Joining God on Mission
Over the past month we have taken time to examine what the church is.
- The church is a family.
- The church is a body.
- The church is a bride.
One of the mail goals of our time together has been to help us understand what you and I (the church) are meant to be and how God intends for us to live. We are designed for gospel-centered relationship.
As we have looked at these things, we have done so from a bit of an ego-centric perspective. That was intentional.
- I am a child of God
- I am part of the body of Christ
- I am the bride of Christ
We must understand how valuable and special we are in God’s eyes. We must embrace the astounding love that God has showered on us to elevate us to such status. You are special.
This morning I want to flip to the other side of the coin, the one with the Head on it.
- It is not just that we are the bride, it is that Christ is the Great Groom
- It is not just that we are the body, it is that Christ in the Glorious Head of the body
- It is not just that we are a family, it is that God is the Perfect Father of the family
In all of these things it is not the church that is of supremacy, it is the owner, the master, it is Yahweh (God). As a matter of fact, I would propose to you the following:
all of life exists to declare the supremacy of God
That is a bold statement. However, the sooner we come to grip with it the better! For in the understanding and embracing of it our purposes, vision and mission are formed.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. // Psalm 24:1 NLT
As we consider that the earth is the Lords and all that is in it we must conclude that you and I are inhabitants of this earth and therefore under the supremacy of God.
Our Lord and God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because you have created all things, and by your will they exist and were created. // Revelation 4:11 CSB
As we consider that all of creation was designed to proclaim the glory of God and for his pleasure we must acknowledge that either willingly or unwillingly our lives will ultimately be used for the glory of God. Whether we choose to be a Moses or a Pharaoh, God will receive the glory.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. // Proverbs 19:21 ESV
As we consider the perfect plan of God will be carried out then we must consider that God can and will accomplish His work with or without our participation and regardless of our motivation. Consider Jonah as you ponder this.
For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose. // Philippians 2:13 CSB
Yet we are reminded that he WANTS to help us be a part of his perfect plan.
If everything belongs to God, and it does, and if all of creation is designed to praise God, and it is, and if all of God’s plans and purposes will be accomplished, and they will, then we must wrestle with the question of what God means in choosing you and man to be his body, his family and his bride.
Let’s turn to our primary passage for this morning and see what we can learn together:
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, 5 made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! 6 He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. // Ephesians 2:4–10 CSB
Let’s unpack a little of this passage:
- God MADE US ALIVE with Christ (past tense at salvation)
- God WILL GLORIFY US with Christ (future tense)
- God RE-CREATED US (past tense) for GOOD WORKS (present tense)
The subject is GOD. It is God’s mercy and his love that provided Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins. He made us alive, saved us, raised us with Jesus. Why? So he can bless us with his glory in the days to come AND so that we can join him in his work (vs 10). He did the work that we could not do (saving us) so that we could do the work he has planned for us to do.
Why? Because that is where you and I find our greatest joy, purpose and satisfaction. It is what we were created, chosen and re-created for – to do HIS WORK.
So what work does God want us to do? What mission does God have for me?
THOUGHT: maybe we should flip that around from “What mission does God have for me?” to “What me does God want for his mission?” It’s not about OUR mission, it is about us joining God on HIS MISSION.
Let’s begin our answer by discovering what is the work of God.
27 Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set his seal of approval on him.” 28 “What can we do to perform the works of God?” they asked. 29 Jesus replied, “This is the work of God—that you believe in the one he has sent.” // John 6:27–29 CSB
The first work that God wants from us is to believe in Jesus. Why? Because believing in Jesus restores our broken relationship with the Father, and our Father’s work is all about restoration of relationship. It is the big picture of Scripture:
- It was the promise given in Genesis 3:15
- The reason for the 10 commandments
- The reason for the temple sacrifices
- The reason for Jesus coming to earth
All of this was to restore the broken relationship that we inherited from the sin of the first Adam.
18 Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. 19 Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. // Romans 5:18–19 NLT
I am a logic person, so my brain takes things like this and processes them to see the logical conclusion. Let’s see what conclusions you come to:
- God’s work is restoration of relationships, which he accomplishes through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
- God’s work is for us to believe in the Son, which incidentally, no one can do unless the Father allows them
44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. // John 6:44 CSB
So what is the work that God has ordained that we should be doing?
- Taking the message of restoration to others
- How? In word and deed
- Where? Wherever we are - light
Pretty simple, isn’t it? We make this much harder than it has to be.
God’s mission is restoration. He saved us so we can take the message to others so they can be restored.
We look at our lives and think, pray, act along the thought of “Where does God fit into the story of my life?”. Very me-centered. If we just focus on me as the body, bride and child of God it is easy to have this perspective. But when we start to acknowledge God as the Supreme subject in all of it we begin to rethink that questions. It changes from “Where does God fit into the story of my life?” to “Where does my life fit into the great story of God’s mission?”
If we truly believe that all of life exists to declare the supremacy of God, then we can only conclude that the greatest satisfaction in life is to join in that cause. To join in that cause, we must choose to align our lives with the giver of life and the great mission of our great God.
It is a total paradigm shift from me to Him, from my world to His Kingdom, from my agenda to His mission. It requires changes/adjustments in our lives. Some might see quite radical, others pretty subtle. But mostly it requires that we join God in His mission and make God the hero of the story and not us.
Our words and deeds must express the truth of God’s supremacy.
Lord willing, over the next few weeks we are going to attempt to answer the question, “Yes but how?” In the meantime, I encourage you each day to pray that God would show you how to fit into his great story and how you can join him on his mission.