Many of you reading this article are familiar with the old television series Mission: Impossible. Since then, several Mission: Impossible movies have been made. The ongoing theme is that special agents overcome what seem to be impossible obstacles, using their wits, creativity, and strategy—and often exotic technology—to make sure they accomplish their mission.
We as Christians called in this age also have a mission to accomplish, and at times it may seem impossible. We are a small group of believers given the greatest mission on earth. But what exactly is that mission? Most people who call themselves “Christian” have no understanding of the true Christian mission.
Most of you reading this article will be familiar with these important verses from Scripture: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matthew 28:18–20).
Notice—Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me.” The King James Version reads that “all power has been given” to Christ. This explains how we can accomplish that greatest mission—how it isn’t impossible if we are under Christ’s authority and allow His power to work through us. And what will happen when we do so? “Look among the nations and watch—be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you” (Habakkuk 1:5).
Habakkuk here, in context, is talking about the Chaldeans coming against the nation of Judah. God proclaims, in essence, I’m going to work a Work in your days that you won’t even believe if I tell it to you!
How important is that promise? It’s important enough that the Apostle Paul repeated it in Antioch to apply to a Work being done in the first century AD, after Jesus’ death and resurrection: “Behold, you despisers, marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days, a work which you will by no means believe, though one were to declare it to you” (Acts 13:41).
The Work is of utmost importance to us as Christians—and we each have our part in it. But we must never forget that God is doing that Work through fallible, human instruments. And in order to be usable, we must remain strong: “‘Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:4).
God gives us the encouragement that the mission is not impossible. He tells us to work, but reassures us that He is with us and that He will accomplish that Work.
Dedicated to Our Mission
About 120 ministers, wives, and widows attended the Eastern Ministerial Conference in Charlotte in August 2022. Mr. Weston began the conference by asking the attendees the same question we’re covering in this article: What is our mission? He emphasized that we must be doing the Work to the very end, and he reminded us, We are preparing for the greatest event in all history, ending his message by reminding us of Jesus’ words, recorded by the Apostle John: “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work’” (John 4:34).
So, how important is this Work to you? How important is it on the world scene? And how dedicated are you to this mission? I remember one scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge. It featured a noncombatant military medic named Dawson Dobbs who was a Seventh-Day Adventist serving in World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his heroism in saving 75 lives under enemy fire. He had to lower each injured soldier 400 feet from a cliff. Though he also was shot and injured, he still worked so those 75 injured soldiers would not be left behind. The whole regiment had already abandoned the fight against the Japanese in Okinawa, but Dawson stayed there. Though he was injured and had to crawl more than 300 feet, he still risked his life to save others.
As Christians, we are engaged in a different kind of war. Although not a worldly war, we can take inspiration from the example of those who have served with great dedication under fire, even with obstacles and injuries, still wanting to fulfill their mission. Jesus Christ gave us a purpose, a Work, and a mission, but how do you apply this to your life personally? Do you have a personal mission statement? Are you on a committed mission?
We see that, over the millennia, the greatest victories have been accomplished by leaders who were dedicated and committed. Of course, we must practice servant leadership, and God is the greatest Servant of all; He serves everything in the universe. The Father and Jesus Christ have used faithful servants throughout history in the accomplishment of God’s Work, throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament. God has an organized team working in the Living Church of God, led by the Presiding Evangelist and Council of Elders, supporting so many congregations—the body of Christ—connected together all over the world. And the Living Church of God has stated its mission.
That mission is stated in our Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs. If you don’t have a copy of the Living Church of God Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs, you can find it on LCG.org in the “Members” area. It states the fundamental elements of our mission to go to the world. And for those of you who think every Church of God is basically the same, I urge you to read carefully—I am not saying that there aren’t Philadelphian Christians in some other groups, but our mission is distinct.
What Is Your Attitude?
Brethren, we are called to fulfill the greatest mission on Earth. What is your attitude toward that mission? What is your attitude toward the mission Christ has given us? In Jesus’ parable of the talents, we see the attitude of the person who was not very committed, the one who hid his talent.
Then he who had received the one talent came and said, “Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.” But his lord answered and said to him, “You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:24–29).
That’s the example of the unprofitable servant, and we don’t want to fall into that particular category: the lazy servant who was not committed. The Apostles, on the other hand, were committed to their mission. And what was their mission?
And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:4–8).
In the Living Church of God today, we are striving to fulfill that very mission. We are following the example of the first apostles, who went out into all the world. Mr. Rod King, one of our Tomorrow’s World presenters some years ago, recorded a telecast titled “The Apostles’ Prophetic Journeys.” They went out into all the world, as we are doing today—but without the benefit of television and the Internet. They were committed to their mission.
Passion for Our Mission
Even worldly leaders demonstrate passion for their missions. Sometimes it’s a reaction against an injustice. In the United States, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave an impassioned speech before Congress when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. President George W. Bush roused Congress with his speech on September 20, 2001, nine days after the World Trade Center buildings were destroyed by terrorists and thousands were killed:
Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger we have found our mission and our moment. Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom—the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time—now depends on us. Our nation—this generation—will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.
Of course, the advance of human freedom doesn’t depend on Americans or on defeating terrorists. And while we should pray for our leaders and obey their lawful commands, we should not get involved in their political and military pursuits. We as Christians may admire our leaders for doing the best they can with what they know, but we know that they have been blinded and cannot see what God has allowed us to see. True freedom depends on God, who will soon bring His Kingdom to the earth.
During the Korean War, U.S. General MacArthur wanted to go to every length to defeat the enemy who was holding on to the northern parts of Korea. MacArthur objected to limited war—an objection that led to him being fired by President Harry Truman. In MacArthur’s farewell address to a joint session of the United States Congress, he proclaimed, “In war there can be no substitute for victory.”
We, brethren, are in a spiritual war—and for us there certainly is no substitute for victory. And it is God who gives us the victory. We have our part, of course, in overcoming self, Satan, and society. What promises do we have for victory? Consider a few scriptures that give us the encouragement that God does and will give us the victory.
- What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).
- But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).
- These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
Yes, God promises us victory and success in our mission. But do we really trust God to give us the victory in accomplishing our mission? We can do our part in various ways, but our attitude is vital. And of course, we need to know our mission. If we are going to accomplish the mission, we need to know our mission—and know how we can accomplish the greatest mission on earth.
The Value of a Mission Statement
One way we can be reminded of our mission is to have a mission statement. I gave a sermon several years ago titled “What Is Your Mission Statement?” You can find it online at the LCG.org website.
So, what is your personal mission statement? I am inspired by the mission statements I’ve heard from our Church programs for younger people. Mr. Jonathan McNair shared with me the mission statement of Living Education as a whole: “The purpose of Living Education is to provide systematic training for members, youth, and ministry of the Living Church of God in the knowledge and understanding of the way of God.”
And the Living Youth Program has a mission statement, which Mr. Weston shared with me: “To bring teams together in a living, learning environment for the purpose of recapturing true values and furthering the creation of a culture of purity, honor, and respect among the youth within the Living Church of God and society as a whole.”
Those are simple statements, but if the participants keep them in mind, they will be able to gauge whether or not their activities are supporting the mission. A mission statement holds us accountable for our actions and our choices.
Consider the conflict between Bayer Chemical and the National Resources Defense Council. Bayer’s mission statement is, “Science for a Better Life.” The NRDC used that statement to hold Bayer accountable for its chemicals’ responsibility in the destruction of honeybee colonies where Bayer chemicals are used. The NRDC’s director challenged Bayer in a letter to its CEO: “Bayer has continued to ignore, hide or attack the mounting scientific evidence that ‘neonic’ pesticides are a key factor in the alarming collapse of bee colonies…. Bayer’s stated mission is ‘Science for a Better Life.’ Please heed the science now because there will be no better life without bees. I call on you to stop selling bee-killing neonics immediately” (“Tell Bayer: Stop Killing Our Bees,” ThePetitionSite.com).
Is your life fulfilling your personal mission statement? Or could an observer call you out as the NRDC called out Bayer Chemical? Or do you even have a personal mission statement? If you don’t have an answer, perhaps you are not committed to a mission in life.
Citizens with a Mission
Students of American history know that the signers of the Declaration of Independence were committed. Whether they were right or wrong in their rebellion has been debated, but God used that rebellion—and the rebels were committed to their political cause, even seeing it in spiritual terms when they agreed, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
We have a spiritual mission, not a political one. So we should be even more committed to our God and our cause than worldly political leaders are to their own. We can admire them in a way, but we should do even better. Earlier, I mentioned General MacArthur. In his farewell speech at West Point, on May 12, 1962, he reflected on his mission, concluding with these words: “In the evening of my memory always I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country. Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps. I bid you farewell.”
No, MacArthur didn’t get it entirely right. “Cross the river”? He didn’t understand his destiny—his future. But he understood duty, honor, and country. We as Christians must carry out our mission with honor, knowing that our citizenship is in a far better country than can currently be found on planet Earth. Scripture reminds us that “our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:20–21).
Some of you brethren who aren’t old enough to remember MacArthur may remember the March 30, 1981 assassination attempt on U.S. President Ronald Reagan as he was leaving a Washington D.C. hotel after a speech, about to enter his limousine. John Hinckley Jr. fired six shots within 1.7 seconds, with bullets hitting the President, White House Press Secretary James Brady, D.C. police officer Thomas Delahanty, and Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy—who was shot in the abdomen while guarding the President.
What an example of dedication to a mission! And we all have missions—or should. When the President was about to go into surgery to remove the bullet that had lodged within one inch of his heart, he quipped to the doctors, “Please tell me you’re Republicans.” The lead surgeon answered, “Today, Mr. President, we’re all Republicans.” Those doctors had a mission—and their faithfulness to that mission saved the President’s life, giving him health enough to serve for two full terms as President.
The “two-fold” mission statement of the United States Secret Service is “protection of the president, vice president and others; and investigations into crimes against the financial infrastructure of the United States.” Agent McCarthy, along with other agents such as Jerry Parr, who by pushing the President into his limousine prevented him from being shot in the head, carried out this mission. They saved the life of a prominent man.
But we, as Christians, have a mission that involves saving all of humanity. Agents McCarthy and Parr were willing to risk their lives to carry out their mission. Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Roman brethren: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1–2).
Our Mission as a Church
We can describe our mission individually in many ways. When Jesus was asked which commandment is the greatest, he gave the two “Great Commandments” that summarize the Ten Commandments—and, indeed, the whole law of God: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40).
Along with the “Great Commission” that I mentioned at the start of this article, we can meditate on the Work that our Savior has given us to do. We can reflect on how the different aspects of our mission relate to these commands our Savior gave to us. And we should be mindful of the “Sevenfold Commission,” as Dr. Meredith sometimes defined our mission as God’s Church. He wrote about that in his article “The Purpose of God’s Church,” in the May–June 2009 Living Church News. Here are those seven points:
- Preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and the true name of Jesus Christ.
- Preach the end-time prophecies and the Ezekiel warning to the Israelitish people.
- Feed the flock and build all the members to the stature of Jesus Christ, as best we can.
- Be examples to the Church of God and to the world of Christ’s way of life.
- Learn and practice servant leadership in all our dealings with others.
- Restore original Christianity and all that this implies.
- Build an atmosphere of radiant faith within God’s Church.
Each of those seven points could be a mission statement by itself. Yet we as Christians are called to do all of these and more. Different members of Christ’s body have different strengths and may excel at some of these points more than they do at others, yet they are each vital for God’s Church to carry out its overall mission.
What About You?
The world is full of fools and fanatics with terrible mission statements of terrorism and evil. God has given us the greatest mission statement of all. We are to be peacemakers and to build the faith within God’s Church. God is calling dedicated, committed servants. He is looking for servant leaders who know their mission and who are zealous to fulfill that mission. And thank God that He promises, I will do this Work—a promise He is carrying out using fallible human beings like you and me.
So, are you on a mission? Remember that God has called you into the body of Christ to fulfill His Work and to do His will. With His help—and with the indwelling Holy Spirit—we can fulfill that mission, as Scripture confirms. We can say, like Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Brethren, let us all have the attitude of our Savior: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34). Let us be mindful of our incredible mission—and fulfill it with zeal.