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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thoughts On "God Is a God of Missions"

Every believer is called to “GO.” As I posted in my blog post titled "GO! Thoughts On Making Disciples In Jesus Name" about the biblical mandate to fulfill the new covenant’s commission in Christ:

"The Great Commission is very direct in it's command for the Christian. Note the language: there is ONE imperative in the Greek and that is "make disciples." It is followed by three particles "go, baptizing, and teaching." The NET Bible textual notes put it like this:

'Go…baptize…teach' are participles modifying the imperative verb 'make disciples.' According to ExSyn645 the first participle (πορευθέντες, poreuqentes, 'Go'). This means that semantically the action of 'going' is commanded, just as “making disciples' is.'"

The Great Commission, however, unveils one of the greatest themes and characteristics of God throughout the Bible, which begins in Genesis with the promise to Abraham (cf. Gen. 12:1-3), fulfilled in the coming of Christ (Gal. 4:4-6), and the consummation of God's kingly reign in eternal glory on the new earth (Rev. 21:1-4). This characteristic composes in Scripture a redemptive mission by the Sovereign God of the Bible.

The theme and characteristic is that God is a God of missions.
There are two things that I have been considering after reading Stott.

1. The redemptive plan of God is to gather “all the families [i.e. the redeemed] of the earth” through Abraham’s seed, Jesus Christ (cf. Gen. 12:1-3). God proclaims from the beginning of his promise to draw together all the descendants of Abraham who have been saved by Christ through faith in the gospel. 

2. The divine plan of God is to consummate his “kingly reign” at the end of redemptive history and bring fulfillment to his covenantal promise (cf. Rev. 7:9). Therefore, the mission of God is focused on the unyielding passion for God’s glory to be known among all the nations in order to reconcile, redeem, and regenerate every tribe, tongue, and nation on the earth (e.g. those who will believe) to himself through the proclamation the glorious gospel of his only Son, Jesus Christ.

According to legendary Christian theologian and scholar John R.W. Stott in the book "Perspectives On the World Christian Movement," he suggests in an article titled "The Living God Is a Missionary God" that "the nations (i.e. all non-believers) are not gathered in automatically. We are Abraham's seed by faith, and the earth's families will be blessed only if we go to them with the gospel. That is God's plain purpose. We need to become global Christians with a global vision, for we have a global God (i.e. 'go' into all the world and preach the gospel to all nations)." Stott points out to us that the mission of God is understood in five perspectives as the living and missionary God of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation:

A. God is a God of History - From the beginning, God has been on a mission of redemptive history. Jesus Christ, as the Seed of Abraham, is the key figure who has come and fulfilled the promise God gave to Abraham, given four thousand years ago to allocate his own special people from all nations who will be with him in eternal glory forever.

B. God is a God of Covenant - From the beginning, God has been always kept his promises, and he always fulfills his promises immediately or in the future, communicating a steadfast love and faithfulness to his people.

C. God is a God of Blessing - From the beginning, God's sole motive to bless his people shows us that his prerogative to bless is in his nature, and according to his blessing to Abraham, he later blesses his people by sending Jesus to bring salvation to all nations, which echoes his blessing from the beginning. Therefore, all of his works coordinate with a comprehensive characteristic to bless his people with salvation.

D. God is a God of Mercy - From the beginning, God's desire is to make a nation greater than the stars of the sky and the sands of the sea. At the consummation of redemptive history, a massive diverse tribes, tongues, and nations will be linked together as the redeemed in heaven. This "innumerable" amount of people (cf. Rev.7:9) shows us the relentless mercy of God is shown towards sinners and his mission to redeem by his grace.

E. God is a God of Mission - From the beginning, God's plan was to make a nation with the descendants of Abraham "from all nations" of the earth, and those who are from "all nations" will be blessed. When Jesus came, a global commission was given to all who followed him, "Preach the gospel to all nations!" (cf. Matt. 28:19). The God of the Bible is not just a living God, but a missionary God at best because of his expression through sending his Son to bring salvation to all men.
    God is the greatest missionary who wants us to show people the glory of God through the peaching of the gospel to all nations. Think "missional" everyday knowing you are called to "GO!"

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