- God desires all Christians to be involved in missions!
- Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against Satan, sin, and death.
- The most dreadful consequences of sin, is it condemns us to the eternal wrath of God.
- What should individual believers strive to do?
- How I transitioned into missions.
Missions have traditionally been associated with the church’s Evangelistic Pastors, Priests or Clergy of many different denotations. This outreach can be both local, in their own country or into foreign countries.
Mission’s original focus has been on bringing people to a true knowledge of their sins and their essential need of forgiveness for their sins. Faith and belief in Jesus is man’s only remedy from eternal separation from God in Hell. Jesus paid the ultimate price, He exchange His rightness for our sinfulness in order to pay in full for the punishment that our sins deserved. Jesus suffered and gave up His life on a cross so believers could live forever in Heaven. However, without knowledge of our sinfulness, man would not seek forgiveness and without knowledge of God’s Savior, Jesus, man would be lost forever.
God’s primary way of reaching His children is through other believers. All believers are to sow the seeds of faith and let God grow these seeds and draw His children to Him. This happens when new Christians receive God’s Holy Spirit and are “born again”..
God needs man to be the feet to carry His message to His Children. Romans 10:14-15: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”
Many Christians today believe that mission work and evangelism should be left up to the professionals i.e. missionaries or clergy. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. None of Jesus’ original disciples were associated with the religious class. Only Paul, who joined the disciples after Jesus’ resurrection, had any religious affiliation. However, Saul who later was named Paul was a Pharisee who persecuted Christians. After Paul’s conversion by Jesus on the Damascus Road, Paul became the greatest evangelist ever. Paul was rejected by the Jewish leaders and then ministered to the Gentiles, non-Jews, which opened up salvation to everyone worldwide who would believe in Jesus’s sacrifice for their sins.
Our Battle is a Spiritual Battle, Ephesians 6:12-13: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” There is a battle going on in the heavenly realms that we do not see. It is between God and Satan’s, spiritual forces of evil.
God’s Holy Spirit enables Christians to resist Satan’s seductive evil forces. John 4:4: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” That doesn’t mean that we won’t sin anymore, but we know that God’s mercy and grace are greater than our sins. Christians believe in God’s promises of righteousness through the shed blood of His only Son Jesus the Christ.
The Scriptures reveal a God that has always been involved in missions. In the book of Genesis, the heart of God expresses his great love for the world. It was the Lord’s gracious initiative and ongoing activity to save a world incapable of saving itself. Genesis 12:1-3: “The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to he land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Forty one hundred years later Jesus commanded His disciples, a group of fishermen, a tax collector and a doctor, to go and make disciples of all nations. Matthew 28:19-20: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Man’s salvation is entirely from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. Therefore, all believers are ambassadors for Christ weather paid clergy or lay persons. God makes His appeal to the lost through every believer. Mark 16:15-16: “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’”
Since all unbelievers, will be condemned eternally, shouldn’t every believer make an effort to explain the importance of the Gospel to their family and friends? God will eventually bring His mission to completion on the day Christ returns to judge both the living and the dead. God will gather all believers to himself and send the rest to eternal damnation. God’s loving patience has delays judgement so that the Gospel might be preached throughout the world. Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Sin is the Problem! The harmony that originally characterized God’s created order has also been disrupted by sin. We live in a fallen world where, instead of peace and love, sins like lust and greed, hatred and jealousy, domination and exploitation wound and destroys everything on earth. All sins of thought, word, and deed bring pain and grief into human relationships, and also ruin the harmony between human beings and nature.
The most dreadful consequences of sin is that it “condemns us to the eternal wrath of God, all those who are not “born again.” However, those through faith who have received God’s Holy Spirit will live forever in Paradise/ Heaven. As unpleasant and unpopular as this may be, the sobering realities of sin and God’s wrath must be faced and confessed in order for us to recognize the necessity and urgency of God’s rescue mission in Christ. John 3:18: “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
The creation itself was “subjected to futility” so that it knows only a “bondage to decay” and is “groaning in travail” under the burden of sin. Romans 8:19-22: “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
Before sin came into the world, God’s creation was perfect with harmony, peace and there was no death or decay. Once sin entered the world, it spread like a plague and affected everyone. God intervened numerous times in order to limit sin from spreading throughout the Old Testament. God’s greatest interdiction was His great flood saving only Noah and his family. God also prevented all the adult Israelites who doubted God’s ability to lead the people into the “Promise Land”, died in the desert. Only Joshua and Caleb who believed in God’s ability to and give them the land He promised Abraham. They survived the 40 years of wandering in the desert.
God is Omniscient but Satan is not! God knows who his children, those who believe in Jesus. You are either lost or saved, a believer or an antichrist! Jesus is the good Shepard who knows His children and they know Him! John 10:14: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” John 10:4-5: “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” It is up to us to get God’s message of redemption out to all His Children. Since we are not to judge because only God knows Man’s heart, we must spread God’s message of redemption to everyone.
Satan has many powers but unlike God he does not know who his children or followers are. Therefore, Satan uses the shotgun approach and tries to influence everyone by bending God’s truth in order to mislead as many people astray as possible. He also attacks wherever he sees the Churches or our individual weakness. He will attack all who are being successful in spreading God’s message of salvation. Bible Study Fellowship, BSF, was quoted to tell its students” If things are going smoothly, “you better get on your knees and pray to find out what you are doing wrong because Satan is leaving you along as and you are probably on auto-piolet to Hell!”
Satan has taken over the Mid-East which was mainly Christian at one time. Today most of the people living there are Moslems. In this country, Satan has been very successful removing God from our public schools and universities. Satan has major control over the main line media and has even infiltrated many of our churches.
Believers should not get discouraged as God is in complete control and knows even the number of hairs on our head. God will reach every one of “His Children” no matter where they live through missionaries, both clergy and lay people. Remember, the thief on the cross was saved in the last minutes of his life. That possibility is available to all believers, no matter when they come to Christ before they take their last breath.
God’s Mission is our Mission! The mission God gives to the church He also gives to each individual member of the church. In Holy Baptism God adopted each of us by name into his family, and called us to be involved personally in the task of reaching out to all people with his saving Gospel message. Jesus’ call to discipleship is “Follow me!” This Gospel message applies to each one of us, and by granting us the privilege of carrying our own cross for His sake and the Gospel’s.
Our personal involvement in God’s mission takes place wherever we are—wherever God has placed us. Each of us is called to serve God and bear witness to his grace whether as child, parent, husband, wife, citizen, employee, employer, government official, soldier, police officer, teacher, construction worker. As we serve faithfully “as to the Lord”, opportunities will arise to testify by word and deed to the hope that is within us as a result of our faith in Jesus Christ.
What should believers strive to do? As individual members of the body of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are to Strive:
- To live the new life, which God’s Spirit enables us to live to be “born again”.
- To share, at every opportunity, the message of God’s mercy and grace for sinners which includes everyone.
- To be nurtured in our relationship with God through regular and diligent searching of the Scriptures.
- To pray continually for God’s Kingdom to come and his will to be done.
- To make the most of every opportunity to “do good to all especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
- To identify and encourage qualified individuals for professional service in God’s church, even as we ourselves eagerly respond to God’s call, saying here am I! Send me.
Each of us has received from God’s hand grace upon grace, all flowing from the sacrificial service of the One who laid down his life for us on the cross. We cannot, therefore, leave the work of God’s mission to “the church” in general or to “others” who may appear more gifted for the task or to “the pastors.” What an honor it is to follow in the footsteps of God’s Servant-Son and to share with others the love he has so freely and fully bestowed on us! Each of us is a personal letter from Christ to the world.
As we strive to carry out faithfully the mission mandate of our Lord, we are comforted, refreshed and strengthened by the assurance that the mission is the Lord’s. Although he has entrusted it to us, he continues to guide and direct it, sustains it with his presence and promises, and empowers it by providing the divine means through which the mission accomplishes its divine purposes.
In my mid-forties, God drew me into Bible Study where I learned the truth about God’s word, the Bible, vs. what the secular world preaches. It took me over twenty five years in numerous bible studies before I went on my first mission trip to Poland. This trip made me realize how much more I got out helping Polish children learn American English. I also helped in the clean-up in Joplin, Missouri after a EF-5 tornado devastation the town.
In addition, I have visited Israel, the Ark and Creation Museum with other Christin friends for my own knowledge. I am now involves in: “Developing Our World, Making the World a Better Place, One Village at a Time!” Developing Our World, is a holistic ministry seeking to help individual villages by getting the local residents involver both spiritually and physically. Our goal is to improving their self-esteem, their health and living conditions. Many missions just throw money at their problems, which in many instances makes conditions worse.