Summary: Jesus death and resurrection launched the church onto a mission that continues today.
Passion for a purpose- Why did Jesus die?
To create a missional community
Why Did Jesus die?
A simple question with many complex answers- today will focus on just one of the answers, but arguably it is the main one
1. To create a missional community
[Jesus] gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
NIV ‘eager to do what is good’
16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18And 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."
What is a people eager for good works?- A missional community
What kind of good works are we to do?- Fullfill the great commission
1. Context of the commission
A people not individuals.
Many who take this commission seriously forget that it is addressed to the church as a body not as individuals. We are all caught up in this- it is a community being forged!
The Resurrected Christ.
Revealed as the God-man, the disciples worship him
The man who they saw flogged, and killed in weakness has now been given ALL authority.
Jesus really is in charge. Do we really believe this?
We cannot do anything for Christ unless we see him for who he is.
Jesus has just done so much for the whole of mankind- laying down his very life he now tells us what he wants US to do for him.
Too many Christians today want to know ‘What can God do for me?’. A bigger house? Fancier car? Better job? Jesus says I have done the best thing I could have ever done for you in dying for you- now this is what I want you to do for me!
Who here would want to do what Jesus wants them to?
Well here, in this commission is Jesus’ instructions to his people.
Jesus doesn’t say to the doubters ‘And as for you, forget about it’ No his words include them also. He expects that there will be some in the body that will need the help of others. That is encouraging to me. DO you ever feel weak? I do. Do you ever feel that maybe others have more faith than you? I do. Do you ever let Jesus down? I do? Does he ever seem distant to you? He does to me?
What is Jesus answer to all that?
It is to place us in a community and to give us a commission.
Wesley was not clear about his own salvation when he was yet a preacher. A wise man told him to keep preaching the gospel like he believed in it, and sooner or later he would be saved. Maybe we wouldn’t give that advice out today, but it is sound advice in some ways.
There is something about the ‘Go- ing’ provided we don’t do it alone that will lead to us beginning to doubt our doubts and have more faith in our faith!
2. The nature of the commission
To GO. We often expect people to COME to church. Jesus says GO.
To go to a place means to leave another behind. ALL nations!
It means a sacrifice not just for you but for those you leave behind. My dear wife sends me off to New York for work, just when there is an outreach planned in our house! That’s not easy for her, but it is what ‘going’- in this case in the cause of work- really means.
Actually there are few of us here that wouldn’t believe in this in theory.
It’s a bit like the patient survey- when asked if they thing Clinical trials are a good idea the vast majority of people think yes it is. But when asked if they would participate only a minority say yes.
GOING into all the world is just like that- we believe in it provided someone else does it……
…..preferably not someone we are close to either!
Today we can go and come back very easily with planes and short trips….. or we can go into other cultures right where we are! Most of my wife’s friends are not English- we have a mission field on our doorsteps in London.
How can we go? Why not start by simply befriending some people. Too often we are in a Christian rut, and our very Christianese language can mark us out as different.