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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

evolution

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.