The Gospels, in various places speak of the mission Jesus had been given, his purpose for coming into the world. Passages like Luke 1:67-79 and 2:29-32 stand out, as does John 1:1-18, and Jesus claiming the prophecy of Isaiah as being fulfilled in him in Luke 4:16-21. In John 20:21-23, Jesus transfers this mission from the Father which had been given to him to the disciples, whereupon he breathed on them to receive the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 28:19,20 this same sending is repeated in what is called the Great Commission. This mission is the outflow of the fulfillment of the promise given in Genesis 3:15, which is repeated and expanded on many times in the Old Testament and finally fulfilled in Jesus. In Romans 8:18-25 Paul looks forward to the day in which all sin and all suffering will be removed from the world, as in Revelation 21. Now, however, is the Day of Salvation, Hebrews 4:1-13, and it is the day of the Mission of the Church, the day of making a difference in the world.
This making a difference may be broken into two parts, which are not really two parts and which cannot be separated. One is the proclamation of the good news in Jesus that through him there is forgiveness of sins. The other, is to reach out to a broken world in love, for God loves the world and Jesus died precisely to undo all the effects of sin. Jesus said that there are two great commandments upon which all the rest depend. They are to love God with all your heart and to love others as you love yourself. Evangelism is the sharing of he good news of God’s love and the salvation he has provided in Jesus. It is an act of love and deals with the eternal issues we all have to face in the end. Compassion for the needy and social justice are an application of this call to love to larger issues than merely our personal relationships. Throughout history Christians have been at the forefront of these issues, in areas like orphanages, education, the abolition of slavery, charitable organisations of many kinds, e.g. The Red Cross, World Vision, and the principles that underlie our democratic system of government and our legal system. Concerning involvement in such issues, the Bible says that if we see someone in need of food and we give them a blessing with our mouths but do nothing about their hunger, James 2:14-17, then what good is it? To be a Christian means to be involved, whether at home or abroad.
This is how we make a difference in the world, by proclaiming the good news about God’s love for them and salvation in Jesus and by sacrificing our lives so that in practical terms people might experience God’s love for them.
- In the beginning God promised that he would send a redeemer who would set us free
- Jesus is that redeemer, who was sent by the Father to save the world, which in the end means a New Earth and a New Heaven
- Jesus sends us as the Father sent him
- We are sent to proclaim the forgiveness of sins in Jesus and to love the world as God loves the world, meaning practical expressions of love
- Throughout history the Church has been the hands and feet of God in the world in many ways eg. orphanages, schools, unions, hospitals
- Today, there are major Christian organisations all over the world e.g. mission and aid organisations
- Being the hands and feet starts with person next to you, at home and in your neighborhood but also extends to every corner of the world
Genesis 1 - God as creator and Gn 1:26-28 - created in God’s image
Genesis 3:15 - promise of the redeemer to come
Isaiah 58:1-14 (especially v 6-12) - the kind of worship the Lord wants. Concerned with Social Justice issues
Luke 1:67-79 - prophecy about the mission of Jesus (note the references to the poor and similar references
Luke 2:29-32 - prophecy about the mission of Jesus
John 1:1-18 - Jesus came to show us the Father and that through him would come Grace and Truth, as opposed to Law
Luke 4:16-21 - Jesus claims that Isaiah 61 is fulfilled in him (note the broken hearted)
John 20:21-23 - Jesus sends us as he was sent
Matthew 20:34-40 - love God and love your neighbour
Matthew 28:19,20 - The Great Commission
John 15:9-14 - Love each other as Christ has loved us
James 2:14-17 - blessing people in the Lord requires also caring for their needs
Romans 12 - basic Christian Community
1 Cor 13 - love is the most important thing of all
Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Matthew 18:21-35 - forgive as you have been forgiven
Matthew 5:1-12 - the beatitudes, how God wants us to be and his blessings
Psalm 1,18,119 and Proverbs 1-9 - obeying the Lord leads to a happier life
Exodus 20:1-17 - the God who created and who redeems (Israel here and now for us the Church) tells us how to live
Isaiah 40 - the greatness of the one who made all things, who gives strength to those who wait for him
Isaiah 42:1-9 (especially v5) - it is the creator of all things who speaks to us
Isaiah 45:14-25 (especially v18) - there is only one true God, so trust in him and not in idols (read, anything we trust in other than the Lord)
John 1:1-18 (see especially v1-5) - All things were created by the Word and he is our light (that is our life, or gives light/life)
Acts 14:14-18 - God created all things and he has not left himself without a witness
Romans 1:18-32 - God created all things and by them has made himself known to all people but in rejecting him the result is all kinds of sin.
Col 1:15-20 - Jesus is the centre of the universe, not us
Many NGO’s either were founded by Christians or have been influenced by Christianity. Their websites give a great deal of information on ways in which we can make a difference. The following is a list which can be used as a starting point:
See also the Kantaloomba project Swan is involved in
Missionary Groups - these groups are concerned with proclaiming the Gospel, as well as helping the poor and social justice issues
The Micah Project
Introduction to Poverty course by Ray Hockley (Swan Christian College) - contact Ray at Swan
Ideas/Strategies for Lessons
Get in guest speaker from a relevant organization. Preferably some dealing with social issues like poverty/homelessness and some dealing with being a missionary etc
Research the history of Christian involvement in orphanages, hospitals, etc.
Discuss the support of a child overseas within a Christian aid organisation – guest speaker from aid organisation
Getting the class involved in a local support activity for a term or longer (eg. Salvation Army will collect items for homeless support, speak at assemblies, Red Cross etc)
Just Act – Tear Resource. Get involved with a Christian aid group such as TEAR and download their resources
Community service – people’s house/garden
Life, death and resurrection of Jesus – Twitter style Prezi
Many, many SCEA staff have Mission background – capitalise on it
World Vision Education Resource and website. Get involved in 40 famine, live below the line (not necessarily Christian organisations), and join as a class in the activities
Write letters to parliamentarians expressing their views on issues
Christmas shoeboxes/Samaritans Purse
Focus on the person next to them, what is happening, who is hurting in the school. Make plans, take action to improve the situation.