Missional Grace: Living FROM Not FOR God

Missional Grace:  Living FROM Not FOR God

 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only [Son], who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.  – John 1:16-18, TNIV

 In his book The Emerging Church, (Zondervan, 2003) Dan Kimball describes the missional church “as a body of people sent on a mission who gather in community for worship, encouragement, and teaching from the Word that supplements what they are feeding themselves throughout the week.”  Kimball’s words offer us of several important concepts we need to keep in mind as we move forward to fulfill God’s mission in the world.

 1)      We are not called to live FOR God.  It’s better than that.  We get to live FROM God.  We live out of the overflow of God’s grace in our lives.

 2)     BEING always precedes DOING.  To live out of the overflow of God’s grace, we must continually be called to intimacy before action. 

 3)     Our CONNECTION with God that strengthens our relationships with one another and our passionate love for God’s world.  It is out of this connection (intimacy) that we discover our unique spiritual gifts for ministry.

 As we begin our next step together as a missional congregation, we need to remember that the mission is God’s, and God will continually provide all that is needed for us to accomplish God’s mission.   That being the case, we must continually remind ourselves of this connection so that the ministry might flow FROM God THROUGH us.

 At the very start of the Fourth Gospel, we are given a reminder of this theological underpinning.  In John 1:16, the author writes that what we have received from God comes out of the fullness of Jesus.  In the Greek, that word fullness is ??????? pleroma {play’-ro-mah} which means:

1. that which is (has been) filled

2. that which fills or with which a thing is filled

3. fullness, abundance

4. a fulfilling, keeping[i]

 When you think of that phrase “out of his fullness we have received,” what do you think that means?

 What does this mean for you own sense of calling?

 What do you think it means for our calling as a church?

 In the following section, you will see two grids[ii] representing our two options for living a missional lifestyle.  We can live FOR God, from our strength.  The Bible refers to this style of living as “the Flesh.”  Or we can life FROM God; out of the “fullness” God has provided us in Jesus. 

 Living FOR God (In “the Flesh”)                       Living FROM God (In Christ)
Performance Living                                              Dependence Living
religious formulas, checklists, actions steps      relation, revelation, response
Self Resourced Missional Living                         God Resourced Missional Living
God mission in my strength                                God’s mission by God
Asking God To Bless Our Efforts                       Asking God to Reveal His Will
We are the source of God’s work                       God is the source of God’s work
We are the root and result                                  God is the root and result 
We accomplish the mission FOR God.               God accomplishes it through us 

Discussion Questions:

 What are the potential dangers of living in “the flesh”?

 What might the outcomes be in our ministry if it is based on our resources?

 How might the outcomes be different if we live out of the “fullness” of Christ?

 In what ways is our congregation prone to live more in “the flesh”?

 In what ways do we live out of the “fullness” of God?

[i] From “Strong’s Analysis” in BibleWorks 8

[ii] Adapted from information in “The Grace-Life Discipleship Workbook” (produced by The Association of Exchanged Life Ministires).

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