Christians live the mission of Jesus in the world by embodying the gospel wherever they go.
As you read through Acts you see the Church on Mission—sent by Jesus…
… sent with the Cross… sent in community… sent to the Culture… sent for the King and His Kingdom!
Essentially, the Church is a missionary!
These five biblical distinctives form the foundation of a Missional Perspective.
A Missional Perspective includes a recognition that scripture teaches:
1. The Church is sent by Jesus! (John 17:18; 20:21, Luke 9:2; Matt 28:19-20; Acts 1:8)
2. The Church is sent with the Cross! (1 Cor 1:18; Eph 2:16; Col 2:14; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Cor 5:17-24)
3. The Church is sent in Community! (Acts 2:42-47; 5:42; John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:16-17)
4. The Church is sent to every Culture! (John 1:14; Matt 20:28; Acts 17:22-34; Luke 5:29)
5. The Church is sent for the King and His Kingdom! (Matt 10:7; 25:34; Luke 4:43; Rev 11:15-17; Jer 10:7; John 18:36)
Mark Driscoll pastors a church he planted in Seattle, Washington and he has started the ACTS 29 Network which has planted scores of churches in eight countries. He views the Church as a movement of missionaries—“missionaries sent not from America to another nation but from America to America.” He calls Christians to reform their “traditionally flawed view of missions as
something carried out only in foreign lands and to focus instead on the urgent need in our neighborhoods, which are filled with diverse cultures of Americans who desperately need the gospel of Jesus and life in his church.” (Driscoll, Radical Reformission, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004, 18)
The first century Church in the book of Acts reflects this mindset. Every believer was sent by God on mission to reach those around them for Christ! Therefore, today every believer needs to discover the reality that “missions” does not begin across an ocean or on the other side of the world, but on the other side of their street (in your Jerusalem).
Jesus sent His disciples on a mission! The Church does not exist to bring other Christians in; the Church is sent out into the culture with the gospel! The Missional Church defines itself in terms of its mission—being sent ones who take the gospel to and incarnate the gospel within a specific cultural context. The essence of missionality begins by looking outward. Christ-followers have to avoid the tendency to become so inwardly focused that they fail to go anywhere.
Jesus was the first apostle. He was sent by his Father. He, in turn, sent the Twelve. They went to people who would then take the gospel to the rest of the world. Whoever received it would understand that they, too, had been sent. With the gospel being what it is, the church as bearer of the gospel is bound to be apostolic. (Jim Petersen and Mike Shamy, The Insider, Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2003,83)
Jesus came to earth to seek and to save that which was lost. He accomplished salvation through the cross. By dying on the cross, He paid the penalty for sin and satisfied God’s wrath. Without the cross, there is no salvation, no forgiveness, and no hope. Because of the cross, there is eternal life! The mission and message of Jesus surround the cross. “For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18).
Jesus loves the Church! He gave His life to redeem the Church! Fellowship and community together in Christ is important. “Life is Better in Community.” Yet the Church is not here on earth just to enjoy nurturing relationships with other Christians and to throw arms around each other and sing Kum-by-ya. Community exists for Mission!
Christians are to bring the gospel together to the culture. As stated above, the Church exists for the sake of the world.
George Peters notes, “If man is to be reached, he must be reached within his own culture.” (Peters, A Biblical Theology of Missions, Chicago: Moody Press, 1972,163)
This principle is certainly applied when God became a man in the form of Jesus to come to earth and incarnate the gospel. As missionaries sent by Jesus, every Christian must learn to exegete their surrounding culture, uncovering the language, values, and ideas of the culture. Using this information, they take steps to reach people with the gospel message in the context of the surrounding culture
KING and KINGDOM
The kingdom was central to Jesus’ message and mission. The Book of Acts ends with Paul, under house arrest in Rome, “proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance” (Acts 28:31). Christians are sent to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom so that others may enter the kingdom.
The Church is pointing beyond itself to the kingdom of God. The Church is not an end in itself; God has a mission that goes beyond the Church which includes the kingdom. The kingdom and the Church must never be divorced, yet they also must never be equated. In a similar way, “the reign must never be separated from the One who reigns.” (George R. Hunsberger, “Called and Sent to Represent the Reign of God,” in Missional Church, ed. Darrel Guder, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998, 94)
The kingdom is always at the heart of the King.
Missional living is all about being a missionary everywhere you are! It is about doing “missions” by aligning your life with the redemptive mission of Jesus in the world. It is adopting the posture of a missionary in order to engage those in the culture with the gospel message.
Being missional is rooted in the missio Dei. Mission is not primarily an activity of the Church, but an attribute of God. God is a missionary God. “The Church is sent into the world to continue that which he came to do, in the power of the same Spirit, reconciling people to God.” (Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989, 230)
Jesus said, “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you” (John 20:21). Every believer is sent by Jesus with the gospel together in community to those in the surrounding culture for the sake of the King and His kingdom.