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Part Two

:
The Father as the
Foundation of the Mission
Matthew 6:5-9; Luke 11:1
Church in the Boro, Rob Wilkerson

"As the Father sent me, even so I am sending you..." (John 20:21).

These were the words Jesus left with His disciples, as a part of John's recounting of the Great
Commission. The operative word here is, of course, send. And Jesus had a supernatural and
therefore unique sense of His own mission of being sent, yet it is not one that is supposed to be
uncommon for any Christian. Jesus makes it plain that what He felt, we can feel...because His
mission is now our mission.

But the mission begins with the Father. God is the greatest missionary ever. I learned this
more than ever from Christopher Wright in his book, The Mission of God. He taught me that,
"the whole canon of Scripture is a missional phenomenon in the sense that it witnesses to the
self-giving movement of this God toward his creation and us" (p. 48).

"The God revealed in Scripture is personal, purposeful, and goal-oriented. The
opening account of creation portrays God working toward a goal, completing it
with satisfaction and resting, content with the result. And from the great
promise of God to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 we know this God to be totally,
covenantally and eternally committed to the mission of blessing the nations
through the agency of the people of Abraham...[T]he mission of God could be
summed up in the words, 'God is working his purpose out / as year succeeds to
year,' and as generations come and go" (p. 63).

The simplest theme of Scripture is that God is missional. And He works out His mission through
humanity (from Adam to Abraham), Israel (from Abraham to Jesus), Jesus (from birth to
ascension), and ultimately through the church (from ascension to 2nd coming). This is because,

"Mission arises from the heart of God himself and is communicated from his
heart to ours. Mission is the global outreach of the global people of the global
God" (John Stott, The Contemporary Christian, p. 335).

The mission of God as worked out through Jesus Christ is no doubt the very pinnacle of this
whole talk of mission. He is the fulfillment of everything about the mission that could not and
would not be accomplished by ordinary human beings. He did what we could not do before so
that we can and will do it now.

Jesus did this because He had an intimate and passionate sense of the Father's mission. After
all, Jesus had been sent by the Father. And the Son could not come and carry out any mission

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other than the one the Father had sent Him with. That would be illogical. What we often miss
here is the oneness of God which allows two persons (Father and Son) to act in such agreement
and harmony together that it would actually be impossible to NOT accomplish the mission.
Jesus had an intimate sense of this. To get a picture of Jesus’ own sense of his mission, listen to
how He talked about His being “sent.” Observe how single-minded He was about everything He
did and talked about.
 Matthew 10:40. “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives
him who sent me.”
 Mark 9:37. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever
receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” (See also Luke 9:48)
 Luke 4:18. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim
good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and
recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed…”
 Luke 10:16. “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me,
and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
 John 4:34. Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to
accomplish his work.”
 John 5:24. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent
me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
It is interesting here that the believing Jesus calls us to do is a belief in the Father.
 John 5:30. “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just,
because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
 John 5:36-37. “For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very
works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the
Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me.”
 John 6:38-39, 44, 57. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but
the will of him who sent me…And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose
nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day…No one can come to
me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day…As
the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he
also will live because of me.”
 John 7:16, 28, 29, 33. “So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who
sent me…You know me, and you know where I come from? But I have not come of my
own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know…I know him, for I come
from him, and he sent me…Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I
am going to him who sent me.”
 John 8:16, 18, 26, 29, 42. “Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I
alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me…I am the one who bears witness
about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me…I have much to say

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about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world
what I have heard from him…And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone,
for I always do the things that are pleasing to him…If God were your Father, you would
love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent
me.”
 John 9:4. “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming,
when no one can work.”
 John 11:42. “I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people
standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” This is a prayer Jesus prayed
to His Father before raising Lazarus from the dead.
 John 12:44, 45, 49. “And Jesus cried out and said, ‘Whoever believes in me, believes not
in me but in him who sent me…And whoever sees me sees him who sent me…For I have
not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a
commandment—what to say and what to speak’.”
 John 13:20. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and
whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
 John 14:24. “Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that
you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.”
 John 15:21. “But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because
they do not know him who sent me.”
 John 16:5. “But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where
are you going?’”
 John 17:8, 18, 21, 23, 25. “For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they
have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they
have believed that you sent me…As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into
the world…that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that
they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me…I in them
and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that
you sent me and loved them even as you loved me…O righteous Father, even though the
world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.”
 John 20:21. “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me,
even so I am sending you.’”
The sheer weight and volume of John’s gospel alone points us to an extreme intimacy and
oneness Jesus had with the Father. He is the consummate “Him” referred to in all of the above.
So what is obvious is that Jesus had such a sense of oneness with His Father that it was
inevitable He would pursue any purpose or fulfill any mission other than the one His Father put
Him to.

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He was the Father’s representative on earth. As an ambassador or representative of the
Godhead, Jesus was the Father. To deal with Jesus was to deal with the Father. To believe in
Jesus was to believe in the Father. To see Jesus was to see the Father. Father and Son were so
unified in heart, soul, mind and strength that there was no difference whatsoever between
them.

There was no going over Jesus’ head, because Jesus carried the complete authority of the
Father. There was no wondering if the Father would ever say anything different, because every
single thing Jesus said was what the Father told Him to say. There was no manipulating Jesus
into doing something different, because His very DNA was the Father’s. In summary, it would
have been impossible for Jesus to do anything other than what the Father told Him to do in any
scenario at any given time.

Connecting the Fatherhood of God
to the Mission & to Our Prayer Life

So what is the connection of this theology of the Father
and of mission to that of our praying? Simply put, it was
with a clear sense of Jesus’ inseparable relationship with
the Father that gave Him a clear sense of His mission,
which in turn gave Him a clear sense of direction about His
prayer life. The Father was the foundation of His mission,
which was the foundation for His prayer life. Prayer, in
other words, is the talking to the Father about HIS
mission. Let me offer the following practical points about
the Father, His mission, and our praying.

First, Jesus’ Father is our Father too. Jesus was the Son of God, and we are sons of God. Jesus’
sense of mission and purpose was inseparably tied to His knowledge that He was God’s Son.
Our mission and purpose is inseparably tied to the knowledge that we are sons of God.

Second, Jesus’ mission is our mission too. The Father sent Jesus. Jesus has sent us. The
Father’s mission for Jesus is now our mission, too.

Third, it is inevitable therefore, that we would pursue any purposes or fulfill any mission other
than the one Jesus put us to…because it was the same one the Father put Him to. Listen again
to the words of Jesus Himself about His Father, and therefore your Father, and think of them as
words about your mission, because it was Jesus’ mission.

 “My food is to do the will of whom who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John
4:34).
 “I can do nothing on my own…because I seek not my own will but the will of him
who sent me” (John 5:30).

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 “For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am
doing, bear witness about me…” (John 5:36).
 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who
sent me” (John 6:38).
 “I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” (John 8:29).
 “We must work the works of him who sent me…” (John 9:4).
 “Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said…’Behold, I have come to
do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book’…Then he added,
‘Behold, I have come to do your will’” (Hebrews 10:5, 7, 9).

How Jesus Obtained & Maintained His Focus

How then did Jesus obtain and maintain this single-mindedness about His mission? First, He
did this through His oneness with the Father. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John
10:30). Before He died, He prayed to the Father describing His relationship to the Father in this
way: “that they may be one, even as we are one…just as you, Father, are in me, and I in
you…The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we
are one, I in them and you in me” (John 17).

There is a oneness Jesus has with the Father which He has given to us also. Therefore, we are
as much one with the Father as Jesus Himself is. Now, while we do not share in the exact same
essence of the Father that Jesus did, we share in some of that essence, which is primarily His
glory. He is in us, and we are in Him. We are so united that nothing can separate us from Him
(Romans 8:38-39). No man is able to pluck us from the Father’s hand (John 10:29).

Second, He did this because He always and forever knew, without any shadow of a doubt
whatsoever, that He was the Son of God. There was never any situation, circumstances, or
conditions which arose causing Jesus to doubt His relationship to and with the Father. And
much of the NT has been written to teach us the value of this truth about us as well.

Everything the church does is based on the efforts of individual believers. Everything individual
believers do is based on their relationship with their Father. That is why so much is written to
combat the lies which tell us we are NOT God’s children. And when we begin to doubt that,
everything else around us crumbles, the mission begins to fail, and we sink into depression,
discouragement, and uselessness. We are useful to the Father in the mission only in so far as
we are intimately aware of our relationship to Him as sons and daughters.

Third, He did this because He communed with the Father. This was why Jesus would often
arise before the sun came up to go out and find quiet places to pray (Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16). If
His mission depended entirely upon knowing what the Father wanted Him to do, then He had
to make time to hear the Father tell Him what to do. This, of course, came through the ministry
of the Holy Spirit.

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We too can commune with the Father through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The more we do
this, the greater, deeper and more thorough the sense each of us will have as to our purpose
and mission in life. A lack of spending time with the Father is THE single greatest reason why
we lack a sense of our purpose and mission, as well as why we lack a focus on it, and a
passion for it. Commune with the Father as Jesus did, and you’ll feel what the Father feels,
think like He thinks, see what He sees, want what He wants, desire what He desires, and pursue
what He pursues.

My mission is the same one
that the Father gave to Jesus.

It is guided by the same
communion with the Father
Jesus had in prayer.

It is a shrouded in the same
unchangeable relationship of
oneness I have with the Father.

This theology of the Father and His mission is the key background to The Lord’s Prayer. Jesus
is setting up His kingdom on earth, and the climax of His very first sermon is this prayer. And
that prayer begins with “Our Father.” These are words which instantly flag our minds to see a
relationship and a mission here. The Lord’s Prayer then is a prayer for those on the same
relationship to the Father as Jesus had, and for those who are on the same mission of the
Father as Jesus was.

Focusing in prayer becomes impossible without an intimate and firm knowledge about our
relationship with the Father. When I have no doubts about my relationship to the Father or
with the Father, I can pray boldly and confidently. There are no doubts, no worries, no
anxieties, no confusion, no stress. In short, I get some serious praying done when I pray with an
intimate sense of the relationship I have with the Father.

Direction in prayer becomes impossible without an intimate and firm knowledge about our
mission from the Father. When I have no doubts in my mind about my mission from the
Father, I can pray with few distractions, and with a greater sense of accomplishment, efficiency,
and productivity. In short, I get things done when I pray with an intimate sense of the mission
the Father has called me to.

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