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Date: June 18, 2017 (Pentecost 2) 1. Texts: Genesis 18:1-15; Ps. 116:1, 10-17; Romans 5:1-8; Matthew 9:35-10:23. 2. Subject: mission. 3. Topic: mission as heart of Christology. 4. Aim: educate. 5. Proposition: “As Jesus was, so are we to become—even in mission.”

 

MIRROR THE LIFE OF CHRIST

This season used to be called the Trinity Season. Instead of Sundays after Pentecost, we used to count the Sundays after Trinity Sunday. I like both and neither is more “theologically correct” than the other. But today, that reminder about Trinity Sunday would be helpful. Yeah, I know that no one can adequately explain the Trinity without running into something like a heresy. The reality is nearly impossible to explain—certainly during a Sunday morning sermon. The most helpful thing we can do is mention some of the implications of our gospel truth. The truth is that we Christian believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, three persons but one God. We don’t confuse the three Persons—they are distinct but co-existing, they are one God and trying to explain the mystery of how one God can exist as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is nearly impossible. We accept it by faith as a revelation from God through Jesus empowered by the Holy Spirit and accurately recorded in Scripture. But we can easily say some things about the impact of this truth. Since there is only one God, what we say about the Father we also have to say about the Son and the Spirit. If God is love, then so are Jesus and the Spirit. If the Spirit is present everywhere and throughout all time, then so are Jesus and the Father. As the Father is, so are the Son and the Spirit. That’s the helpful bit from the season of Trinity. It’s really helpful because what we know about God the Father, we really know through God the Son. God the Father is God outside time, space and human experience. We can’t really conceive of everything he is, does and can do. God the Father is beyond comprehension, a total mystery. But not so Jesus the Page 2 of 3 -Trinity to Christology to MissiologyChrist. We actually get to see and know him. We know what God the Father is actually like because we get to see God the Son. Jesus is the perfect and authoritative revelation of God inside time, space and human experience. From this we learn that as God is, so is Jesus. This is vitally important because as Jesus is, so is the Church to become. The Church, you know, is the body of Christ and the embodiment of his gospel in our world. The more accurately we reflect the reality of Christ, the more accurately we are the Church. The more completely we mirror Christ, the more effectively we exist as the Church. Jesus is absolutely certain about this. Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."1 So, Jesus went out everywhere, he taught, he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom, he cured people and he had compassion on them. And then comes the following: Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness…These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, "The kingdom of heaven has come near.' Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.2 1 Matthew 9:35-38. 2 Matthew 10:1, 5-8. Post highlights on a flip chart, posters or digital projector. Page 3 of 3 -Trinity to Christology to MissiologyIt is clear: the twelve disciples do exactly what Jesus did. Why? “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’” 3 That’s what Trinity means for us—as God the Father is, so is God the Son. As Jesus is, so is the Church to become. We are sent, because Jesus is sent. We are the embodiment of the gospel in our time because Jesus is the incarnation of God inside time, space and human experience. This all means that the Church is to mirror the life of Christ every day and in every way. It means we are sent out into the world to bring Christ closer to every person. Our words and actions are to be fashioned by Christ’s words and actions so that, as others watch us, they are catching sight of Christ. Our lives as disciples of Jesus proclaim God’s kingdom. As Jesus was, so are we to be. As Jesus did, so are we to do. As Jesus spoke, so are we to speak. In this we proclaim Christ and the Kingdom of God until he should come again. That’s what we’re talking about when we use the language of mission. God is mission and as he sent the Son, so the Son sends us. The Church is missional: sent by Christ to embody the gospel and to mirror the life of Christ in ways that call others to saving faith. That’s part of the reality of the season of Trinity. In fact, that belongs to the core of what it means to be a Christian. Remember: as God the Father is, so is God the Son. As God is, so is the Church to become. And that includes being God’s mission to the world. AMEN.