When Jesus told the Pharisee – “You’re close to the kingdom”, it leaves us wondering – are we ourselves “in” or “out” of His Kingdom? How can we know? This is part of our Crisis in the American Church. We have lost track of the Message and Missionof Jesus Christ the Lord and replaced it with our own messages. So where should we be headed? Here is the path based on Jesus’ own Message and Mission.
To be “In” Christ’s Kingdom, we must know what He came to teach and do:
Jesus’ Message was that He came…
1. To forgive our sins and reconcile us to God
2. To destroy the power of Satan and deliver people from bondage
3. To change hearts of stone to hearts of flesh
4. To demonstrate God’s own compassion, mercy, and justice
5. To invite and summon people to become the new people of God who will populate the New Heavens and the New Earth.
Jesus’ Mission – He came…
1. To be the sacrifice which atones for the sins of the world and rescue a people for God
2. To personally fight the deciding battle with Satan and triumph over the grave
3. To be authenticated as the Son of God through His Resurrection
4. To undo the principalities and powers through His Ascension
5. To establish the Church as the new people of God on Pentecost
Jesus’ Saving Acts which fulfilled His mission
1. The Cross
2. The Grave
3. The Resurrection
4. The Ascension
5. The Day of Pentecost
Our Calling in Light of Jesus’ Saving Acts –
1. Evangelism – Declaring Christ the Savior
2. Ministry – Helping Set People Free From Bondage Through Service
3. Spiritual Formation – Helping People Become Authentic Disciples
4. Love – Breaking the Powers of Hate and Selfishness
5. True Community – Living out the reality that we are the New Community Christ came to create
Bottom Line: is our gratitude at being Justified by Grace through Faith working through a true love (Gal 5:6) that causes us to fulfill Christ’s Mission for the church…. Our “Message” must be consistent with our actual “Mission”.
Note: the quote “turning death backwards” refers to C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. This quote and the outline summarizing Jesus’ Mission is adapted from Olson’s The American Church In Crisis.
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