A New Perspective: On Mission
Luke 4.18–19 NLT
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.”
You may find today’s text familiar, as it is part of the same text Rev. Green used last week, as he shared with us in worship through preaching and Baptism. One of the things I love about scripture is how there is so much fullness to find in every passage, so I guarantee you’ll hear something different from me today.
We’ve looked at new perspectives to begin the new year—new perspectives on LIFE, on CHURCH, and last week at 11am I spoke on a new perspective on SOCIETY. This last message will be a new perspective on MISSION.
As Christians, we are a people of purpose, of intentionality. We have one goal, which is to bring people to a saving, loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus sent out His disciples, which includes us, to make more disciples. This is our task; this is our mission.
But a new perspective on MISSION means understanding that there are almost endless ways for us to accomplish this mission. We engage in various missions in order to accomplish the larger mission.
Making disciples takes place in numerous ways. The picture a lot of people have is one that isn’t a bad idea but is usually a negative image in our culture. The picture of the evangelist, the “street preacher,” standing on the milk crate talking about “believing or else,” tends to be the predominate caricature. Missionaries aren’t marching into cultures, near or far, and demanding people believe, although that kind of thing has happened throughout time and is something that must be repented of.
Our witness to the world certainly comes through preaching—through evangelists, missionaries, testimonies, services, revivals, and one-on-one. But what I want to challenge us on today is to see the “good news” we are delivering to the poor, captive, blind and oppressed as meeting their needs WITH services that show grace, mercy and love.
What are some of the services the Church offers that bring grace, mercy and love? What do we do in the world that is redemptive?
These various services and missions aren’t an end in themselves but a means to an end, that end being grace. Missions clear the space for God to act and work. Through digging wells, building homes, feeding the hungry, fostering children, caring for the sick, providing hope and support through fellowship, we are creating space for God. When we take on the mission of alleviating unnecessary evils and suffering, people are more susceptible to the Gospel.
This is why these things and many, many more need to be engaged in. And the need exists for two reasons. 1.) God has decided to do something about sin and evil in the world, engaging it head on through the power and presence of Jesus. And 2.) God has enlisted us into this this saving work, this mission of redemption.
In the first reason, we see the commitment that God has in His love for the world and His creation. Ever since man and woman walked away from God in the garden, God has chased us in a relentless pursuit of wooing us away from sin and back to Him.
In the second reason, we see that God’s desire is that we would accompany Him on this rescue mission, this work of grace, this salvation adventure. It is an honor and privilege, a blessing even, to be chosen by God to play a part in a plan that brings wholeness, healing, and peace to all people.
Therefore, through a God who cares and a mission to save the lost, we have our orders, we have our task. The only thing that is left today is to decide how you will accomplish the mission. Will you preach and teach? Will you dig and build? Will you feed and clothe? This Wednesday night going through next Sunday morning, you’ll hear about the missions that accomplish the MISSION. But you have to be here, to come and experience the speakers, the testimonies, the beautiful work that is bringing salvation to a lost and hurting world. Engage the mission and have a new perspective on what God is doing. Amen.