Text: John 17:4-5, 10, 13-19
Mission is a theme in stories and movies. Almost every tale we hear as children is about someone going on a mission to save and rescue someone or something. Every movie is based on the theme of mission. Think about any movie you have watched growing up, Lego movie, Frozen, How to train a dragon, Toy story, Incredibles or any story you read as a child - Sleeping beauty, Rapunzel, Treasure Island, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Jungle book, Around the world in 80 days. It is all about people on a mission.
Mission captures us, fascinates us, draws us, attracts us and moves us. Children dream of becoming Presidents, astronauts, teachers, authors and want to change the world when they grow up. They think in terms of mission. But as adults, we lose this sense of mission, the joy of adventure.
In Christian context, when we think of mission, we think of missionaries. So mission is for certain people who are “super Christians” and its not for me.
Delhi has many diplomatic missions or embassies from various countries. An Ambassador in these missions is someone who represents their country, culture and people. They help us understand about their country, represent it accurately and build bridges for trade and education. The bible calls us in 2 Cor 5:20 as ambassadors for Christ. We are called to represent him wherever we are. It is not for certain people, it is all those who are redeemed by Christ.
The passage we are looking at in this sermon is about mission. Jesus was on a specific mission. John 17:4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
Jesus was on a specific mission to glorify the Father.
Jesus sends us on a specific mission. John 17:18 As u sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world
Jesus was sent to reveal the glory of the Father. We are sent on a mission to reveal the glory of the Son. The Holy Spirit was also sent to glorify Christ. So as we allow the gospel to renew us and the Holy Spirit to lead us, we become partners on mission.
The Gospel internally renews our hearts and externally moves us to be on mission. Being on mission is an outworking of the gospel in our hearts. And when we are not living on mission for Jesus, we have to question if we are being shaped by the gospel or is something else shaping our life.
What are reasons why we don’t live on mission? What could be the heart issues?
A. Root of mission is glory
The word glory appears 8 times and its a main theme in this passage.
4 I glorified you on earth, 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.
Your mission is tied to what you glory. And what you glory determines your mission.
The reason why we live or willing to die for something, why we work hard, choose a certain career/married, choose to remain single or get married, how we spend our money and time reveals what we glory, what we treasure and prize.
If we choose dishonesty for money, we say money has more glory for us than God and being honest. If we are fine to comprise on morality, then we say our pleasure and feelings are more important and glorious than the holiness of God and our persona holiness. If we are ruthless at work or studies, we say our success is more glorious than my witness for Christ.
If there is no God, then nothing really matters. Whether we live a moral or immoral life, whether we choose to live for ourselves or live on mission, nothing matters as in the end everything is destroyed and forgotten. But if there is a God, then nothing can be more valuable, prized and treasured than his glory.
The root of our crisis about mission is a crisis of glory. What you glory drives your mission? And your mission reveals what you glory.
Can anything be more glorious than God, than Christ and what he did on the cross, anything more beautiful than his sacrifice and grace? Can anything be more glorious and precious, and worth living and dying for apart from the glory of Christ? Yes, our glory.
The truth is we live for ourselves, glory in ourselves, prize and treasure ourselves. If we are honest, our needs, our comfort, our desires, our feelings and pleasure, our fulfilment and happiness is more important than God. Our attraction to this world and to ourselves is far greater and powerful than our attraction and affection to Jesus.
Fundamentally we want to make our name great, make our life comfortable, live for our desires to be fulfilled, have our needs met. Rather than being on mission for Jesus and being shaped by the gospel, we live for our glory.
We are all on a mission, we all glory something. The question is, what is it?
The problem is, when I raise my significance and glory above God, when I elevate anything else above God, then I lose my significance and glory. I become irrelevant and insignificant, I lose meaning and purpose. If I gain my life or try to keep my life, I lose my life in the end.
What we glory becomes our ultimate mission in life.
B. Result of mission is joy
13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
The by product or result of being on mission with Jesus is joy, his joy. A lack of joy in your life is because of a lack of mission. Our joy and mission is interlinked and interconnected.
A mission that is not rooted in the glory of Christ is then rooted in our glory and comfort. And such a mission to live for ourselves results in emptiness and worthlessness. It can never satisfy our soul.
Celebrities all over the world are an example. They live for fame, sex, money, power and their own glory. But they are also the most suicidal, empty, lonely people who struggle with meaning and addicted to so many habits to numb their pain. Unfortunately, we are on the same path to find glory in these things. We think if only I get married or find this job or get ot this position or save enough money or move to another country, then I will find joy. No!
When u live for yourself, you begin to resent anything comes in between you and what you glory. You begin to lead a life of compromise. Holiness seems to get in the way of your pleasure. A generous and sacrificial life gets in the way of your desire for money and comfort. Serving others gets in the way of your independence. All we live for is our happiness, comfort and freedom. That leaves us as sad people. We have nothing to live for, nothing to die for, nothing to sacrifice apart from ourselves. That is a sad life.
In the process we may gain independence and freedom but lose joy and intimacy. We may gain pleasure and comfort but not satisfaction and rest. We may gain the whole world but lose our soul.
But when we live for Jesus and his mission, we experience his joy. His joy is unlimited, spontaneous, deep and powerful. His joy floods our hearts, the same joy Jesus had.
Heb 12:2 For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners
Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before him. When we are on mission with Jesus, we are able to endure shame, ridicule, rejection, opposition and live life with courage and grace. Though we may seem like lost in this world, we experience joy in trials and suffering.
What mission are you on in this life? Anything other than the glory of Christ U might experience a lot of temporal things - one thing u wont is joy of Christ
When we live for our glory, we will find our life but in the end lose it. When we are on mission with Jesus, we lose our life but we will find Christ and everything else.
God is calling you to be on mission wherever you are, whether you are a student, professional, doctor, nurse, lawyer, working with the government or the social sector, banker or media, business or start up, we go into this city as Christ’s ambassadors.
C. Response to mission is obedience
a. Our response to mission starts with beholding God’s glory
In Isaiah 6, Isaiah beholds the glory of God in a vision. He immediately realizes he has unclean lips and is flawed and sinful. God commands an angel to take a burning coal from altar and as it touches his mouth, he is immediately cleansed and forgiven. What happens next is interesting. God asks who can go on a mission to preach his work to people of this world. Isaiah immediately responds, here I am, send me. Isaiah was instantly changed by God and he was instantly on mission. He was not only healed on inside but became man on mission outside. As you behold God’s glory, the beauty of the gospel and as the gospel renews your heart, you become a person on mission.
If what Jesus has done on the cross, his grace and beauty, his sacrifice does not move our hearts to be on mission, nothing else will move our hearts.
b. Our response is to share about glory of Christ
14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
Jesus does not give us a general mission but a specific mission. The mission is to share about the glory of Christ and to reveal the truth about God and his son Jesus Christ to this world. We are called to open our mouths and share the good news about Jesus. If we are too shy, timid, scared and sophisticated, then we are not on mission. Have we really encountered his glory? When we are on mission for Christ, we are no longer a secret Christian, have a private faith or just believe merely in our heart. We are eager to share about Christ’s glory.
c. Our response is to live for his glory
10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.
Jesus is glorified in my life. How I lead my life, how I react to disappointments, trials and suffering, how I live with grace and poise in the midst of difficulties reveals the glory of Christ. Our radical kindness, gentleness, generosity, how we hold to our convictions but yet humble and gracious can only be explained by a life on mission for Christ. We reveal his glory in the way we live.
d. Our response is to sacrifice for his glory
17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
Jesus sanctified himself for our sake. He set himself apart and it cost him to be on mission for our sake. His mission took him to cross and he willingly gave up everything and even died a shameful death on the cross.
Do you see what it cost Jesus to show God’s glory? What’s going to cost you to show Christ’s glory? Are you willing to let it cost you? Are you willing to put your comfort, desires, dreams, passion, ambition on the line for Jesus? We respond in mission by leading a life of sacrifice for Christ.
When you give yourself for being on mission with Jesus you will find yourself. May our hearts be renewed by the gospel, may we repent of our tendency to live for our own glory and may the gospel shape us and move us outward on a life of mission.