Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Mission of the Church



 Jesus said, "As the  Father has sent me so I send you"(John 20:21)

Christ also said, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (Jn. 3:17)  He spoke words of salvation, not condemnation.  He was a healer!  His harshest words were for the religious people.  He brought encouragement to the down and out.  And, in keeping with His incarnation, He adapted to the culture without giving up His godly nature.  He fit in.  He met people where they were.  He spoke their language.  When He preached, He used illustrations they could identify with and understand.   He used everyday language.   When He met the woman at the well (Jn. 4), He talked to her about water because she was there to get water and knew about the need for water to live.

Now, if Jesus has given us the same mission, then we must do it the same way.  If we are to bring this generation to Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit we must meet them where they are.  What worked forty, thirty, twenty, or even ten years ago won’t necessarily work today.  Our music, worship style, preaching, and programs must be appealing to people of today.  The gospel never changes but the way it is presented must always be changing.  We are not of the world but God has us in the world and, to be effective, we should live and minister incarnationally.

How will people know that we are the real thing?  One of the ways can be seen through the question that John the Baptist sent  to Jesus:  “Are you the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” (Matt. 11:3)  Jesus sent back this answer:  “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.  And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” (Matt. 11:4-6)   If anyone should ask about your church:  “Are you the body of Christ or should I look somewhere else?”   What answer would you give?  Are there indications that healing and deliverance are coming to people?  Is the gospel (which means “good news”)  being preached to those who need it?   Do people see and hear the same things in our church’s ministry that they experienced with Jesus?  It is by our fruit that the world will know that we are the real deal!  It is good if we are keeping the ten commandments but are we also keeping the great commandment and the great commission?

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