It doesn’t take a person visiting West Hills Community Church long to learn that one of the three core values of our congregation is mission. Some may ask, “Why is mission a core value of the church?”. The answer is quite simple. Our Lord – Jesus the Christ – came to earth, sent on a mission by His Father and His mission was central to all He did. After He had completed His Father’s mission, He sent His disciples out to continue this mission; and Jesus’s mission was central to all they did. As the church was formed this mission was also central to all the church did. But what was Jesus’ mission?
Jesus summarized His mission in Luke 24:44-49. There we learn that the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms all revealed that He – the Lord’s Messiah (Anointed One) should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, so that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations. His disciples, as witnesses to these things, were to be His means to spread this good news. Or put another way, they – Jesus’ disciples, were to go – and as they went they were to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. They were also to teach them to observe – to obey and practice – everything Jesus had taught and commanded (see Matt 28:18-20). And they did!!
The book of Acts shows how Jesus’ first followers went into all the world and proclaimed the good news of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. They also made disciples, first in Jerusalem, then in Judea and Samaria and finally, throughout the world (Acts 2:8). As they were going they proclaimed who Jesus was (Matt 16:13-6 w/Acts 2:32-33, 36); they baptized those who believed Jesus’ message (Acts 2:41; 8:12; 10:47-48;16:14-15; 19:5); and they taught them what Jesus taught (2:42; 11:20-26; 18:9, 11; 19: 9-10).
By the end of the events recorded in Acts, the good news of Jesus had spread from Jerusalem throughout Asia Minor and to Rome. In addition, the church had been established among Jews, Samaritans and non-Jews (called Gentiles in the Acts). It is with the Apostle Paul in Rome that the story in Acts ends. The spread of the gospel and the establishing of the church did not end with Paul in Rome though. The gospel continued to spread and the church continued to be established, throughout the rest of the world and from generation to generation, until finally, it reached us in the 21st century. Why did the good news of Jesus continue to spread throughout the centuries to reach us?
The answer is simple. Jesus’ mission was always central for His people, and so it continues to this day. This is why His mission is one of our core values. We wish to see the gospel spread from us in the same way it spread to us.
On Sunday February 4, I will be continuing this theme by teaching on The Centrality of Christ’s Mission. I ask you to be in prayer for our upcoming worship time, for the message and for our church community. The message will be followed by partaking of the Lord’s Table.
In preparation for Sundays service, here are some ways to prepare: 1) Take some time to read Matt 28:18-20, Luke 24:44-49; John 20:19-23; Acts 1:8 prayerfully; 2) consider these simple questions: What was Jesus’ expectation for His first disciples, after He returned to heaven? Do you think these instructions apply only to these first disciples or to all Jesus’ disciples? What might the implication of Jesus’ instruction to make disciples of all nations be for our church? For individual christians today? For you?
Then, before coming to worship on Sunday, take time either the evening before or earlier Sunday morning to prepare your heart for worship and to receive the Lord’s elements at His table. Confess any known sin you have walked in and are holding on to. Seek forgiveness from anyone you have wronged. Pray for anyone who has wronged you and extend forgiveness to them. Then come with expectation to worship the Lord with us!
May the Lord bless and keep you!!