Historically, I see that the
church has a tendency to focus on purpose, vision, and mission within
the scope of our mission field (in the world, physical realm) without truly
dealing with how our other-worldly identity should INFORM AND IMPACT what
we do and how we do it. But if we are to take seriously (and literally) what
John 17:14 says about our identity that we are not ”of
the world”, then we should look at things differently. Instead of first looking
at ministry from the perspective of the NEEDS in the world, or physical realm,
we are going to take a shot at looking at ministry first from the perspective
of our Identity and see where that takes us. As we do this, we will
consider how the gifts of the Holy Spirit can connect our identity as the
church and as leaders with the mission.
John 17:18 - As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the
As we look at
this verse, we see that if we are to understand how we are sent into the world,
we need to understand how Jesus was sent into the world. We tend to think of
our call and mission in terms of the boundaries of the physical world around us
and perhaps with respect to the depths of the inner soul life … how we think
(mind), how we feel (emotions), what we are aware of (consciousness), and what
choices we make (will). It is “natural” for us to frame ministry this way, but
when we do, we may be taking a shortcut, because Jesus doesn’t call us and sent
us only according to the categories of the physical realm and the human soul.
As the Father
sent Jesus into the world, Jesus has also sent us into the world.
- If I have told you earthly things and
you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one
has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of
Man who is in heaven.
Why did Jesus
speak to Nicodemus about earthly things and heavenly things? I
thing that He was creating an opportunity for Nicodemus to step beyond the
limits of his human religious thinking. He was challenging him to think
differently … seriously differently. Then he provides a real-life example
of a heavenly realiity that is truly mind-blowing
ro Nicodemus to ponder. Here it is in case you missed
it when you read the passage ….
down from heaven to earth and is in heaven at the same time.
said this He was standing on the Earth talking to Nicodemus (He who came down
from heaven) AND he was, at the same time, in heaven (he who is in heaven).
Jesus exists and operates as a dual-realm being: simultaneous existing and
operating in the physical realm and spiritual realm. How can this be … He is
fully divine and fully human: body, soul, spirit. Because He is fully human,
His body connects with the physical realm and His human spirit connects with
the spiritual realm simultaneously and His soul operates at the intersection of
both realms. As
a result, He can naturally take those things which exist in the spiritual realm
and bring them into the physical realm (manifest them). He was sent, came down, into the
world, the physical realm …. from heaven, from the
spiritual realm, which he never left.