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Africa Church Planting Field Story Kenya

The Call To Mission

"All of Scripture is about God's rescue mission for the world. God has a missionary heartbeat."
Because Jesus told us to do it. 

This is often the answer to the question, "Why are we supposed to share the good news?" Jesus said it and we do it. In fact he commanded it, and we obey it. It's not an option if you call yourself a follower of Jesus. Jim Elliot once said, Most Christians don't need a commandment, we need a kick in the pants.

Going back 2,000 years, we could ask, what compelled Jesus' friends to drop everything so they could engage themselves in telling the world about him? The initial response is the same: it was an act of simple obedience. In other words, the first followers of Jesus responded to the Great Commission, like we do. But we need to pause and consider our first reaction.

Matthew 18:18-20 is definitely the important and last command of Jesus. There is no denying it is a world-changing statement. With all the authority he possesses as the King of the Universe, Jesus has commanded us to spread the good news and make followers of the Way.

Yet, God is not a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of Father. In his mercy and kindness, he didn't just tell us what to do, he showed us how to do it. Throughout the Scriptures, he revealed the secret of why we should be making disciples. In the Bible, he shares the secret that unpacks the nature and destiny of every living thing in the known universe. The Old Testament points to Jesus and the New Testament looks back to Jesus.

We must also remember that Jesus' words were not recorded on a microphone and replayed after he ascended. They were not written down until decades after the church's mission had already begun. The church immediately began the mission. It is not likely the friends of Jesus, with copies of Jesus' words in their hands, went and told everyone to do the same. It is more likely they shared the good news about the resurrection.

So what compelled them to do this? The key reason the followers of Jesus were so fired up about spreading the good news is that it started to dawn on them what had happened. Their minds turned to key Scriptures(from the Old Testament) and they began to connect the dots. They started to realize a decisive, turning point had been reached in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Even though it was probably in the back of their minds, when they stood before the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15, not one of Jesus' friends mention the Great Commission. Instead, they point back to the Scriptures and explain how Jesus fulfilled everything. Over and over again in the book of Acts, the disciples make reference to the Old Testament and the story it tells. They show how the narrative of the Scriptures leads us to Jesus who leads us to go to all nations.

That is why John Stott writes:
"Our mandate for world mission is the whole Bible. It is to be found in the creation of God(because of which all human beings are responsible to him), in the character of God(as outgoing, loving, compassionate, not willing that any should perish, desiring that all should come to repentance), in the promises of God(that all nations will be blessed through Abraham's seed and will become the Messiah's inheritance), in the Christ of God(now exalted with universal authority, to receive universal acclaim), in the Spirit of God(who convicts of sin, witnesses to Christ and impels the church to evangelize) and in the church of God(which is a multinational, missionary community) under order to evangelize until Christ returns."
All of Scripture is about God's rescue mission for the world. God has a missionary heartbeat. Instead of cherry-picking a verse here or a verse there to prove a biblical basis for missions, we should realize there is a missionary basis for the bible. The bible reveals God to us in such a way that if we didn't have our Scripture, we wouldn't know him in a personal way. God gave us the Scriptures so that we can know him, have a relationship with him and make him known to others.

But, because we don't know the biblical story well, we lack insight into the worldview that God's Word provides. We don't possess an awareness of the direction that God is moving his-story and our part in that story. We find ourselves wrestling with, "what is the place of missions in my life, my finances and my church?" Instead, we should ask, "what is the place of my life, my finances and my church in missions?"

God's Word reveals that he has called his people to join him in mission. The entire story of the bible points in the direction of God's rescue plan for the world. Everyone has a role to play in missions: we are either senders or we are goers. If we all went, who would send? If we all stayed as senders, who would go? Your life includes some level of involvement in global missions. While we are all called to missions, we are not all to go overseas. 

Being a missionary basically means that you have crossed a boundary. Even if you don't cross a geographical boundary, in order to be called a missionary, you must cross a boundary. It could be a chronological boundary in your church, or a cultural boundary in your neighbourhood, or a socio-economic boundary in your city, or a linguistic boundary in your workplace. It could be another kind of boundary. But, you must cross some kind of boundary for the sake of the gospel to identify as a missionary. 

God's Word reveals a variety of ways he called his people to be part of his mission. Read about Abraham's call in Genesis and how he left his familiar, comfortable life to go to a place God would reveal once he arrived. Read about Moses' call in Exodus and his long journey from a burning bush to leading his people to the Promised Land. Read about Jesus' calling of his disciples and how they left their families, careers in order to follow him. These examples are not normative, but they do reveal what happens when God calls people into his mission. There is great trust and obedience in God as they developed clarity on the part they played in the mission of God.

What is God calling you to do? What is your role in God's mission? How would God have you to be involved in his great rescue plan?

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