God's mission is to make much of Himself. For God to make much of us would be idolatrous, God cannot break His own law. So, yes, God loves us, He guides us, He provides for us, He restores us, He saves us, but the motivation behind all of that isn't for Him to make much of us, but rather for Him to make much of Himself in me and in the end God is glorified and I benefit from that.
As we move to the mission of the Church we do not move our focus. God has selected a community of people to be the flagship of His glory. Starting in Genesis in the call of Abram then moving to Issac then to Jacob (Israel) we see God guiding, shepherding and disciplining. Israel is terrible at keeping the law and yet God continues to save, deliver and love. Because how is God glorified? Not in strength of man but in the weakness of man. I love this about God and so should you. So, throughout the Old Testament we have this promise of the great and glorious day of the Lord where God's glory is not confined to one particular people group but rather overflows into every tribe, tongue and nation of the world.
Then Jesus comes into the picture who comes and preaches that the glorious day has arrived. And Jesus lives a perfect life, is crucified, He absorbs the wrath of God towards all who place their trust and faith in Him and then He is resurrected and hangs out with His disciples for about 40 days. And when Jesus is about to leave He says in Matthew 28:16-20:
"Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
So God wanting to display His glory, chooses to do so via a covenant community with the promise that His glory is going to overflow out of that community into a larger covenant community that is made up of "all kinds of people" not just Jews. So what we have in Matthew 28:19-20 is Jesus commissioning His disciples to do that.
So God's plan has been, from Genesis on, to display the glory of His Name through His church to all peoples around the world.. So the mission of the universal church and the mission of God are not at odds with each other. The mission of God is to bring glory to His name and the mission of the church is to bring glory to God's name. So in the coming weeks we are going to look at how we at Connect Church will be involved in the process of bringing glory to God's Name.