|The Church An Extension of Christ
by E.H. Jack Sequeira
So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey. I took the little scroll from the angels hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings. Revelation 10:9-11
Since the church as the body of Christ is an extension of Christ, it goes without saying that the mission of the church is also an extension of Christs mission on earth. And just as Christ could say to His Father at the end of His earthly mission, I have glorified your name and finished the work you have given me to do (John 17:4), likewise, when the church has finally fulfilled its mission, it must be able to say to Christ, We have glorified your name and have finished the work you gave us to do.
This being the task of the church, the starting point in fulfilling Gods mission is to look at Christ as the prototype of the churchs mission. In doing this, we discover four key facts:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross!
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from Gods wrath through him! For if, when we were Gods enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
1 Timothy 4:9-10:
This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, and especially of those who believe.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
1 John 2:2:
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
...[God our Saviour], who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
2 Peter 3:9:
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
These four facts must be the basis of our mission as a church:
For Christs love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
1 John 3:16:
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
Then he said to them all: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Philippians 1:21; 2:5:
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. ...Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
I speak the truth in Christ I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. ...Brothers, my hearts desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.
1 Corinthians 9:23:
I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
By His birth, life, death, and resurrection, Christ rewrote the history of mankind and reconciled the entire world to God. This is the good news of the gospel. Thus, in Christ, the human race has been redeemed and passed from condemnation to justification unto life.
But unless we who are rejoicing in this incredible good news of the gospel communicate this truth to others, how will they know? Gods mission for the church is to bring the knowledge of salvation to all mankind. 1 Corinthians 2:7-13:
No, we speak of Gods secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the mans spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
This is our first priority as an extension of Christ. As Christians, we are ambassadors for our Saviour and our mission is to plead with our fellow men to stop running away from God for He is not out to get them but save them. This is our global mission and nothing must sidetrack us from this divine mission. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21:
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting mens sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of his reconciliation. We are therefore Christs ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christs behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Since our mission is an extension of what Christs mission was on earth, we need to ask ourselves how Christ described His mission when He was on this earth. He first spelled it out to the people in His own home town, Nazareth. Consider with me the account recorded for our benefit by the gospel writer Luke. Luke 4:17-21:
The scroll of the prophet Isaiah has handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lords favor.
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.
Let us analyze what Jesus quoted from the prophet Isaiah regarding His earthly mission:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ...Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
- To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
- They answered him, We are Abrahams descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?
- Jesus replied, I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
- Then the disciples came to him and asked, Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?
- He replied, Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.
- Jesus said, For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.
- Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, What? Are we blind too?
- Jesus said, If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
But before we begin to condemn the Pharisees for their blindness, wed better read Revelation 3:17:
You say, I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
The Christian has been waiting for the second coming of Christ for almost 2,000 years. And, judging by what is happening in our world today, it cannot be too long before the year of the Lord for us will become a reality. Our mission as a church is to proclaim that the year of the Lord is very near, even at the door. 1 Peter 1:3-6:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by Gods power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
When we have accomplished these four things, we will have finished our God-given mission as a church and the world will have been lighten with the glory of Christ. The end can then come and we can go home. May this be our primary mission.