This week, we had Tanner and the Traveling Team with us at FCA! Tanner took us through the Bible in about 30 minutes, and showed us God’s heart for the world and what He wants our purpose to be.
Each of us, especially as we near the end of college, are trying to figure out what we should give our lives to. We search for things that will make us happy, or that we’re good at or could make money doing–but so often, we forget to ask what God would have our life purpose be. Tanner reminded us that God is on a mission–a mission to reach all of the world. He wants to disrupt the purpose that we’ve chosen for something bigger, and He is inviting all of His people to play a vital part in His mission.
We should ask ourselves: if God is on a mission, what does that mean for my life?
Tanner then took us through the Bible to show us God’s heart for missions and for the entire world. It starts with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Genesis.
Abraham: Genesis 12:1-5
Isaac: Genesis 26:3-4
Jacob: Genesis 28: 13-15
God asks Abraham to leave His home, and in return promises to make him a father of many nations, to bless him, and to even bless all the families of the earth. God repeats his promises to all peoples and all nations 1500 more times in the Bible. He is consistent with His promises, and the repetition makes it clear that this is key to his mission. His mission starts here with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and continues throughout all of history. It is continuing even now, so these promises are incredibly relevant to us.
Tanner took us next to the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:45-46. In these verses, David points to someone bigger than himself. He knows that he will defeat Goliath, and he knows that it is only because of God. God uses this instance to make Himself known. Everything He does and everything he accomplishes is to further this mission–to reach all of the peoples of this Earth and allow them to know Him.
We then jumped to Psalm 46:10. We often quote a piece of this verse, the “be still and know that I am God” part. We love this as Christians. We live distracted lives, and we like to be reminded that we should be still, and rest. That’s true–but we cut out the second half of the verse. The next phrase says “I will be exalted among the nations.” God is up to far more than just us. He does encourage us to rest, but He doesn’t exist just to bless us. Far from it–He’s inviting us to something bigger.
The next story that Tanner focused on was the story in Daniel 3:28-29 about the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. When the King who threw them in the fiery furnace saw that God had saved them, he praised God and said that any people of any nation or language that said anything against their God would be punished. He knew that no other god could do what God had just done, and He believed.
In Isaiah 49:6, He says, “I will make you as a light for the nations”
In Malachi 1:11, He says, “My name will be great among the nations.”
Throughout the Bible, God’s mission is clear. It’s not just a Jesus thing–it started long before that. God is going after all peoples. He wants our entire life, and He wants more for us than for us to just have a comfortable life. He is on a mission to reach all of the world, and He wants us to be a part of it. Now that we know of His mission, now that we have heard it and seen it clearly in the Bible, we cannot be oblivious to it. We cannot pretend we don’t know God’s mission and that we should be joining Him in it.
Jesus’ life and sacrifice pushes this idea forward. We should never get past the good news of the gospel. The gospel, the fact that Jesus became man and died for us, should save us and then continue to change us.
In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus repeats God’s heart. The Great Commission is not only one verse though. Jesus tended to repeat the things that were most important to make sure the disciples, and we, understood. The Great Commission is 5 verses (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47, John 20:21, and Acts 1:8) and are His last words on Earth. His last words were not wasted–He thought about them. His disciples received power from the Holy Spirit to be witnesses for Christ, and they laid down their lives for that good news.
In Romans 15:20, Paul says, “and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation…”
We should have this same ambition. There are still so many unreached peoples, even today. Take for example the 10/40 window. It looks like this: (the pink/red box)
In this window of countries, there are 5 billion people. 2/3rds of the entire world’s population lives in this window, and 3 billion of them are unreached. This means that they have absolutely no foundation of Jesus. There is a huge need here–but only 4% of missionaries go to these places.
A lot of us are focused on building the perfect life. We’re focused on getting the best job, getting married, and settling down with a few kids and a stable income. And none of that is bad! But Tanner showed us that if we’re too focused on staying comfortable, we need to reevaluate what we’re giving our life to.
God is on a mission, and He will see it through and complete it. As we see in Revelation 7:9-10, every nation will stand before Jesus when He returns. God will accomplish this, with or without us. He gives us the choice: we can continue building our own personal kingdoms, or we can die to ourselves and accept His invitation into something bigger.
There are two main ways that we can join in God’s mission. We can either:
Go: Christians need to ‘go’ and declare the gospel here in our communities and schools and businesses, and we also need to go and declare the gospel around the world and in unreached places. If we’re called to go, that doesn’t mean we have to hop on a plane tomorrow, though. We can take small steps–go on short term mission trips and see if God might have you give your life to something like that. Use the summers you have in college and invest time in something worthy.
Send: Sending is just as necessary and just as sacrificial. We can support and send long-term missionaries by giving and praying for them.
Both options are sacrificial, and we can do either one for the rest of our lives. We need to have a big view of God, of what He can accomplish, and how we should live our lives for Him. Say yes to God, whatever that might mean for you personally, and then trust Him with the rest. God has a mission, and it’s the most important in all of human history. Why wouldn’t we join Him?