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The Purposes of Jesus

March 25 2018
March 25 2018

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At Vineyard City Church of Redding, we desire to be “A community devoted to the person and purposes of Jesus.” Our first 2 blog posts were dedicated to following the person of Jesus in community. What does it mean to be community, how do we achieve it, and how do we sustain it? Following the actual person of Jesus, a person that has historicity and learning more of who he actually is.  If you missed either of those, visit our archives and give them a read.
We now move to the last part of our vision statement: being devoted to the purposes of Jesus.  While Jesus was on the earth in human flesh, he lived a life on mission.  He was focused on the task before him and fully engaged in the work he had been sent to accomplish.  One primary purpose of Jesus was to bring salvation to the entire world.  It started with a small group of followers (disciples), and was intended to spread to all of humanity.  Jesus, at the cross, reveals God’s extravagant love in a way not seen until then.  His love for humanity is the engine that drives his actions.  Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we are invited into personal relationship with our creator.  It is only through Jesus that this offer is made.
In a day and age where spirituality is on the rise, people are searching for meaning, significance, ultimate value and worth, and a connection to the divine.  Jesus is that connection.  There are many ways to Jesus, but only one way to the Father.  Jesus came to make a way for the connection and relationship that we all desire.  He gave his life that we might experience the “abundant life” and “eternal life” that we were created for.
In Luke 19:10 we see this on display as Jesus himself declares that he “came to seek and save that which was lost” and is affirmed as well in John 3:17 where John tells us that “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  God’s heart and desire is that each and every person would enter into a saving relationship with himself, through Jesus.  Jesus came to release each of us from the bondage of sin and set us in right relation to God.  What a gift and what an invitation!
Another primary purpose of Jesus was to bring justice to the world.  Throughout the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, he is reaching out to and ministering to those on the margins, the castaways, the forgotten, those he wasn’t supposed to be talking to or touching or eating with.  And as his followers, he has invited us to do the same.  We can’t just look at “personal salvation” as the only purpose of Jesus but must also see the heart he displayed for justice in the world.  Where there is injustice, there is an absence of the Kingdom of God.  And God’s heart and purposes revolve around his kingdom coming its fullness.  Things like the sex trade, homelessness, poverty, no access to clean drinking water are places of great injustice in our world today.  As his followers, Jesus is inviting us to participate with him to see these injustices made right.
Over the years, The Vineyard Church of Redding has participated in a variety of ways to see justice done.  I remember volunteering to go to Pakistan after a devastating earthquake struck the region.  The winter was on its way and without shelter, thousands would die.  I jumped on a plane, along with 100’s of other men from around the US and we climbed the mountains of Pakistan to build shelters that would help them survive the winter.
We have many people involved in ministering to and helping the homeless in our city find dignity and hope.  They participate in helping them find new homes or first homes, they provide a listening ear, or sometimes a hot meal.  In all of this, the Kingdom of God is expanding and we are so grateful to participate.
Lastly, Jesus put obedience to the Father at the forefront of how he lived.  Jesus lived in such close communion with his Father that he could say, “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19)  Just a few verses later, in 5:30, Jesus would say, “By myself I can do nothing…”  In the life of Jesus, we are given an example to follow of how we are to live.  As he lived by a connection to his heavenly Father, so we are to learn to live by the “indwelling presence of Christ.”  Author Frank Viola has used this term to describe the life we are called to live by the presence of the Holy Spirit (the very spirit of Jesus) that is granted to each of his followers.  As we go about our days, we too can live from this divine connection.
It is my firm belief that God is always speaking and active.  He is ALWAYS up to something.  Part of our discipleship is learning to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit that we might participate more fully in his activity.  This also relieves the pressure from us having to “create” opportunities or action and simply join what God is already doing.  We now do what Jesus is doing through the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit.  Where is Jesus inviting you to join him?
At the Vineyard City Church of Redding, we often speak of the Relational Triangle. It’s three points represent key relationships within the Kingdom of God. Up-our devotional life; In-our communal life; Out-our missional life. When we speak about the purposes of Jesus, we’re speaking about our Missional Life (Out). Are we following him?How? Are we making ourselves available to join him in his mission?  The mission of God (the purposes that Jesus game himself to) are all places worth giving our lives to in that they have lasting effects far beyond what we can see in the here and now.  Will you give yourself to Jesus and get in on the action of seeing God’s mission accomplished?

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