Last week we began a new sermon series called, “The Mission of God.” This series is drawn from the Theological and Biblical studies of Christopher Wright. In his book, The Mission of God, Wright provides a “missional hermeneutic” that unlocks and traces God’s systematic mission with God’s creation in general and humanity in particular.
Our new sermon series is both my attempt to share with you some profound Biblical and Theological study and an attempt to apply it to our lives as disciples of Jesus and our mission as Jesus’ Church. Here, in this post, is my best attempt to summarize Wright’s work and what we’ll be talking about in worship together over the next 6 weeks.
Creation: In the beginning God creates freely and generously so that all of creation would experience life in God’s presence and in the knowledge and worship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as true God.
The Curse of Sin: Sin enters and the knowledge of Trinity as God and the worship of Trinity as true God dissipates and is replaced with a life of idolatry and false worship, the true God is neither known nor worshiped.
Covenant with Israel: Into this pluralistic maze God calls Abraham making a covenant with Him to both bless him and his future descendants by making them God’s unique covenant people and also, through Abraham’s descendants to bless the entire world. Abraham’s descendants, the people Israel, are set apart by God as holy, so as to be sacramental or a sign to the nations of God’s existence as the one true God who “wills to be known” and whom all nations will “come to worship.” Israel’s faithfulness to the laws of God that call Israel to a uniquely different life of mercy and justice will be a sign of God’s truthful existence and will be what draws the nations to Zion, God’s Holy Mountain and the worship of God. Out of Israel God promises a Messiah will come, who is God’s anointed and who will come to fulfill God’s covenant promise to Israel by both offering Israel the ultimate blessing and also to bless the nations.
Christ: Jesus comes as the Christ, the seed of Abraham, the literal fulfillment of God’s promise to bless Israel and the nations through Abraham’s descendants and incorporates the Gentile Nations into God’s deliverance, redemption and restoration offered to Israel. Israel, God’s covenant people, is defined as those who enjoy the promises of God’s fulfilled covenant, but are no longer incorporated via birth, but via faith in Jesus as God’s anointed. The New Israel, which Jesus has established, is composed of both Jew and Gentile. The church is the embodiment of the new Israel, God’s holy and chosen people, blessed to be a blessing, incorporated into Israel through the Messiah and called to bless the nations by proclaiming the new realized hope of incorporation for all, Jew and Greek, who would confess faith in Jesus Christ.
The Church: The Church thus is the corporate gathering of the people of God who are called to participate with the Missio Dei (the mission of God) and offer blessing, redemption, and restoration to the created universe. As the participation in the Missio Dei the Church becomes a tangible and visible representation of the Kingdom of God on earth. The Kingdom of God represents the present embodiment of God’s eschatological reign and is embodied through the lives of obedience, mercy, justice, and grace lived out by the people of God, both corporately and personally.
Ultimately, the Mission of God is to bring about the Kingdom of God, or the reign of God across all of creation, time, and space and will be the restoration of all of creation’s rightful acknowledgement and worship of Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as true God. The Kingdom of God is realized and the Mission of God is fulfilled when the Church, God’s covenant people, faithfully live out lives of worship and obedience by acting justly and loving mercy_ to God in Christ through the Spirit and invite “the nations” to so live.