January 8, 2022

The Missionary God

Lord’s Prayer Focus: The Father’s Character

Jesus taught us that prayer begins with understanding the God we are praying to. The Lord’s Prayer begins: “Our Father in heaven, holy is your name…” (Matthew 6:9). Jesus said that when we pray we are praying to our Father, which means we can have the same level of intimacy with God that Jesus had while He walked around on the planet. But in this prayer, Jesus also reminded us that our Father is in heaven. Jesus taught us that He is near us (our Father) and He is far away (in heaven).  He desires to live in relationship with us (our Father) but in the relationship we need to show Him honor because He is holy (in heaven). Let’s learn more about this Father we are praying to and depending on, and how his nature and character invites us to be a part of what He’s doing in the world.

John 17:18–21 (ESV) — 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

John 20:21–22 (ESV) — 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

In John 17:1-26, we get a glimpse of the intimacy between Jesus and the Father. As Christ poured his heart out in prayer, we see that He fully understood His identity and role in the Trinity, and that His being sent into the world by the Father was a primary aspect of that identity and role.

David Bosch, in his classic work Transforming Mission, writes, “The classical doctrine on the missio Dei as God the Father sending the Son, and God the Father and the Son sending the Spirit was expanded to include yet another ‘movement’: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit sending the church into the world. God is a missionary God. Mission is not primarily an activity of the church, but an attribute of God. It is not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill in the world; it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through the Father that includes the church. Mission is thereby seen as a movement from God to the world; the church is viewed as an instrument for that mission. There is church because there is mission, not vice versa” (p.390).

It is amazing that God shares his missionary identity with us. We are a “sent” (deployed) people, and are to live deployed in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Do you see your identity not only as a child of God in relationship with a loving and holy Father, but also one that has been marked by the missionary God who has sent you and empowered you on His mission to the world?

Prayer Points:
Write out a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to the Father for sending His Son into the world and for giving you access to the power of the Spirit for the mission He has invited you to join Him in.