A God Always on Mission

The Book of Acts

In the latter part of 2019 and during the year of COVID, Redemption Hill Church went through the book of Acts. Acts is theology applied. In the Book of Acts, we see what it looks like when the gospel is preached to a broken world. There were times when the gospel was preached, and the response was persecution. But not everyone responded by picking up a rock ready to chuck it at a loud-mouthed Peter or Paul. Some people responded to the gospel message with faith. The conversion of Lydia is an excellent example of the power of the gospel to save (Acts 16:11-15). Lydia was a businesswoman. The apostle Paul happened to be making his way through her area. Outside of town, Paul preached the gospel, and Lydia was listening in. Her heart responded to the Good News of Jesus Christ. And in a moment, Lydia began to leverage her material possession for the Kingdom of God (v. 15). There is a multitude of salvation stories in Acts if you are will to read it.

The pattern in the Book of Acts is simple. The Kingdom of God advances as God sends Christians out into the world to preach. When people are saved by the grace of God, churches are established. Local churches become an outpost of additional gospel ministry to the community. And sometimes, a local church sends out more people beyond their city borders for the gospel mission. The church in Antioch is case-in-point (Acts 13:1-3).

A Whole Lot of Sending

The Book of Acts reinforces that the God of the Bible is constantly sending. But the sending of the early church disciples isn’t exclusive to the Book of Acts. Let’s go back to Genesis. In Genesis 12, we read God sent Abraham.

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. . .4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him. . . – Genesis 12:1 and 4

Abraham had no idea what he would encounter traveling to a land filled with people he did not know. GPS was not available to him. Heck, he couldn’t pull out the old school Rand-McNally paper map. He simply obeyed God. A similar dynamic exists with Barnabas and Saul in Acts 13. They had no idea of what they were going to encounter when they were called to leave Antioch. They simply obeyed God. They were sent without knowing what lies ahead.

The prophet Jonah is another well-known example of God sending a person to preach a message of repentance. God sent Jonah to Ninevah. Now, Jonah was like, “thanks, but no thanks,” and boarded a ship going in the opposite direction. If you read all four chapters in the Bool of Jonah, you know God has his way with his reluctant prophet. The point is God sends his people with the purpose of proclamation.

The Father Sent the Son

Here is the cherry on top. God the Father sent the Son into the world to save the world from its sins (Matthew 1:21). Here is this ever-popular John 3:16, along with the following verse.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but [The Father sent the Son] in order that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:16–17

The Father gave and sent the Son. Why? The Son was on a mission to redeem God’s elect people to himself for the glory of God. The Son, with laser-like focus, knew why he was being sent into the world. The Son knew that being sent into the world meant a crucifixion, but also a resurrection. And now, the message of the crucified and resurrected Savior is the message of the church. It was Jesus, before his death, who told the disciples that he would send them into the world to proclaim a message of peace and hope. But Jesus didn’t stop there. As his disciples were being sent, the Holy Spirit was going to be sent with them (John 16:7). Insert the filioque controversy here.

Putting It All Together

So yeah, there is a whole lot of sending going on in the Bible. What does all this tell us about God? What does all of this mean for the church? First, God is a missionary God. He delights in sending his people out into the world to share the message of redemption. Second, it is up to the church to get on God’s mission. Far too often local churches, and Christians, form their own mission. They aim to serve their own purposes. The goal isn’t to be like Jesus. It’s to use the name of Jesus to peddle a program instead of a person. Preferences also become a barrier to sharing the gospel. I think God had something to say to Jonah about his preference driven reaction to being sent. 


The church has the great privilege to be sent by God. The 21st-century church stands in the historical line of faithful Christians who responded to God. At present, it is up to the church to respond to God with obedience and joy. As we read in Acts, God’s Kingdom advances when the gospel is preached. We labor out of love for God and love for others. We participate in God’s plan of redemption for the honor and glory of God.