There is a tendency in reading the Bible to miss the all-pervasive message that God is on a mission (or, as the title of Lesson 1 in Perspectives states it, “The Living God is a Missionary God”). In other words, as I used to stay to my students, “Open your Bible to any page and I will show you missions on that page.” A rather audacious challenge but one that I believe I can back up.
So it is that I offer here the outline that I created with the intention of illustrating the nature of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation as “The Story of God on Mission.”
I. God is passionate (zealous, jealous). Passion, of necessity, always results in mission. Therefore, God is missional by nature. God is passionate about…
A. …his name (Ezek. 39:25)
B. …his worship (Ex. 20:5; 34:14; Num. 25:10-13; I Kgs. 14:22; 19:10,
C. …the purposes he has for his people (II Kgs. 19:31) and for his Son
D. …his dwelling (Psa. 69:9; Jn. 2:17)
E. …his word (Psa. 119:139)
II. God’s was passionate before Gen. 1:1. Therefore, God in eternity was missional.
A. “Before/since the foundation of the world” (Mt. 13:35; 25:34; Eph.
1:4; I Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8; 17:8)
B. To plan for his Son’s coming kingdom (Mt. 13:11, 35; 25:34)
C. On alert in the face of hostility (angelic conflict in the eternal
D. Rooted in the kind intentions of his purpose (Lk. 12:32; Eph. 1:5, 9;
E. Mutually reciprocating Trinitarian sharing of glory (Jn. 17:4)
F. Mutual, reciprocal Trinitarian loving of one another (Jn. 17:25)
G. Prioritizing His Son’s fame (I Pet. 1:20)
H. His intention to unite his Son to a bride (Isa. 54:5; Hos. 2:16; Rev.
I. His intention to adopt “sons” into his family (Rom. 8:15; 9:4; Eph.
III. God’s pre-creation decisions resulted in the purposeful creation of a universe. Therefore, God’s creation of a universe was a missional act.
A. For his Son (Rom. 11:36; I Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2)
B. As his Son’s temple-residence (Gen. 3:8)
C. To display the Son’s glory so that he can be worshiped (Num.
D. To showcase the Son’s extraordinary capacity for love (Eph. 3:19)
E. To have earth creatures made in the Son’s image (Gen. 1:26-27;
1. Who can worship the Son (Gen. 2:15)
2. Who can be loved by the Son and who can reciprocate that
3. Who can spread the Son’s fame (Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:7; I Pet.
4. Who can be Jesus’ dwelling (Ex. 25:8; Jn. 17:21; Eph. 3:17-19)
5. Who will be zealous for the Father’s glory (Num. 25:10-13;
6. Who can be united with the Son in marriage (Eph. 5:32; Rev.
F. Susceptible to hostility against the Father’s agenda (Gen. 2:15)
IV. God’s creation was defiled (Gen. 3-11). Thus, His mission was threatened.
A. Therefore, a missional God cannot gain access to his fallen
(1) The humans failed in their assignment to guard creation
(Note “subdue”, Gen. 1:28; “keep” in Gen. 2:15)
(2) The Antagonist immigrated into the universe (Gen. 3:1)
(3) God is punishing the wicked, not solving the sin problem
(4) The entire temple-universe was profaned
(5) The three-fold cycle of sin: Fall (Gen. 3-5), Flood (Gen. 6-10),
Flop (Gen. 11)
B. Therefore, God still intends to complete his original mission.
(1) The genealogies (Gen. 5, 10, 11) preserve the godly line that
will bring resolution
(2) The promise of Gen. 3:15 offers hope that the serpent’s
reign will end
(3) Since humans were to manage the Son’s original universe, a
Human (the Seed of the Woman) will resolve the dilemma
(Gen. 3:15; Gal. 4:4)
V. For the survival of the mission, a plan is launched to regain mediated access to the Son’s temple (Gen. 12:1-3). Therefore, God’s intentions for Israel are missional. A holy God has five means of mediated access to regain access to his defiled temple:
A. Holy people – Abraham and his descendants (Gen. 12:1-3)
1. Appointment: Agents to execute God’s mission
2. Mandate: Bless all the families of the earth (Dt. 4:5-8; Psa. 67;
3. Method: Live in visible obedience in close proximity to the
B. Holy land – Situated on the trade routes in close proximity to the
C. Holy (Sacred) blessings (blessings = resources – Rom. 9:4-5)
1. Adoption as sons
2. Glory (God’s presence among his people)
3. Covenants (agreements)
5. Service (Levitical activities and ceremony)
7. Fathers (the patriarchal history of God’s faithfulness to Israel)
8. Christ (“the Messiah”)
D. Holy dwellings
1. Garden (Gen. 3:8)
2. Altars, shrines (Gen. 12:8; 13:4; etc.)
3. Tabernacle (Ex. 25:8; 29:45-46; 40:34-35; Lev. 26:11; Num. 5:3)
4. Temple (I Kgs. 8:11-13; II Chr. 5:14; 7:1-3; Psa. 84:1-4; 132:5;
5. Jesus (Jn. 1:14-18; Col. 1:19; 2:9)
6. Church (John 1:16; 15:4; Eph. 1:22-23; 3:19; 4:10, 13; Col. 2:10)
7. The New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:3)
E. Holy events – Holy convocations (Leviticus 23:2, 21, 24, 35; etc.)
2. Holy days
3. Sabbath (day, year)
VI. Israel on Mission: Genesis to Malachi (Isa. 42:6; 49:6). Therefore, the entire Old Testament is a narrative of Israel on God’s mission.
VII. The Plan Extended: Jesus and his followers on Mission. Therefore, the entire New Testament and subsequent church history is the story of Jesus’ followers on God’s mission.
A. The Seed of the Woman Arrives: the Gospels
1. Calling disciples (Mt. 4:19; Mk. 1:17)
2. Jesus comes to complete the Abrahamic mission (Lk. 2:32;
3. Focused on Gentiles (Synoptic Gospels; e.g., Mt. 4:15-16)
4. The Abrahamic Covenant reaffirmed (Gen. 12:3 with Mt.
5. Disciples commissioned and sent (Acts 1:8)
B. The Gospel to the Gentiles: The Epistles (Rom. 1:5)
C. The mission extended over 21 centuries of history (Perspectives
VIII. The Climax: Mission Accomplished (Revelation 5:9; 7:9; 21:24; 22:2).Therefore, God’s purposes are shown to have always been missional.