“The Church exists by mission as fire exists by burning.” – Emil Brunner
Every verse in the New Testament is in the context of mission. The proclamation of the Gospel is the purpose of the Church. From time to time, I talk to pastors and church leaders, especially those in the camp of reformed theology, that say to me things like, “We are a church that is all about discipleship,” or, “We are just a church that is trying to go deep.” What I have found over the years is that, much of the time, this is an excuse for them not doing any type of evangelism. Also, I have found that it is misleading. I would contend that you are not as deep of a church or a church which excels at discipleship unless people are getting saved and baptized as a church. People geek out on a 72 week series on Ephesians 1:3-14, while there are 17 people in the church who are all from other churches frustrated and discontent. I don’t understand how you can teach the New Testament with such passion and go so deep and not come to the conclusion that you’re supposed to reach lost people.
Think about this: Every verse in the New Testament is in the context of the Gospel Mission. The gospels themselves present the mission of God in Christ as Jesus accomplishes his part of the mission. The Gospel of Matthew presents him as the King of the Mission. The Gospel of Mark presents him as the Servant on Mission. The Gospel of Luke presents him as the Perfect Man on Mission. The Gospel of John presents him as God on mission. At the end of the Gospel of John; Jesus says “as the father has sent me [on mission], so I send you [on mission].” (John 20:21) And of course there are the Great Commission passages in Matthew 28 and Luke 24. These Great Commission passages are the catapults for the rest of the New Testament, which is a handbook for mission. Think about it; the book of Acts – The mission begins and spreads. It would be hard to read the book of Acts or teach the book of Acts without being overwhelmed by the evangelistic emphasis. The book of Romans is the message of the mission. 1st & 2nd Corinthians deal with conflict and church discipline on mission. The book of Galatians defends the gospel mission from religion. The Book of Ephesians is the church on mission. The Pastoral Epistles describes the leaders of the mission. And the book of Revelation describes to us the completion and goal of the mission. If Jesus sent his people into the world to be disciples who make disciples by baptizing (leading them the Christ), teaching (teaching them about Christ), and then sending them to go teach others, and we then are not doing that… isn’t that disobedience? Is the church even a church, biblically speaking, if people are not meeting Jesus? Look at 2 Corinthians 5:20, this text tells us that we are ambassadors for Christ, that God is using us to make an appeal…. My contention is that the church is not the church unless it’s on Christ’s evangelistic mission.
Jesus told his disciples “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”(Mark 1:17) If you make disciples, that don’t do the same thing as Jesus’ disciples – you’re not making disciples at all. Jesus also said: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
–original text found on Harvey Turner’s blog (http://ow.ly/6fyjJ).