In his encounter with the Samaritan woman, Jesus revealed himself as the Messiah and Savior of the world. John wrote down this account so that people would believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God (2:30-31). Chapters 2-4 of John’s Gospel show Jesus on a mission tour from Jerusalem (2:13-3:21) to Judea (3:22-36) to Samaria (4:1-42) to Gentile territory (4:43-54). In this way, we see that the early church’s mission (Acts 1:8) was grounded in Jesus’ own mission practice.
Jesus’s Encounter with the Samaritan Woman (John 4)
As we study this passage, we need to pay attention to... Read More
As we live life on mission, how can we be part of God’s purpose to increase and reproduce? In short, we can identify: ask God whom he wants us to impact for Christ and identify such individuals in our lives. We can invest: get to know those people, spend time with them, share our faith, and bring them into our church community. We can invite: call people to individual discipleship and challenge them to be an active part of God’s mission. Finally, we can increase: help send out disciples to work in God’s harvest.
God Will Give Numerical Increase
Now in what follows, I’m going to... Read More
As we read at the beginning of the book of Acts, the early church was devoted to fellowship, koinōnia (sharing things in common; koinon = common): “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. … And all who believed were together and had all things in common” (Acts 2:42). The emphasis on fellowship is interesting, because Acts is a book about mission. So we see that in the early church, community was the foundation for the church’s mission.
Community and the Gospel
Later in the book of Acts, we see... Read More
The book of Acts tells us about the first Christians that “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). The early church was a praying church! (It also was serious about studying Scripture and about Christian fellowship.) Note that it doesn’t say “prayer” but “the prayers” (presumably set liturgical early Christian prayers like some of the ones Paul incorporates in his letters). Interesting!
We know the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:9–13), and we know the Great Commission (Matt... Read More
The Bible tells a beautiful, compelling story from creation and the fall to redemption and new creation. But as beautiful and compelling Scripture’s story is, a story doesn’t save you – Christ’s death on the cross does. The gospel is a message grounded in history. It’s not just a fable or a fantasy. It’s historically and factually true.
Having studied the four-part story of the Bible; we therefore now move on to the gospel, the primary resource for our mission. What’s our message?
Understanding our message is vitally important as we embark on mission with God. In order to bear... Read More
The biblical story reaches all the way from creation to new creation. In between, the fall corresponds to redemption in Christ. The Bible does not reveal a large amount of information about heaven and the new creation, but we do find a scintillating vision of the new heaven and the new earth in the final two chapters of Revelation. In what follows, we will seek to answer three questions: (1) How should we think of the new heavens and the new earth? (2) What will precede the establishment of the new heavens and the new earth? (3) What does the new creation mean with regard to our mission?
How... Read More
Daniel Strange, in his monograph The Possibility of Salvation Among the Unevangelised, defines the “unevangelized” as “any person in history who has lived and died without hearing and understanding the Gospel of Jesus Christ from a human messenger.” As Strange notes, this would seem to include at least four groups of people: (1) children who died in infancy and those mentally unable to respond to the gospel; (2) those who lived prior to the time of Christ and thus before the formulation known as “the gospel”; (3) those who have been presented with a... Read More
There are few tasks more urgent than for the church to reflect on the nature of its mission and to formulate a clear understanding of its task in the world today. As Paul wrote, “There I do not run like someone running aimlessly. I do not fight like a boxer beating the air” (1 Cor 9:26). I developed the following 12 theses as a humble contribution to the ongoing conversation on this topic.
THE TWELVE THESES
(1) The church’s mission-in both belief and practice-should be grounded in the biblical theology of mission. This requires sustained reflection on the biblical teaching... Read More