Part 3 of The Kind Of Church That God Wants
In Part 1 we looked at the early church in Acts and discovered the first key to being the kind of church that God wants. Total and absolute devotion to Jesus is the 1st key. No matter the cost.
In Part 2 we saw the results of a church that is completely devoted to Jesus, no matter the cost. Even if it cost them their lives. And we discovered the 2nd key to being the kind of church that God wants.
Now we will look further into the 2nd key – being on mission with God. If being on mission with God is an important key to being the kind of church that God wants, then we need to understand what God’s mission is.
What Is God’s Mission For His Church ?
Question: What is God’s mission ? There are 2 Parts to God’s Mission. We need to look into God’s Word the Bible to find out what God’s mission is. God clearly reveals in His Word what His mission and passion is. And that He wants His followers and the church to obey and faithfully participate in His mission.
1 Timothy 2:4 – God wants (desires) all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Missions is not about a mission trip, or a special missions or outreach event the church has a few times a year. Or a special ministry for a small group of people with a special gift.
Missions is all about God’s heart. And all about God’s desire and passion for all to be saved. For all people to have a restored relationship with Him and eternal life with Him in heaven.
God has such a strong desire and passion for all to be saved, that He sent His only Son Jesus. He sent Jesus to suffer and die on a cross. All to make it possible for us to be saved and have a restored relationship with God. His love and desire and passion for this is very strong.
The First Part of God’s Mission
When Jesus was here on earth he stated the first part of God’s mission very clearly.
Luke 19:10 – “I came to seek and save the lost”.
We know that Jesus came to save lost people by dying on the cross. Why did Jesus say “seek and save the lost” ? Jesus said he came to seek the lost because He knows people’s hearts and He knows lost people very well.
He knows that most lost people will not step foot into a church. So because He loves them so much Jesus went out to where they were, to share the Good News of salvation with them. His attitude was that He loved them so much, that if they were not going to come to Him then He was going to go out to them. And He would try His very best to help them to have a restored relationship with God.
We need to follow Jesus’ example. We need to love all people like Jesus does. And we need go out to them and try to help them to be forgiven for their sins and have a restored relationship with God. No matter what It costs. It could cost you your dreams. It could cost you your career. Or it could cost you a lot emotionally or financially.
Who Would Fulfill God’s Mission After Jesus Returned to Heaven ?
Jesus knew that He was going to die on the cross and then rise back up to heaven. Who was going to continue to go and do God’s mission ? God had a plan.
Matthew 4:19 – Jesus said “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”.
Literally Jesus was talking to His disciples or His followers in this verse. These were the people who would become the apostles later on. They would be the leaders and pastors of the new church in the book of Acts.
In most churches today, if anyone at all is doing God’s mission of seeking and saving the lost, it is usually only a very small group of people. Maybe the pastor(s) and the leaders and a few others. These are supposedly the ones who are gifted to do this.
Is this the way God wants it, only a few people in the church participating with Him in His mission ?
God Provides The Power & Ability to Do His Kingdom Mission
Before we look at that It is important to note that Jesus said “I will make you fishers of men”. He doesn’t say “go out and do your best at being fishers of men.”
Jesus is saying that IF we obey Him and do our part, then He will do His part and empower us. If we go out and seek and save the lost, and share the Gospel with them, then HE will empower us to do the mission work. By the Holy Spirit. And then Jesus will take care of the results too and produce the eternal fruit and success.
Jesus says this in a different way in Acts 1:8 – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. These are His last words to His followers before rising up to heaven. So they are very important words.
Is God’s Mission Only for Pastors & Missionaries ?
In Matthew 4:19 when Jesus says “Follow me and I will make you “fishers of men.” Is Jesus talking only to pastors, full time missionaries, and church leaders ? Or is He talking to all of His followers in the church ? Pastors and leaders, or every person in the church ? We need to look into God’s Word to find the answer.
Acts 8:1,4 – On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria… verse 4 – “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”
The apostles (pastors & leaders of the church) all stayed in Jerusalem. The rest of the church, the regular people of the church, were scattered to other places. Acts 8:4 tells us that all of the people who were scattered preached the Word (the Gospel) wherever they went. Not just the pastor. All of the regular people of the church preached the Gospel.
ALL of the people in the early church understood that Jesus was talking to everyone in the church when He said “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” And they ALL obeyed Him and did it. Even though there was a lot of persecution at that time. And they could even die for obeying Jesus. That is total devotion and commitment to Jesus. Actually all of the apostles except John did die because they followed and obeyed Jesus. And others like Stephen and Paul died also.
What God Can Do Through Humble & Devoted People
Here is the result of such total devotion & commitment to Jesus. And obedience to His command in Matthew 4:19.
Acts 11:19-21 – “Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the LORD Jesus. 21 The LORD’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the LORD.”
God’s Presence, God’s Power, God’s Resources…
The Lord’s hand in Acts 11:21 represents His presence, His glory, His resources, and His power. God was doing the mission work through the regular people of the church. And it was God who was producing many salvations and eternal spiritual fruit.
Everyone in the church did their part. And God was able to bless and empower them. And then God produced the results and the eternal spiritual fruit.
They all saw God do great things because of their obedience and devotion to Jesus. And they were all in awe of God and the great things He did. That is the way it should be, and could be today.
The 1st Part of God’s Mission is for all of us to be “fishers of men”. To actively in our daily lives go and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And share with as many people as we can. Because God wants all people to be saved.
There is a 2nd Part of God’s Mission
Matthew 28:18-20 is the Great Commission. “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Once we reach people for Jesus with the Gospel and they are saved, they are new believers. They are babies in the faith and God wants all of us to help them to grow spiritually.
God Wants Disciples Not Just Converts
God does not just want converts. He wants faithful and fruitful and Spirit-filled disciples (followers).
All of us in the church are to participate in this part of God’s mission also. To make disciples.
We are all to invest our time, efforts, and resources to fulfill this part of the mission. Invest into the lives of other believers, especially new believers, to help them to grow spiritually. And to help them to grow closer to Jesus and be more like Him.
This is not just the job of the pastor(s) or Sunday School teachers. Or small group leaders. It is the job of all of us in the church. We can all invest our time to help others to grow spiritually. And to love them, and encourage them, and to help them learn to read the Bible. And help them to learn to pray and hear God’s voice.
When we are faithful and do our part, then God will do His part. And He will produce fruit. The eternal fruit of salvations and spiritual growth. Then we will be the kind of church that God wants. A Spirit-filled, powerful, victorious, and fruitful Christian and church. And the world around us will be greatly impacted.
Pursuing Intimacy With God is committed to helping you with the most important thing in your life… your intimacy with God , your fellowship with Him, and your partnership with God in His Kingdom work & mission.
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