Sunday, March 3, 2013

Mission of God's People - Chapter 4 - Part 4.3

Continuing on in chapter four entitled, "People who are a blessing to the nations."

We have looked previously at the life of Abraham and the covenant that God established with Abraham to bless "all the nations of the earth," a great and wonderful promise that displays God's heart of all the people of the earth. We should know that when Adam and Eve sinned it brought a curse upon the world. It has been the mission of God's people since that time to push back that curse by the blessing of God, through faithful living. Abraham serves as our example, the pioneer of our faith. God made a covenant with him due to his faithfulness to bless all the peoples of the earth. Most of history however shows us that we have fallen far short of carrying God's blessing to all people. That doesn't change our mandate or does it change God cosmic plans.

God is in fact quite emphatic about his cosmic plan. Wright points out that, "In fact, it is so important that this promise is repeated five times in Genesis (12:3, 18:18, 22:18, 26:4, 28:14)." When God says something once it is important but when he repeats it over and over again we must take heed and make every effort to live it out. Wright calls us to respond to God's mission with these words:
"If humanity as a whole is subject to God's curse, then humanity as a whole must be reached by God's blessing. And therein lies the great thrust of God's mission and the mission of God's people."
We must respond to and live out the Abrahamic covenant for finishing the task. Wright notes that, "the Abrahamic covenant is therefore one of the key unifying threads in the whole Bible." From my experience with Perspectives students it is alone one of the least understood, even among missionaries. The problem is the Abrahamic covenant is not taught as the great commission it truly is. We think we derive our imperative to mission from Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 but Jesus wasn't giving us a new commandment to live for God's mission but in fact reiterating what God gave to Abram, a call that was obeyed immediately even if imperfectly.

As Christ followers we must come to terms with the fact that we have been given this covenant to bless the nations and it is binding on us today. I read a recent Facebook post that read something to the effect that when we stand before Christ on Judgment Day he's not going to ask us how much of the Bible we memorized or how much doctrine we understood but what did we do with what we knew of his mandate to all who claim to follow him.

Wright charges us with this:
"If we are in Christ, we not only share in the blessing of Abraham, we are commissioned to spread the blessing of Abraham. The last phrase of Genesis 12:2 is actually an imperative in Hebrew - "Be a blessing!"
Bottom line is we are blessed to be a blessing. God's generous blessings, in Christ, are given to be generously given away toward the accomplishment of God's global mission for Christ. While we may be the beneficiaries of God's blessing, through Christ, we need to come to terms with the fact that such blessings are not for our private use alone but in Christ we are to live to bless the nations.

The blessings God bestows aren't meant to simply enrich our portfolio but to advance his Kingdom. God's blessings are to be used for the completion of the task we have been given. But we need to better understand that task and then live for it. That too many so often get this wrong becomes clear when we understand the big picture and something of the status of global missions.

Please watch this video - you will be blessed and challenged.


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