Summary: Three essentials for any missional Christ follower or church.
Studies have shown that the most fulfilled and satisfied people alive are the people who have a sense of mission in their lives. They live for a purpose higher than themselves.
The Apostle Paul exemplified this truth. He was always happy. Even in prison he had joy. Just read the letter to the Philippian church that he wrote from jail!
What was Paul’s mission? This is what he said on his way to Jerusalem when he knew he was going to be arrested.
"The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to tell people the good news about God’s grace." Acts 20:24 (NCV)
Here is a key insight into the mind of a missional Christ follower. Completing the mission of telling people the good news about God’s grace is "the most important thing" to them.
What is the most important thing in your life?
Are you committed to being a messenger of the good news about God’s grace to other people?
In the Bible this mission is called THE GREAT COMISSION.
Let me say it with the accent on the first syllable of the second word, The Great CO-Mission. The prefix “co,” means “together,” like in “co-author” and “cooperate.” God is offering us a chance to work together with Him on this mission, to cooperate with Him in fulfilling the mission that is nearest and dearest to His heart!
The Great COMISSION is so important that it is recorded in each of the Four Good News Accounts and also in the book of Acts. Let’s take a quick survey of the Great Commission.
Matthew, writing his Good News Account with a Jewish readership in mind writes:
18Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)
Mark, the shortest of the Good News Accounts because he was targeting the Romans who were people of action more than words says:
15 And then he (Jesus) told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” Mark 16:15 (NLT)
Luke, the physician, is writing to try and open the minds and hearts of those steeped in Greek culture and lays more heavily on repentance because a lot of the Greek philosophers taught that thinking was more important than actions.
47 It must be preached that men must be sorry for their sins and turn from them. Then they will be forgiven. This must be preached in His name to all nations beginning in Jerusalem. 48 You are to tell what you have seen. Luke 24:47-48 (NCV)
John, writing with the entire world as his audience give the most succinct and straightforward rendering of the Great Commission of all the Good News writers. He records these words of Jesus.
“As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” John 20:21 (NLT)
Jesus no doubt told His followers about this mission over and over. The good thing about having four different Good News Accounts of the life and teaching of Jesus is that God knew different people would need different perspectives on the Great Commission to be motivated. But they all basically say the same thing.
And if those four renderings don’t move you, the Book of Acts records one final account of Jesus repeating His mission for His people.
8 "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NLT)
These are some of the very last words spoken by Christ before He went back to heaven! He already told His followers time and again what to do, what mission He was leaving with them, but just before He departs He reiterates it. It’s like He’s saying, “This is what it’s all about! This is what I came to earth for! This is what I want you to do until I come back!”
Jesus gave the Great Commission at least five times in five different settings and that’s why Jesus’ mission should matter to us!
What are the components of this universally important task that we are privileged to undertake?
If you put those five occurrences of the Great Commission in Scripture together you will see 3 things we’re supposed to do on this mission of ours.
The Three Essentials of Our Mission: