Theology of Mission
Jesus commands us in Matthew 28.18-19:
“…All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”
The central mandate of the Great Commission is to “make disciples of all nations”. God has saved us through the substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross (Rom. 3.24-26, Eph. 1.7, Col. 1.14), and now calls us to share in the mission of Christ for the Glory of God and the rescue of the nations. Tragically, we have separated the blessings of God from His global purpose. We have accepted all the benefits of the cross, but not what it demands of us. We must reverse this trend. To quote Dr. David Platt, “Biblical theology is not “God loves me…period!” Christ exalting theology is a radical call to engage every culture and society on the face of the earth to make the Name of Christ known.
Reached vs. Unreached
In the Great Commission, the word for “all nations” in greek is “te ethne.” An “ethne” is not a nation with organized government and borders as we have come to understand it. It more closely relates to groups of people based on ethnicity, customs, and language. We call these people groups, of which there are 16,596. Of these, 6,870 people groups are what we call “unreached” – meaning they have no access, and have never had access, to the Gospel of Christ. This means that of the nearly 7 billion people living in world today, nearly 2.8 billion have never heard of Jesus Christ. That’s 41% of the world population living without the hope found only in Christ.
Paul says this in Romans 15.20-21:
“…thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, ”Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”
This is so crucial. We must obey Christ’s command, as Paul did, and take the light into the darkest places, working to establish churches and bring worship to the ends of teh earth. As John Piper says, “Missions is not the chief end of the church. Worship is. Missions exists to bring the worship of God to places where it doesn’t currently exist.”
Poverty and Disease Today:
- 26,000 children will die because of diseases from bad drinking water.
- 25,000 adults and children will die from hunger.
- 11,000 more people will be infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus is clear on how his followers are to treat “the least of these.” He expects us to treat the poor, hungry, and sick like we would treat Him. Jerry Harris, Senior Pastor of The Crossing, says this: “How can you talk about Jesus being the bread of life if people don’t have bread to eat? How can you speak about Him being the living water if they don’t have clean water to drink?” The Bible is clear: it is our responsibility to care for the hungry and poor. Deuteronomy 15.11 says,”For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor in your land.’” The global spread of the Glory of God works in the meeting of physical neccesities and healing sickness.