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All of Jesus for All the World Takes All of Us

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I’ll bet you didn’t wake up this morning thinking about our Alliance vision statement—All of Jesus for All the World. So why am I taking time to write about something few of us spend any time thinking about, let alone our first thought of the day?

Here’s why. Unless we have clarity about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, we will default to our lowest common denominator, which is whatever we feel like doing that day. Then once the pressures and demands of the day bear down upon us, it becomes so easy to forget the big picture and only focus on the tyranny of the urgent.

As a denomination, the Alliance family can fall into the same trap if we’re not careful. So I want to call all of you who embrace our mission’s vision, to remind each of us  why we do what we do, in all the places we do it—because the impact of what this means is too significant for us not to wake up thinking about it every day.

At Council 2019, one of our international workers proclaimed from the stage, “All of Jesus for all the world takes all The Alliance!” I love this extension of our vision statement! It’s actually more than a vision statement; it’s a faith statement.

Why “All of Jesus”?

In The Alliance, we are all about Jesus. That’s important because it’s possible to be in Christian ministry and not focus on the Lordship of Christ. We’re not just about getting people into heaven or providing moralistic teachings or guardrails, even though those are important. At the end of the day, we’re after Jesus’ Kingship. This actually does change our perspective—because in Jesus we have life-changing power that comes from the Holy Spirit. 

The reason we say “all of Jesus” is because we also know it’s possible to believe things about Jesus but follow Him at a distance without surrendering our lives to Him. “All of Jesus” means we’re really after a complete transformation in our lives.

We sing, “the same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in us.” If we believe that, our approach to life changes. We become open-handed about our identity and our ministry. Colossians 1:15–18 says He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. All things are created by Him and for Him. In Him all things hold together. He is the head of the Church. And then there’s the kicker verse that says, “that in everything He might be preeminent” (ESV).

Paul encourages us to remember that the One who created the world is the same One whose power is available to us. The One who is the source of everything lives inside us when we experience conflict and sin rises up within. We can have the fullness of Christ within us—all of Jesus—all of the Savior, the One who makes us holy and sets us apart, the Healer, and the King.

Our founder A. B. Simpson underscores this: “Here’s the Holy Spirit who’s just as much at home amid the toiling hours and heavy pressures of Monday and Saturday as in these holy worship experiences of Sunday. Here is divine sufficiency, not only for our spiritual experience and our religious duties, but for everything that fills up our common life.” He continues:

"We must adopt a cohesive, integrated aligned approach within us to love people in our neighborhoods—and around the world." Photo by an international worker

Many of us have fortunes in our Bibles without knowing it or without using our infinite resources. The Holy Spirit is given to us to be used for every sort of need. And yet with all the power of Heaven at our call, many of us are going about in starvation simply because we don’t know our treasure. Or we don’t use our redemption rights. As sons and daughters of the King, we have access to the Holy Spirit, but some of us don’t lean in or choose in.

A. W. Tozer adds, “We may be sure of one thing: that for our deep trouble, there is no cure apart from a visitation. Yes, an invasion of power from above. Only the Holy Spirit can show us what’s wrong with us. Only the Spirit can prescribe the cure. Only the Spirit can save us from the numbing unreality of spiritless Christianity.” Then Tozer drops the mic. “Only the Spirit can show us the Father and the Son. Only the inner working of the Spirit’s power can discover to us the solemn majesty and the heart ravishing mystery of the triune God.”

The Holy Spirit illuminates Scripture as He whispers truth from God and works transformation in us. We can become filled with not just some of Jesus—not Jesus at a distance—but all of Him.

Why “All the World”?

“All of Jesus” is not just for us. We weren’t just saved for us; we were saved for other people. Most of us can comprehend “all of Jesus”—but “all the world” is more difficult because we humans have a natural tendency to isolate. We are naturally territorial, provincial, and self-centered. Nearly every people group believes they have the true way of living—that their group is the really important one.

The problem with this thinking is not just pride, self-centeredness, and distraction, but the tendency to be focused inwardly and not outwardly. But look what Jesus does when He chooses His disciples. He selects followers who don’t willingly want to gather around a table with each other.

Jesus got people together who would be the equivalent in the United States today of the wealthy, manipulative business guy who’s not willing to give other people their fair share; the under-employed blue-collar workers; people who believe Hillary was the solution for our country; and the ones who believe Trump is the answer. And the people who believe that Antifa could be a great group as well as those who would subscribe to white nationalism. And they’re all sitting around a table together. Why does Jesus take super legalistic conservative people and get them together with more liberal, progressive kinds of people? Because He’s seeding a new way of thinking about the Kingdom.

In His choice of disciples, Jesus shows that our differences or boundary lines are not the guiding factors that set up the Kingdom. In fact, the Kingdom is where God unites people. This is a model for us in our churches—we must be able to disagree yet come together.

The reason for “all the world” is because it would be a real shame if we have a heart for missions “out there” but are not internally motivated by the Savior’s love for all people. We must adopt a cohesive, integrated, aligned approach within us to love people in our neighborhoods—and all over the world—not thinking we’re the gift to them but that Jesus is the gift to all of us.

We often say, “Once our group is set, then we’ll worry about the other people.” But Jesus says*, “You’ve already lived with people who have freaked you out. You’ve already seen Me hanging out with a Samaritan woman and guys who were getting drunk at parties. And frankly, you’ve had a hard time with each other, too.” Then He says, “But here’s the invitation: Now we’re going to all the world to carry this new Kingdom, vision, and presence everywhere we go, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And I will be with you always, until the end of the world” (see Matthew 28:19–20).

This Kingdom is our Alliance vision. When we are called to Jesus and begin to experience all of Him, He leads us to people we would not normally think about, give money to, pray for, or sit with. And that’s part of the life-changing, script-flipping journey in His Kingdom.

Why “All of Us”?

If we’re really about all of Jesus for all the world, what does it mean for all of us to join in? I see this from two different angles.

In Romans 12:1–2, Paul says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God . . . [and] do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . .”

He’s saying that joining in with what all of Jesus is doing in all the world requires a full surrender. Not just parts of our lives but all our physical, spiritual, emotional, family dynamics, personal thoughts, everything—all surrendered to the Lord.

"All of us" means everyone is needed to join in—churches, individuals, groups, neighbors, missionaries, pastors—everyone. Photo by Jord Christopher

It also takes the participation of all of us. I don’t know why the Great Commission was given to us—we’re wholly unreliable, weak, and easily distracted. But He’s chosen to invite us to usher in the Kingdom with Him. So “takes all of us” means everyone is needed to join in—churches, individuals, groups, neighbors, missionaries, pastors—everyone. It takes everyone leaning in to get this job done.

Our Alliance mission is based on Acts 1:8, where Jesus says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” He says, “you”—plural. Not “you”—individual. He’s basically saying*, “All of you have to do this—because if just one of you does this, it’s going to be rough.”

When I think about the guy who had the hardest time with “all of us,” I think of Peter. He made a lot of errors. He would say the right thing and then the wrong thing. Then he would do the right thing and almost immediately do the complete opposite. And Jesus says, on one hand, “Peter, on this confession I will build My church” (Matt. 16:18). And then a couple verses later He says to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan. You’re a hindrance to me” (Matt. 16:23, ESV). Peter constantly loses the plot.

All of us are comforted by Peter because we all can feel this way. One day we feel like we’re doing the right things—then the next day we’re asking, “Why am I doing this? Why am I still struggling with this thing?”

But we see that Jesus is so gracious to Peter. Even toward the end, Peter says*, “Even if everybody walks away, not me, man, not me.” Then Jesus says*, “No, definitely you, actually.”

Peter grabs the sword on that fateful night in the garden of Gethsemane and he cuts off the soldier’s ear—and Jesus says*, “Put your sword away. You still don’t get it.”

Then on the most important night of history, Peter denies that he even knows Jesus—and goes away crying because he knows he has failed his Lord and friend . . . again.

Deep down, Peter knows what he wants to do and who he wants to follow, but he so desperately wants to be fulfilled and contribute that he forgets Jesus’ mission is bigger than he is. But in that beautiful passage in John 21:15, when Jesus sees the disciples after the Resurrection while they’re out fishing, He says to Peter, “Do you love Me?” And Peter says, “Of course. You know I love You.” And Jesus says, “All right then, feed My sheep.” And then Jesus asks Peter the same question again, and a third time. Why does He do this?

I think Jesus is reassuring Peter. He says, “Feed my sheep. Take care of my lambs.” “Peter*, do you get it now that your call is not about you? Your call is to take care of other people.”

When Peter realizes his mission is ultimately about Jesus and other people, he ends up being the guy who launches the worldwide Church.

My encouragement for us is to remember that Christ offers us more—in our daily work, our times of worship, or whatever we’re doing. We can choose to say, “I want more. I need You. Would You please fill me up because I don’t want to do this on my own?”

And may we be filled with the vision that our mission is all about people. Jesus commanded us to have a love for the world—because He loves the world. This vision takes all of us—not just certain skillsets or abilities—all of us. The invitation from Jesus to Peter was*, “Just remember today that your call is first to Me. Do you love Me? And then it’s to other people. Feed My sheep. Care for My lambs.”

God, would You encourage all of us today as we pursue all of Jesus and express His love and care for all the world?

That’s a vision statement worth waking up to every day.

* Paraphrased conversation

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