Here are my sermon notes from last week sermon, the second in a series on “The Mission of God.” If you ever want to hear the actual sermon, which deviates at multiple points from my notes, you can find it at http://eastpointchurchofchrist.org. God bless!
Text: Psalm 146
Scripture Reading: Luke 4:16-21
We are part of the mission of God.
We talked last week about how God’s mission began in the beginning and how it is his mission that drives the life of the church.
We also looked at the prophesies surrounding Jesus’ birth and the testimony given by John the Apostle in John 1 where he clearly located the ministry of Jesus in the ongoing mission of God by echoing the opening of Genesis: “In the beginning….”
One of the great things that stands out in that testimony of John is when John says, “Jesus has shown us the Father.” One reason for God taking on flesh was to complete the part of his mission that no other person could do–live a perfect life and become the perfect sacrifice for sinners.
In the process of living that perfect life, Jesus showed us and taught us, in word and in action, what it looks like to live in the mission of God.
So how would you define God’s mission? The Bible talks about it in a number of ways.
Luke 19:10 “The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.”
2 Corinthians 5 to reconcile the lost back to their Father
to recreate a place where He will be our God and we will be his people without barriers
That’s God’s vision for the future. Here, I’ll show you. Turn with me to Rev. 20:11 (through 21:8)….
This is God’s great vision for what is to come. But we need to know how to be a part of His plan.
And I’m talking about more than knowing the gospel–that Jesus is Lord and Christ who died and was raised to reconcile us to God.
And I’m talking about more than knowing how to respond to the gospel–by putting our trust in Jesus for salvation, by repenting of our sins, confessing him as our Lord, and being baptized into him for the forgiveness of sins. These are all things the Bible teaches and that I believe.
But surely we agree that being baptized isn’t the end of our journey. For Jesus, being baptized was the beginning of his ministry, and so it is with us.
We need to know what that ministry is supposed to look like. We need to know how we are supposed to live in a way that advances God’s mission.
Thankfully God shows us. He shows us his nature, he shows us what he loves, he even shows us the kind of ministry he does to bring people back to him.
Look at Psalm 146 with me….
this is a vivid illustration of God’s mission
We don’t put our trust in ourselves or in our ability to lead, because our plans have a shelf life
We put our trust in God because…
He is Creator
His faithfulness is absolute and certain and unending
He is and will forever be Lord and King
Between the first creation and the new creation to come, God does all this! Why does God do these kinds of good deeds? Toward what end? To reconcile us back to himself so that we might share in his glory and his blessings. This is what God does because of his faithfulness and his love for us.
There’s a book by Eric Swanson and Rick Rusaw called The Externally-Focused Quest, and it contains this quote, “Good deeds create good will, which becomes a platform for good conversations about the good news.”
That’s a pretty good description of how God ministers to us.
And when Isaiah the great prophet spoke of a coming Servant of the Lord, the Messiah, listen to how that Servant’s mission was described in Isaiah 61 starting in verse 1 (through 3).
That’s the same mission as the King! The same concerns, the same practices, the same goals–even the same vision shared with John in Revelation 20-21!
And it gets better for us, because this Messiah, prophesied by Isaiah, has come! Jesus is the Messiah whose ministry shows us what God would do if he was in our skin.
Luke 4 says, beginning in v.14 (through 22a)….
these are ways God comes near. And they’re not just words.
And they’re not just metaphors for spiritual cleansing and renewal–as if there is such a thing as spiritual renewal without incarnate acts. Things that we do here and now in real life. How do I know? Because I’ve read the rest of the gospel. The NT writers have testified about what Jesus said and did. And he genuinely loved people. He followed in the footsteps of his Father, and he met people where they were in life, and he touch them. He healed them. He fed them. He taught them. He forgave them. And he offered them a clear path back to the Father.
And remember, all this was the will of the Father. Jesus said so. See John 5:19, 30. “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise…. I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
So what about us? We can connect these dots, right?
If our mission is God’s, then shouldn’t our ministries also be the ones we find God doing?
I say they should. The Bible says they should. And Lord willing, we will see that more clearly next week when we come together to hear from the word of the Lord.
But before we quit this morning, I want to say again to you that God sent Jesus so that we might be brought back home. His mission, in part, is to save us from judgment and condemnation. He wants us to live with Him forever. And so I have the honor on God’s behalf to offer you a place in His Kingdom. God has plans for you. He has created you for good works (Eph. 2:10). He wants to bless you and to bless others through your life. So why not join ranks with God? Why not put your trust in His faithfulness? Why not turn and live in His ways? You can begin right now by being baptized in Jesus. God will forgive all your sins, give you His holy Spirit, and you will be with Him forever!