Kris and I are in Alexandria VA at the first Missio Alliance Conference, a conference this year dedicated to the gospel. This is a gathering of Christian leaders dedicated to participating in the mission of God and at the same time concerned about articulating the gospel in its missional location.
Here is an outline of God’s mission, mostly drawn from the Gospel of John and its use of the word “send.”
1.0 Mission Begins IN God.
“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
“the Father is in me, and I in the Father” (10:38; 17:21, 23).
Now a brief sketch of a major Christian doctrine, the Trinity, and its connection to mission.
1. God has been eternally missional, is missional, and will be missional forever. (Eschatology is inherent.)
2. Why? Because the Trinity is mutual indwelling in love for the Other.
3. God is essentially and endlessly missionally engaged within the Trinty: the Father, the Son, and the Spirit engage One Another in missional union and missional love.
4. Creation is the explosion of God’s internal missionality into living, created, mortal order.
5. Love is the ultimate end of all missional thinking: engaging the other in love is established in the Trinity and becomes manifest in creation and becomes missional for humans in loving God and in loving others.
2.0 Mission Begins WITH God’s Sending.
1. God sends John: “And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me…” (1:33).
2. God sends Jesus: ““My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work….” (4:34).
3. Jesus sends us: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (20:21).
If you are one of Jesus’ followers you are missional.
3.0 The Missional Christian, who is a follower of Jesus, Stays WITHIN God’s Mission.
Jesus provides the pattern for the Missional Christian:
1. Seeking God’s Approval: John 5:30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me….” and this approval is the future kingdom’s judgment becoming reality in the Now.
2. Source is God’s Truth in Jesus: John 7:16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me…. 18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. … 28 Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true.”
3. Strengthened by God’s Presence:
God is at work: John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
God is present: John 8:16 But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me.
John 8:29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”
God is present in the Holy Spirit: John 14:26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
The Spirit’s presence orients us toward Jesus: John 15:26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.”
4. Speaking God’s words: John 12:49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.
4.0 The Missional Christian is INSIDE/IN Christ.
1. Seeing Jesus is seeing the Father: John 12:44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me.”
2. Accepting Us is accepting Jesus is accepting the Father: John 13:20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”
3. Opposing You is opposing Jesus is opposing the Father: John 15:21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.
Here is a 4 point sketch of how the Missional Christian is to see himself or herself:
- To see yourself as deriving your mission in God.
- To see yourself as extending God’s mission in Jesus to others.
- To see yourself as inhabiting God’s perichoresis.
- To see yourself participating in God’s present anticipation of the kingdom of God — the future that God’s mission now leans into.