Worth Reading–October 20, 2011

by Steve

Here is something very interesting from Harvey Turner. I found it over at The Resurgence. Definitely worth thinking about.

The Church Exists by Mission
by Harvey Turner

“The Church exists by mission as a fire exists by burning.” – Emil Brunner

From time to time, I talk to pastors and church leaders, especially those in the camp of reformed theology, that say things like, “We’re a church that’s all about discipleship,” or “We’re just a church that’s 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. I have also found it misleading. I would contend you are not deep as a church or good at discipleship as a church, unless people are getting saved and baptized as a church.

Is the church even a church, biblically speaking, if people are not meeting Jesus?

You can geek out on a 72 week series on Ephesians 1:3-14, but how do you teach the New Testament with such passion and go deep without coming to the conclusion you’re supposed to reach lost people. Jesus 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).

The New Testament on Mission
Think about every verse in the New Testament in the context of gospel-centered mission. The gospels, themselves, present the mission of God as Jesus accomplishes his part of the mission:

Matthew presents him as the King on mission
Mark presents him as the Servant on mission
Luke presents him as the Perfect Man on mission
John presents him as God on mission

Be On Mission Like Jesus
At the end of the Gospel of John; Jesus said, “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 which are the catapults for the rest of the New Testament—a handbook for mission.

It would be difficult to read or teach the book of Acts without being overwhelmed by the evangelistic emphasis
The book of Romans is the message of the mission
1st and 2nd Corinthians deal with conflict and church discipline on mission
The book of Galatians defends the gospel mission from religion
The book of Ephesians emphasizes 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, teaching, and then sending them to go teach others, and we are not doing that, isn’t that disobedience? Is the church even a church, biblically speaking, if people are not meeting Jesus? My contention is the church is not the church unless it’s on Christ’s evangelistic mission.