4 cylinder engines are built to power smaller vehicles. If you were to install a 4 cylinder engine in a semi-truck and trailer, it may start for a moment but it definitely isn’t going to go like it should. Well, the engine and driving force of the Christian’s life is meant to be the gospel. And if it isn’t, then much like that semi-truck trying to run on a 4 cylinder engine, we aren’t going to go like we should.
Andreas Kostenberger defines mission as, “the specific task or purpose which a person or group seeks to accomplish, involving various modes of movement, be it sending or being sent.”
Defined in that light, we see mission as being woven into the biblical tapestry of God’s redemptive plan throughout all the scriptures. From beginning to end, His activity pressing forward in saving purposes to call and gather a people to himself, through his sent son – Christ Jesus, is the ultimate understanding of mission. We see this biblical view of mission as being rooted in the gospel, “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest”” (Matthew 9:35-38).
Christ had a mission and his mission hasn’t concluded. He is redeeming and gathering a people to himself and the work is not complete – the harvest is plentiful.
THE GATHERED BECOME GATHERERS
This work of Christ gathering a people to himself, has not ceased and he is continuing to be active through those he has gathered. He uses his gathered people, to gather people. We are joined together with Christ in the mission of gospel proclamation – gathering the Lord’s harvest. We are given this commission by Christ to, “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” (Matt. 28:19-20). Christ Jesus, who was sent by God, continues on in sending fashion. He now sends his witnesses to continue the mission.
As the Church, united in Christ and joined together in adoption, we are likewise joined together in mission. Peter described the mission of the church in 1 Peter 2: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1Pet. 2:9-10). He declares that we have been gathered to God, that now we “may proclaim the excellencies” of him who called us. We are to go and be proclaimers – living billboards of the glorious gospel. This charge is not given to some within the community of the church, it is for all the church.
That should lead us to ask the question of, “is this how I live?” As I am living life through the daily grind, do I find myself living in such a way that intentionally proclaims the excellencies of Christ (which I would call missional mindedness)? Or am I predominately known as the complainer. Or the gossip. Or the smart guy. Or the hunting guy. Or the football guy. Or the…(you fill in the blank). We must first see our identity in regards to the biblical call to gospel mission. If my life is to produce a gospel culture with true, lasting, passion for proclaiming the excellencies of Christ, than I need to connect my daily life agenda directly to seeing how wonderful the gospel really is. Am I aware of the amazing and undeserved saving work of Christ in my life and the good work I am now called to as a direct result of that saving work (Ephesians 2). If not, I may be in need of a good ol’ engine overhaul.
So where can we start the overhaul in cultivating soft hearts and minds towards the work of faithful gospel mission (the go)? We soak ourselves in the word of God and we pray that through the Holy Spirit, the gospel glory that is found in scripture would be illuminated for us to see it clearly connected to ourselves. Meditating on the gospel should leave us wonderfully amazed and in turn should grow our affections for our savior and his mission. And when I have done that, I must repeat it over, and over, and over again. When I wake up. On my way to work. During work. During lunch break. On my drive back home from work. When I’m at home. When I’m cutting grass. When I’m In Sunday school. During prayer meetings. At home group. Everywhere!
May we become more familiar with the gospel and its mission as we meditate on the fact that we ourselves are fruit of it’s production. This is a continued work that we should never move on from. C.J. Mahaney says in Living the Cross Centered Life,
“We never move on from the cross, only into a more profound understanding of the cross. The cross and its meaning aren’t something we ever master…if there’s anything in life we should be passionate about, its the gospel. And I don’t mean passionate only about sharing it with others. I mean passionate about thinking about it, dwelling on it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world. Only one thing can be of first importance to each of us. And only the gospel ought to be.”
The engine overhaul of the Christian life begins at the foot of the cross.
Philip serves in overseeing the Youth and Jr. Youth ministries, as well as the outreach and evangelism ministries of Lifegate Church. He is also on the preaching rotation for the Sunday morning worship gathering.