Even as the Father sent his Son to lay down his life for the salvation of the whole world, so God now sends his sons and daughters to bring the message of salvation to men, women, and children of every nation and language (John 20:21). Both the mandate and the means of Christ’s all-embracing mission are clearly given in his “Great Commission”:
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 lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)
The church announces the good news that God cares for all people without making any distinction based on race, class, or any other earthly criteria. It proclaims the message of Christ’s reconciling work to young and old, rich and poor, male and female, powerful and oppressed, healthy and sick, well-fed and hungry, friend and stranger, countryman and alien. The people of God strive to remove every human or sinful barrier that would keep others from hearing and taking seriously the Gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 6:3).
As they have received Christ’s forgiveness and love, and looking to Christ’s own example, God’s people have a special concern to demonstrate compassion to those who are neglected, persecuted, or discriminated against by the world. The church endeavors to ensure that its proclamation of the Gospel is accompanied by deeds of love, mercy and justice which flow from the message it proclaims (1 John 3:16-18).
As it strives to bring Christ’s love and forgiveness to everyone, the church is reminded constantly of its own need for that same love and forgiveness. God’s mission is to and for everyone—including those who claim it as their own. Because they “daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment” (Small Catechism, The Lord’s Prayer), God’s people, daily living in their Baptism, need to look to Christ’s cross for forgiveness to be renewed and invigorated for their God-given task.
Already now the church celebrates in the body and blood of Christ the feast that culminates on the day when Christ will come to gather his people “from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9), who will join “myriads of myriads” of angels in singing:
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing! . . . To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever! . . . Amen! (Revelation 5:12-14)
Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb! (Revelation 7:10)
From: A Theological Statement of Mission for the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod by the Commission on Church Theology & Church Relations, November 1991, page 12.