Jesus frees us to be a family of missionary servants.
Formed by the Gospel (Romans 8:1-6, Ephesians 2:4-9)
Deep in our gut we all understand that things are not the way that they should be. Everything in our life is affected by what the Bible calls sin, a state of brokeness. The Gospel (which means “good news” in Greek) says that God cares about our broken lives and our broken world, and through Jesus, he makes things right.
Jesus lived a life that was not broken by sin, and at the cross, he paid the cost for fixing our brokeness. When we embrace this good news, and rely on Jesus’s work (instead of our own) it frees us to interact with God and everything else in a new way.
Freed to be different (Ephesians 2:10, Col 3:1-14)
When we accept Jesus’s work we are given a totally new identity. This new identity frees us from judging ourselves, or others based on the things we have done (or not done) with our lives.
In this new Identity, we can learn to be different people than we once were, and we can be gracious and respectful of people that we once had rejected. With this new identity, we can ask God to work in our lives while at the same time understanding that our identity has nothing to do with our performance.
Gathered into a family (Ephesians 2:11-14, 1 Peter 2:9-17, Ephesians 4:12-16)
When we embrace the Gospel we are formed into a new community, a new family created by the Gospel. People in this community share theirs live, they pray, serve, eat, learn and worship together (to name a few things). This community is a safe place where we can care for each other, and encourage each other not to repeat the same mistakes over and again. This community also gives other people a glimpse of what it might look like for them to reconnect with God. Of course, we have to admit that a family of broken people will have many problems. But as we live in this imperfect community we are given the opportunity to express the same type of grace and forgiveness towards others that God has shown towards us.
Sent on Mission (Matthew 28:16-20, Ephesians 4:28, James 2:14-26)
Not only does God repair broken people, and draw people together as a community, he urges them to move forward his restoring grace into every area of life.
God’s plan is to restore our world, rather than to abandon it, and He has made us partners with him in this work of restoration. Just as the Father sent Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, we have been sent with that same Spirit to restore all things to God the Father through Jesus. The need for repair is all around us, in every career and calling. As we open our eyes to the challenges around us, we imagine how things might be different if they were to experience God’s grace, and we work to see that grace extend more and more.
Called to serve (Matthew 25:34-40, Deuteronomy 10:17-18)
As we start to realize how much God has given us, we begin to focus on ourselves less, and focus more on the needs of others. We begin to give our time and our talents and our resources to other people. We begin to love people the way that God loved us. We look for opportunities to practice generosity. And as we begin to focus on giving rather than taking, we see how generosity is God’s plan for all of us. It causes us to see our dependence on God and allows us to care for others even though we still have needs of our own.