An Incarnational Witness Includes Incarnational With-ness.  

One thing I am encouraged by as I look across the landscape in the body of Christ is a fresh awakening among all of God’s people to live as Spirit-filled missionaries in their everyday lives. More and more, I am encountering groups of God’s people who are breaking out of the false truths of the Missionary Mystique. The Missionary Mystique is the mistaken idea that missions are for a select number of unusual people called to go to faraway, strange places to reach the unreached people groups of the earth. These are the real missionaries, while the rest of us are relegated to a second-class Christianity. We work jobs, raise families, live in neighborhoods, and probably will never travel out of our country.

God’s people are waking up to the fact that Jesus sends all of us into this world as His missionaries every day, everywhere, and all the time. You may not travel across the ocean, but you can travel across the street. Reaching the nations begins with reaching your neighbors. There are unreached people, both at the ends of the earth and at the end of your block.

Living As God’s Family Of Missionaries

God’s people are called to be a genuine family that reflects the life of God as they are sent into the world. You see this calling in Jesus’ last prayer on this earth. It was a prayer for His people to live in His family, with the Godhead and each other, as they are sent into the earth on His mission. After the resurrection, He echoed this prayer as He commissions them and us.

  • Joh 17:11  “I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. ..18-23  “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world…  (20)  “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;  (21)  that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us (FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE GODHEAD AND EACH OTHER), so that the world may believe that You sent Me.  (22)  “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;  (23)  I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
  • John 20:20-21… So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

 

Sent like Jesus “Incarnation”

How was Jesus sent? From God, with God, and into real life with people.

  • John 1:14  MSG The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.

The word “incarnation” means God became flesh and lived among people. God did not become a text, tweet, or Instagram post, and “dwelt among us.” God became human and dwelt among us. As our culture becomes more detached, it creates an emotional longing for physical presence.

I heard a story about a little boy who was frightened by a thunderstorm. His father came to his room and the boy cried, “Daddy, I’m scared!” His dad prayed over his son and said, “Son, it will be alright. Don’t forget Jesus is here with you.” After a moment of silence, the boy responded, “I NEED JESUS WITH SOME SKIN ON HIM!”

People need Jesus with some skin on Him. God’s people are the body of Jesus on the earth. We are not to run away from the world and huddle in our church buildings. We are not trying to escape the earth, but to invade it. Heaven is seeking to invade the earth through His family, “Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” 

N.T. Right said, “Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven.”

Our primary calling to “Make disciples” (Mt 28:19-20) isn’t as much about formulas or programs. It is entering life with people and helping them know and follow Jesus. Christians need to be embedded with people and fully present in an age of family disintegration, disengagement, and dislocation. 

Our mission is to alert people to God’s life through Jesus Christ. We alert people to the reality that Jesus is ruling, not just through a message, but also through a living demonstration right under their noses through our lives. This is the best way anyone can live. From that platform of living the gospel, we proclaim it.

  • Philippians 2:14-16 Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night.

Elements of an incarnational approach to everyday missions 

  • Active sharing of your lives in your neighborhood and inviting others around you.
  • Entering people’s world and identifying with them through compassion and caring. 
  • Pray for them, move in Spiritual gifts, and help them connect with the “Living God.”
  • Have confidence in the gospel being communicated by both word and deed
  • Make sure you take advantage of being in places where people hang out every day. Just like Jesus encountered the woman at the well we are to encounter people in everyday places (stores, coffee shops, parks, etc.)  
  • Practice hospitality, which primarily means making people feel WANTED and WELCOME (Rom 12:13, 1 Tim 5:10, Heb 13:2). Hospitality is about communicating to people that they are valuable, cared for, and wanted. It also means inviting people to be around you as well as in your homes. People don’t just want to hear us talk about the Gospel…they want to see authentic Christianity expressed through the love of Christ.

 

If you are looking for a humble but biblical response to current polarizing issues, check out our C2C “Essential Truths For Our Times.”