Our blog

Mission FPC

Listen up God and the society!

The start of the new school year under close surveillance, Church life impacted by the health crisis. How can the missionary team and the local Church have a “prophetic message” in these troubled times?

The MMM: Misunderstood Missionary Mandate of Jesus Christ

The three Synoptic Gospels speak of the great missionary commandment given by Jesus to his disciples. He seems to place special emphasis on the command to preach, teach, and make disciples[1]. But in the fourth Gospel, John delivers the most misunderstood missionary mandate of his risen Master: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.[2]” But this is not the first time that Jesus has said these words in this Gospel. He has already anticipated this order in the prayer addressed to his Father: “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.[3]” Jesus makes his own mission the model for our mission. He did not quietly proclaim the gospel from his heavenly throne. Nor did he come to our world as a foreign tourist from another world. No! He became flesh in our world[4]. And now he sends us “out into the world” to identify with others – without losing our Christian identity, nor assimilating us to the evil of our society – just as he identified with us. This supposes an effort of “contextualization”.

A call to practice double listening

How should we respond to the missionary command according to John 20? In his high priestly prayer, Jesus says that he gave the Word of his Father to his disciples, while praying that the truth of this Word will continue to set them apart for the mission[5]. We too must be constantly listening to God through his Word. Even if today it is a huge challenge to stop and listen to God, through the Bible, just a quarter of an hour, putting aside our smartphone which “pursues” us all the time!

As evangelical Christians, we are perhaps less used to hear that we must also listen to the world. Yet, listening attentively is the very first service to be rendered to our neighbor whom we want to love[6]. Do we hear in the voices of our contemporaries, the cries of anguish, sadness, doubt, anger, rejection, injustice and despair of those who live in a society without landmarks, “in the world without hope and without God”[7]? When was the last time we took the time to really listen to a neighbor, colleague or friend? Do we have an ear that is both open and critical to various expressions of our culture – advertizing, music, and the arts… – knowing that, although tainted with sin, man remains God’s creation and that certain aspects of our culture are still “rich in beauty and goodness”[8]? Do we then discern their sincere questions?

This double listening is essential to the contextualization of the Gospel in our changing world. We are called to build bridges between the Scriptures and the contemporary world and no longer to share the Good News in a single direction. “While the Bible itself cannot be corrected by non-Christian cultures, individual Christians – and their culturally conditioned understanding of the Bible – can and should be. There should be heavy traffic back and forth across the bridge. We speak and listen, and listen and speak, and speak again, each time doing so more biblically and more compellingly to the culture.[9]” Only then can our missionary team and our local churches learn to present a “prophetic message” to our contemporaries in these troubled times, as Paul did in his time[10].

We do not only need missionaries who preach the gospel, but all Christians to permeate all strata of our non-Christian society[11]. Let us try to present the hope of the Gospel in these times of crisis, but let us also embody this hope wherever God places each of us!

Tetsuya Miyasaka

[1] Matt. 28.19-20; Mark 16.15-16; Luke 24.46-48.
[2] John 20. 21.
[3] John 17.18.
[4] John 1.14.
[5] John 17.14, 17.
[6] Matt. 22.39; Prov. 21.13.
[7] Ephesians 2.12.
[8] Article 10, The Lausanne Covenant, Evangelisation and culture, Cape Town Commitment, p. 107; Genesis 4.21-22; 9.6.
[9] Une Église centrée sur l’Évangile [Loving the City: Doing Balanced Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City], Timothy Keller, Éditions Excelsis, p. 149.
[10] 1 Cor. 9.19-23; 15.1-4.
[11] Matthew 5.20; 6.33.

Share this article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New articles

On our blog

Our blog > >

Mission FPC

Our partners

CNEF
Union APC
Réseau FEF
Vilodec
Tim4
DMG
ExpoBible
GEM
Institut Biblique de Genève 
Institut Biblique et Missionnaire Emmaüs 
Institut Biblique de Nogent 
IBB
Cornerstone Bible college 
FLTE
Bibelschule Brake
Itéa
Le Fellowship 
L'exèdre
Vision Europe
WEM
Team
GOM
Revive Europe
Mena
SMG
Sahel Life
Réseau 55+
SMD
Aujourd'hui l'Espoir

John 3.16

GOD LOVED THE WORLD SO MUCH THAT HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON, SO THAT EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT PERISH BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.

Become a partner

Pray, give, join

Getting involved >