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Jesus - Missions COMPLETED! - John 1:1-5, 14
There is, nor will there ever be, a better example of going “On Mission” than Jesus. He was perfect in everything, and His going ”On Mission” was no exception. As we conclude this 3-month journey exploring the biblical examples of missions, I pray that during this time you have learned new information, and also are actively applying what you have learned in your daily life. As you have learned of the vision for our church over the years to come, please be in prayer for God to provide everything needed so that we can personally and as a church effectively go “On Mission” for Him.
Division #1: The Prophecy of “God with Us”.
Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:22-23
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
As we begin this division, we start in the Old Testament. To build the case for the statement that Jesus was the ultimate missionary, we must begin with who He is. We can start in Genesis 1:26 where God says “let Us make man in Our image.” The plural Us and Our point to a conversation between multiple individuals, however immediately following verse 26 is verse 27 that says God prepareth the man in his image. So the author of Genesis, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, uses a plural word and then a singular word, talking about the same person, God. So, we can extrapolate from those two verses, right next to each other, that God is both singular and plural. (Not plural that there are many gods, but plural in the fact that he has distinct consubstantial persons.) Genesis Chapter 1 does not extrapolate on who the US is, so we look elsewhere in the Bible for God to reveal this mystery to us. We need not look any further than the book of Matthew to put the puzzle together neatly. Jesus himself is talking about baptism and he tells the disciples with Him to baptize in “the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”. So, back in Genesis 1, when God refers to the US, He was talking amongst the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Well, we have been introduced to God the Father, God the Holy Spirit already in Genesis 1, but what about the Son? In Mark 14:61-62, when asked if He was the Christ, the Son of the Blessed Jesus answered I Am. John 8:58 records Jesus as saying Before Abraham was, I Am, and in John 14:6, Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
It from these few examples that we can most assuredly say that before time, before everything, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were. They are the three consubstantial persons, or three individual persons who are in fact, one God. To clarify, look at the shield to the right, which explains the Trinity. Plenty of people have tried to give a real-world example of the Trinity, but they all fall short of really being an accurate example. For example, Clark Kent is Superman, so wherever Superman is, Clark Kent is there too. But they are not separate, they are just the same thing disguised as something else. Water, Ice, and steam are all chemically H2O, so in a certain way this could be an OK example of explaining the Trinity, but this example falls apart too, because water, ice and steam cannot be the same thing at the same time, it is EITHER water or ice or steam. Yes it is the same thing chemically, but when it is ice, it is not steam, and when it is water, it is not ice. Nothing is the Trinity except the Trinity.
With our determination of who the Trinity is, and what parts He has, let’s now look at the words of the Bible and read what the Old Testament promises. Sometime around 790BC, the prophet Isaiah recorded in Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. The English translation of the last word in this verse Immanuel. It is a compound word in Hebrew, taken from the word ‘im (pronounced eem) which means among and with; and the word el (pronounced ale) and it means mighty one and God.
When Matthew wrote in Matthew 1:22-23, he referenced this prophecy about Jesus. However, when Matthew wrote this, he went ahead and included the translation for us, with us is God. This is one of those unique words in the Bible both because it is not used very frequently, and because of its abundant meaning.
How beautiful it is to know that God promised to be with us. Almost 800 years before His birth, Jesus had Isaiah record one of His names, to be a promise to the people that He would be with them. He had Isaiah write one of His names that stated He was God, and He would be with us. He is the Creator of the universe. He is part of the Trinity. He is the Son of God. He is equal to God and the Holy Spirit, and He also is God with us.
1: Jesus’ very name means that He is with us.
Application Question: When have I acted like, or when have I felt like God was not with me?
Division #2: The Fulfilment of “God with Us”.
1 John 5:20, John 1:1-5, 14
20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…… 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
So in the first division, we saw that Jesus is God. We also saw that from the beginning of time, Jesus was promised to be Immanuel or God with us. Isaiah prophesied that sometime in the future, a virgin would give birth to a baby and that baby would actually be God. As we move into this division, we see that become a reality. The prophecy had been fulfilled in a little town called Bethlehem.
Aside from Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth and how Jesus was the fulfillment of that prophecy, John dedicated an entire book’s theme to Jesus being the God-man. John had a distinctive way to present things with his writing style. We read it in both his Gospel account, his epistles, and in his letters. In the book of John, he states the concept of Immanuel in a style which emphasizes the God nature of the God-man. In 1 John, John concentrates on the security of Immanuel. John says that we who believe and receive know Him, and we are also in Him. How awesome is it to think that He will never say to us "away from me, I never knew you." Jesus’ gift of eternal life wouldn’t be eternal if it could cease. John reminds us that we are in the one who is God and is Himself, eternal life.
In the first of John’s epistles, 1 John 5:20 tells us that Jesus came to give us understanding, so we can know Him and know that He is who He says He is. Jesus is trustworthy when He tells us who He is. In our first division, we walked through different scriptures to tie together God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and to show the doctrine of the Trinity. This one verse in 1 John ties God with Jesus in an inseparable way. John writes that Jesus gave us the understanding to know who God is. The second goes even farther to solidify this point. We are in God by being in His son, Jesus. So if we are in Jesus, we are in God by default, because they are both one.
In John 1:1-5 and verse 14, it explains this concept of Jesus being God. The first verse in John starts “In the beginning” which is exactly how the Bible begins in Genesis, “In the beginning”. Here John is laying out his defense that Jesus is God, and so he starts where everything starts: at the beginning. John then goes on to say in the remainder of verse one that Jesus is the word and the word was present at the beginning of time, with God and the Holy Spirit, and in fact, the word was God too.
In the next few verses John argues the facts that Jesus is as important to the Trinity as the other two parts. They cannot NOT be the Trinity, so each part is as important as the other two, and they complement each other.
Verse 3 states that through Jesus all things were made. “Wait a minute!” you say, “When I read Genesis chapter 1, it says God made everything. How can John write this? Didn’t God create everything?” The answer to this is, Yes, He did. Both statements are correct because Jesus IS God. Verse 4 echoes verse 3. Geneses 2:7 tells of the Lord God breathing the breath of life into Adam’s nostrils. John 1:4 says that in Jesus is life. Again, God gave life to Adam; so did Jesus, because Jesus is God.
Verse 14 is where the rubber meets the road, with regard to Jesus being the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John points out that not only was The Word (Jesus) present in the beginning, not only was The Word (Jesus) equal to God and was active in the creation of all things, but The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The promise of “God with us” was fulfilled when Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us!!
2: The fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy should radically change our perspective of God.
Application Question: How could I tell people who I know are lost that the God and Creator of the Universe became a man and lived with us?
Division #3: Jesus was the ultimate and perfect missionary
Philippians 2:1-11, Hebrews 1:1-3
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Our final division completes this entire series and points us to the One who was the perfect missionary. Taking what we have learned in the first two divisions of this lesson, we have nailed down with specific scripture that Jesus was present with God and the Holy Spirit at the beginning of time. Each part of the Trinity has always been, is, and will always be. Jesus is God, and through Him all things were made. Jesus is the promise from the Old Testament, and is the hope for our Salvation.
But how does all this point towards missions? How does learning about the Trinity point towards us going “On Mission”? We do missions in the name of Jesus, and while Jesus was here on earth he went on a lot of mission trips. He lived His life “On Mission”, but was He the perfect example of a missionary? The clear answer is that He is the perfect example of everything since He is pure perfection. But let’s look at this from a heavenly perspective.
Jesus was in perfection. Jesus was at the right hand of the Father, in Heaven, worthy of all praise and honor and glory. And Jesus went on the ultimate mission trip. Jesus left Heaven and came to earth on a mission trip to change history. It is said that the definition of a missionary is someone who leaves their family for a short time so that others can be with their families for eternity, and this is true with Jesus. He stepped out of perfection, out of Heaven, and into this world, so that He could gain the victory over sin and give us a way to be with Him in Heaven forever. And when he left this earth and returned to the Father in heaven, he gave us the same directive that He had just lived out.
Look at Philippians 2:1-11, specifically verses 7-8. We first see that the very nature of a missionary is to be a servant. Verse 7 tells us this. Jesus made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant. When we go “On Mission” to everywhere from our own neighborhood to a country on the opposite side of the planet, we are becoming servants. We are being servants of the Most High God, being obedient to his command to “Go”, but we are also being servants to the people to whom we are being missionaries. A Christian “On Mission” is a servant, serving people hungry for the Word of God, and being the hands of feet of Christ, ministering to their needs.
The second part of verse 7 reminds us that He stepped out of the perfection of Heaven to be made in human likeness. While it is a very weak comparison, when our Vacation Bible School here at BSFBC raises money for clean water wells in India, and then people leave all the comforts and abundance of the United States and go there, that is on a small scale, being like Jesus. But imagine the enormity of what Jesus did. When He went “On Mission”, He left perfection. The perfection of Heaven He put down, to become a human here on Earth. Verse 8 goes on to say that Jesus not only put on this human form but while He was in His human form, He was obedient as every human should be, to the will of the Father. Jesus humbled himself as a man and He was obedient, even to His death on a cross, because as the perfect missionary, He cared more about who He was coming to share Himself with than He cared about His own human wants.
Verse 9 and 10 go on to say what His reward was for being in perfect obedience to the will of the Father. Because Jesus went “On Mission” perfectly, because He was the perfect man, because He was the perfect example of everything, His Father exalted Him to the highest place, gave Him the name that is above all names, and gave Him the glory and honor that requires every knee to bow (and that is every knee in heaven, on earth, and under the earth) and every tongue to confess that Jesus Christ IS Lord!
Hebrews 1:1-3 tells us that while God in the past had spoken through the prophets, God himself spoke to us through His Son, Jesus. As was the custom of Biblical times, the firstborn male was due the inheritance, and God exemplifies this with His firstborn and only Son, Jesus. This is another verse that tells us about the Trinity too. Jesus is the heir to all things, but also through Jesus, all things were made.
The last part of Hebrews 1:3 and Hebrews 10:12 says that Jesus SAT DOWN at the right hand of the Father. Here, Jesus is sitting in a place of power. He does not strain to control the universe. He has it in hand so much that He rules the universe sitting down. Through Him, all things were made. He came to earth and was the perfect missionary. When He accomplished His task to perfection, He ascended to Heaven and sat down. That is where He is right now, sitting at the right hand of the Father.
ACTS 7:55 55 But he (Stephen), being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
The last thing I want every member of this church to internalize is what Jesus thinks of people who go “On Mission” for Him. Acts 7 tells us of Stephen’s arrest and trial. Stephen gives an AMAZING sermon in answer to the accusations against him from the Jewish leaders. Stephen retold Jewish history and explained where the Jews came from, their history, and why Jesus is the fulfillment of every Old Testament prophecy. When Stephen, speaking of Jesus, finished his sermon by saying “And now you have betrayed and murdered him—” the members of the Sanhedrin were furious and took Stephen out and stoned him to death. But here is the picture I want everyone to dwell on and remember for the rest of their lives. Stephen had been faithful, Stephen had gone “On Mission”. Stephen was sharing his faith and speaking the truth without fear. Stephen was trying to convey to everybody who would hear the Good News and saving grace of Jesus. And at the very moment of his death, Jesus WAS NOT SITTING at the right hand of God, He was STANDING! He was STANDING, cheering Stephen on. Like a runner rounding 3rd base with the crowd cheering him on to home plate, or like a running back breaking tackles as he crossed the goal line, Jesus was STANDING for Stephen. Can you just hear Jesus screaming “Well Done! Well Done! My Good and faithful Servant!” Will Jesus be standing and cheering for us at the moment of our death? Will our lives be such an amazing testimony for Him that we will get the same reception to Heaven that Stephen received? When Jesus’ work on earth was done, He sat down at the right hand of the Father, but when Stephen died, Jesus was STANDING for him. Wow!
3: Jesus commands us to go and to remain “On Mission” for Him.
Application Question: If you can picture Jesus at the moment of your death, will your life inspire Jesus to stand and cheer for you as you enter Heaven? If not, what can you do to live more with that goal in mind?