Forthright Magazine

Is 2023 the only Year of the Mission?

When I say that the year 2023 is for me the Year of the Mission, what do I mean? It’s not that other years weren’t mission years, nor that future years won’t be. It is a way of organizing my plans and my teaching. Something I do each year, using a theme for emphasis.

Let’s define “mission”. The term means sending. Who sends is God. In the Bible, the verb send is used frequently with God as the subject. This reminds us of God’s initiative – he started everything, continues his redemptive project and will bring it to completion.

For the Year of Mission I want to affirm three important truths about God’s mission:

  1. God wants to show his love to you.
    • He does this through Jesus Christ.
    • He does this through his people.
  2. God wants to use you to show your love to others.
    • He wants you to have something to say about Jesus.
    • He wants you to offer your love to others.
  3. God wants to bring you closer to him through his family.
    • His family is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    • This family is not an institution, nor a denomination.

It is necessary to see each moment and situation as an opportunity to fulfill God’s mission. From what I’ve seen, few do this—our events, special days, and sermons serve the saved. I am still learning to see each day and each hour as an expression of mission. If God is to be our focus every day, so must his love and desire to save.

… he wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2.4 NET.

God’s love is a saving, redeeming, purifying, transforming love. Read the text of John 3.16-17, which brings together his love, his sending, and his salvation. He doesn’t leave us as we are. He doesn’t just bless us physically. His love would transport our souls to their heavenly home along with him.

This fate change can only occur when it is received. Therefore, it is necessary to know how to receive the salvation he offers. We need to do the following (please read each point carefully):

  1. Hear the teaching of Jesus and believe in it.
  2. Desire to be like Jesus.
  3. Resolve to follow Jesus.
  4. Confess the name of Jesus.
  5. Obey the commandments of Jesus.
  6. Receive immersion in the name of Jesus.
  7. Grow more and more in the image of Jesus.
  8. Imitate the example of Jesus.
  9. Proclaim the Good News of Jesus.
  10. Edify the people of Jesus.
  11. Glory in the cross of Jesus.
  12. Watch for the coming of Jesus.

The mission is for all followers of Christ, for all children of God. We live for this, working to bring the good effects of the Cross to all people. The process is not automatic, because God wants the exercise of our free will, our decision and commitment.

Most people—including Christians today—want comfort. People want to avoid embarrassment and inconvenience, they want to escape suffering. However, our call to mission includes exactly the physical, emotional and spiritual rigors that so many want to exclude from their faith.

To a man who expressed a desire to follow Jesus, our Lord said, “Foxes have dens, and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” Matthew 8.20; Luke 9.58.

Who will hand over his pillow in order to follow Jesus and accompany him to the cross, so that everyone can be saved?


J. Randal Matheny
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