Our English word mission comes from the Latin word for sending. Being a
Christian includes being sent into the world as a representative of Jesus
Christ. Jesus said, As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.1
Jesus clearly understood His life mission on earth. At age 12 He said, I
must be about my fathers business2 and
21 years later, dying on the cross, He said, It is finished.
3 Like bookends, these two statements
frame a well-lived, purpose-driven life. He completed the mission the Father
The mission that Jesus had while on earth is now our mission since we are
the Body of Christ. What He did in his physical body, we are to continue as His
spiritual body, the church. What is that mission? Introducing people to God!
The Bible says...Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave
us the task of making others his friends also.4
God wants to redeem human beings from Satan and reconcile them to Himself so
we can fulfill the five purposes He created us for: to love Him, to be a part
of His family, to become like Him, to serve Him, and to tell others about Him.
Once we are His, God uses us to reach others for these five purposes. He saves
us and then sends us out. The Bible says, We have been sent to speak for
Christ.5 We are the messengers of Gods love
and purposes to the world.
There are a number of reasons why we need to take this mission
Jesus commands us to
continue His mission
He calls us not only to come to Him, but also to go for
him. Your mission is so important, Jesus repeated it five times, in five
different ways, in five different books of the Bible. 6 Its as if He were saying I really want you to really
get this! Study these five commissions of Jesus and youll learn the details of
your mission on earththe when, where, why and how.
In one of these instances Jesus said, Go to the people of all nations
and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you.
This Great Commission was not given to pastors but to every follower of
Note that these words are not the Great Suggestion. Your mission is
mandatory, not optional, if you are a part of Gods family. Jesus said,
Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not
fit for the Kingdom of God. 8
You may have been unaware that God holds you responsible for the unbelievers
that live around you. The Bible says, ... you must warn them so they may
live. If you don't speak out to warn the wicked to stop their evil ways, they
will die in their sin. But I will hold you responsible for their death.9 You are the only Christian some people will ever
know and your mission is to share Jesus with them.
Your mission is a great privilege
Although it is a profound responsibility, it is also an incredible honor to
be used by God. Paul said, God has given us the privilege of urging
everyone to come into his favor and be reconciled to him. 10 Your mission involves two great privileges:
working with God and representing Him. We get to partner with God in the
building of His kingdom. Paul called us co-laborers and said, We are
workers together with God. 11
Jesus secures our salvation, puts us in His family, gives us His Spirit and
then makes us His agents in the world. The Bible says, Were Christs
representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their
differences and enter into God's work of making things rightbetween
them. Were speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's
already a friend with you. 12
Your mission is the greatest thing you can do for
If your neighbor had cancer, or AIDS, and you knew of the cure, it would be
criminal to withhold that lifesaving information. Even worse would be to keep
secret the way to forgiveness, purpose, peace and eternal life. We have the
greatest news in the world and sharing it is the greatest kindness you can show
One problem that long-term Christians have is they forget how hopeless it
felt to be without Christ. We must remember that everybody needs Jesus, no
matter how contented or successful they appear to be. Without Christ,
they are hopelessly lost and headed for eternal separation from God. The Bible
says, Jesus is the only One who can save people. 13
Your mission has eternal significance
It will impact the eternal destiny of other people, so its more important
than any job, achievement or goal youll reach during your life on earth. The
consequences of your mission will last forever. Nothing else you do will ever
matter as much as helping people establish an eternal relationship with
This is why we must be urgent about our mission. Jesus said, All of us
must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, because
there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an
The clock is ticking down on your life mission, so dont delay another day.
Get started on your mission of reaching out to others now! Well have all of
eternity to celebrate with those weve brought to Jesus, but we only have our
lifetime in which to reach them.
Your mission gives your life meaning
William James once said, The best use of life is to spend it for something
that outlasts it. The truth is that only the Kingdom of God is going to last.
Everything else will eventually vanish. Knowing that, why would you give
anything else a higher priority?
Paul said, My life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work
assigned me by the Lord Jesusthe work of telling others the Good News about
God's wonderful kindness and love. 15 If you
fail your mission, youve wasted the life God gave you. On the other hand, if
just one person will be in heaven because of you, your life cannot be
considered a failure.
You werent placed on earth to do nothing or just live for yourself. God
invites you to participate in what Hes doing in the world. Whenever you see God
at work, its an invitation to join Him.
Gods timetable for historys conclusion is connected to the
completion of the commission weve been given
Today, theres a growing interest in the second coming of Christ and the end
of the world. When will it happen? Right before Jesus ascended to heaven the
disciples asked Jesus this question, and His response was quite revealing.
He said, It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set
by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on
you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth. 16
When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the
conversation to evangelism! He wanted them to concentrate on their mission in
the world. Jesus said, The details of my return are none of your business. What
is your business is the mission Ive given you. Focus on that!
Speculating on the timing of Christs return is futile since Jesus said,
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the
Son, but only the Father. 17 Since Jesus
said, Even I dont know the day or hour why would we try to figure it out? What
we do know for sure is this: Jesus will not return until everyone He
wants to hear the Good News has heard it. Jesus said, The Good News about
God's kingdom will be preached in all the world, to every nation. Then the end
will come. 18 If you want Jesus to come back
sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy.
Completing your mission will bring glory to God
The night before He was crucified Jesus reported to his Father, I have
brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.
19 Will you be able to say that at the end of your
life? Its what you were created to do and should be your life goal.
God blesses the life dedicated to His kingdom
Jesus said, More than anything else, put God's work first and do what he
wants. Then the other things will be yours as well. 20 The secret of being blessed by God is to participate in
His agenda for the world; to be a part of what He is accomplishing on earth.
Instead of praying, God bless what I want to do pray God help me to do what
youre blessing! Each morning pray Father, I know youre going to do some amazing
things in the world today, and Id like the privilege of being included in some
Fulfilling the mission you were made for will require you to abandon your
agenda and adjust to Gods agenda. David prayed, Turn me away from wanting
any other plan than yours. 21 Your mission
begins the moment you say yes to God in obedience, faith and love.
Can you think of any valid reason to prevent you from making that
commitment? The Bible says, Give yourselves completely to Godevery
part of youfor you are back from death and you want to be tools in the hands of
God, to be used for his good purposes.22 Why
dont you pause and commit yourself to this purpose for your life right now?
1_John 20:21 (NIV), 2_Luke 2:49 (KJV), 3_John 19:30,
4_2 Cor 5:18 (TEV), 5_2
Cor. 5:20 (NCV), 6_Matt. 28:19-20, Mark 16:15,
Luke 24:47, John 20:21, Acts 1:8, 7_Matt. 28:19-20
(CEV), 8_Luke 9:62 (LB), 9_Ezekiel 3:18 (NCV), 10_2 Cor. 5:18
(LB), 11_2 Cor. 6:1 (NCV), 12_2 Cor 5:20 (Msg), 13_Acts 4:12
(NCV), 14_John 9:4 (NLT), 15_ Acts 20:24 (NLT), 16_Acts 1:7-8
(NIV), 17_Matt. 13:32 (NIV), 18_Matt. 24:14 (NCV), 19_ John 17:4
(NIV), 20_Matthew 6:33 (CEV), 21_Psalm 119:37 (LB), 22_Rom. 6:13b
Rick Warren is the best-selling author
of The Purpose Driven Life (Zondervan 2002) from which this article
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC