God is on a mission. I know that sounds simplistic but it’s all over the Bible. From the call of Abraham way back in Genesis 12 we find a particular theme at work – God is moving forward in redeeming creation from the tragedy of sin and its effects. God does this because God is good and creates good and promotes good.
Psalm 145:9 (ESV) The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
Jesus preached a famous sermon we refer to as “The Sermon on the Mount.” It has a lot of hard things for people to grasp, such as a blessing for the broken and those who mourn. It also challenges our notions of sin by equating lust with physical adultery and anger with physical murder. The root of the problem is our heart, the actions only share what is already within us. But at the heart of that passage is this comment: Matthew 5:16 (ESV) let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Paul will echo this statement in Ephesians 2.
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Now think back to God’s original commission for Abraham:
Genesis 12:1–3 (ESV) “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
God’s mission is to spread God’s goodness throughout nations and all creation. Christ was the ultimate fulfillment of that promise but only the beginning of it’s reality for all nations. In acts 2 the Church Jesus started is filled with the Spirit of God and people from all nations are there to hear and respond. From there and throughout the book of Acts the Gospel crosses cultural barriers and reaches the center of the world – Rome itself. Eventually, the Bible narrative ends with a grand picture of this promise fulfilled before the throne of God:
Revelation 7:9–10 (ESV) After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
God is up to something big and something good and we are a part of it. What an honor.
September is coming and it’s time to get back in the routine of our calendars. I want to take this opportunity to challenge you to see your life as a blessing to those around you. God’s mission of spreading His goodness is also the reason why our Church is here. Last night we had several people feeding the poor in Providence. We have a small group that buys groceries for strangers, we have another that visits prisoners. Wonderful acts of goodness are spreading from Waters Church to our community. But there’s much more in our future!
God’s mission includes you. We want you to be a part of the goodness of God in our community. You can do good by serving in our Children’s program and making disciples of the next generation. You can do good by helping people feel greeted and at home. You can do good by connecting with others in a small group and serving in practical ways to people around you. You can do good by sitting in the front and parking way in the back so newcomers can slip in and out very comfortably for the first time visit.
You are made to do good. It’s in your DNA as a child of God. You’ve come to church – wonderful. Now be the Church – even better!