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By Ven Dr I. U. Ibeme
Website: www.scribd.com/ifeogo ; e-mail: email@example.com
Vision is what we hope to be or want to be. Mission is what we have to do. Mission is what we must persevere to do in order to realise our ultimate Vision. Why did Christ found the Church in the World? By the Church, we mean the Community of Christ’s “disciple-witnesses called Christians. !or what purpose are there Christians in the world? What is the divine destiny " vision/desire# of the Church? What is the divine assi$nment " mission/duty# of the Church? Why has %od called you and me to be Christians? &hat is if you are truly a Christian i.e. someone converted to Christ and committed to Christ’s commandment and commission. The Church is the people called to %od out of the world throu$h the %ospel of Christ unto salvation in Christ and sent by %od into the world for the salvation of all. God’s reason for the Church is to ha e a peculiar people purified for !imself to show forth !is praise in the world by doin" "ood wor#s $%ph &'()* +hp &'(,* -it &'(.* (+et &'/0. Christ has sent the Church on the mission that will ensure we attain the promised vision of $lory. When we $et the hint of what %od is about to do, we commit ourselves to labour in order to ensure we wor# with God to $et there. %od helps 'is saints to $ive attention to their mission in order to attain and obtain their vision "(hp )*+,-.#. Christ is loo/in$ for a Church that is pure and $lorious0 so 'e showed 'is commitment by comin$, dyin$ and $oin$ to provide for the cleansin$ of the Church throu$h the Word, the blood and the 1pirit. 2f we truly believe our vision is realisable, we would be committed to the mission that will brin$ the vision to pass. 'owever, without a vision and understandin$ of the mission we will be 3missionless’ and aimless "(rov 45*-+0 'os 6*.#.
Understandin" -he Church’s Communion
1imply put, the Church of Christ e7ists in order to li$hten the world and salt the earth, "Matt. 8*-),-60 4Cor. 6*6,.# by bearin$ testimony9witness to the %ospel truth, which is in Christ :esus. Christians are in the world partly in order* "-# &o 1orship %od in spirit and truth ":ohn 6*4)#, "4# &o lead a life of Discipleship after Christ ":ohn +*)-#, and ")# ;s a community, to share to$ether and encoura$e one another in 2ellowship "'eb. -<*46,480 ;cts 4*6-#. &hese three , worship3 discipleship and fellowship could be $rouped under the term Communion in Christ. &his 1
Communion amon$ Christians serves to maintain and retain our li$ht, saltiness and witness. But how do we disseminate these to the world?
Understandin" -he Church’s Commission
What we do amon$ ourselves is our Communion with one another and in Christ ":ohn -*), =#. What we do towards the world is our Mission for Christ. 2t is the Communion and the Mission that come to$ether to become the Commission. &his is Christian arithmetic* Commission > Communion ? Mission. &he Communion "throu$h administration of Christ’s ordinances and ministration of the Word# stirs,up the li$ht and salt in the Church and the mission disseminate these to the world. &his is $reat mystery. &here are two important portions of the 1cripture, which Christians refer to as “$reat * "-# @ne is the %reat Commission in Matt 4+*-5,4< where Christ commanded the Church to % an"eli4e3 Bapti4e and Catechise. "4# &he other is the %reat Commandment in :ohn -)*)6 and -8*-4 where Christ commanded us to love one another as !e lo ed us. Without /eepin$ the %reat Commandment, we should not e7pect to be successful with the %reat Commission. We have seen what ma/es up the Communion, but what about the Mission?
-he Church’s Mission I* Christianisation $Christian 5ocial 6ction0
&he mission of the Church in the world has various ramifications and aspects. !irst of all, every human bein$, whether Christian or non,Christian owes %od and one another the stewardship and responsibility of* "-# Aeepin$ or Conser in" the environment "%en. 4*-8#. "4# B7ercisin$ dominion over or 5ubduin" the earth "%en. - 4+#, and ")# Bnsurin$ $ood Go ernance for a Cust and safe society "-&im. 4*-80 Dom -)*-,-<#. &he Church’s involvement in this "eneral mission should be in the form of e7ertin" Christian 89i"ht and 5alt: influence on the world to ensure that these are properly done both by believers and non,believers throu$h our* "-# !riendly dialo$ue or en$a$ement to challen$e and chan$e worldviews, "4# (ublic presence or participation at all levels of life in the society, ")# Concerted pressure or collaboration for the $ood of all, and "6# Bold and active proclamation of the %ospel of Christ’s 1alvation to all and sundry. &his is the Christianisation aspect of the Church’s mission to the world. ;part from Christian social action, the more far reachin$ aspects of the Church’s Mission are "-# Bvan$elisation "(ublishin$ the %ood Eews of Christ#0 and "4# Ministration "Fovin$ 1ervice to meet people’s needs#
-he Church’s Mission II' % an"elisation
By Bvan$elisation we mean* "-# +roclamation of the %ospel of Christ "i.e. the testimony of :esus Christ that “there is now the heavenly blessin$ of remission of sins "or sal ation from sin and damnation0 and the assurance of "lory "or hope of eternal inheritance# for anyone who repents to belie e in ;esus as the Christ and risen 9ord: F/ 46*6.,65# to the world in the power of the 'oly 1pirit "M/ -.*-8,4<0 F/. 5*40 Dev. -.4,5#. &his is called pure Bvan$elism. Bvan$elism means “publishin$ of $ood news . 2n Bvan$elism we bear witness that Christ came and was crucified for our sal ation in accordance with 1criptures0 that Christ is the risen3 rei"nin" and returnin" Ford and 1aviour. &his is the pure %ospel messa$e. "- Cor. -8*-,8, 4<,48#. &he %ospel messa$e also warns that when Christ shall return, 'e would vindicate the Cust and condemn the unbelievin$. "4# +ersuasion of those who on hearin$ the %ospel are convicted by the 'oly 1pirit, to become disciples throu$h con ersion "repentance and faith# and baptism. &his would covenant them to Christ and brin$ the blessin$s of sin removal and 1pirit bestowal "M/.-.*-.0 ;cts 4*).,6-0 Matt 4+*-5#.
-he Church’s Mission III' Ministration $Christian 5er ice0
Ministration is inseparable from Bvan$elisation. ;s we preach the %ospel, we must be compassionately moved to meet the needs of the hearers throu$h the power of the %ospel, which wor/s in us by the 'oly 1pirit. &he %reat Commission must $o alon$ with the %reat Commandment. By Ministration, we mean. -. 'ealin$ the sic/ of their disease in the mission field "Mar/ -.*-+0 F/ 5*-,4#. 4. Castin$ out demons from amon$ those bein$ evan$eliGed "M/ -.*-=0 F/ 5*-, 5# ). Fiberatin$ those we evan$eliGe from their condition and mentality of poverty, i$norance, captivity and slavery "F/ 6*-+,-5#.
-he +rimacy of % an"elism
Bvan$elism is of primary importance in the mission of the Church. 2t is by evan$elism that connection is established between the non,believers and Christ. 2t is by evan$elism that souls are saved eternally. 2t is no coincidence that Christ and 1t (aul referred to evan$elism as the “!2D1& @! ;FF in our mission to the world. "Mar/ -)*-<0 -Cor -8*)#. 2t is important to note that the word “Bvan$elical does not mean Bvan$elism or Bvan$elistic. Bvan$elical is a doctrinal attitude to the 1cripture, which holds to the supremacy of the %ospel above all thin$s , tradition, reason, and spiritual
e7perience. &his was the principle of the -. th century (rotestant Deformation. @ne is Bvan$elical when one believes in the supremacy of the Gospel. @ne is evan$elistic or evan$elisin$ when one is active in preachin" the Gospel.
1hy has the Church not e7celled in % an"elism<
-. 4. ). 6. 8. .. =. Because we thin/ we could separate Bvan$elism from the full conte7t of the Commission of the Church. !or Bvan$elism to be effective, we need the whole aspects of the Commission "Communion and Mission# to be at wor/. Because we $et occupied with other aspects of the commission and ne$lect evan$elism which is the first of all. Because we depend mainly on methods and techniHues without re$ard to the power of %od’s Word and the 'oly 1pirit. Whatever method you use, water cannot $ive flames and sand cannot salt a meal. Because we do not evan$elise with love. Bffective evan$elism needs communal love amon$ believers and compassionate love for the unbelievers. What we see today is evan$elism with rancour, hatred and divisions. Because the love of Christ does not constrain and compel us to reach out to the perishin$. Dather we evan$elise at our convenience and on our own terms "- Cor 8*-60 4 &im. 4*4a#. Because we preach our denominations and ourselves instead of preachin$ Christ. Because our fear of the non,believers’ reactions is stron$er than our conviction about their need for Christ and 'is salvation0 indeed stron$er than our faith in the power of the %ospelI
!ow then could we impro e on % an"elistic e7ploits< By'
-. Bein$ united with Christ throu$h repentance and faith unto remission of sin and empowerment by the 'oly 1pirit. 4. Wal/in$ in the 1pirit which enables us to understand %od’s Word and prove %od’s will concernin$ the purpose of the Church. But how could we learn if the Church leaders do not endeavour to impart on us that the Church is meant for both communion and mission and that Bvan$elism is the primary tas/ in the mission of the Church? 2n the days of the Missionaries, Christians used to say, “Fet me $o to the Mission:. &hese days of men of %od, Christians now say, “Fet me $o to Church: or “Fet me $o to 2ellowship . &he emphasis has chan$ed. ). 'avin$ a vision of the 'arvest ":ohn 6*)8b#. 2n Ei$eria, statistics show that the far,Eorth of this country apart from the middle belt is only -<J Christian "nominally# with less than 8J bein$ committed Christians. 1o, the harvest is be$$in$ for labourers but how many of us can see? We need vision. 6. (rayin$ the Ford of harvest to raise and send labourers. "F/. -<*4#. 8. %ivin$ support to the labourers by prayin$ and providin$ morale, material and money for missionary e7ploits. .. By individual Christians $oin$ "and by Churches sendin$# into the entire world to ma/e disciples from every "not certain# people $roup as Christ
commissioned all 'is believers in Mat 4+*-+,4<0 Mar/ -.*-8,-+0 Fu/ 46*68, 65.
Simply and directly put, t e c!re me""a#e !$ T e G!"pel pre"entati!n #!e" li%e t i"& Beloved, Hear this Great News, and please do something urgent about it. Do you know God loves you so much so He is zealous to S !" you #rom depravity, death, damnation and the devil in order to B$"SS you with "%"&N $ $'(") Do you know *esus +hrist came and died a bloody death in order to pay the ultimate price #or your eternal salvation unto glory, and because o# His resurrection, He is the proven -+hrist. and -the Son God. who will /udge the living and the dead) Do you know God reaches out #or you to &"%0&N to Him and receive this #ree #avour through your S'12$" ( '%H or B"$'"( that *esus is your sure Saviour and %H"&"(3&" let Him be your $ord in all things) ccept God4s gracious o##er through your simple #aith in +hrist now, and you4ll receive the power o# S3NSH'2 #or "ternal $i#e in +hrist. 2lease invite *esus as $ord into your li#e N35, and you4re saved eternally6 %hat4s all. +ongratulations6
Ven. Dr. I. U. Ibeme. MB.B5.3 DI+.-!.
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