WHAT IS A
MISSION? WHEN IS IT GOD'S? WHAT IS OUR MISSION
Carlos Padilla, August 2013
Our mission in life is one of the most important subjects we must deal with. To know what
is a mission, when is
God's, and what is ours, it also is. There are two kinds of mission in our life:
the one regarding our life as a son of man, and the one referring
to us as sons of God. The first includes personality, family, culture,
tradition, education, relationships with others, profession, intellect, etc.
The second includes the soul and the spirit; our relationship with God, our
salvation, eternal life, religion, spirituality, and once we know God, our
activity as evangelists, as good Samaritans and as members of the Church.
Many people identify the concept of "mission",
or "missionary" only with those
or people that help the poor in countries far away. However, when the mission is
Christian, Biblically talking, includes works done by people in our city,
around us, people and works close to us. But the most important to define the
Christian mission is the Gospel, for the glory of God. Salvation of the soul for
eternal life, and help, here on earth must never separate.
It would be important to admit –and to make
many people understand– for many Christians around the world, that their work
done in the name of God is a mission of God, it is Biblical, and therefore they
must be considered missionaries, and must consider themselves as missionaries.
In fact, every Christian is a missionary of God, an Evangelist and a
Priest, (1Peter 2:9-10).
WHAT IS A MISSION?
A mission (from Latin missio "to send")
is a call from a superior authority, a command that is received under authority
to make a work happen, not a project of one's own from our own mind. What makes
a particular work, or a Christian ministry a mission, in the Christian world,
is the call of the Holy Spirit in each of us. The Holy Spirit is the superior
authority who calls us and places us under His power. But there is more. The
mission we receive is our rudder,
the north, the power that drives us in life, the one that makes our heart beat
with passion of God. Each Christian receives one or various gifts from the
Spirit that he can check out in the Bible if they are from God. That call is
irresistible, as its God's. The question is, if due to a wrong mission philosophy
do we consider our call, our mission, as relevant for God and for the Church. The
man without a mission is lost, without direction, does not know what he lives for,
and feels unsuccessful and useless, does not live, just survives.
Jesus Christ, Yahshua or Yeshua, is, no
doubt the Person in history that has carried out the greatest mission of all:
Salvation for eternal life for those who believe in Him as the only begotten son
of God, as God himself, those who remain waiting for Him in His Kingdom.
After He gave His life on the Cross and raised in victory over the power of sin
and obtaining eternal life for us, He left a mission for us to be fulfilled,
which we know as The
Great Commission: Matthews 28:16-20.
Every Christian has, never the less, a call,
one or various gifts that the Holy Spirit has placed in his life to take the
specific mission forward, which is a part of the Great Commission, which covers
all times and all missions that it includes.
When a mission is God's?
A mission is God's when it glorifies God
in Biblical means. Biblical values for a philosophy of mission include the
recognition that the mission is God's, not ours, and therefore supernatural, for
God equips those He calls; we do not depend on ourselves. The Lord is always
with us until the end of the world.
The Bible teaches to consider the mission as
ecclesial. Therefore it must do and use all the missionary ministries together
through the Gospel, to establish churches worldwide and to make these grow. The
mission must show real fraternity, a unity between Christians, between churches,
between denominations, between ministry groups and extra ecclesial of the
missions. Also, the Bible shows the mission as personal; it is us individuals
that make churches and who give testimony with our lives, that must be part of
the mission. Both the Christian and the Church as a whole, and each church in
particular, must consider their lives as a living sacrifice and part of God's
Due to the fact that mission theology
emphasises the inspiration, authority and sufficiency of the Bible to every
brother or receiver of the Gospel, from any culture, it is an assurance for the congregation
to keep its validity clear. No other religious perspective can be accepted if it
distortions the Gospel –like theologies of books of cultures–
because the Bible is the only book that is the Word of God, prophetic and holy,
proven by the fulfilment of all the prophecies, something exclusive to the
Bible. God communicates with every culture through the Bible, therefore the need
to support those who translate it and take it to other cultures. This ministry
of translation is a mission of God, because it gives glory to God and calls man
to know God. Only this way we will have a mission philosophy based on the Bible.
God is who makes this possible through the
Trinity; this we must teach. He chooses and equips for it, to prove through the
Word, that Jesus is the only Lord and Saviour, before the options of those whom
we preach, from different cultures and religions who cannot provide a salvation
made through a saviour, who also is God the Creator, and the Son of God. Instead
they bring a message of: do this to achieve that, based in one's merits and
justices. Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Chinese, south Americans, Orthodox,
Celtics, etc., no matter what our origin is, we all bring religious grounding as
well as cultural and traditional, that we must leave and that is not God's, but
man's. The mission is then, transcultural as it goes from one culture to
another, and also it is multicultural, in such a way that we as missionaries
must penetrate every culture, from ours, understanding the idiosyncrasy of the
others, to present the Gospel in a adequate way to these cultures, without
modifying the content of the Gospel.
The Gospel in its theology of mission of God
challenges us in sacrifice to present it as the only Way to God and His Kingdom,
because Jesus Christ, Yahshua, the only one who gave His life for us and has raised
says: "...I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father
except through Me." (John 14:6). The true Christian is an instrument of God to
accomplish His mission, proclaim that Kingdom to all starting with his
neighbour and as far as each of us can reach. That mission is God's.
WHAT IS OUR MISSION?
We must know and have a
philosophy of mission to start, which is truly important because it determines the
personal and congregational focus of it. Each Christian depends on what he
includes and believes is his mission. But the question is if it is Biblical, if it
stands and includes the Biblical concepts as a mission base. It also must be
integrated in the contemporary reality, to allow to apply the Biblical value of
Jesus' teachings to the apostles, in our times.
On the other hand it must be considered a
mission of God, to be directed by the Holy Spirit. If that philosophy adapts
well to the cultural, local and circumstantial context, and the gifts of the
Holy Spirit are used well, it collaborates with missionary organizations and
other churches to achieve it, it will prevail in constant reform, adapting to
the changes of our culture and times, not changing the message of the Gospel.
Finally, the mission must be for the glory of God.
With these requisites the Christian has the
guarantees to know if that missionary flame that burns in his heart is of God.
First, because he has received it as part or his call when he received Jesus
Christ, Yahshua. Second, because its recurrent, he cannot live without
accomplishing it. Third, because he has checked that is Biblical. Fourth,
because after praying and fasting, placing the mission in God's hands, the calling
prevails, even if today the resources are not available to accomplish it;
equips those He calls. Fifth, because he has received sighs from God which
where asked in prayer. Sixth, because he has shared it with the brothers
of the church and has found the support to take it forward who have received it
as from God. And seventh, because the mission is for the glory of God.
know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who
are the called according to his purpose. 29For whom he did
foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his
Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30Moreover
whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom
he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also
glorified. 31What shall we then say to these things? If
God be for us, who can be against us? 32He that spared
not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also
freely give us all things? Romans 8:28.
the gifts and calling of God are without
repentance. Romans 11:29.
not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord,
nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel
according to the power of God; 9Who hath saved us, and called us
with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own
purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
10But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus
Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light
through the gospel: 11Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an
apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 2Timothy 1:8.
Once your mission is clear to you, you may
prepare yourself to accomplish it thought the
Jesus tells us who are to
be considered accomplishing the mission of the Church, in Matthew 25:31-46: "...Come,
ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the
foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungered, and ye gave me
meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in
prison, and ye came unto me..." If you help in your church; clean the floor; are
a technician; donate funds; give food to the poor; give shelter to the homeless;
clothes to the naked, or visit the sick; pray for the needed; are part of the
ministry of prisons; preach, or are a pastor, or wife of a pastor, or son or
daughter of a pastor, or sing in the choir, etc, etc, etc, and that is your
call, you are serving God and giving glory to God; that is your mission.
The two questions
remaining, and which answers provide us the vision of the coverage of the
missions, and clarify if our mission in particular is of God, are: Is any of
these missions only valid if its done 10.000kms away, or is it also if its done in our
city? and, is it only one, or all the missions part of the Great Commission? No
doubt, done where ever its done, it is a mission of God. However, for some of
these missions to take place, whether where we live, or on the other side of the
planet there must be collaboration between the churches and their ministries,
and send those who have been prepared and called to help set the churches and
establish them in each country, so that these may also fill their cities with the
Gospel of Jesus Christ, Yahshua, and help them become self sufficient. But the
second answer is that every mission includes all the ministries and gifts, which
are missions in particular, from which we all form part as the Body of Christ.
With this vision of, all the world Church, and a local action in mind and in the
heart, we will be able to give the glory to God in all that we do that has come
from Him. Therefore the missions of Matthew 25:31-46 are part of Matthew
28:16-20, The Great Commission.
The beautiful story of
Nehemiah and his collaboration with Ezra, the priest, in one of the Biblical
passages that will always guide us in a mission of God. He identified the
mission and took advantage of his position. As a charismatic leader motivated
the people to edify the wall, with defense strategy and work at the same time
those working in the wall had the tools in one hand and the sward in the other–
Nehemiah 4:17. He used every one's gifts in the mission
placing rulers. He took
foreigners and locals who where
faithful to the Lord. He kept a good communication with all in the project. He
wasn't exempt of opposition in his mission from locals and foreigners, enemies of
the Lord (that we will suffer too; and all of us that want to glorify God will
suffer) but the victory is of God for His glory. The target was the glory of
God, placing back the Priest and Levites in their functions, bringing the Law to
the people and dedicating the wall to God. You may read it in the books of the
Bible: Ezra and Nehemiah, around 450 B.C.
As Nehemiah and
Ezra the disciple of Jesus Christ, Yahshua, will always know what is his
mission, that it's God's, because the unction itself from the Holy Spirit confirms
him, teaches him constantly and reaffirms him in what he does. This is
possible in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ and through
the Holy Spirit, a deep, daily and permanent one in every moment. I think that
the Biblical Text in 1John 2:27 is so relevant that it has become a solid
of our faith of mission, and with it I conclude, God willing until the next
...But the anointing which ye
have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you:
but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no
lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. Amen.