Church is God’s mission agency
Romans 1:1-7 | Luke 24:36-53 | Acts 14:19-28
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God – 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’
40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44 He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, ‘This is what is written: the Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’
God loved the world so much that he sent his one and only son, so that all who give him their allegiance would not perish but enjoy the life of God’s eternal kingdom. Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and to witness to the availability of God’s kingdom – it’s forgiveness, and renewal. Extending this welcome to everyone Jesus sends out his disciples to further broaden the scope of his appeal to the ends of the earth. All this is the work of the Holy Spirit who empowers us for proclaiming the gospel in power and words. The gospel is the power of God for salvation and as we co-operate with the Spirit the church will see God’s kingdom extend as people are baptised into Jesus’ death and resurrection life, and new Christ-shaped communities are formed.
The church is the sent people of God, an apostolic community, a missional community. And to fulfil our mission we need the gospel and the Spirit to live in us. These are the two driving forces of our mission-oriented life together – propelled by the power of the gospel and the life of the Spirit. As we seek to play our part in the mission of Jesus to make disciples, we must make sure that we do not undervalue the Great Commission, underemphasise what is central in the mission of the Son, or overextend our role in God’s cosmic mission on earth. The kingdom of God is not something we extend or build or grow. It is something we invite people into, we display with our lives, which we receive as a gift.
The underlying principle of revival is that “God comes where God is wanted”. (Jon Tyson)
If we are going to see a revival in the life of the nation and in the church, then we need to seek God together and create altars of worship for him in our hearts, in our families, in our workplaces, and in our churches.
Evangelism is our primary means for seeing people become disciples. We are called to be angels in the world, bringers of the message of Christ to the world. Imagine a child accidently locked up in their bedroom. A parent outside would not tell them to sort it out themselves, or tell them it was their fault, or tell them to say sorry but wimply kick the door down – opening the door to our rescue. This is what Jesus did for us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
No one else shares the mission of the church. No one else will pay for it, pray it into being, or give up time to make it happen. Only the church will call people to Christ and offer them the salvation he offers.
Take away – The nation needs a revival in the church as a community on mission, as families on mission. Now is the time to restart our outward journey, sharing our faith and drawing others to Jesus believing that God can and will use me if I step out.
19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered round him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
21 They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,’ they said. 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24 After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia, 25 and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.
26 From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. 27 On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.