Summary: Until the time of Jesus’ resurrection, the mission was primarily to other Jews. Non Jews were proselytized; however they sought Jesus and his disciples out. Here Jesus explicitly commands the disciples to reach out.
This morning we have heard the life story and call of Faye to go and serve China in mission. Her mandate is the same as the one upon which the Church as we know it is built. It comes from a directive issued by Jesus himself to his disciples just prior to his ascension into heaven. We find it in some form or another in 3 of the four gospel accounts: Matt, Mark and Luke ... though there are some distinct differences in each account.
This morning we will look at the account which is most widely used today to justify the mission of the church.
Jesus had died on the cross ... his body laid in a tomb
During the time – disciples gone into hiding (Jerusalem somewhere)
In fear for their lives
(Jesus buried on Friday afternoon) On Sunday morning Mary (Jesus’ Mother) and Mary Magdalene visit the grave site to find that Jesus’ body is not there. An angel of the Lord appears with a message to give to the other disciples. They are to go to a place in Galilee where they are to expect to meet with Jesus.
Leads us to Matthew 28:16
Until the time of Jesus’ resurrection, the mission was primarily to other Jews. Non Jews were proselytized; however they sought Jesus and his disciples out (Instead of Jesus seeking them out). Here Jesus explicitly commands the disciples to reach out. The gospel writer Matthew uses the Greek word ethne “all nations” – (where we get the English word ethnic).
The scope of mission was inclusive. The church was to cross all barriers—to reach out to all ethnic groups, clans, tribes, social classes, and cultures. The message of salvation was to be shared with all people everywhere.
Normally when I talk about the mission of the trip I include all missions, whether it is local or abroad. In one sense we are all called to the mission field.
Sign at Otumoetai Baptist Church during youth: “You are now entering the mission field.”
With that I mind our focus this morning is on oversees mission in honour of Faye’s calling. It is a timely reminder as to some of what she has and will continue to go through as she pursues this mission. We also have a responsibility to support her and others like here. But there is another purpose in focusing on mission this morning. Perhaps there are others here this morning, and God has been tugging at your heart to be involved in mission (short/long term). Perhaps you can identify with some of the things we focus on this morning.
1. Basis for Mission
So what was/is the basis for mission?
a. A profound love of Jesus (v. 17)
When they saw the resurrected Jesus they worshipped him...
Recognize Jesus as king of heaven and earth
... Raised from the grave, conquered death and sin and now he is Lord of my life. My life is his to do with me as he pleases.
When a person such as Faye, recognizes the call of God on her life, they respond because of their sense of passion and devotion to serve him.
b. Authority (v. 18)
This is like permission from God to complete the task Jesus began.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
Do we need any more reason?
c. It’s a command (v. 19)
“Therefore go ...”
Because we love Jesus, we love God
We understand his purposes for our own lives, the expression of love we have received from God, we are commanded as a church to go!
2. The Mission (v. 19)
We have our basis for mission, now what is the mission exactly
The invitation for discipleship goes beyond the first twelve disciples and it goes beyond us today. The mission has shifted from a being a Jewish focus to being an “all nation focus.”
The inference is that we do not only become familiar with the teaching of Jesus Christ, but we become attached to him and his teaching. We following his doctrine and emulate his way of life.
In our mission, we present the story of Jesus in such a way that to encounter Jesus, is to encounter the God who is defined in Jesus.
Is more than mere dunking people in a river or pool. For many of the cultures Christian encounter in the mission field, baptism symbolizes entry from outside the Christian community to discipleship within the community.\
Hence, in many cultures around the world, where Christianity is forbidden, it is not the becoming a Christian that can bring about the ostracising (or even death) rather it is baptism.
Having joined the Christian community through baptism, the mission continues in the ongoing discipleship of Christians. Jesus added in his instructions, “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” In other words we are to fill in the gaps.