1 John 4
“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.” (1 John 4:16-17)
Here is the model for missions and the motive for missions. But surely it is at least a model in the motivation, “as the Father who loved the world sent me. In turn, now I’m sending you.” You say, how do you get off to that? Well, we find John’s commentary on it in his own words. In 1 John 4, ”No one has seen God at anytime. If we love one another, God abides in us, and his love has been perfected in us.” We are coming to the love theme, aren’t we? “By this we know that we abide in him and he and us, because he has given us of his Spirit. and we have seen and testified that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.” Oh, there you have it.
Have you ever paused to think of the astonishing meaning of this, “as he is, so are we in this world”? What does that remind you of? “As the Father sent me, so send I you.” There: “as he is, so are we in this world” – the model for our mission.
Then in Matthew 28, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and in Earth. Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I’ve commanded you. And lo, I’m with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Here we find the method, he says. Go – He doesn’t say sit. Doesn’t say stay, he says go. Go where? To all nations, disciple all the nations. Then you baptize them. It’s got to be a solid public demonstration commitment. That’s the method: to go to disciple the nations, baptizing them. And then? Training them to observe all things.
And he says in Acts 1:8; “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Why, here he tells you the power, the energy, it’s the Holy Spirit. He tells us the task you’re to be a witness. You know what a witness is. A witness is somebody has firsthand experience and is willing to talk about it. If your experience isn’t firsthand, don’t talk. Every child of God called to be a witness, a faithful, not every child of God is able to be an evangelist, but everyone called to be a witness. And the scope is where you are and next door and right on out to the ends of the earth. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Not once, my friend. Not twice, but four or five times he says this. He spoke of many things during that six weeks with the disciples, but he returned again and again, to only two themes. One was “I’m alive, I’m alive.” It’s the resurrection. And the other was go, “Go. Go.” That’s what he’s about.
What are you about? That’s God’s big story. Are you intentional about participating to the maximum in the big story? Do you understand the big story? What God is about in the world is that everything he put in you, everything he has given you, everything he would give you, is to count to the max for what he’s doing in this world. It might be you are going be missionary. Is that the burning desire? And once that is straightened out, then the question of how you fit into the story.
We are in this world as he is. To love as he loved He’ s given his marching orders. We’d better be intentional about it., none of us can single handedly change the world. We can’t bring the big story to the last chapter, but we can make a difference. Every one of us. And what is the big story? Well, every tribe, every person, he says. God loves the world. If your life story does not track with his life story, what’s your excuse? He’s given the orders, so the only question is will you obey? Or will your life story be sort of a beautiful footnote to the big story? If it’s God’s assignment for your part, it’s more than legitimate. It’s significant. You can make a difference. Whatever your role, your responsibility is to see that advances God’s big story.
But the scary thing about the unfinished story is this, at least a billion immortal souls live out of reach of present gospel witness. They live in language groups or cultures, isolated from the storytellers. So if someone doesn’t go from the inside of the church to those places – call those folks missionaries, they have no way of hearing the story at all. Why not aspire to that role? But in whatever role God puts you. Make very sure that God’s story is central.