Neighbors and Nations | Week 5, Day 4

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Day 4: Christ, The Model For Missions

Jake Potter, author

Read

Philippians 2:5-8

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Reflect 

 The incarnation of Christ is the model for all mission work. Just as God came and took on flesh to dwell among us and present himself in a way we could understand, so too does the missionary go and take the gospel to people of other cultures and present it in flesh and bones—in ways that become understandable and real in the lives of the hearers.Darrell L. Whiteman describes the missiological implications of the incarnation beautifully:

“The incarnation tells us something important about God. God chose an imperfect culture with its limitations for making known God’s supreme revelation. From the beginning of humanity God has been reaching out to human beings embedded in their different cultures. And God’s plan for the salvation of the world has been to use ordinary human beings, like ourselves, to reach others who are immersed in a culture different from our own. The incarnation tells us that God is not afraid of using culture to communicate with us.”

I want us to think about Philippians 2 in light of this. Even though Jesus is God, he chose to humble himself and take on the form of man, and more specifically, a servant. Servanthood is essential in every missional context because being a missionary is being a servant. The same is true with all of ministry, and all of us can minister to others wherever we are. For example, although in a certain sense I “work” at my church, the reality is that I “serve” at my church. I don’t just teach teenagers, I serve them. This servant’s mentality of ministry not only describes the actions, but also defines the type of leadership ministers need to practice: servant leadership. It is not the leadership that demands the spotlight, nor is it the leadership that demands obedience. Rather it is the leadership that begins on the knees of one who washes the feet of the other with the love of God in even the toughest of circumstances.

The incarnation of John 1:14 described in Philippians 2 then becomes not only our model for missions as a whole, but specifically as a model for world missions and cross cultural communication. As Whiteman puts it, “God did not become a generic human being. God became Jesus the Jew, shaped and molded by first century Roman occupied, Palestinian Jewish culture. This meant that Jesus spoke Aramaic with the low prestige accent spoken around Galilee. He avoided eating pork and other foods prohibited by the Torah.” In his incarnation, Christ shows us that God entered into a specific culture so that people could know God more personally and intimately than before. While this does show that God uses cultural forms to speak to us in ways we understand, it also shows Jesus’s humility. 

This is the model that Jesus demonstrated for us. He humbled himself and took on the form that would speak to those he came to serve, and chose to lead as a servant rather than one who should be served. As we are called to go out and preach the gospel to the whole world, we should be reminded that we are called to servanthood. Whether our mission field is on the other side of the world or right here in our back yard, Christ showed us that the model of our mission begins on our knees. 

[1] Whiteman, Darrel L. “Anthropology and Mission: The Incarnational Connection”, pg 31

Respond

How is Jesus our model for missions? What could you do to emulate him in how you interact with others, particularly those who are different form you? How could you serve others in your mission field?

Mission Trip Highlights

In this section, we will be highlighting our mission trips, There will be a mission trip meeting to hear about all our trips on November 15. Use the links below to go and read more about each trip and pray about whether or not you feel God calling you to participate.

COSTA RICA – July 11-16, 2021: https://cfhome.focusmissions.com/!#/18796/costa-rica-2021

On the Missions in Costa Rica – House Build trip, your group will have the incredible opportunity to witness this as you help build a home for a family in need in one of the neighboring marginal communities of San Jose. These memorable days will leave a lasting impact on your heart forever!

MISSION ARLINGTON – August 1-5, 2021: https://cfhome.focusmissions.com/!#/18797/mission-arlington-2021

Mission Arlington exists to take church to the people. Consisting of a massive assortment of ministries such as apartment churches, emergency assistance, health care, a food pantry, after school programs, and more, Mission Arlington stands as a reminder that there are many big needs here in our own DFW Metroplex. With this trip, we will be leading two VBS groups at two of the apartment complexes Mission Arlington works with. We will also be working to collect donations (like food, clothing, and/or school supplies) to bring to Mission Arlington that they can the redistribute to those in need.

To see info on all trips, click here: https://cfhome.focusmissions.com/!#/