The “Live Sent” series wrapped up last Sunday at New Hope Church.
In the last message I explained the gospel in some detail and gave a closing commission. Part of the gospel can be told in a just a few words. The gospel takes an entire Bible to unfold completely. But this was my attempt to put all of the most important brush strokes in one frame.
The gospel is the message that God is the rightful and sovereign king of the world. But his sovereignty has always been disputed by human beings—including you and me. We have all rebelled against his sovereignty because we each thought that we’d make a better king than him. We each thought we knew best about what was best for ourselves and for the world. And so God gave us—and everyone else—over to what we wanted. He let us have our way. He let us be our own kings for a time. But the result of our attempt at self-rule has been a disaster. Hunger, famine, poverty, corruption, war, abuse, sadness, lack of fulfillment, a sense of meaninglessness in life, broken relationships—both with God and with each other—discord, disease, death… These are the kinds of things our own self-rule has brought about in the world.
But God loved the world. He loved his world and was not willing to let it destroy itself.
So he launched a rescue plan. He entered the world in human flesh as Jesus. Jesus is now the rightful King over all creation, and in his time on earth he began to establish his Kingdom—the Kingdom of God on earth—a kingdom that isn’t like the Kigndoms of this world. A kingdom of love and justice and blessing and peace and beauty.
And then he died for his people.
He died for everyone who would trust in him. He died to offer us a free gift—costly to him, but free to us—to absorb our sin and guilt and shame and rebellion so that we could have new life and be reconciled to the One we rebelled against and become part of his Kingdom on earth—anyone who commits their life to following Jesus as a citizen of his kingdom. And his kingdom will one day flood through the whole world as God reigns over all the earth in love and justice and truth and beauty and grace and peace.
And in the meantime, we, his kingdom people live as “outposts in time.” We live the life of the new creation right here in the middle of the old creation. We proclaim the good news that God’s kingdom of love and justice is both here and it is still arriving—it is still spreading around the world. We invite people to lay down their rebellion against God and be reconciled to him by choosing not to be their own king. But to follow Jesus as their true and only king. And we wait for the return of the King to finish what he began and make a heaven of this world.
God, from the beginning, you were a missionary God. And you have designed us to be your image bearers—to show you to the world. In Christ you have made us your sent ones—your everyday apostles. So I ask that you would now send us. Make us missional. Make us apostolic. Send us to infiltrate the city with gospel of peace. To permeate the suburbs with love and truth. To reimagine what the workplace is—the mission field to which you’ve given us access. To project the gospel into the darkest parts of the world so that love would destroy abuse and slavery and hunger and pain. Would you send us as a counter-culture—as the Kingdom of God in the midst of the kingdom of this world, to intrigue the world—to show the world that there is a new and more beautiful way to be human. Send us with the gospel—the good news that you have come, that you have died for us, that you have brought new life—not just life after death, but true life before death, that you have risen to destroy death and darkness and to remake this world as you reign in love justice and truth and peace. Send us, Lord. Send us with boldness and courage as the hands and feet and mouth of Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.