We exist as a Church for these two things:
Firstly, we want to Know Jesus.
We exist as a Church because of who He is, and what he has done (1 Corinthians 2v2). He is our Creator, Saviour and King.And as a community we want to know Him more, to live out His ways, to love Him fully, and to glorify Him in all of life.
Secondly, we want to Make Jesus Known to the people in our lives, to our neighbourhoods, our City and ultimately the whole world. This means that as a Church we live our lives to share the good news of the Gospel with people in word and deed, and to equip others to do this in all of life.
1) “To Know Jesus”
If I talk about Knowing God, or Knowing Jesus, I’m sure something pops into your mind whether you are a Christian or not. But probably the most accurate New Testament language for what we’re talking about is “Following Jesus”.
Mark 1v14-18: “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, (15) and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (16) Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. (17) And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” (18) And immediately they left their nets and followed him.”
This is an amazing passage about what Knowing Jesus really is.
And here it’s in the context of Discipleship. Jesus is calling these men (and us too) to be His Disciples.
But, Discipleship wasn’t Jesus’ idea. In fact, it was a common and well known practice in His world and day. John the Baptist had Disciples before Jesus did. The Pharisees and other Jewish leaders had their disciples. In fact, since the days of Plato, Socrates and Herodotus, there were Disciples and Discipleship.
In Jesus’ Day, Rabbi’s were the ones with Disciples. And Jesus was a Rabbi.
So, what did the Disciples understand, and what did Jesus mean when He called them to Follow Him as His Disciples? Well, to be a Disciple of Jesus meant:
1) To Be with Jesus.
2) To Learn the Teachings and Ways of Jesus.
3) To Become like Jesus.
4) And to Carry on the work of Jesus.
(Adapted from Bill Hull’s “The Complete Book of Discipleship.” Pages 62-64)
This fourth point, “to Carry on the work of Jesus”, is what we mean when we say that our Vision is:
2) “To Make Jesus Known”
After His Crucifiction and Resurrection, Jesus gathered His disciples and commissioned them to carry on what He had been doing, and said: Matthew 28v18-20: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (19) 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, (20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
And this is something that every Disciple or Follower of Jesus, is called to. We are all called to Make Disciples, who will Make Disciples, who will Make Disciples.
Fulfilling this Great Commission of Jesus is our Mission as a Church, and is how we Make Jesus Known. We see success for us as a Church in fulfilling this Mission as:
1) Making Disciples (Matthew 28v18-20, 2 Timothy 2v2, Acts 14v21)
2) Equipping Members for Ministry in All of Life (Ephesians 4v11-12)
3) Renewing Durban with the Gospel (Isaiah 61, Jeremiah 29v4-7, Micah 6v8, Matthew 5v13-16; 6v10+33, Luke 4v16-21, John 13v34-35)
4) Planting and Strengthening Churches (Acts 8v1, Acts 11v19-26, Acts 19v1-10)
And this is a big and daunting Vision for us!
But, as a Church, as we all seek to Know Jesus and Make Jesus Known together, we know that the Holy Spirit is with us, helping us, and empowering us for this great mission. And each week after our Sunday Gatherings, as we all scatter around the City to live this out, the Holy Spirit is with us, leading us, speaking to us, and empowering us to follow Jesus, to share the Gospel, to make disciples, and to see the Kingdom of God advance through our lives, among our friends and families, in our neighbourhoods, and in the places where we work and shop and live and play.
This is what we exist for.
And if you are part of Harbour City, you are also called To Know Jesus and Make Jesus Known.