What is God doing in the world?

In a conversation with a friend the other day, we were discussing the idea of the Mission Dei.  The theological concept that says that God is at already at work in the world, he is ahead of us, the mission is His not ours.  Our job is to see what God is already doing and to join with Him in that.

My friend was correct in pointing out that God has already told us exactly what it is he is doing in the world and as a result my friend argued we do not need to discover it but just get on with doing the task that he has given us.  That task is to teach the Bible and share the gospel my friend said.  Now that is hard to argue with… But you guessed it I don’t think that is quite correct.

What is it exactly that God is doing in the world?

God is building his Kingdom.  In the gospels we learn that the Kingdom has broken in through the events of Jesus, life, death, resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit.  God is gathering for himself a people who are brought under the kingship of Jesus and who live now in such a way that they have the first fruits (the life of the Spirit) of the coming Kingdom.  The Bible is also clear that one day Jesus will return to consumate his Kingdom and bring to completion the Kingdom that was promised, inaugurated and tasted with his earthly ministry.

How is God building his Kingdom?

He is calling to himself a people to live and experience the foretaste of that Kingdom now.  This people are called to live life under the kingship of Jesus as light to this dark world.  To point to the Kingdom of God as the truth and the hope of our lost world.

What role does proclamation have in this?

The gospel is a word, so we enter into the kingdom when we hear the word that God has spoken about this world, and about his plan of salvation through King Jesus.  We in turn are called to proclaim the gospel word as the word that makes sense of our lives.  As the word which makes sense of this world.  And as the word which offer life, hope and salvation in a lost and dark world.  In this sense it is vital that we teach the Bible and clearly proclaim the gospel word.  But this must always occur in the context of a community of people who live and who taste and whose lives point to a greater hope.  Teaching or proclamation cannot be the end – Kingdom living in the light of that word must be the goal.

So what does it mean to see what God is doing in the world and join with him in His mission?

It means to prayerfully look around our community and see where it is that God is at work calling and convicting and setting hearts searching.  It means we ought to search for opportunities to serve and to love and to bless our communities.  To help them to ask questions, to see transformed lives, to see lives that have about them a taste (just a taste – remember grace not perfection) of hope and of the kingdom of Jesus. To see in our (communal) lives a hint that perhaps there really is more to this life than what our eyes can see and our self-consumed desires can imagine. It means that this is where we ought to get involved and bring a taste of the Kingdom, a picture of a community that has the light of the gospel at its core.  And of course the word that explains our lives of hope, that makes sense of our transformed lives.


~ by John on August 10, 2008.

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