The Mission of Christ’s Disciples


“So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21).

The “sent” language which is used regarding Christ’s coming speaks of His commission by the Father. Christ came into this world on a mission to do His Father’s will and the work that He was sent to do (John 4:34). He was completely faithful to that task and we enjoy redemption because of it. The path that He would follow would move from cradle to cross before the crown.

The text quoted above establishes our mission as Christ’s servants in parallel to His mission for the Father. Sadly, many have misconstrued the point of this text (and its parallel in John 17:18) by shifting the focus away from commission to methodology. Basically, they re-write the text to say something like this, “In the way that I came into the world, so you go into the world.” The text, though, isn’t talking about how the Son of God came into the world (incarnation), but why He came into the world—the Father sent Him. So, the point for His disciples isn’t how they go into the world, but why they must go into the world—He has sent us.

The misinterpretation of this text is being used to change the shape of modern missions away from the proclamation of the gospel. Being “on mission for Christ” now includes things like “creation care” (aka environmental work), supply mosquito nets for those fighting malaria, opposing social and political ills, and just about anything that (in the words of one writer) brings “pieces of heaven to places of hell on earth.” In many places and many ways, the mission of the church is being redefined away from its biblical moorings. (You can find a more detailed study of this issue here.)

Christ commissioned His church to make disciples through the proclamation of His good news to the ends of the earth in the power of the Spirit. The Great Commission is the responsibility of every believer because it was a task given to the church. The Father sent the Son and the Son sent His disciples.

On January 3-5, 2012, our congregation will be hosting the SGI National Conference. The reason we started this ministry and this conference over a decade ago is our commitment to this simple truth—every believer has a Great Commission responsibility. Together, the assembly of God’s people is under divine obligation to fulfill the mission that Jesus has given us. Some of us are sent out by the congregation to take the good news to new people and places for the sake of His name. The rest of us are to spread the word of His grace in the region surrounding our assembly while praying for and supporting those who have gone out to other places on Christ’s behalf.

If you are a young adult (in or recently out of college), please consider coming to the conference in two weeks. It will refresh your soul and ignite your zeal for Christ and our mission to proclaim His name to the nations. If you can’t make it (or don’t fit the target audience), please pray for God to be glorified by working powerfully among His people.

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