The Church as the Means and Goal of Missions

This is the ninth post with my sermon notes from the Cross Conference (CrossCon) that was held from December 27-30, 2013, in Louisville, KY. To see my other sermon notes from CrossCon, click here

Speaker: D.A. Carson                                     Key text: 1 John 4:7-16

What does sin do?

  • Defies God- this is what makes sin so heinous; it challenges God’s sovereignty
  • Utterly corrupts individuals- every dimension of our human existence has been twisted by sin
  • Corrodes all social relationships- we have to cover up, point fingers, and lie. Do we pursue things with equal passion for others or only for ourself?
  • Issues in death- sin leads to both physical and eternal death

What does the gospel do? 

  • Reconciles men and women to God
  • Utterly transforms believers- everyone who is converted is the subject of a very miracle of God
  • Establishes a new basis for relationships- to love there has to be an “other” (this is what makes the doctrine of the Trinity so important). The church is the community of the blood-bought.
  • Kills death in all of its dimensions

The gospel overturns everything that sin does. All of these elements hang together, are related to each other, and occur simultaneously.

Seeking the glory of God must not be set over and against the establishment of the church. It is the very means by which God’s glory is accomplished. Paul not only evangelized; he established churches. The gospel is preached to both insiders (believers) and outsiders (the lost). It fuels discipleship and evangelism simultaneously. Missions is the completion of God’s love for the church (the goal of missions) and revelation of His glory to the nations (the means of missions).

7 Steps to Accomplishing the Means and Goal of Missions

  1. Begins with a call to love one another
  2. Flows from regeneration
  3. Displayed in God as the ultimate paradigm of love
  4. Shown in the sending of Jesus
  5. Continued by God taking the initiative in salvation
  6. Leads to atonement through propitiation
  7. Returns to an exhortation to love one another

The transformed church of the living God is the goal of Christian mission. To think in individual terms is a small vision. God’s love is displayed when we love one another. This is the church as the means of missions. This love isn’t merely kindness or goodness, but proclaiming gospel truth. It testifies to the work of the cross. God stands over against us in wrath because of His justice and holiness in light of our sin; He stands over us in love because He is that kind of God. God has ordained to promoted His glory by redeeming a damned world to Himself.

No one has ever seen God, but when we love one another, we are displaying Him. The very love of God is fleshed out in our local churches. The church is the only organization destined to go into eternity.

Real Christianity wins on the truth test (makes the right confessions and understands who Jesus is), the obedience test (bows to the Jesus as Lord), and the love test (Christians love one another and their neighbors). 

-Lawson
Learn It. Love It. Live It.

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About Lawson Hembree
Lawson is an entrepreneur, ministry leader, and outdoors enthusiast who also enjoys blogging about business, ideas, and theology. Want to continue the discussion or write a guest post? Let's Connect!

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