OUR MISSION IS TO KNOW, LOVE, AND OBEY GOD, AND TO HELP OTHERS DO THE SAME.
This statement simplistically yet comprehensively describes what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. This does not describe a one time occurrence, but a cyclical transformation that takes place throughout the life of Christ followers. Our mission was originally inspired by time spent in Ezra, specifically Ezra 7:10 – For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.
Proverbs 34:8: Oh! Taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Knowing God begins with seeing God. Seeing God for who He is reveals His incomprehensible holiness and as a result, our utter sinfulness and desperate need for a Savior (Isa. 6:4-5). Knowing God is knowing Jesus Christ, God in human flesh. There is no God in Heaven who is unlike Jesus in any way. Through the Scriptures, we see God’s character in the person and work of Jesus. As we grow in our knowledge of God, and our awareness of our ever present need for mercy from Him, our love for Him grows as a result (Isa. 6:6-7).
Matthew 22:37-38: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.
To truly know God is to love Him. Knowing Creator God as intimately as Abba Father through faith in the finished work of Jesus informs a growing understanding of the relentless and impossible to mess-up love and forgiveness found in Him. Jesus tells us in Luke 7:47 that those who are forgiven much, love much and vice versa. As we grow in our awareness of who God is and who we are apart from Him, we realize more and more that it is impossible to be “forgiven a little” by Him. All who belong to Him have been forgiven much – much more than we can truly comprehend.
John 14:15: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
Truly loving God always produces a greater desire to obey Him. His Holy Spirit gives us the power to do so. And when we fail, we do not have to hide in shame like Adam did in the garden (Gen. 3:8). Because of the perfectly obedient life that Jesus lived on behalf of His people, as our representative, we are hidden in His perfection and cleansed by His blood even when we sin. This is the freedom found in the gospel of Jesus to repent early and often, turning from disobedience (sin), running to the cross, loving God even more and striving to obey Him more as a result.
HELP OTHERS DO THE SAME
Matthew 28:18-20: And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
As disciples, part of obeying Jesus is to love our Christian community (one another) as He has and continues to love us. But being a disciple should not stop there. Obedience goes beyond the Christian community. God does not save us for us to huddle up in awkward, exclusive, Christian bubbles and Bible studies. God saves us and sends us to pursue and love those who do not yet know Him in our city. An inseparable element of knowing, loving, and obeying God more is helping others do the same. At the heart of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus is helping others come to know, love, and obey Him.