The identity of the church is rooted in the nature of God. The identity of the church gives birth to its mission in the world. The purpose of God’s people has always been clear in the words of our Lord (Matthew 28:18-20). God has called each one of us to be a disciple and make disciples of Jesus Christ. What is a disciple? A disciple is a follower, a learner, a student, an apprentice of the Master. It is enough for us to be like Jesus (Matthew 10:24-25). The whole process of being and making disciples is focused on the transformation of broken people into the image of Christ.
The Gospel of John provides us with at least three marks of a disciple, which are characterized by three relationships. A follower of Jesus “continues (abides, lives, dwells) in the word of Jesus” (John 8:31). We might use the word, Communion to describe the relationship we have with our Father through his word being lived out in our lives. One who is intent on learning from Jesus also lives out their faith in their relationship with the family of God. We are to love one another as Christ has loved us. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Kingdom lives are shared in Community relationships. Jesus also tells us that if we remain in Him and He remains in us we will bear much fruit, showing ourselves to be his disciple (John 15:5-8). This fruit is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) shining in a dark world and results in God drawing all men to Him as we exalt Jesus in or word and in our walk. Jesus gives us our Commission which is to be salt and light in the world so that people see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:13-16). He sends his church into the world to bear fruit, fruit that will last (John 15:16). We are the body of Christ and we continue Christ’s work by showing his love and declaring his grace. Our identity as the people of God clearly gives us our purpose of living out our faith as disciples of Christ in these three relationships.
Missions Resource Network is bless to work with several churches who are having significant conversations among their elders, ministers, mission ministry and church family rediscovering their identity and purpose in the kingdom of God. We simply facilitate the Bible study that reminds them of their character as children of God. We facilitate their discovery as they reexamine themselves in light of the clear purpose of Christ’s church. We rejoice with them as they take steps of faith to join God in the journey to be a church that not only sends missionaries globally but is also sent locally as salt and light. Is your church living out the mission of God? Are you focused on the relationships which characterize a follower of Christ? We would love to join you in this exciting and renewing journey of being and making disciples of Christ.