By Shawn Hogue
Yesterday, we talked about how mission drift is a very real, very prevalent problem that any group can be susceptible to, including churches. If we look at Matthew 28 (vs. 16-20) we get a very clear picture of the mission God has given to the church. Any honest look at church life suggests that, at the very least, we need to be more protective against mission drift and probably need to address areas where we have already drifted. However, our BIG idea was that mission drift is only allowed to exist within the church because it first exists in our personal lives.
To address this I proposed 3 ways Christians who avoid mission drift live their lives. First, Christians who don’t drift view sin differently. Second, they pursue Jesus differently. Lastly, Christians are called to view people differently. If you missed the discussion on this I’d encourage you to go back and listen to the sermon. Today, I want to follow up by reflecting on whether or not Jesus embraced these ideas in the way he lived His life.
If we go to the early parts of Matthew’s gospel, we see a critical part of Jesus’ life and ministry. Just after being in the desert to be tempted we see that Jesus begins preaching, saying “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is near” (Matt 4:17). Before He even calls His disciples and with the power of sin and temptation fresh in His mind, Jesus starts telling us that before anything else, we must address and remove sin from our lives. This is one of the early examples in the ministry of Jesus where He instructs us to view sin differently.
Another moment in the ministry of Jesus is when He’s being challenged by some religious leaders of the time. In a moment where Jesus is asked, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law,” He responds with, “Love God, but just as important Love People” (my shortened version of Matt 22: 34-40). Above all else we are instructed to love God. However, he adds that it’s equally important to love each other. He’s telling us that when it comes to knowing God and loving His people, we are to be different. It should be the biggest priorities of our lives. We must pursue Jesus and view people differently.
Part, if not all, of my intention in sharing this message was two-fold. First, to draw attention to the fact that in a world that feels increasingly complex, living out faith is relatively straightforward (notice I didn’t say easy). If we complicate faith it can feel like this daunting task that can never be achieved. That’s not what Jesus wanted by coming to Earth. He simply wants to be in relationship with us. Second, is a call for us as Christians to return to faith as it’s laid out in the bible, not the faith that culture tends to define. I genuinely believe the full potential of the church will never become reality until we reject mission drift in our own lives and reunite with the mission of God.