Introduction to Christian Mission Ch. 2:
Scripture as a Narrative Record of God’s Mission
Typical courses on biblical basis of mission rush through the OT and concentrate on a few verses in the NT. Effectively, the approach tended to be to start with the existing mission movement and to find justification for it.
The Bible and Mission In A New Era
Mission should not be based on isolated texts, but on a reading of the whole of Scripture. We have to see the Scripture as a whole.
Redemptive-historical whole: the central plot of the Bible story.
Literary whole: texts must be read within their immediate context and the context of the whole of Scripture.
The Bible is a missional phenomenon. Mission isn’t just one of the things that the Bible talks about. We have to read with a missional hermeneutic “a way of reading the Bible for which mission is the hermeneutical key”
God’s Mission to Restore the Whole World
The Bible has a metanarrative: God’s long historical journey to liberate his world from the destructive power of sin. Gods purpose is restorative and comprehensive, and it involves a battle against the corruption and idolatry that befouls his creation.
God Chooses Israel to Bring Salvation To the Whole World
The Election of One People for the Sake of All Nations
The Bible narrative moves from the particular to the universal. God chooses Israel in order to bless others; election is about responsibility, not privilege.
Genesis 12:1-3 Blessed to be a Blessing
Against the backdrop of Genesis 1-11, God chooses Abraham to be a channel of redemptive blessing to all the families of the earth. God does not reject the nations, he chooses Abraham for their sake.
In Genesis we are not told how God will bless the nations.
Exodus 19:3-6: A display people to the nations
God chooses Israel as his special possession and binds himself to them in a covenant. Israel is set apart for God’s use in his redemptive work.
God gives Israel the Torah to define the pattern of life they should live: a communal life of love and justice, with concern for the poor and weak.
They were to live backward to creation as a patter for how life should have been, forward to God’s goal for humanity and outward in confronting the idolatry of the nations.
Exodus ends with God coming to live with his people.
On the Land In the Sight of the Nations
Israel is given the gift of land at the crossroads of the nations: it was under surveillance by other peoples.
The nations are witnesses of what Israel does and her failings.
The Prophets’ Message: The Future Fulfillement of God’s Mission
The prophets speak of an end time event when God will rule the whole world and bring salvation to the nations. This involves the conversion and purification of Israel. The climactic moment will be ushered in by a Messiah.
The mission of God through Israel is:
Universal: to al nations
Centripetal: there role is to live their lives in such a way that people see the true God.
Eschatological: their purpose will be fulfilled in a future time.
God Sends Jesus to Gather and Restore
The “already but not yet” era of the kingdom as a time of gathering.
The ingathering of Israel and the nations begins with the mission of Jesus.
The Jews believed the end would come with the Messiah, but it didn’t because of the need for world mission.
Eschatology has strong mission implications.
God is gathering in his people; this is an OT motif which needs revisiting. The Gospels use a number of illustrations of ingathering in the parables.
Jesus is sent first to gather Israel for their mission
Jesus was sent in the power of the Spirit to gather Israel into an end-time community according to the prophets. Israel had to be gathered and renewed in order to carry out her mission.
Israel gathered and formed to take up their missional calling
Jesus calls the people to a missional vocation in the sermon on the mount – a light set on a hill. They are called to embody a distinctive life and to participate in Jesus ingathering mission.
The Elements of Jesus’ Kingdom Mission
To gather and restore Israel to its missional vocation.
He did this by modelling the vocation himself and gathering a people to carry it out.
Jesus death and resurrection solved the issue which prevented Israel being the community they were supposed to be. It allowed the ‘gathered Israel’, his disciples to move forward as forgiven and empowered people.
The cross and resurrection mark the boundary between the old world and the new world.
The church’s mission to the ends of the earth
The church is taken up into God’s mission to continue the mission of Israel and of Jesus to the ends of the earth.
Two significant events must take place first, the ascension and Pentecost.
The growth of the church in Jerusalem is phenomenal, but many within Israel refuse to be gathered in and so are cut off from God’s people, severed from the covenant.
The Church has to learn how to live among the nations and cultures of the world.
God’s Mission beyond Acts
The story of God’s mission is an unfinished story. We are living in the last act.