Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Jesus on Being Missional 4

One of those sayings with a funny name, “The Prohibition of Foreign Missions by Jesus,” comes from Matthew 10:5-6. Jesus here tells his followers to concentrate on the “lost sheep” of the house of Israel and not go off to the ways of the Gentiles or to a city of the Samaritans. Jesus’ mission was itself shaped by the same (Matthew 15:24) — but it began to spill over to the Gentiles.
This saying, along with what follows, is very important to understand the gospel of a missional approach to the Kingdom of God.
The next few verses, verses 7-8, tell the apostles exactly what to do: preach the kingdom of the heavens, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and exorcise demons. But, Jesus adds, you’ve been given this gift so don’t do it for money (my paraphrase).
What stands out for a narrative reader of Matthew is two things: (1) the specifics of these verses vary significantly from both Mark’s presentation in Mark 6 and Luke’s two presentations, in Luke 9 and 10; and (2) the specifics line up perfectly with what Jesus has just done in Matthew 8–9. In other words, what Matthew is saying is that the apostles were sent out to do what Jesus did and to extend what Jesus did to more people.
A missionally-shaped church ministry is nothing more and nothing better than getting to do what Jesus did, in the power of the Spirit, to others and for the good of the world. Pastors, or leaders, are to set the tempo by creating what I think is critical in this passage: a holistic gospel.
Jesus saw sick people, dead people, unclean people, and spiritually-oppressed people (and probably people offended by money-grubbing ministers). And because he saw this sort, he headed straight for them. We, too, need to keep our eyes open, our ears open, and our minds open — so we can listen, look, learn, and link to those in our neighborhood and beyond.
More could be said, but the task is awesome. And more than enough.

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John Frye

posted August 31, 2005 at 8:24 am

Scot, I resonate with these thoughts of yours: “A missionally-shaped church ministry is nothing more and nothing better than getting to do what Jesus did, in the power of the Spirit, to others and for the good of the world. Pastors, or leaders, are to set the tempo by creating what I think is critical in this passage: a holistic gospel.” As I just posted last night, I believe the church–the body of Christ–is Jesus’ missional shepherding (pastoral) presence in and for the world.

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posted August 31, 2005 at 9:09 am

I love the portrait of the holistic gospel and the missional extension of Jesus mission; I just think it easily gets clouded out by programs/committees and the subtle distractions within “church” at times. Understanding the simplicity and complexity of the missional direction sometimes looks a little different than what we call “church”. Reclaiming that vision in a way is also about reclaiming God’s dreams for the church, I think.

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Stacey Littlefield

posted August 31, 2005 at 9:54 am

Scot, John & Brian,
Your succession of thought here exactly mirrors my passion, hope AND frustration with the church today. After a lengthy discussion in a council meeting once on an administrative side issue that I felt should not have been such a big issue (I won’t bore you the details), I found myself wanting to throw my hands up in the air and say, “This cannot be what Jesus had in mind!”
Doing what Jesus did sounds exciting, of course (and is), but it is also tedious, sometimes overwhelming and menial (as it was for him, no doubt).
Scot, when you describe the people Jesus ministered too, it is easy to apply to them the label Matthew gives them back in 9.36, “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” I can sense powerful implications for what it means to be a pastor, let alone a church.

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Matt Judkins

posted August 31, 2005 at 12:39 pm

The phrase, “in the power of the Spirit,” is difficult for me to understand, in spite of the fact I have my MDiv (isn’t it ironic that I have not mastered Divinity!).
Could anyone suggest a solid treatment of what this means and looks like in the practice of Christian ministry and mission?
Thank you in advance.

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Doug Wilson

posted September 4, 2005 at 3:17 pm

Many years ago, I ran across Charles E. Hummel’s thoughtful IVP book called “Fire in the fireplace: Contemporary charismatic renewal” (1978) — it was updated in 1994 as “Fire in the Fireplace: Charismatic Renewal in the Nineties” (used copies available inexpensively at Amazon). The book is a wonderful summary of the power of the Spirit, focusing especially on the importance of not “painting Luke with Paul’s brush” — that is, of allowing Luke’s perspective on the Spirit’s power throughout Luke-Acts to stand on its own and speak for itself. Hummel points out the convergence of Luke 24:44-49, Acts 1:4-5, and Acts 1:8, where “well before Pentecost, the Spirit’s baptism is given theological expression.” More recently, and more academically, see Max Turner’s 1996 “Power from on High: The Spirit in Israel’s Restoration and Witness in Luke-Acts (Journal of Pentecostal Theology. Supplement Series, 9)” or his more popular 1998 “The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts: In the New Testament Church and Today.” For “what this means and looks like in the practice of Christian ministry and mission” I would suggest Michael Green’s recently updated “I Believe in the Holy Spirit,” or the revised edition of the late John Wimber’s “Power Evangelism.”

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