Perhaps the single most helpful idea in our transition from inherited church to a network of missional communities…
Learn more about this important subject.
Missional people are obsessed with Jesus and missional communities are formed around the presence, life and mission of Jesus.
- Discovering Jesus in the gospels
- Spending time with the risen Jesus
- Finding Jesus at work in your real life
II. Disturbing Questions
A. Our journey into missional-incarnational praxis was driven by a number of disturbing questions.
1. We realised early on that the practices of inherited church generally don’t make much impact on people’s lives – either inside or outside.
2. Missional praxis is about making disciples who actually follow Jesus.
B. Questions for the road
1. What’s the good news?
2. How did Jesus do mission?
3. How did Jesus make disciples?
4. How does all this inform our practice of making disciples?
C. In Groups
Discuss the first two questions. What’s the good news? How did Jesus do mission?
III. Missional Praxis Jesus-style
These questions focus around the life and mission of Jesus. This is where our attention should be focussed if we are following Jesus into his mission.
A. What is the good news?
1. Come to Jesus, have your sins forgiven. Go to heaven when you die.
- Standard evangelical gospel summary.
- Dealing with personal sin.
- No answer to the question, ‘What should I do while I wait to die and go to heaven?’
2. The gospel writers agree that the central message of Jesus was the Kingdom of God.
- The Synoptic gospel writers describe the gospel in terms of the Kingdom (Mt 4.23; 9.35; Mk 1.14-15; Lk 10.9).
- The message of Jesus was (Luke 10.9) ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’.
- Gordon Fee declares “If you miss the Kingdom of God, you’ve missed Jesus altogether!”
3. The Meaning of Kingdom
- When English speakers hear the word ‘kingdom’, they generally think of a place or realm, ruled over by a King.
- This is not what the Greek term means. “The primary meaning of both the Hebrew word malkuth in the Old Testament and of the Greek word basileia in the New Testament is the rank, authority and sovereignty exercised by a king … First of all, a kingdom is the authority to rule, the sovereignty exercised by the king.”
- The Kingdom of God is God’s generous rule.
- The Kingdom of God comes when God’s generous rule breaks through powerfully into a given situation.
4. Put simply, the good news is that the long anticipated kingdom has arrived in the ministry of Jesus and now everyone has access to the benefits of God’s generous rule through simple confidence in Jesus. However, it’s a bit more complicated than this.
5. Jesus began his ministry in a context of Kingdom fervour.
- God’s people lived under Roman occupation. They felt that in a real sense, they were still in exile – God’s promises have not come true.
- Into this setting, John the Baptist arrives saying, Repent for the kingdom of God is near … A greater one, the Spirit-baptizer, is in our midst (Mt 3.11-12).
The Two-Age View of History
This evil age Age to Come
Ruled by Satan Ruled by God
the day of the Lord
social exclusion messianic feast
satanic oppression deliverance
death eternal life
No Spirit__________________________________ Spirit on everyone
6. Although the various Jewish sects differed on the details, there was wide expectation that a promised deliverer (messiah) would come to Jerusalem to set up God’s Kingdom and rule from David’s throne.
7. With the disappointments and setbacks following the return from exile, many of the prophetic hopes were pushed forward into a new age, which the prophets call the Age to Come in which God would reverse Israel’s fortunes and fulfil his promises.
8. Jewish people generally held this two-age view of history. The present age is evil because it is ruled by Satan. Even Jesus recognised Satan as the god of this age. The present age is clearly evil, marked by sin, sickness, satanic oppression and death. A continuing sense of exile was reinforced by the absence of the prophetic spirit.
9. Jesus arrives on the scene saying, ‘The time is fulfilled. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news’ (Mark 1.14-15).
- God’s generous rule has broken into this present evil age in the person and ministry of Jesus, the King.
- Now, everyone can have access the God’s generous rule simply by putting their confidence in Jesus.
B. How did Jesus do mission?
1. The mission of Jesus has two parts to it:
A Message – Jesus announces that God’s kingdom has come near.
A Ministry – He carries out actions that point to the nearness of the kingdom. These are the signs of the kingdom.
2. The signs of the Kingdom are actions that point to the imminence or arrival of the kingdom of God:
- Announcing good news to the poor;
- Healing the sick and driving out demons;
- Eating and drinking with sinners (a taste of the messianic feast);
- Gathering a display community to live under God’s generous rule and continue mission of Jesus.
3. We can see this pattern in each of the synoptic gospels:
Mark 1.14-20 Jesus calls men to follow him;
1.21-27 He drives out an evil spirit in the synagogue;
1.28-31 He heals Peter’s mother-in-law;
1.32-34 He heals all the sick and demonised in Capernaum;
1.39 He travels through Galilee preaching … and driving out demons.
Twofold ministry: proclamation – the Age to Come is near
demonstration – this is what it looks like
4. Jesus understood his ministry as a powerful confrontation between the in-breaking Kingdom of God and the rule of Satan.
- He is destroying the devil’s work (1 John 3.8).
- He is binding the strongman and plundering his house (Mt 12.28).
Destroying the Devil’s Work___________________________
Demons driven out
Outcasts welcomed to the ‘messianic banquet’
(eating with sinners and tax collectors)
Death defeated by resurrection
5. It is Jesus’ actions as well as his words that demonstrate the presence of God’s rule. He answers John the Baptizer’s querie (Are you the one, or did I get it wrong?) in terms of Isaiah 35 and 61: ‘Tell him what you see: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up. The poor hear good news’ (Matthew 11.4.6).
6. So, what’s the good news? It is that, in some sense, the kingdom rule of God has come near in Jesus and the benefits of God’s generous rule are now available (in part, at least) to those who follow him.
C. How did Jesus make disciples?
1. Jesus called men and women to follow him while he did his mission, Come follow me I will make you fishers of men’ (Mark 1.14-17).
2. Jesus showed his disciples both parts of his mission:
- proclamation – the good news of the kingdom
- demonstration – healing the sick and driving out demons
3. He gathered a team (Mark 3.14-15) calling them to follow him:
- so that they might be with him…
- and he might send them out to preach… – a message
- and have authority to cast out evil spirits. – a ministry
4. Jesus trained them to do his mission using a ‘Show and Tell’ method.
I do, you watch (Mark 1-5; Luke 4-8; Matt 4,8-9)
I do, you help (John 4.2)
You do, I watch
You do, with someone else learning (Acts of the Apostles)
5. He sent them out in pairs on a training run
a. The Twelve (Matthew 10, Mark 6.7-13; Luke 9.1-6)
i. Authorised to do his mission (Mt 10.1-2)
He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.
ii. Restricted scope – the lost sheep of Israel in the villages of Galilee.
iii. Doing the mission of Jesus involves:
Proclamation – the message of God’s generous rule.
Demonstration – the ministry that displays God’s generous rule.
As you go, say, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received. Freely give. (Matthew 10.7-8)
iv. Result? They went through the villages, preaching the good news and healing everywhere (Lk 9.6).
b. Jesus’ Mission Methodology: The Seventy-Two (Luke 10.1-12)
i. Sent … two by two (v.1)
ii. Plentiful harvest, not enough workers (v.2) therefore, ‘Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest’.
Where do the labourers come from? …out of the harvest!
iii. Find the person of peace … stay with them, eating and drinking what they provide (vv.6-7).
iv. Eat whatever is put before you – don’t use religious barriers to separate yourself from the people you are engaging with.
v. Heal the sick in [the town] and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’.
6. We’ve seen that the Mission of Jesus involves two things – proclaiming the presence of God’s generous rule and demonstrating the generous rule by forgiving sin, healing the sick and driving out demons.