“If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” —1 John 1:6-7
In March 1972, my family moved from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Merriam, Kansas. I had just turned 1 year old. My parents had had a rocky start in their marriage. For my mother, a new Christian, and my father, still running from God, our move to Kansas City was both a new start and a last chance. Three weeks from the day we moved in, we received a knock on the door.
Neighbors Mike and Cindy Couch had walked across the street!
Mike was a seminary student at Nazarene Theological Seminary and was in an evangelism class taught by Dr. Charles “Chic” Shaver. Dr. Shaver had given the class a homework assignment that required the students to knock on five neighbors’ doors and ask a five-question survey. The final question asked, “If you don’t have a church, would you visit our church?” On Sunday morning, April 16, 1972, my family visited a Church of the Nazarene for the first time.
At the close of that first Sunday morning service, my father walked to the front of the church, knelt at the altar to pray, and was changed forever. I was carried out of the church that morning by a brand-new dad and mom. I tear up at the words of Isaiah the prophet who wrote, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7). Mike and Linda represent those saints who bring good tidings! So much had led to my parents’ salvation that day. Christ, the Seeking Savior, had been showing His love for them in so many ways, wooing them to the heart of the Father. While they were still in their sin, Jesus was the very grace of God to them. We call this grace, prevenient grace, the grace that goes before.
They had not been seeking God. God had been seeking them!
John 20:21 reveals that Jesus was on a mission when He lived on this earth. Jesus said, “the Father has sent me.” Interestingly, the Greek tense of the verb “sent” carries the idea of a past event with continuing effect. Jesus is still very much on mission today. What is His mission? In Luke 19:10, Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” He is still loving, still seeking, and still saving.
What is truly amazing is that Christ’s mission becomes our commission! The Father’s sending of Jesus is not the end of the story. John 20:21 continues, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’” Christ followers are sent in the same way that Jesus is sent—loving, seeking, and proclaiming the good news! We are called to join Jesus in what He is doing. It is our co-mission! Imagine that for a moment. God’s grace is going out to this world, through the person of Jesus, to seek and save the lost. You and I are called to go proclaim and show what God has done and is doing! We are called to follow Jesus in His mission of making Christlike disciples in the nations.
Scott Rainey is global director of Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International.
Holiness Today, September/October 2020
Please note: This article was originally published in 2020. All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at that time but may have since changed.