The Mission

The church’s mission between now and the return of Jesus is to announce the Good News of his Kingdom to all nations – Matthew 24:14.

World in Hand - Photo by Jake Weirick on Unsplash
Jesus tasked his disciples with announcing his gospel to all nations, the message he summarized as the “
good news of the Kingdom of God.” In Christ, God’s rule is being established on the earth but in unexpected and paradoxical ways. By the day of his return, Jesus will establish his sovereignty over the nations and subdue all His “enemies.” - [Photo by Jake Weirick on Unsplash].

All men are invited to accept his offer of life while the opportunity remains. The day is approaching when it will be too late to respond to the gospel, and at that time, all who refuse his offer will find their names are not “written in the book of the life.”

But embracing his message requires a complete reorientation of life. The level of commitment required to become his disciple is total. In this life, nothing is more important than responding to his call to believe the “good news,” take up the cross, and follow him WHEREVER HE LEADS.

HIS VICTORY


By his death and resurrection, Jesus defeated all the forces that were hostile to God, including Satan, death, the “powers and principalities,” and sin. His resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit signaled the commencement of the “last days” - the reign of the Son from the “right hand of God” - just as promised in the Hebrew Bible - (Psalm 2:2-8, 110:1).

His victory on Golgotha means the “ends of the ages have arrived.” Even now, the “forms of this age are in the process of passing away.” Sin and death may continue for a time, but the decisive victory has been won already.

Ever since his exaltation, Jesus has reigned on the messianic throne, and he is reclaiming the earth for His Father - (1 Corinthians 7:29-31, 2 Corinthians 5:16-18).

Satan’s defeat was secured on the Cross, and the Son of God has been putting down all “powers and principalities” that are opposed to his rule. He will continue to do so until all that remains is the unopposed rule of God throughout the earth, indeed, throughout the Cosmos - (1 Corinthians 15:20-28, Hebrews 1:5-14, Revelation 1:4-6).

PROCLAMATION


Consequently, the Church is tasked with proclaiming the “gospel of the Kingdom to all nations” UNTIL THE VERY FINAL MOMENT OF HIS RETURN IN GLORY. And since he now does reign, it is imperative for his followers to herald his victory throughout the earth:

  • Go and teach all nations…to observe all things whatever I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you even unto the end of the age.

Believers are his “witnesses,” his envoys commissioned to summon all men to enter his kingdom, and to preach “repentance and the remission of sins in his name among all nations.”

Just before he ascended, we read of Jesus commanding his disciples to tarry until “they receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon them.” Thereafter, they are to be his “witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth,” witnesses of his kingdom to all men and women from every nation - (Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 24:45-48, Acts 1:7-9, 3:19-21).

THE CONSUMMATION


That mission must continue until the “end,” to the very day and hour when he appears “on the clouds of heaven.” Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus order his disciples to engage in the social, economic, or political reformation of the existing world order.


Dusk - Photo by Jared Bell on Unsplash
[Dusk - Photo by Jared Bell on Unsplash]


Instead, they are tasked with preparing a people for everlasting life in the “age to come” - to call out a people separated for His name and service. Attempting to reform or rebuild any institution of this fallen age that even now is “passing away” is folly - wasted effort on the “meat that is perishing.”

None of this means the church must disengage from the world. Far from it! But Christ’s disciples are called to engage humanity by preaching his gospel and living cruciform lives.

Put another way, without his salvation and the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth, the world will remain forever in darkness and without hope. After all, God has chosen the “foolishness of preaching” the Cross to confound the so-called ‘wisdom’ of this age – (1 Corinthians 1:18-21).

The present world order and its institutions have been judged already. To spend resources and time attempting to reform things that, inevitably, will disappear is pointless.

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus predicts the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. In reaction, the disciples ask WHEN that tragic event will occur, and what will be the “SIGN” of the “coming of the Son of Man.”

To the first question, he replies - before the termination of the generation contemporary with him. To the second, he warns - No one EXCEPT GOD ALONE knows the hour, day, “season,” “seasons” or “times” of his return - (also, Mark 13:30-33, Acts 1:6-9).

The one factor that will determine “when” he appears “on the clouds of heaven” is the completion of the mission of the church - “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole habitable earth for a testimony for all nations, AND THEN SHALL THE END COME” - (Matthew 24:14, 24:36, Acts 1:6-8).

Thus, finishing this mission is THE “sign” of the “end,” for the end of this age cannot come until that task is done. It is not optional but pivotal to the consummation of all things.

And the very fact that the “end” has not arrived is irrefutable evidence that the mission remains incomplete. He will not return until his message has been proclaimed to all the nations of the earth - “AS A TESTIMONY.” Therefore, all who wait anxiously for his “arrival” must, above all else, PREACH THE GOSPEL!



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