In the introduction to this series, I explained how I thought that people today tend to compartmentalize their lives. Because of this, we often compartmentalize what we consider the mission of God as well. In this post, I want to consider proclamation of the gospel as part of the mission of God as demonstrated and taught by Jesus and Paul.
(As an aside, I recognize the irony of working through a series on “decompartmentalizing the mission of God” by separately consider various aspects of that mission. Please stick with me until the last post where I intend to bring it all together.)
I’ve decided to use examples from the lives of Jesus and Paul because they are typically considered the quintessential Christian missionaries. Jesus, obviously, is the missionary par excellence, while Paul is the primary example of an itinerant servant of Jesus. I believe there were other servants of Jesus who traveled from place to place, but we do not know as much about them, and they are only mentioned in Scripture. So, I’m going to focus on Jesus and Paul.
This is what Mark records concerning Jesus immediately following his baptism and temptation in the wilderness:
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15 ESV)
There are many, many similar examples of Jesus proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.
Similarly, there are many examples of Paul proclaiming the gospel. Here is one example:
And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. (Acts 16:10 ESV)
There are indications from both Jesus and Paul that others were also proclaiming the gospel or were expected to proclaim the gospel as they followed Jesus. Jesus’ final statements (often called “commission” statements) are a good example of this. One of those statements relates specifically to “sending” (the root word of the English term “mission”):
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (John 20:21 ESV)
Another statement specifically relates to proclaiming the gospel:
And he [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15 ESV)
Similarly, Paul encouraged others to proclaim the gospel in Romans 10:14-15, and he praised the Thessalonians because of their proclamation:
For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. (1 Thessalonians 1:8 ESV)
I’m giving the least amount of evidence or discussion to this part of the mission of God because it is widely accepted that the missio Dei includes proclaiming the gospel. (In fact, the disagreements usually stem from the question of whether or not other types of service are including in the mission of God.)
So, when we consider decompartmentalizing the mission of God, we should definitely include proclaiming the gospel as part of that mission. However, I do not think we stop at proclaiming the gospel. In the next two posts, I’ll examine whether or not Jesus and/or Paul included strengthening believers and/or serving the least as part of their mission.
What would you add to this discussion of proclaiming the gospel as part of the mission of God?
Decompartmentalizing the Mission of God Series:
- Proclaiming the Gospel
- Strengthening Believers
- Caring for the Least
- Putting it all Together
- Emphasizing without Neglecting
- Extreme Emphases
- What to do and when