Summary: The Incarnation Tells Us: As Jesus was sent, so We are Sent
The Incarnation Tells Us:
As Jesus was sent, so We are Sent
John 17:18-21; 20:21-22
We are in the last week of a four week series on the “What the incarnation tells us.” The first week we saw that the incarnation tells us that God is on a mission: God is committed to winning people to himself. Then we saw that the incarnation tells us that God works behind ordinary events to fulfill his purposes, including his purposes for our lives. Last week we saw that the incarnation tells us God’s presence is with us in saving us from our sin and empowering us to fulfill his mission. This week we see that the incarnation tells us that by our very nature, individually and corporately, we are a people sent in mission because mission is foundational to the nature of God and the incarnation. Therefore, the mission of God must be central to the church. We need to embrace this as part of our DNA is we are to impact our local community.
1. The Father Sent Jesus into Mission
Jesus said the Father has sent him. Jesus left his world and was sent to our world. The incarnation was an outrageous act of love and humility whereby God took it upon himself to enter the depth of our world and our life in order that humanity could be reconciled with God the Father. Jesus said if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. The incarnation of Jesus has three dimensions:
Presence or identification - God did not send a representative, God sent himself. The incarnation was a radical identifying with all that it means to be human. He became like us, partaking of our humanity. Jesus in a sense moved out of his world and entered our world; moved from his neighborhood and entered our neighborhood.
Proximity or location – God in Christ approached us not only in a way that we can understand as human beings, but he also came in a way we can access him. Jesus befriended sinners, those ostracized by the religious right, the outcast, and the lost so much so that he got a reputation for it. It was meant to slander his character but it defined his mission.
Proclamation – Not only did God himself affirm his love and grace for humanity through his actions but he also proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom and called people to respond in repentance and faith. To repent means to abandon a way of life that leads to destruction and embrace life.
2. Jesus has Sent us into Mission
As the Father sent Jesus, Jesus has sent us. He says this not only about those he is speaking to but future followers, including us. He sends because the very nature of God and the impulse of the gospel is to go. This impulse flows from the nature of God, the incarnation, and the ministry of Jesus to seek and save the lost. The incarnation tells us that we are a sent people; CCC is not only a community called out but also a community sent out. Do you identify yourself as one sent? Using the incarnation as a model for us we live out the mission of God in three dimensions:
Presence – Just as Jesus identified with us in the incarnation he has sent us to identify with our world through incarnational living. Just as Jesus entered our world we are to enter the world around us. We are the presence of Jesus in the world. Being a follower of Jesus does not mean just knowing the message of your teacher, it means to take on their life and values and live like him.
Proximity – God has sent us to live among those who don’t know Jesus yet. He has sent us to be in positions so that we rub shoulders with our world. I am not talking about taking on more responsibility in our lives but live with this mindset so that our lives take on missional living. We see our local community as our mission.
All of us have three primary avenues for relationships: First, is the home; second is work; third is how we spend our free time. In our homes, we fulfill mission by welcoming others into our homes, building relationships with other individuals or families who are not followers of Christ. It may be through involvement with your children’s school, other home school families, neighbors, or weekly routines where you have regular contact with others. In our work places, it may mean developing relationships with co-workers where you work, your boss or subordinates, other business people you meet in the course of business. Third are those places we spend our free time. It is what we do for entertainment, relaxation, hobbies, etc. So if we see ourselves as sent people, missional people then that means we start developing relationships around snow machining, four wheeling, fishing, horses, quilting, bowling, family, etc. It also means that we start thinking strategically where we spend our time eating, sipping coffee, or shopping. Instead of just doing business with these people, we develop relationships so they know us and we know them.