Let Us Proclaim Christ From All The Scriptures, In Order To Make Disciples From All The Nations.
Perhaps you have seen this phrase around our church. It is on our website, it is stamped on our letterhead, and its shorter version, “Proclaiming Christ to all” is a part of our logo. For me, as your pastor, this short sentence has encapsulated everything that I have done since coming to Calvary two years ago. However, as of yet, I have not unveiled, unfolded, or unpacked what this short statement might mean in its fullness.
This February I will. Now don’t worry, there is no major structural, personnel, or budgetary changes coming with this emphasis, because there is really nothing new about the mission statement. Rather, it is a call to renew our passion and pursuit for Jesus’ mission.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, our Master-builder and Chief Cornerstone gave a two-fold mission statement that never needs to be improved upon. In Mark 12:29-30, he said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” In this vertical directive, he tells us that our first priority is Him. Even when all else fails—and sometimes it does—we remain worshipers of Jesus Christ. We exist to glorify Him. Even when we cannot speak, serve, give or stand, we can worship.
Conjoined to Jesus’ first statement is a second, “and love your neighbor as yourself.” To love God and to neglect neighbor is unchristian. If we have been loved by God, we must love others (1 John 4:7-12). We did not first love him; He first loved us. And all those who are truly loved by God, will love others, especially their church family.
Still, the church has often gotten hazy on what true love is. Is it social justice? Meeting physical needs? Providing relational fellowship? Feeding, clothing, and immunizing the poor? Certainly, the church is called to care for orphans and widows (James 1:27), and the apostles insisted on caring for the poor (Gal 2:10). Still such works are not explicitly Christian until they are tethered to the gospel.
Loving our neighbor crashes on the rocks of indifference until it tells them about Jesus. If you give away all your earthly possessions for the sake of another, but never call their attention to God’s love and call them to bow the knee to King Jesus, you have only made their ambulance trip to the city morgue more comfortable.
We must be about proclaiming Christ to our neighbors and the nations. Jesus calls us to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, instructing them to obey all the commands that Jesus gave the apostles. The Great Commission, therefore, defines true love.
In addition to needing clarity, the church of Jesus Christ often needs renewal, because the greater problem is not haziness but laziness. How often do we start some spiritual project, only to see it fade out in time? There is no reason to feel guilty about this; it is part of our weakness. We must constantly call ourselves to account and to press on, once again, to run the race God has given to us.
And so, beginning this month, as we think about God’s mission for Calvary Baptist Church, we will come back to Scripture’s two main emphases—loving God and loving others with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray that you will consider how God would have you join in on this mission at Calvary.
In truth, if it sounds repetitive, like you have heard it before, give praise to God. Instead of chasing the things of this world, you are ready to serve Christ and reach others with his life-saving message. If it sounds scary, you are right. Jesus is not safe. He bids us to come and die. Nakedness is a possibility and resurrection life is our only secure promise. Nevertheless, he promises us his presence as we go on mission with him.
But above all, I hope it sounds exciting. For the last two years, God has graciously healed, strengthened, and unified our church, and it is only right to take what he has given us in Christ and to share it with others. This will of course mean further refinement—throwing off sin, confessing idols, and removing anything else that entangles our feet —but it will also mean increased joy on the journey. Walking with Christ into the world always causes us to know and love our Savior more.
To finish then, join our church for the next month as we pray, dream, and think about ways to follow the One Man, with the One Message, who has given us One Mission. Or to say it another way, let us Proclaim Christ From All The Scriptures, In Order To Make Disciples From All The Nations!
For His Glory and Your Joy,