In my role as Missions Pastor/Director of a multi-site church the Bible is paramount in everything we do. It is our guide, the very Word of God, our authority, the source of our marching orders. The Bible permeates our thinking and we look to it for guidance and direction. Here are a few ways the Bible has dramatically impacted our thinking and actions.
The Great Commission. Matthew 28 is a clear mandate. Go into all the world…and make disciples! The natural inclination of all of us is to serve and minister in the most comfortable places, usually close to home. But that is not what Jesus commanded in the Bible. He told us to go into all of the world, preach the gospel and disciple people. We take this command seriously, encouraging our people to engage with and go to some of the most challenging places on earth to serve and bring the good news of the gospel.
As we go, what should we teach? What truths should we share? Again the Bible provides the answers. Here are a few.
Love God and love your neighbor.
The Great Commandment in Luke 10 is clear. A lawyer asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus responded like he usually did…with another question. What does the law say? The lawyer’s response…Love God and love your neighbor. But then the lawyer asked ‘So who is my neighbor?’ Jesus responded by telling the story of the Good Samaritan, a man who helped his enemy. Our neighbor is anyone we touch, even our enemies.
Treat others as more important than yourself.
Loving others means we serve them like we would want to be served. But Jesus tells us in Scripture that we are to go the extra mile and do even more. Do more than you would want for yourself. That is part of the mystery of the kingdom of God.
Seek eternal rewards instead of earthly ones.
Jesus tells two stories in Matthew 13 that talk about treasure. Each describe a person who discovers something very valuable and sells everything they have to buy it, simply because it is worth so much.
Every person is important.
In Luke 15 Jesus tells the parables of The Lost Coin, The Lost Sheep, and The Prodigal Son. These parables describe how each individual is important and how God relentlessly pursues us, even when we don’t deserve it.
Be salt and light.
In Matthew 5 we are told that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. When salt is tasted it brings pleasure and blessing. Light illuminates the darkness and shows people the way. Scripture tells us we are God’s “agents” to do both.
The Bible is the story of how God has loved people from every nation, tribe and people group for all time so much that he sent his only Son, Jesus to give his life as a sacrifice to cover their sin. Jesus not only died but he rose from the dead and is alive. This is the essence of the gospel.
The application of the instructions we have been given in the Bible make life better, make us better at life and leads us to engage in our part of bringing the good news of the gospel to the world. Once we have tasted purpose we are no longer satisfied with existence and the Bible is our guide to that purpose.