only has to look as far as Apple, or Google, or Amazon to see one aspects of God’s command playing out.  But they same principle pays out in the average home.  We are constantly improving things.  We upgrade our kitchens, our bathrooms.  We take care of our lawns.  We buy new furniture.  We upgrade our phones, our computers.  Computer Programmers are constantly creating new ideas and new apps.  This is a great thing.

Now of course, because of sin there is a dark side to creativity.  As with anything, it can be used to promote great good and the betterment of society, or it can be used to promote sin and destructive ways of living.  The internet is one great example of this.  It is a beautiful and very useful thing, but things such as pornography destroy people’s sex lives and sexual identity.  This then leads us into the second part of God’s mission, the great commission, which encompasses the redemption of all things.

The Great Commission

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus sends out his disciples into the world, empowered by the greatest creative beingGreat-Commission in the universe, the Holy Spirit.  The essential task of the disciples is to go…and as they are going to make disciples, that is spirit-filled followers and lovers of Christ, baptizing them, that is inclusion into a church community, and teaching them to obey all that Jesus has commanded them.  We’ll come back to this last point.

Now essentially what happens when a person is converted, or regenerated, or born again, or born from above is that he is reconciled with God, through Christ’s vicarious live and atoning death.  But there’s more.  Jesus not only dies for sins, but he rises again to new life, to live to God and he sends his Spirit into his people and they are made into a new creation, forever united to Christ (2 Cor 5:17, Rom 6:1-4).

Now what was lost in the fall, namely loving and trusting obedience to God and his cultural mandate, can again start to be re-created.  For the first time, a new believer, can obey God from the heart (Eph 6:6, Rom 6:17).  The believer, now no longer has to find his identity in how much he accomplishes, or how much honor he brings to his family, or how obedient he is to society.  He finds his identity in Christ alone, and is given His perfect life.  This at last frees him, to truly live a free life (Gal 5:1, John 8:32).  He can now bask in the sovereignty and love of God and fearlessly follow his will, trusting in God for everything.  This is an amazing thing.

He can at last start to fulfill the Cultural Mandate in a way that is God honoring, and even when he fails his failures are covered by the blood of Christ.  And he knows that when Christ returns, he will complete the work.

Now then, how are we supposed to live?  God has told us what to do, but how are we supposed to do it?  To this we turn to the third part of the Great Commission and the third aspect of God’s Mission, the Great Commandment.

The Great Commandment

29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:29-31

lovegodpeople1When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment he said that it was to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.  If one were to ask how you could boil down all that Jesus taught us to do, you might give this same answer.  And so when we ask what it means to obey all that Jesus has taught us, we can conclude that it is at least encapsulated in this great command.

And here again we see the connection with the reality of redemption.  It is only when a person is reconciled to God and given his Holy Spirit that he is truly able to love in a way that is selfless, because he doesn’t need the love or approval from people.  Because he has God’s love, the most important love and the deepest need of all or our souls, he is free to truly love others.  John  teaches us that, we are only able to love because Christ first loved us (1 John 4:19).

And so the great mystery is revealed.  When one is asked what we are to be doing the answer is two-fold.  We are too be making disciples of Jesus and we are to be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.  We are to fill it with God-honoring, Christ-exalting, spirit-filled image bearers of God.  And we are to be the type of people that deeply love God and deeply love others.  And this is only made possible because of Christ’s sacrifice and the Holy Spirit’s presence.

We cannot separate these three aspects they are intricately related.  All of these fall under the rubric of the Missio Dei. (mission of God)

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