September 13, 2015 | Text: Luke 19:1-10
Missions, whether a short term trip or a career on the mission field, is all about taking the Gospel message to people that need to hear it. As with pretty much everything having to do with the Christian walk, Jesus gave us an example to follow. It may sound a little corny, but bear with me here: Jesus made the first mission trip.
Jesus was in heaven with God the Father. In Genesis 1, God said “Let us make man in our own image.” The Father, Son and Holy Spirit exist as the godhead in three persons from everlasting to everlasting. Jesus is not a created being like men or angels. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus reiterates that the message he preaches was not his own but every word the Father gave him to say. No one has seen God (John 1:18) but the only begotten Son has made him known. The will of God was done perfectly in heaven, as referenced in the Lord’s prayer. God sat on his throne and was worshiped continuously (Isaiah 6, Revelation 19).
Mankind was affected first by sin then by the curse. Adam and Eve were made in the likeness and image of God and live together peacefully in the garden paradise which was Eden. They had fellowship with God daily and everything was literally right with the world. Sin made them ashamed (Genesis 3) and changed their relationship with God. The curse changed their relationship with each other and even affected the animal kingdom and the earth itself. What had been Adam’s vocation, gardening and farming, became work for the first time. Eve would bear children in sorrow and they would eventually grow old and die. God’s judgement at the time of the Great Flood had a further environmental impact and the world we live in today is very different from the one God looked at on the day of creation and saw that it was good. The Law given to Moses and the Children of Israel had a limited effect of restraining evil and the sacrificial system of offering the blood of rams and turtle doves was insufficient. Man’s natural state is enmity with God. His thoughts are set continually on evil and his heart devises new ways of doing evil.
Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped (Philippians 2) and took the form of a servant, obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. He left his throne on high and entered the fray of this present wilderness. The creator condescended to the level of his fallen creation in order to bring us back into right relationship. He spent a lifetime on a very foreign mission field, putting himself in harm’s way and eventually giving his life as a ransom for many. We may see firefighters go into burning buildings to bring people out, or perhaps police officers or soldiers brave enemy fire. They risk all for their fellow man. Jesus came from heaven into the world that hated God, did not acknowledge his Laws and sometimes doubted his existence. He came to the very people that had killed the prophets. “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7-8
Jesus taught his followers how to keep the Law but also do even greater; to love one another. He taught his followers how to pray but we also see him lead be example, reading the Word and spending time in prayer daily. His whole life was a mission trip. When we could not go to God, Jesus came to us. He came to his own and his own received him not (John 1:11). But verse 12 says “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” And his final words to his followers were to go to all nations and make disciples. Preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). Jesus was literally a man on a mission and his people are to be on mission. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost and we must have no lesser ambition. Grow a successful business, buy a house and a car, leave something behind for your children, that’s the American dream. Many of us here have done or are doing those things, and if we use what we have been blessed with to honor God there is nothing wrong with that. But the fields are white unto harvest, and the laborers are few.
Our call this month (Missions Georgia, all September long) is to study together, pray together, and give together. Missions does indeed begin at home but the end goal is the whole earth.
Peace and God bless!