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Defining Gospel Centered Mission

Editor’s Note: This is a repost of Mission. It appears here with the writer’s permission.

A lot of Christian terms get thrown around. “Mission” is defiantly one of those terms. Mission is key to the church, and should be valued and practiced by a church that wants to be faithful to Scripture.

Gospel centered mission can be defined as: Glorifying God by proclaiming the gospel of Jesus for the sake of gathering God’s people to him.

There are four key truths about mission throughout the gospel of John that will help us be better missionaries for Jesus in our context.

1. Incarnation (Example of Mission)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. (John 1:14-16)

Jesus is the greatest example of a missionary. The incarnation of Jesus (God becoming a man) gives us the example of contextualization. Jesus came from the culture of heaven to the culture of earth. He ate their food, wore their clothes, spoke their language, went to parties, had friends, and worked a job. He learned the culture, and engaged the people in his context. He also helps us understand we are to come in grace and truth. This means that we come humbly and full of compassion. We listen to people, show interest in them, and care for them just as Jesus did. However, this also means we will call out sin, hate sin, fight against the culture’s idols, and proclaim the redemption of God through Jesus. We need to dwell among the people in our city, proclaiming God’s grace and truth.

2. Salvation (Heart of Mission)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)

These two verses show us God’s heart behind his mission. He wants to see people saved. God desires that people believe in the life, death, and resurrection of his Son for eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to condemn us (for we already were because of sin), but to save us.

3. The glory of God (Purpose of Mission)

“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24)

Our purpose for mission should be aligned with Jesus’ purpose for mission: to glorify God. Our main motive for spreading the gospel is to see people come under the rule of Christ. We want to see the glory of God made known to the world. God desires that the world be full of the knowledge of his glory. When we join him on mission we faithfully desire to see him glorified through the proclamation of the gospel.

4. Spirit empowered (Power of Mission)

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending “you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21)

We receive authority from Jesus himself because he himself has all authority (Matthew 28:18-20). Just as the Father sent the Son, and the Father and Son send the Spirit, so the Son and the Spirit send and empower us for mission. This is our source of power for the mission. We have the Holy Spirit of God to empower us to witness to the nations of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.

Faithful in Mission

Gospel centered mission is key to the vibrancy and health of the local church. We are commanded by Jesus to be faithful missionaries who understand our context, have passion to see the lost saved, for the glory of God, and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Garrett Ventry is a church planting intern at Vintage 21 Church in Raleigh. He serves under the regional director of the Acts 29 Network’s southeast region. He is also a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Megan live in Raleigh. Twitter: @GarrettVentry

To read more on sharing the gospel, see Unbelievable Gospel, by Johathan Dodson.

For more free articles on gospel centered missions, see Missional Living in a Complex World, by JD Payne, and What is Missional Culture & Why Does It Matter? by JR Woodward.