- Largest gathering of evangelicals in world: Princeton; go out to the cemetery
- Princeton, Harvard, Yale: why were they founded? What are they doing today?
- It is hard to stay focused on an institution’s mission through generations.
- Every generation must return to Scripture and get this right. What is our mission?
- What is God’s mission? Gen 1:28: creation as his dwelling place with humanity
- How God fulfills his mission:
(1) Sending of the Son to accomplish redemption
(2) Sending of the Spirit to apply the Son’s finished work until his return
- The Spirit empowers the church for mission: Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:8
- We are “witnesses”; what does a witness do?
- We are commanded to do more than bear witness; we are witnesses with authority.
- Matthew 28:18-20:
(1) Verbal proclamation of the news about Jesus
(2) Public recognition of those who respond in faith (baptism)
(3) Ongoing teaching
- All three should be kept together; otherwise, discipleship doesn’t really happen.
- Keeping all 3 together entails organization/structure→local churches
- The mission of making disciples is the mission of planting and building up churches.
- Wherever the gospel went forth in NT, churches were formed (e.g., Acts 14:23)
- God has prepared good works for us to do: Eph 2:8-10
- These good works bear witness to the kingdom: Matt 5:13-16; 1 Pet 2:12; James 1:27
- Good works is loving our neighbors; example: Wilberforce
- But how many different kinds of good works out there need to be done?
- What should the church’s approach be? Spread thin? Focus? On what?
- Additional problems: Christians can have same moral convictions but disagree on means.
- Example: Scripture speaks authoritatively on sanctity of life, but not on political strategy
- Threat of mission drift: displacing evangelism, church planting, for social/political agenda
- Key distinction: what we do together and what we do individually (example: basketball team)
- What should be our “together” focus? Making disciples→planting, building up churches
- Focus will be evident in our organized programs, public teaching, budget
- Mission grid: mission fitness and moral proximity; focused budgeting is better than scattershot
- Does this mean we don’t care about the broader category of good works? No!
- Christians are called individually to different kinds of good works; the church helps equip them
- This distinction helps us avoid “Twitter mob” ministry.
- Also guards us from false accusations against others; Trade “you must” for “you can.”
- Our focus as a church: to expand the reach of the gospel through space & time.
- We cannot build the kingdom; let us have institutional humility.
- Let our goal be to hand the baton (clarity about gospel & mission) to the next generation