What are the stages that we see throughout scripture toward fulfillment of God’s mission.

After the fall of mankind and the flood of Noah’s time God was in the sidelines, without any direct contact with mankind. God found faith in Abraham however, which resulted in giving him a promise which said that through him all the families in the world would be blessed. God was working out salvation for mankind even at that time, by hoping to send jesus his son to earth. God renewed this very same promise to Jacob. God’s master plan was to thwart satan and his work and bring the world his creation back to himself., by establishing his kingdom here on earth. However this understanding of the kingdom of god is in part eschatological and in part here, already manifested which we through faith must bring upon the earth and over our lives. Jesus indictaed that this kingdom is not material or political as the jewish seemed to expect in that day,and still the jewish are expecting the return of the messiah to be triumphant in a materialistic and political sense. The kingdom of god as jesus meant was spiritual. The bible says that the kingdom of god is not food and drink but joy, peace and righteousness in Christ jesus our lord. Our god is a “missio dei”. This is evident in the way he worked throughout history.in his master plan to bring the world and the human race back to himself he works in a remarkable way.he chose Abraham because he chose to have faith in god which was accounted as righteousness to him. However the choosing of Abraham was not arbitrary. God chose Israel a very weak nation for god himself says in the bible that he chose Israel not because they were strong but because they were weak. Israel is central to the whole world. It was to set an example to all the other pagan nations while gradually god would make all nations embrace the good news and everyone in every nation will bow down before him and every tongue will confess that jesus is Lord. The old testament was a preparation period by god for the ultimate culmination of missions. In the old tetament the central message is that Yahweh is god almighty and king over all. This can be seen in many scriptures in the old testament. One such example is the scripture which says “I am the lord, your holy one, the creator of Israel, your king”. God chose Israel to become a model nation among other nations and kingdoms of the world. Israel was to representative of god’s goodness and holiness and set an example of right living.god poured down his blessings upon Israel and it was to become a land overflowing with milk and honey. Because Israel had fellowhip with god who called it into himself he was much more rigid on them regarding their disobedience to him. Everytime they wandered away from god by commiting abhorrent sins such as baal and ashtoreth worship and sacrifing children like the pagans around them god punished them severly. The sacrifice of a lamb every Passover once a year for the remissionof sins was nothing but a proto type of what would be, in years to come. It was a prototype a means of making Israel understand god’s glorious redemption plan through sending his son to be a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. The kingdom of god as seen through israel’s history in the old testament is that they were a chosen race called to live under his rule and the concomitant hope of the coming kingdom of god. Israel was to exemplify what irael has thrown off in the garden of eden, which was obedience to the rule of god. God has tries to restore the communion he enjoyed with Adam and Eve in the garden of eden. He established a covenant with the people of Israel in which he promised to be their god and that they would be his people. At the mountain of Sinai god offered the Israelites direct communication with him, he offered them his voice. He desperately wanted to talk with his children. After all his sole purpose in creating them was so, he could enjoy

fellowship with them. However, rather than embrace god’s outstretched hand of love and fellowship, and endure the accompanying purification process necessary to communicate with a Holy God, they came up with an alternative solution. To Moses the Israelites said, “why don’t you go near and all that the Lord our God speak to you, and we will hear and do it” (deut 5:27) rather enjoying face to face communion and a direct relationship with God as Moses did they were content with a set of laws to live by. The law produces guilt and ultimately death. After Jesus’s sacrifice and glorious redemption we stand in a position where we can experience communion with god, yes direct communion just like Adam and enjoyed with God. In the old testament the people of god truly heard his voice. In every covenant from Genesis to revelation he had spoken to his children. Below are a few examples of instances when god spoke to human beings throughout biblical history. And they ( adam and eve) heard the sound of the lord our god.( gen 3:8) Now the lord said to Abraham…(gen 12:1) The lord said to moses(ex 4:21) Now the lord said to aaron(ex4:27) The lord spoke to Joshua( josh 1:1) The word of the lord came…to Ezekiel( ezek1:3) And the sprit told me (peter) to (acts 11:12) I (john) was in the sprit on the Lord’s day and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet saying “write in a book what you see..” (rev 1:10-11) But you have come to mount zion and to the cty of the living god…and to jesus,the mediator of a new covenant,…see to it that you do not refuse him who is speaking( heb 12:22,24,25) God has continually offered communion and fellowship to his people, and they have broken his heart by refusing him an choosing instead to live under law. Still occasionally down through the history of the new testament, someone was not content to live by under rules and sought instead the relationship for which he was created. Probably the man who achieved the highest level of communion with god is david. He was not one to keep his thoughts and feelings under wraps. Jesus said that eternal life is knowing god, not a membership cad you show peter to be admittd into heaven. “ and this is eternal life, that they might know thee the only true god, and jesus Christ whom thou hast sent”(jn17:3) jesus came to offer us eternal life, a retrn to the garden where our father is still walking, still loving, still longing, for sweet communion with us. Hebrews 12:18-25 is a word to the church.the writer compared the Israelites’ fear at the fiery mountain, where god once offered relationship, to the glory of mount zion. In verse 25 he said, “ see to it that you do not refuse him who is speaking” once more god is speaking. Once more he is offering relationship. He is saying “ please do not do what the Israelites did.please donot refuse my voice. Please do not return to the law. Please do notreject me once more.” We are faced with the same choice. God’s missiological plan has a bigger vantage point than only communion with his children. It has to do with bringing the whole world back to him, back to the promise they once lost. The whole world is crying out in brith pangs and is waiting to see the glorious redemption and the revelation of god’s sons and daugthters. The great commission

The great commission was given out at the end of jesus’ earthly ministry a little before his death. Eachof the gospels ends with and acts begins with the great commission. Why should the great commission be given now? It is because it was only then, only after jesus’ death that the centripetal mission becomes a truly centripetal mission. This is possible for a number of reasons. One is that it is only after christ’s death and ascension that his spirit, the holy spirit can be sent to the church. At Pentecost the holy sprit was poured out on the apostles, the first church. Now, a Christian is chracterised by whether he has been born again, and anyone who has been born again has the holyspirit residing inside of them. Now, anyone who is filled with the holy spirit, and wherever such a Christian is, sharing his faith, there lies the centre of Christianity. It is not in Rome, or in England, but within every Christian if jesus is living within. This is what is meant by centrifugal. Jewish proselytizing that was carried out by them in everywhere they were dispersed to is centripetal. The jewish diaspora were dispersed far and wide in the world, even as far as china. They took their customs, their religion, and their belief in a sovereign god with them, and built synogouges where ever they landed being careful to observe the Sabbath and other jewish festivals. The jewish diaspora thus formed the bridge across which Christianity entered the world. In numbers 23:9 speaking of the Israelite jews god says “ I see a people who live apart and do not consider them one of the nations.” The holy sprit is associated with speaking in tongues which began at Pentecost. At Pentecost the apostles received the spirit with power when tongues of fire came upon them giving them boldness to speak. The scriptures too are written under the inspiration of the holy spirit. It is very clear through his working throughout the centuries that the holy spirit is interested in mission. After Pentecost when peter gave his first sermon summoning people to accept the good news of the gospel the people were amazed to hear them speaking in their own different native tongues. For they have come to Israel from various parts of the world to celebrate the Passover. Through this language ability, it is clear that the holy spirit wants to reach all people of the world, to bring them back, to give them the glorious good news, to save them, redeem them. It could very well be that the central purpose of the outpouring at pentecost is for missions. At the end of the gospel of luke jesus says to his apostles’ “ and now I will send the holy spirit, just as my father promised. But stay here at the city until the holy spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” And power was received from heaven when the apostles who were gathered in the upper room received tongues of fire. While before they were racked by fear, and stayed within locked doors now they had the boldness to speak. It gave peter when he healed the crippled man, boldness to speak to the high priest and say “ leaders and elders of the nation are we being questioned because we have done a good deedfor the crippled, do you want to know how he was healed?”. Luke says that jews from every nation under the heaven was in Jerusalem at that time. As luke points out in acts, “ and everyone present was filled with the holy spirit and began speaking in other tongues”. The holy spirit gave them the ability to speak in gentile tongues! When they spoke in tongues they communicated! The meaning of all this was that probably god intended missions to be carried out to the whole world. The holy spirit himself is the supreme strategist, the instrument and motivator for world missions. Not the great commission itself. How god began the centrifugal mission is a striking example of his intent. The holy spirit is the sprit of jesus and it is also the spirit of god. In this way jesus began worldwide evangelization which continues today by the power of the holy spirit. The church too was established at the same time, at Pentecost. The church is the

body of Christ, and we become its members when we join the church. Just as jesus promised he destroyed the church and built it up again in three days. For both the jew and the gentile, the church become one and the same. And this church, the body of Christ, is to carry out the missionary purpose into the rest of the world. In the first century after Christ, his two apostles carried the mantle of taking the gospel to the world. The mantle of missions. They had been given the authority for new testemant scriptures which they wrote. They planted churches, as each apostles traveled far and wide to reach the un reached. Thomas went to India, paul to the gentiles,peter to the jews, and they became pioneers in church planting. They were ambassadors for Christ, for jesus himself said “ he who listens to you listens to me”. The people of god were called out of the world and sent to the world. For the modern church, missionary work should not only be a part of its activities, but missionary work should be the citeria for all its cativities. Feeding the flock is necessary and important, but missionary work is much more important. When it comes down to it , the graet commission was given to the church to bring the kingdom of god on earth. The end of history will culminate in the beginning of god’s kingdom. We as god’s sheep and children should yeran for this kingdom to be established. We should yearn for his loving rule to come down. We should remember also that god want nobody to peish but that al should come to repentance. With this in mind we should make it our purpose to reach out to unbelievers in love and tell them of forgivenss for sins through jesus Christ, and in the age to come eternal life which has been promised to every believer. In the course of history we see god essentially as a missio- dei, carefully working out salvation of mankind. God is in control of history. Go will have his salvation brought down to all humanity. It is in part achieved through christ’s sacrifice on the cross, and the rest of it will be achieved in the end of this age with Christ second coming. It is upto us to do the work given to us in obedience to the great commission until god perfects his will and purpose for the world.