What is a mission statement? Both Christians and non-Christians talk about this concept. Businesses think through missions. The Coca-Cola mission statement is to refresh the world, inspire moments of optimism, and to make value and difference in the world. Armies strategize their missions to protect and serve their country. Ordinary people may say their mission in life is to get a good job to support their family.
What about Christian missions? What is our goal? I believe our mission is found in the words of Jesus Christ to his disciples in Matthew 28:16-20, often referred to as the Great Commission. After Jesus rose from the dead, he met his disciples on the mountain in Galilee. This is what he told the disciples what the mission is:
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Based on this passage, I believe Jesus had three components when referring to Christian missions: To obey, share, and disciple others for Jesus Christ.
The first part of the mission and great commission is to obey Christ. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Who is Jesus Christ? He is the God-Man, the creator of the universe, the beginning and the end. Colossians 1:16 says that Jesus is the invisible God, the ruler over every principality, power, throne, and ruler. He is the supreme authority, we should obey him. What comes to your mind when I say obedience? Obey your parents, church, teachers, boss. By the time we reach adulthood, obedience has been a negative term.
When I was a child, in the summer I would go to the public pool every day. The way for people to find out if I was there would be if they heard the whistle blow. What do I mean? Well, I would run to the diving boards and the lifeguard would blow the whistle and give me a warning. I would dive in the shallow end and the lifeguard would blow the whistle and tell me to sit next to her for five minutes. I really didn’t like this lady, but was she blowing the whistle because she didn’t like me or because she wanted to protect me?
If I ran and fell, I could break my leg. If I jumped in the shallow end, I could break my neck. I needed to obey her to be safe. God has done the same. In the Old Testament, God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil so they wouldn’t feel guilty, God told them to obey the 10 commandments to thrive in society, in the book of Judges not to follow false gods, and in the New Testament, he tells us not to be angry, lust after women, or hate our enemies. Christ doesn’t have these rules without a purpose, but he wants us to trust Him so that we can experience the fruits of the spirit and his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness. He is a loving Father that cares for our well-being. Christians, are you obeying God out of duty or because you desire a relationship with Him? He knows the motives of our hearts.
The second mission and great commission for Christians are to share the good news with others. Verse 19 says to Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Here, Jesus calls the disciples to share their faith with the world The word for “go” is an active verb, and it means that as you live your life, you need to be examples and light to the world. In Mark’s account, Jesus states to Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. What is this good news? Imagine with me that you were on trial for committing a crime and the verdict agreed: Guilty. The judge states the punishment: Death. As you are on your way to becoming executed, some innocent person, full of mercy and compassion, says to the judge: I will stand in the place of this man. This is exactly what happened to us. We are all guilty and deserve to be punished, but Jesus Christ, the innocent God-Man, stepped in our place and died for our sins. You may then ask, who is the world?
Not only are we called to go in diverse places like Rwanda, but we are also called to share the gospel with our friends, relatives, drunkards, and the self-righteous. How do we do this? Well, you can do this through words and through actions. By words, I mean make it natural. You are talking to your friend and she says, Today is a beautiful day. Will you say, “Yes, it is so nice outside.” Or will you say, “yes it is nice outside. God really does love us.” That person may not ask about God the first time, but try to make opportunities in your conversation naturally. By works, you can go to your friend or neighbor in need, help them move, take groceries over, or provide a meal for their family, and simply say: We were thinking about you and wanted to share Christ’s love in a practical way. Also, think about the needs of your community. How can you serve your city and let outsiders know that you don’t just come to church every Sunday to worship out of tradition, but seek to bring them into your community?
The third and final mission is not only to obey and share the gospel but make disciples. What does it mean to make disciples? When someone shares the gospel, the person becomes convicted and desires to repent of their sins. Jesus said, “repent, for the kingdom is at hand.” Then, we are told as believers to baptize these new believers. Last week, we have witnessed many baptisms and God is the glory. Baptism is the recognition that one has died to self, been buried with Christ, and is raised to new life. Then that mature believer is called to teach the new believer the mission to obey everything that the Lord has commanded. If you are a mature believer, find out ways that you can help new believers: Maybe read a book of the Bible together and discuss it, pray with one another, if you enjoy knitting socks, maybe rather than hanging out with your friends, find someone who is a new believer with the same interests.
Coca-Cola has a mission, and they have been to virtually every country on this planet. They are ambitious, but what is their product? It’s just sugar and water. The Christian church has a great comission, to share the gospel where God dies on the cross for the sins of the world to heal the broken-hearted and strengthen the community. Isn’t this infinitely better than sugar water? Let’s be the light of the world and share this good news with others.