Mission According to Jesus
- David Fairchild
- Oct 3, 2010
- Series: ...According to Jesus
“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”
Gospel community is not a cul-de-sac. It is a dynamic and living body that has adopted a new agenda and a new purpose for existence - to know and glorify God and to make known God’s glory.
As we saw in Acts last week, the Spirit-empowered Gospel forms a people in Acts 2. And the rest of Acts is the telling of the church’s mission to plant churches so that others will be brought into God’s family.
This flow of Gospel-Community-Mission can never be separated if a church is to remain healthy and faithful to God’s plans and purposes. It is a three-legged stool and if one of the legs is missing, the stool is compromised and ultimately is unable to function as the craftsman intended.
-What does a church without true community look like?
-What does a church that loses the Gospel of grace feel like?
-What does a church without mission become?
The Church exists by mission as fire exists by burning.
We are committed to being and becoming more and more of a missional church. This is why we plant churches throughout San Diego. This is why we plant missional communities that will prayerfully become churches in San Diego.
We believe the single best evangelistic methodology under the sun is to saturate the city with gospel-believing and preaching missional churches that reproduce. Our city needs it.
Q-What feelings does the word evangelism provoke?
Q-What kind of fears do you have when you think about sharing your faith?
Dual Faithfulness: Gospel Word/Gospel Community
The Gospel Word is Central to Gospel Mission
The gospel is good news. News is something to be shared. Not only should it be shared, it is good. The gospel is not advice but news. Advice means that the person has to follow the advice in order to be whole. News means they simply need to receive what they’re hearing.
Too often we fail to make this distinction and end up only giving moral advice instead of good news. This is why the culture thinks that to become a Christian you have to follow a set of moral rules or adopt some ethical standard for their life.
This challenge is evident when we think we’re only to model gospel-living in front of others. The underlying assumption by the observer, if the good news is never shared, is that to be a Christian you have to live like Christians. There is a common adaptation of St. Francis of Assisi that is popular today. It says “Preach the gospel always and if necessary use words.” This statement has the ring of truth to our ears but is actually not fully accurate.
Jesus came to proclaim the Gospel. In fact He says “that is why I have come” (Mark 1:38). When Jesus began His public ministry He went out “proclaiming the good news of God” (Mark 1:14).
When Jesus rose He left His disciples with clear instruction in Matthew, Mark and Luke to proclaim and teach the gospel and disciple the nations.
Matthew 28:18-20 - “ And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  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,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”
Mark 16:14-16 – “ Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.  And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
Luke 24:44-49 – “ Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’  Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,  and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,  and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.’”
In each of these accounts we see that preaching and teaching the gospel is critical. In fact, it is what they are now to give themselves to for the rest of their lives. Jesus has risen, has all authority and is now moving through His church to proclaim this good news through us.
So let’s be clear, Jesus didn’t instruct us to only live good lives and never speak the gospel word. He wants us to be good news people that faithfully share the good news story about Him.
Q-How many of you feel competent, motivated and gifted to share the Gospel with your non-Christian neighbors and friends?
Q-How many of you believe the Gospel should be shared with others in order for them to come to Christ?
If we all agree that Jesus calls us to make disciples, if we’re His disciples, and we believe that no one will come to faith unless they hear the Gospel, why is it that so few of us feel motivated, equipped or able to do so?
This is why the Gospel of John is helpful to us. This is why our commitment is to be faithful with the Gospel word and Gospel community for the sake of God’s mission in the world.
Gospel Community is Central to Gospel Mission
We are called to be a people that are faithful to Gospel community as well as God’s word. The word creates and nourishes the community while the community embodies and proclaims the word.
On the final night before His betrayal and death, Jesus taught the centrality of Gospel community for His Gospel mission.
John 13:34-35 – “ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Jesus is concerned with His disciples’ love for one another. In order for the world to know they are His disciples, He calls them to love one another as He has loved them.
Again, Jesus repeats this instruction in His High Priestly prayer in John 17:
John 17:21 – “…that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
Jesus says that the world would believe that He was sent by the Father if we are one.
John 17:23 – “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
Jesus than says that they may “know” that He was sent by the Father if they become one.
Our mutual love and unity together is Jesus’ great evangelistic strategy that proves we are His disciples and He was sent by the Father. He ties in His own reputation to us.
We are called to be communities of love on display for others to see. The church should be shown as more of a network of relationships than a building we attend. In doing so, we are called to be nourished and changed by the word so that others will ask and we will tell them the “reason for the hope that is within us” (1 Peter 3:15).
We are to live lives that require a gospel answer.
Sharing our faith is to be a community project.
As we’ve already admitted, not many of us feel confident or competent to share our faith verbally. Not many of us are outgoing and can establish friendships easily. Not all of us are good listeners. Not all of us are great hosts. Not all of us are great counselors that really get to heart issues. Not all of us are great at works of service.
Yet all of us together are! This is why we need each other and this is why evangelism is to be done in community rather than on our own. This deals with our fear of having to be everything at once when we can’t be. Most of us are afraid of evangelism because we’ve believed the myth we have to do it on our own. So we feel guilty and ashamed that we don’t heed Jesus’ call to make disciples. But making disciples is more than teaching someone how to talk.
Imagine if we really believed this was a community project.
Imagine if we really believed we were full-time missionaries.
Imagine you are part of a church-planting team in Tanzania that just arrived in the mission field.
-What criteria would you use to decide where to live?
-How would your employment be?
-What would you spend your time doing?
-What opportunities would you be looking for?
-What would your prayers be like?
-What would you be trying to do with your new friends?
-What kind of team would you want around you?
-How would you conduct your gatherings to be most effective in reaching non-Christians?
Q-Do you find it easier to think more imaginatively outside of your current situation?
Q-What if we believed that mission was central to the purpose of our life together as the church right here, today?
The Need for Missional Church in San Diego
Only 6% are born-again Christians that claim Christ as their Savior, believe the Bible is true and are part of a Christian church in San Diego.
This means that out of 3.2 million people in the San Diego metropolitan area, only about 184,000 take seriously the claim that Christ is their Savior and Lord.
Since 1990 the population has increased, but the church has not kept up. The national average for churches per capita in the US:
1920 – 27 churches existed for every 10,000 Americans
1950 – 17 churches existed for every 10,000 Americans
1996 – 11 churches existed for every 10,000 Americans
2005 – 2 churches existed for every 10,000 San Diegans
There is an extraordinary need for church planting in San Diego. In order to saturate San Diego with churches to bring the number to 12 churches per 10,000 people we need to plant approximately 3,200 churches today.
The Epistle to Diognetus, c. AD 130
“They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others and yet suffer all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all others; they beget children; but they do not destroy their babies. They share their table with all, but not their bed with all. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their exemplary lives. They love all men and yet are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death and restored to life. They are poor yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things and yet abound in all; they are dishonored and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are evil spoken of and yet are justified; they are reviled and bless; they are insulted and repay the insult with honor; they do good yet are punished as evildoers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred. To sum it all up in one word—what the soul is to the body, that are Christians in the world.”