But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Gospel – Good News
- G – God’s
- O – one and
- O – only
- D – declaration for
- N – North
- E – East
- W – West
- S – South
Paul’s stated mission was “to testify of the grace of God.” Grace is at the center of our mission. The essence of the Gospel is the declaration of God’s free grace to a guilty world.
God’s amazing grace had swept Saul of Tarsus (Paul) into fellowship with the Christ he had sought so hard to discredit. It was also God’s amazing grace that brought each of us into the fold. Do you remember where you were when God’s amazing grace rescued you?
We are appalled when we look at the sins of the world. But as inventive as he is the devil has not invented one new sin since you and I were redeemed. The mission of the church is rescuing sinners from the depths of sin and from the wrath of God’s judgment. This is the immense message of the Gospel to the entire world.
We focus on sins; God focuses on grace. We focus on success; God focuses on obedience. We focus on competition; God focuses on unity. We focus on independence; God focuses on interdependence. We focus on money’ God focuses on mission.
Do we really know our mission? Do we really know what God has called the Church to be? Do we really know our role in it? What does it mean to be a church community? Do you know why your church is here? Why you are here?
Do you know what your church’s mission statement is? “Mission”, not as in missionaries and exotic lands, but “mission” as in job, task.
God’s mission for the church is to ‘win the lost at any cost” and the “good news of the grace of God.”
The church is not built in one generation. It requires the passing of fortitude and faith from one generation to another. How well are you and your church doing?
The good news cannot be passed to the next generation in a weakened condition. The future of the church depends on how well we finish, and how well we hand off the baton to another generation.
Perhaps we have been too preoccupied with whether our churches are growing, when we should have been preoccupied with whether our mission is dying. We are a missionary fellowship. Without sustained mission, there will be no lasting fellowship.
Our calling is to reach the lost and disciple believers! Nothing is more useless than a church that has lost its mission. It is a poor substitute for mere entertainment. God’s Word says “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Matthew 28:19-20.
Thomas Aquinas said, “If the primary aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.
My greatest fear is that we will lose sight of our mission and move into insignificance. I fear we may use our energies and resources to fine-tune our programs, trim our organizational edges, put higher steeples on our churches, deeper padding on our pews, and more stain in our glass windows. I fear that in the process, we will fail to pass this mission on to a new generation.
Brothers and sisters, please hear me and hear me well. If we violate the purpose for which we have been called, we will not survive. And what’s more important, we should not survive. Some people have paid a high price to bring the church to where it is today. We cannot stop at mid-course. Where do we go from here? The choice is ours. Do we continue business as usual, or do we make a move toward greatness?
We are either facing our finest hour or our most disappointing failure. The choice is ours.
Sydney Harris said, “People are fond of saying ‘the past is dead,’ but it is actually the future that is dead – and we make it come alive only by applying what we have learned from the past to the present.’
Hebrews 12:1-2 – we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.