Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Mission of God's People -Chapter 1 - Part 1.3 far we have begun to look at two important ideas. First the expanse of Biblical "sent-ness" in Part 1.1 and second the broadness of  Biblical "missions" in Part 1.2. What is important to keep in mind here is the single-minded purpose of God's Mission, for that is the real story. We haven't yet examined this in detail (Wright writes a several hundred tome on this in his "Mission of God") but I think we can best understand why God is doing what he is doing by grasping a paramount truth about who Jesus Christ is for God's purpose. Paul puts it simply like this - "so that in everything (Christ) might have the supremacy." (Col 1:18b - edit mine). Unless we give first importance to the fact that Jesus is first in everything we will not, we cannot, live as we are sent. 

In Part 1.2 we saw that "missions is everything." What profoundly makes this true is that "Christ is all, and is in all" (Colossians 3:11). Jesus Christ has the supremacy in everything - the First, the Last, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End of everything (Colossians 1:16-17). He invaded earth, God incarnate as a human, to make all things new again (Rev 21:5). He came to cancel the Genesis curse  (Genesis 3, Gal 3:13) and establish a New Creation (2 Cor 5:17) for his Kingdom. He told us how and when his purposes would be fulfilled when he told us his "gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:14). The Good News is that Jesus is "all!" We need to understand what the Gospel is, not based on our limited ideas about it, but the "everything" of who Christ is for, so we give live sent today. 

Wright turns his attention next to unpacking the definition of "mission" as expressed in the Lausanne Covenant that says: "World evangelization requires the whole Church to take the whole Gospel to the whole World." Think about this. Being "sent" is all encompassing so then it should follow it should involve "whole Church." "Missions" is everything we do, for the purposes of God, which should include everything (Acts 17:28).  It follows then that  it should be everywhere we "go" and include the "whole World." And, since "Christ is all,"  the Gospel is all about all of him so we are to live on mission with the "whole Gospel." Anything less and we aren't living as sent for his fullest.

Here's the crux of the matter I think: Everything we are and everything we do  and everywhere we go must be established on the fact that "Christ is all and is in all." That we can say is the mission of God's people. Pretty simple, right? Simple but not easy, for it goes against our understanding of ourselves but it is a truth we need to understand better because it is the story we are part of.

Question: How does this idea that "Christ is all and in all" square with your theology?

Wright unpacks the Lausanne Covenant and looks at the 3 "wholes" being expressed. Today, we will only look at  the first "whole" - the "whole World" briefly. Consider some of the questions Wright is asking here in light of the fact that "Christ is all and is in all."
  " many churches that are keen on mission, or how many mission agencies that pursue their agendas with urgency and zeal pause to think about the great story - where it has come from so far, what shape is has from the whole Bible (not just missionary verses), and where is it going? And yet if our mission efforts lose touch with that story or set off on all kinds of tangents from it, we have to ask: Whose mission are we on? What agenda are we pursuing?"
"The reality is, of course, as soon as you think seriously about it, that the mission field is everywhere (the whole world), including your own street - wherever there is rejection of the Gospel of Jesus Christ" 
"...what about the rest of life? What about the rest of the "world" - the world of work, the public arena, the world of business, education, politics, medicine, sports, and the like? In what sense is that world the arena of the mission of God's people, and what does such mission consist of? Is it only the moment of evangelistic opportunities in the world, or can our work itself participate in God's mission?" the people of God have any responsibility to the rest of human society in general beyond the imperative of evangelism?" 
Question: How does the truth that "Christ is all and in all" impact "all" of life? Should it or are there boundaries? Or, those boundaries Biblical?

John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the "whole World" that he gave his "whole" Son, not desiring to hold anything back, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have a "whole" life." That's my revision of this verse if indeed "Christ is all" and he is!  How we live out this whole truth is a journey of discovering what living sent today really means.

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