This is something I'm using with churches to help them think evangelistically...
Building a Family
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:21-22)
God our Father is building a family. He has always enjoyed His eternal Son, Jesus, in the fellowship of the Spirit (John 17:24). And effectively they’ve said to each other “This is too good to keep to ourselves.” The expansive love of this Family is the reason for everything, from creation to new creation. Here’s the meaning of life: The Father wants many brothers and sisters for His Son (Romans 8:29).
So the Father sent Jesus into the world to share in our life so that we might share in His life. The Son of God became man so that men and women might become sons and daughters of God (John 1:12-14). Believers are those drawn by the Spirit into union with Jesus. Now we call on His God and Father as our God and our Father (John 20:17).
But God isn’t finished yet, and neither are we. From before the world began He has forever been outgoing. That’s what our Father is like and so that’s what His family is like.
In our verse from John 20 this is what we see: The outgoing Lord Jesus breathes His outgoing Spirit onto His followers. Why? So that they will be outgoing. We carry on His life of reconciliation to the world.
Which means three things:
1) Mission is God’s thing.
Our God is more evangelistic than we’ll ever be. We don’t have to whip up evangelistic fervour, we only need to catch His! As we go, we have Him behind us and for us and in us.
2) Mission becomes our thing.
The Risen Jesus could have leap-frogged the church and just zapped the nations with eternal life. But no, He uses us. In fact He insists on using us sinful and weak believers. We are His missionary body to reach the world.
3) Mission is personal.
When Jesus sends us with the divine power of His Spirit, He tells us what it will look like. Not a laser-light display. No, as Jesus was sent, so we are sent. Our life of mission will look like His life of mission. It will be a personal, costly, time-intensive investing of ourselves in others.
What does this mean for us corporately?
Our Father loves the world and wants billions to share in His family life. But He does it through us and He does it personally. The Father sends the Son. The Son sends the church in the power of the Spirit. And the church reaches the world. Personally. If God wanted to beam people up into some blissful state en masse He would send down some impersonal zapping. BAM – India’s converted! But He’s not impersonal. He doesn’t send zapping. He sends persons. As a church we seem to have forgotten about “personal evangelism” but according to the bible all evangelism must be profoundly personal.
What will this look like in my life?
It will look like going out to others. Not in grand, dramatic ways but in everyday, ordinary life. Jesus equips me with His Spirit to go person-to-person with the love of God.
In the next post there will be an exercise to help us think about the people in our lives. Whether they know it or not, they exist to be drawn into God’s Family. And we exist to reach out with His invitation.