Re-evaluating the Missional Commission of the Church.

Re-evaluating the Missional Commission of the Church

Despite technological advances, conveniences of modernity, and financial prosperity, society’s moral and social fiber have never been more fractured.  Recently released crime statistics show escalating violence against women and children. Corruption and unproductivity reports make one feel as if humanity is sinking deeper and deeper into quicksand with no way of escape.  Department of Health acknowledged that primary health care only serves 20% of society’s needs. Poor lifestyle choices and habits are the main causes of poor health. Dead religion is not helping, as more and more people are beginning to question meaningless rituals and traditions that only place a band-aid on sin, without transforming the heart.  

There has never been a better time for the true church to rise and shine her glory! 

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Mark 5:13-16) 

Jesus is using two metaphors to explain the mission of His followers:  

Salt and Light 

 

SALTINESS OF THE CHURCH

Salt is used for preservation, an antiseptic, a commodity exchange, and for purification rites in ancient times. Jesus emphasized one particular usage: Flavour

3471. μωραίνω moraínō; fut. mōranṓ, from mōrós (G3474), foolish. To make dull, not acute, to cause something to lose its taste or the purpose for which it exists, e.g., salt not being able to make things salty (Matt. 5:13; Luke 14:34). Used of the mind meaning to make foolish or to show to be foolish (1 Cor. 1:20); in the pass. (Rom. 1:22, indicating they became foolish or acted like fools; see Sept.: 2 Sam. 24:10; Is. 19:11).

The Greek translation of the word used by Jesus explains flavor in terms of spiritual intelligence, wisdom versus stupidity (foolishness)! Consequently, we lose our saltiness when we fail to apply heavenly wisdom and reasoning of the Kingdom in the places of influence where we reside.  Salt should be distributed throughout the whole stew.  Salt that sticks together, is unusable.  In simple terms, our lives and conduct are supposed to give flavour, and make life meaningful, tasteful, enjoyable, and memorable! People will never experience our saltiness without seeing the proof of Godly Applied Wisdom.  

In the last couple of years, we are seeing more and more academics like Gad Zaad[1]  Jordan B Peterson[2] and Douglas Murray[3] challenging public opinion and the infamous “political correctness police” of social liberal humanistic secular activism.  Sadly, neither of these thinkers is openly Christian! Where is the church that can thoughtfully question the foolishness in our midst?

Jesus constantly challenged the foolish ideas of religion and culture of His time: 

  • Corrupt and truthful speech – (Mat 6:33-37)
  • The pride of Prejudice – (Mat 7:1-5)
  • Cannot serve God and Money – (Mat 6:24)
  • Trusting in riches (Luk 12:13-21)
  • Religious hypocrisy – (Mat 6:16-18)
  • Vain repetitions – (Mat 6:7)
  • Lay of treasures in Heaven – (Mat 6:19-20)
  • Worry is futile – (Mat 6:25-34)
  • Hearing and not doing is like building on sand – (Mat 7:24-28) 

It is always shocking to find pastors and Christian followers endorsing by their silence the mindless, foolish, and unsustainable cultural norms among their own.  Like: slavery (not paying people their worth); men ruling over women and women ruling over men; gossip and slander; stigmatization and prejudice; children disrespecting their parents, and making money through unfair, illegal means.  Paul instructs the Church: But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? (1 Cor 5:11-12)

Our Commission

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit (Mat 28:29).

God sent the church intentionally to a cultural ethos: Nations. 1484. ἔθνος éthnos; éthnous – A multitude, people, race, belonging and living together.  Our nation comprises diversely different ethnic groups.  The church is called to these various ethnic groups, democratically, socially and economically.  Be salt – spread the practical applied wisdom of God! 

People are generally pleased when the church demonstrates divine applied wisdom – for God has our ultimate GOOD at heart.

Taste is the ultimate proof of the quality of the fruit.  Dave Jackson[4] is one of the biggest producers of blueberries in America, “Bigger. Sweeter. Firmer. Our blueberries have the perfect flavour and crunch, year-round”! What is the key to his success? Best farming practice technologies to produce nutritious fruit. If the nutrients inside are correct, the taste is right! The same can be said for us as humans: We are the tastiest/nice people to be around when our mind, heart, emotions, habits, and values are most developed and matured in Christ. 

 

LIGHT – CITY ON A HILL

Remember, there was no electricity in Jesus’ time. A “city on a hill” speaks of shelter, provision, family, and community.  A candle in the wind is destined to be blown out. It was the candles and fireplaces in the rooms and houses where families met together that provided the welcoming light from afar!

The collective of a united community, centered around a well or a source of light start to work, mediate and govern together making a city on a hill! 

The church is a source of God’s light. Biblical portrayals of the temple include many Edenic parallels. The pillars, the doors of the temple, and wall decorations of the hekhal (main hall) all contain vegetative elements reminiscent of the lush vegetation of the Garden of Eden. Furthermore, Cherubim statues are stationed in the “debir” (the last room in the temple). As in Genesis 3, in which Cherubim guard the Garden of Eden, the Cherubim in the temple seem to function to show the boundaries between the human and the divine. The way in which the temple was designed and decorated is a reflection of how God designed us on the inside to house His abiding presence.

The world is craving for examples of “Heaven on Earth” cities and towns where applied wisdom has been tried and tested – collectively yielding good fruit! 

The Church, Like a Gymnasium 

Everyone knows that exercise is good, yet very few have the courage to attend and use the wonderful body-shaping equipment offered in a gymnasium.  Following Jesus is not a religion, where you can be a spectator of other people’s spirituality! Most cathedrals in Europe are becoming tourist destinations, no one worships, prays, and uses the facilities to grow spiritually. Spirituality is an mortal exercise of immortality.

Thankfully, one needs not a building to grow spiritually, you are the building! We are God’s cathedrals where He loves to abide! 

A city on a hill type of church has the daunting task to get lazy, overweight, barely alive people into a spiritual fitness program!  I believe the primary way of doing it, is authentic family. Like with physically disabled people, you cannot rush and just get them to run an hour on the nearest treadmill! Instead, you will first have to establish trust, then gradually work with them, join them at their pace, and work alongside to make small improvements.

Jesus is our example in this: He declared and showcased heaven on earth wherever He went.  He never shamed anyone for being spiritually bankrupt, He empowered the sinner even the one caught in the act of adultery, “Go and sin no more!” (John 8:1-11)

This is how Harvester intends to get people to follow Jesus and get spiritually fit and healthy! 

  • Reach the unchurched – become someone’s friend outside our church.
  • Become a child’s trusted go-to person.
  • Do redemptive acts of kindness in the community. 

For further study on how to disciple someone read the 7th growth path. https://hrco.co.za/lei-iemand-om-volgeling-van-jesus-te-wees/


[1] Saad, G., n.d. The parasitic mind. 1st ed. United States: Regnery Publishing.

[2] Peterson, J., n.d. Summary of 12 rules for life.

[3] Murray, D., 2020. The madness of crowds. London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury Continuum.

[4] https://familytreefarms.com