It first begins by acknowledging that God has a mission and a purpose to be accomplished; and that this purpose does not begin today or yesterday but in eternity past. God has made his divine plans manifest through his written Word. It is vivid that his purpose/mission and desire is that ALL people come to know him. He desires all men to be saved. I see this purpose explicitly captured in two Bible passages.
The first passage, Jn 10:14-16 Jesus instructs- “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep knows me- just as the Father and I know the Father- and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” NIV
The second passage: 1 Tim 2:3-6 reads, “This is good, and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all” NASU
Quick things to note on the above passages: Jesus, the good shepherd, has knowledge of his sheep and the sheep know him. He’s laid down his life for the sheep (a fake shepherd would not attempt). He has other sheep that he still must also bring in (note that he also calls them his sheep for they will hear his voice). There is hope for they will listen. Jesus’ purpose is to have one flock and one shepherd. In 1 Tim 2:3-6, God desires that all men to be saved (but it does not mean all will be saved). This salvation is about the knowledge of the truth that comes from one God and one mediator-Christ Jesus.
I know God works through many ways, for his ways are higher than our thoughts. But one way that we all know is that God uses his people. The good shepherd uses His sheep to accomplish his mission. But since God knows that this purpose is greater and bigger than us, he has in a special way equipped you for the task. He has equipped you as an individual and collectively as a church for the mission. How has God equipped you to carry out his purpose?
God has given you (us):
- A message– We have been given a message, the word of truth, the gospel/ good news. It is a trustworthy message. It is a message that brings salvation to all men. The gospel is able to transform people into what God desires. It is a message that speaks freedom to the prisoners, healing to the sick, hope to the hopeless, comfort to the afflicted and peace a world without peace. It is a message that resonates to the core need of humanity: salvation. It is a message of faith, hope, and love.
Like the Amalekites (2 Kings 7:4) we would be guilt of the sin of silence if we hold back the good news to ourselves and let the world desperately perish. This message is about telling the world that we have one Mediator between God and man- Jesus Christ; and that only in Christ sins are forgiven. You have a divine message!
- An opportunity- We have numerous opportunities as individuals and as a church to make all know God/hear the voice of God. God presents us with opportunities to make exploits for him. Paul exhorted the saints at Ephesus to understand the will of the Lord (in this case, wanting all men to be saved) and make use of every opportunity because the times are evil-Eph 5:16. Opportunities are best seized. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work-Jn 9:4. God’s patience and tarrying in respect to parousia means an opportunity for sinners to repent. What opportunities has God presented to us to impact the community around us? What opportunities have we been blind to?
- A new identity in Christ- In order that God’s mission is accomplished God has given you a new identity when you were united with Christ. God’s unique mandate needs unique people. You union with Christ made you become- a child of God Jn 1:12, Christ’s friend (Jn 15:15), justified (Rom 5:1), free from condemnation (Rom 8:1), member of Christ’s body (1 Cor 12:27), saint (Eph 1:1), complete in Christ (Col 2:20), and a citizen of heaven (Phil 3:20). You now have a direct access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:18).
Then, does it mean that this new identity is devoid of weaknesses, failures, flaws, limitations and imperfections? Absolutely no. God has power to turn them for his magnification; for his power is at work in you and through you!
This new identity comes with the responsibility to make disciples of all nations- bringing into the sheepfold the “other sheep”. In your new identity you are called to be- salt and light of the earth (Matt 5:13,14), a witness of Christ (Acts 1:8), chosen to bear fruit (Jn 15:16), and an ambassador for Christ 2Cor 5:20.
- Spiritual gifts– God has prepared you for his work by giving you a spiritual gift(s). He distributes different gifts (expression of grace) to different believers just as he determines. The purpose of the gift is to edify/built up the body of Christ /making him known. It is not for your selfish gain but for the benefit of others.
Read Rom 12:6-8 and 1Cor 12 to see the variety of these gifts, and guess what, it is not even conclusive! In the mission of God there is enough space and work for everyone. Am told many Christians do not know their spiritual gifts- but what is the value or worth of an unopened gift?
Your spiritual gift has a special role in fulfilling God’s agenda!
- The Holy Spirit– What is the best gift you can give to someone important to you? (probably many answers here: flowers, objects, living-things, and whatever…) I have many times gone to gift shops to get some ideas but I sometimes still go ‘what other ideas do you have’.
The greatest gift God has given us is Himself. We have Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit; literally we have God. His presence is with us, always. To the Israelites in the desert, his greatest gift was not manna but his enduring presence. Because of this promise, the psalmist expressed courage and confidence, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me” Ps 23:4. Jesus promises his disciples (us included) to be with them till the end of age Matt 28:20.
The Spirit of God lives in us, and is with us always. In the work that God has called us to do, remember he is your partner, For we are God’s fellow workers 1 Cor 3:9. Holy Spirit empowers believes in witnessing, Acts 1:8.
- Community of believers- God has equipped us by giving us the church; the church in its ministries also equips believers for service. God knows that you can’t do it alone and you can’t live in isolation and so he has prepared you a community of people called out of the world. You need a community so that you can know him more and make him known.
There are many passages that exhort us to a life shared together in a community- love one another (Jn 13:34), be devoted to one another (Rom 12:10), live in harmony with one another (Rom 12:16), accept one another (Rom 15:7), greet one another, instruct one another, submit to one another, teach and admonish one another, encourage one another, do not slander one another, offer hospitality to one another, fellowship with one another and many more. The point is, the body of Christ, plays a key role to the life of a believer in the process of furthering God’s agenda.
Right from the beginning God’s mission has been to bring blessings to all humankind (can be traced through the covenants). And you are part of that divine plan. His mission and desire to reach all men, through his people, is not in futility for apostle John in his vision observed, “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands” Rev 7:9.