Summary: This ministry of reconciliation cannot be separated from the preaching or sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
WORKING TOGETHER IN UNITY TO ACCOMPLISH GOD’S MISSION
2 Cor. 5.16-21
A. The Mission of the Church: Reconciliation of God and Man
Paul called the Christian ministry as the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5.18). To reconcile is “to end a relation of enmity and substitute for it one of peace and goodwill” (Volander, 169). This ministry of reconciliation cannot be separated from the preaching or sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
1. In the context of 2 Cor. 5.16-21, the call of reconciliation is addressed to the church of Corinth. It calls for renewal or revival of individual believers and churches that became cold or disobedient to God.
KEY INDICATORS OF A REVIVED CHURCH:
(a) Passion for God – worshipping/praying church
(b) Love for the brethren – fellowship and concern
(c) Passion for the lost souls
2. But 2 Cor. 5.16-21 is applicable also in the context of unbelievers. God sent His Son to seek and save the lost (Lk. 19.10, Jn. 3.16). Evangelism and world missions are not only important ministries of the church, but the logical extension of the church. This is the Great Commission of the Risen and Reigning Christ (Mt. 28.18-20). It has an Old Testament basis in the call of Abraham (Gn. 12.1-3) where God’s saving purpose is given, namely, to bless the whole world through Christ. Harry R. Boer believes that “throughout the Book of Acts Luke makes it plain that the impetus for mission came from the Holy Spirit…..Acts is governed by one dominant, overriding and all-controlling motif. This motif is the expansion of the faith through missionary witness in the power of the Holy Spirit….Restlessly the Holy Spirit drives the church to witness and continually churches rise out to witness…The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is in and by reason of its very nature the effectuation of the Great Commission in the life of the church” (Boer, 161-162).
KEY INDICATORS OF GROWTH IN MISSION:
(a)Numerical growth of members of the local church.
(b)Numerical growth of churches planted
3. However, the ministry also “has its efforts to influence society towards a form of life which is more just, pure, honest, and compassionate, a closer reflection of God’s own character and more honoring to Him” (Milne, 226). The primary means by which the church does it evangelistic and mission works is “through the creating men and women of strong, resolute Christian character whose daily presence influences the tone and color of society” (Milne, 226). And then the necessity of preaching the Gospel must always go hand in hand with Christ-like character (Rom. 10.9-17).
KEY INDICATORS OF A GODLY SOCIETY:
(a)Social Justice and Freedom
B. The Theological Nature of the Mission of the Church
1. It is God’s strategy in mission to work in and through the church.
Three Kinds of God’s Works:
a. CREATION: “It is by which God produced the world and all that is in it, partly without the use of pre-existent materials, and partly out of material that is by its nature unfit, for the manifestation of His glory” (Berkhof, p. 49).