The Great Co-Mission

Holy Trinity Sunday  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:00:50
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Holy Trinity Sunday The Great Commission is not only the mission of the Holy Trinity, but God’s mission for His people of whom He has commissioned to make disciiples.

The words “The Great Commission” are not found in the Bible itself, and yet almost all English versions of the Bible contain these words as a heading for this, today’s text from Mt 28:16–20. There is certainly nothing wrong with this heading; it is an accurate description of what is described in this text.
As strange as it may sound, however, if we focus too narrowly or exclusively on this commission itself, as “great” as it is, we may lose sight of the fact that behind this commission is an even greater “co-mission,” the combined, cooperative, and perfectly coordinated mission of the three persons of the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Or using the words from Daniel 7, “The Ancient of Days — The Son of Man — The Holy Spirit.
The mission of God’s Kingdom is rooted in God’s mission as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God flows from God’s prime directive. And the mission of the people of God finds its source and power in God’s mission.

I. Mission begins in the heart of God the Father.

And expresses his great love for the world. It is the Lord’s gracious initiative and ongoing activity to save a world incapable of saving itself.
This “heart for mission” has been with God from all eternity.
Today’s Old Testament Reading is the story of the creation of the world, involving all three members of the Holy Trinity (Gen 1:1–2; cf. Jn 1:1–2).
The very next chapter, which contains the tragic account of mankind’s fall into sin, also contains the first promise of the Savior in Scripture (Gen 3:15), showing that God was active in mission from the very beginning.
Genesis 3:15 ESV
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
But according to Eph 1:3–14, God’s missionary plan began even “before the foundation of the world”—a mind-boggling but exceedingly comforting truth for us who believe.
Over and over again, the Bible portrays God the Father as a seeking God and as a sending God.
The Father seeks lost sheep, a lost coin, a lost son (Ezekiel 34; Luke 15).
Because of God the Father’s seeking, searching love for the lost, he sent his Son into the world, “in order that the world might be saved through him” (Jn 3:17).
John 3:17 ESV
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

III. God’s mission centers in God the Son, Jesus Christ.

God the Father did not seek to carry out his mission to save the world by the sheer force and power of his divine will. His missionary plan depended on the willing work of his Son.
The Bible, from beginning to end, points to and centers in Jesus Christ.
He is the promised Messiah sent by the Father to reconcile the world to himself by his life, death, and resurrection (cf. Peter’s sermon in Acts 2).
Jesus is The Son of Man, sent by the Father — The Ancient of Days — who has now received all all dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him… Daniel 7:14
By his life, Jesus perfectly satisfied all the demands of God’s law. By his suffering and death on the cross, Jesus atoned for the sin of the world, suffered the wrath of God for all people, crushed the head of the devil, and opened wide heaven’s gates. By his resurrection from the dead, Christ sealed the victory over sin, death, and the devil.
Amidst the chaotic protests and riots of today, we steadfastly proclaim that there is salvation in no other name under heaven (Acts 4:12), and announce the sure and certain Good News that “God so loved the world... (John 3:16).
Acts 4:12 NET
12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.”
John 3:16 NKJV
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

III. God’s mission is empowered by God the Holy Spirit.

Just as the Father sent his Son and the Son humbly and lovingly did the will of the Father, so the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit as the third “missionary partner” in God’s great plan of salvation.
The Holy Spirit did not first “arrive on the scene” of God’s mission on Pentecost.
He, too, was active in creation (Gen 1:2).
He spoke by the prophets (Acts 2:16–21, 25–28, 30–31, 34–35).
He was made manifest at Jesus’ Baptism (Acts 10:38).
He filled and empowered the Church on Pentecost (Acts 2:33).
He continues to enable God’s people today to confess and profess that “Jesus is Lord” to the glory of God the Father (1 Cor 12:3; Phil 2:11).
The ongoing work of the Holy Spirit is vital to God’s missionary efforts.
Through God’s Word and Sacraments, the Holy Spirit “calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith” (Small Catechism).
The Holy Spirit is “the Lord and giver of life” (Nicene Creed). Without him, no one could believe in Christ, confess Christ, or bear witness to Christ.
Therefore, because of the Spirit’s work and presence in our lives and in the Church “we need not be overwhelmed or discouraged by the size of the task, the fierceness of the enemy, or the weakness of those who serve. The Spirit is with us—indeed, he dwells in us!—to empower us for our work in God’s mission (Acts 1:8; John 14:16).

IV. God’s mission is also our mission.

Only when we recognize the triune God as “the first and greatest missionary” can we understand properly the Church’s role in God’s mission and participate in that mission properly, joyfully, and confidently.
We share in God’s mission according to the various vocations in which he has placed us (Col 3:18–4:1).
For each of these he equips us with the appropriate and needed gifts (Rom 12:1–8; 1 Pet 4:10–11).
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Christ, The Son of Man Daniel 7:13-14
Like Moses sent Joshua to conquer the land, The Son of Man sends His Joshuas — disciples — to conquer the nations by making disciples.
That is, by Baptizing the nations INTO THE NAME, and to teach them everything that Christ has commanded.
1 Peter 2:9
1 Peter 2:9 ESV
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
We do this to let all people know that The Son of Man has taken His seat at the right hand of God, and all things will be made new again.
Do not trust in yourselves but in him as you seek to share the Good News of the Father’s love in Jesus Christ with others by the power of the Holy Spirit! Amen.
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