Mission to the world is broader than ‘world evangelisation’ – Bishop of Singapore

Oct 6, 2016 by

The challenge of mission to the world

Bishop Rennis Ponniah (Singapore) and Archbishop Ben Kwashi (Jos, Nigeria)

The mission of God is the redemption and recreation of the entire, fallen created order. That mission is founded on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, culminating in and evidenced by His resurrection from the dead.

In Jesus, the kingdom of God that was longed for ( as a future age in human history when God rules a universe not spoiled by sin, darkness, decay or death) has been inaugurated and is awaiting completion.

The risen Christ is extending the kingdom of God in the world through His Church. (Acts 1: 1-8)

In that sense, mission to the world is broader than ‘world evangelisation’. The book of Acts shows us what is involved.

Proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ faithfully

The Gospel is the greatest news the world will ever hear: redemption, reconciliation and re-creation. Tongues of fire came to unite (Acts 2 1-11) – and to assist communication – not fire from heaven to destroy (Luke 9 51-56). Truth was presented to the mind, and an ethical component called for repentance and godliness (Acts 2 38-40; 24:10-25; 26:10) Truth is to be proclaimed with signs and wonders attending, and is best proclaimed by spiritually vibrant, witnessing and discipling local churches ( Acts 2 42-47).

Overcome the hostility of evil boldly.

“Whoever is going to become involved in redeeming the world must face bitter confrontation and even death. Jesus went through all this so that toady we are thje beneficiaries of this huge price…. Jesus rose triumphantly to his throne as savior, redeemer and judge.” Ben Kwashi

That is the path of our Lord and the path of the church. Suffering is normative for the Christian. As we are brutalized we are absorbing the poison of hatred. We are not weak as the world counts weakness. We go through suffering to resurrection. I Peter calls us to be prepared for suffering for doing good. Long term as we overcome evil we need good governance, just law enforcement and peaceful negotiation. We long for our societies to be governed well.

Shine the light of God’s rule winsomely.

Acts 13.44 The whole city came together. Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly…Behold we are turning to the Gentiles for so the Lord has commanded us… to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.

As the kingdom breaks in Paul and Barnabas see themselves as fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 49.6 – to be the light to the nations, as the servant of the Lord (Isa 42.1-7) This is fulfilled in Jesus. This is not exhausted in Jesus but carries over to the church – as salt and light. Jesus is completing it through us. This is not our mission, but we the people of God bring the light of Jesus to all who are appointed to the kingdom.

What does it mean to be the light to the nations? It means authentic holiness. There is a holiness, covenant kingdom in family life, fathers who forgive and embrace their children, the way we treat domestic helpers, also in our communal life. The apostles in the New Testament are challenging us to live lives worthy of the Lord – honesty and true caring for one another. There is a ‘one-anotherness’.

This also brings beauty.

There are also good works. We are to remember the poor and needy, Galatians 2.10. We must look out for the person in need who is often forgotten. Engagement with society, in the market place and in the public square. What is the ethics of bio-technology, and of the transgender issue? To restore those who are sexually broken: God’s divine intentions are being restored. Gender fluidity is against God’s intention for his world.

The church presents society with a picture of what it can be. How can we be totally engaged with the secular world? We give a society a picture of what it can be under God. The church is to be the sign of the kingdom. That is why the enemy attacks the church. If the enemy can spoil our witness who will hear our message?

We work for the whole creation. There are those opposing greed and the deforestation of the world as disciples of Jesus.

Shining the light of Christ is a wide thing. We can co-operate with other religions in working for the common good. The current crisis creates room for stepped up social care. In Nigeria because of IDPs, Christians are asked to welcome them into their homes and children in their schools. Sudanese mothers walk their children to school in Egypt.

Three dimensions of the gospel: proclaim, overcome, shine.

God is renewing the vision of what the Kingdom of God means and how it is to be extended. He is supremely in control. Fear no evil. Thy kingdom come. The church is to be a penetrating and beautiful light.

So build strong and vibrant and outward looking parishes because that is where the people are.

Work with others across denominations. On our golden jubilee of Singapore we sang the Aaronic benediction over our Prime Minister as 50,000 Christians gathered with him in the national stadiums.

We are a working fellowship together. Pray for how we can strengthen structures and processes among those ‘found faithful’ in the Communion to be a sustainable global fellowship for faith, order and mission that is conformity to God’s Word.

God’s purpose is the Edenisation of the world through God’s power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1.8).

God has always wanted to release his son into his mission. Out of Egypt I called my son, refers to Egypt and also referred to the flight to Egypt of the Holy Family. Now this assembly is going to the end of the earth to make his kingdom known. Our Lord Jesus Christ is leading His Church ‘out of Egypt’ today to fulfill the legacy of blessing the world with the riches of living under the rule of our mighty God and Saviour.

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