MISSIONS: THE HEARTBEAT OF GOD
Missions has been described as that action of the church to take the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to the unreached peoples of our world. Mission goes beyond proclaiming the Gospel but also disciplining and establishing men in the life of faith in Christ Jesus.
The word missionary comes from the latin word “ Mitto” which means to send. The Greek equivalent is “ Apostello” Apostle Paul is an example of a missionary. In Romans 15:20 “Yea, so have I strived to peach the Gospel, not where Christ was named”. Apostle is a word we translate today as missionary. A missionary then is someone sent with a commission from a higher authority to spread the Gospel to places where they are yet to receive, or to her the Gospel.
Evangelism is to proclaim the Gospel, Missions is more systematic and comprehensive. It includes evangelism, church planting, discipleship and stewardship training. The major task of the church is evangelism, church planting discipleship and stewardship training from nation to nations, from culture to cultures etc.
Matthew 28:18-20” And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, all power is given unto the in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and the son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
“Go ye” This is God’s command.Our mandate as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ is to propagate the gospel around the world.
Our mandate as a local church is to see to it the gospel is preached all around the world. To teach in this scripture means to disciples the people to become Christlike and also entrust them to continue the work of mission all around the world. God commanded” teach all Nations” we are to teach all nations.
Why is this so? This is because Jesus did not die just for Europeans, He did not die just for the Americans, and He did not die just for Africans. Jesus died; shed His blood for the salvation and redemption of the entire nations. He also resurrected for the entire nations.
Therefore, those of us who have received and enjoy the salvation and redemption given by Jesus have the responsibility to also
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations”
The goal of all mission work is the perfecting of the saints into sanctified, committed disciples of Christ.
Heaven is real and hell is real!
Those who died without Christ are going to a place where they will be tormented forever and forever in a bottomless pit where the fire is not quenched and they are separated from God and His love for all eternity without any chance or return. Many believers find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that God could allow His creation to go to hell fire. In clear terms God told us in His Holy book, the bible.
“Jesus answered and said unto him verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” John 3:3
Except a man or a woman accept Jesus as his or her Lord and Saviour, he/she cannot get to heaven.
In recent times thousands and millions are dying daily allover the world. Some through natural disasters, wars, religion crisis, famine, sickness and disease without Jesus in their life, the truth is that they will go to hell. Jesus died for this people as well. Jesus died on a cavalry because He knew hell was real and knew that it was His death that can liberate and redeem human being from hell fire.
Mission work must therefore be given top priority by the believers and churches generally. Imagine the teeming population of people in Africa, Asia alone. Imagine the number of Muslims that are dead and those that are still alive without Christ.
The death and resurrection of Christ must not be in vain. We must not allow the devil to populate hell. Hell is not meant for human that God formed. But hell is meant for the devil, the fallen angels and disobedience human. Hence, the need for believers to engage in mission work all over the nations of the world.
Jesus our master was a missionary. He left heaven to come to the earth. He left His comfort zone and came to earth just because He wants us to be saved and go to heaven. Jesus knew very well that he was sent by the father. He mentioned it about 43 times just in the gospel of John, as well as in the other gospels. The purpose of this sending was that the world might be saved according to L.K. Fuller in her book titled” Going to the Nations”
“For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world. But to save the world through him” ( John 3:17). Jesus was given a job to do. Jesus had given the churches a job to do. As God sent Him, so He had sent us and commissioned us.
“ Say unto them, as I live saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways. For why will ye die, O house of Israel.” (Ezekiel 33:11).
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in Judea and in Samaritan, and unto the uttermost part of earth”. (Acts1:8.)
We must levee are comfort zone to save souls, disciple, train establish and then send them to further the cause of mission work.
Hear what the Bibles says “ When I say unto the wicked O wicked man, thou shalt surely die if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the man of his way to turn from it, if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity, but thou hast delivered thy soul. “ Ezekiel 33:8-9.
The church no longer warns the wicked of their wickedness, rather the church promises prosperity, safety, favour lifting to the wicked. And further plunged them into hell fire. We must repent and do what God assigned us to do.
Building cathedrals are not wrong, but we had left mission work, abandoned the missionaries, left them to suffer hunger, lack and want, while we are busy heaping up riches and pursuing mundane things. Things that do not count in heaven. While the harvest is rotten away. The church has become very selfish, and will never support or lend a helping hand to missionaries or to a genuine ongoing mission work if our sign post will not be placed there. We are not interested in building God’s kingdom but our personal kingdom.
In order to evade helping missionaries, the church usually tells them “If God sends you he will support you”. With due respect, the statement is a fact but not the truth. God will usually support His sent missionaries. However, the truth is that it is the church, “You and I” that God will bless and use to support the missionaries.
Did I hear you making a comment that the missionaries can also vend for themselves on the mission field? Certainly, the fact remains that that creates a distraction and makes the missions work to take a second place. The missionaries can seize the available opportunities around them to augment their incomes. However, when support is not forthcoming from the church and they have to work fully to make a living and vend for their families, their attention is divided and they cannot give all their time and attention to the mission work as it demands. God is passionate about missions and we cannot do less.
It is estimated that the world population today stands at 6.5billion of which only 32% are Christians. Majority of the 68% left without Christ are found among the unreached groups of the world. The church therefore, must intensify, emphasize and network for mission work among this unreached groups. No single church or ministry or mission agency can do it all. Therefore, the need for networking. Each soul is important to God. Just as an American sinner is to God, the same way is the soul of a sinner in Somalia, Chad and the Far East in Asian village.
HOW MISSION WORKS
Niyi Gbade in Occupy magazine says “Mission works by a deliberate attempt to obey God and preach His world. Mission works by churches teaching the whole counsel of God and making their congregation become world Christians. People should be taught that all that life is is not seeking a personal breakthrough and consuming that victory on themselves alone. Churches and Christians all over the world must see that the task of turning the nations of the world to God is their responsibility. And all hand must be on deck. Hence, the need for networking. Mission works through networking.
Mission works when we break the barrier set up by denomination and work as one working in the same manufacturing company but in different departments to achieve one goal.
Mission works when we release our resources (money, equipment and human resources) to aid soul winning, church planting, discipleship and training in the nations of the world.
Mission works when we are ready to do all this with the mindset that only the glory of God should be seen. When we focus on eternal reward and not what we can get out of it especially fame and position.
Mission works when believers know that God has invested all in him/ her do be used to serve God especially causes targeted towards mission work.
Mission works when churches realize that having a gigantic, world celebrated worship building just in America or Nigeria, or United Kingdom, is not what will turn the nations to the Lord but the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation. (Romans 10:13-17).
Mission works when Christians are ready to die of self, personal interest, so that Jesus alone will be exalted.
Mission works when Christians are ready to leave their comfort zones, deny themselves of what their bodies crave after etc in order for the gospel to reach the unreached.
Mission works when resources meant to be used for mission enterprises are not diverted to another things be it spiritual or physical.
Mission works when all of us are involved wholeheartedly, deliberately, and practically.
HOW TO BE INVOLVED
Hear the story from Oswald J. Smith., “In the early days of my ministry, realizing that I could not go myself, I turned to substitutes. One day, I approached Rev. J.H.W. Cook, the leader of the Evangelical Union of South American.
“You want to send out some new missionaries? “ I asked.
“Yes” he replied. “We have five ready to go”. “Why don’t you send them?” I enquired. “We do not have the money” was his reply.
“If I can succeed in raising the funds for their transportations, will you allow me to support them?” I asked him. His face lit up as he responded in the affirmative.
Never will forget the day I placed those the missionaries on the platform of the people’s church and challenged the congregation to send them out. They did so. Then the five became ten, the ten, twenty. The twenty, thirty. Now we have an army of laborers serving as our substitutes on some forty different foreign fields; under thirty – five faith mission societies and we contribute toward their personal support.
But ……I am not satisfied. I am praying constantly and this is my prayer, “Lord, let me live, if it be Thy will until we have four hundred missionaries on the foreign fields on the earth”. I feel that that is the number that the People’s Church should help support and I will never be satisfied until we have at least that many missionaries in the Regions Beyond.
This is what I am living for. I am a Pastor and am Evangelist second; I am a missionary first. I am an author second. I am a missionary first. I tried to go myself; as a matter of fact, I went, but each time it seemed that I had to come back. I knew then that there was only one things left to do; namely to send others. That is why I travel all over the United States of America, the dominion of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Great Britain. I go in order to hold missionary conventions and to challenge young people. I must do all I can to find and send substitutes”.
(This is adapted from the Challenges of Missions by Oswald J. Smith founder of the people’s church, Toronto. Reprint 2001, Edysl publications, Lagos, Nigeria Page 32)
What you’ve just read is a pointer to how you can get involved.
Remember what Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:18-20, and Acts 1:8. He said go ye therefore and teach all nations and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. So this is a command. All of us believers must be involved.
What Jesus is saying here is that as we are busy with our home church, we must not neglect the mission fields, villages or territories within out country yet to be reached including unreached nations outside our country.
Mission works is not an optional extra for the believers or the church; it is an integral part of our faith and an inevitable task that must be fulfilled.
Why do you think God has allowed you to be blessed with such material and spiritual abundance? Throughout scripture, we see only one correct response to abundance and that is sharing and caring, expanding Gods kingdom with your abundance.
Today will you write down, in one sentence the single most important that you are going to do with the rest of your life, that will not be self centered or worldly in nature and such that bring glory to God.
“ And I will set a sign among them, and I will sent those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan , to the Isles after off, that have not heard my fame neither have seen my glory and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren, for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariot and in litters and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord. And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the Lord. For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make shall remain before me, saith the Lord so shall your seed and your name remain”. Isaiah 66: 19-22.
God sees soul winning, discipleship training as the greatest offering that can be given. And God gives appropriate reward for such works. ”For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain”
Abundant rewards await all those who engage in Mission works which is the heartbeat of God.
You can get involved by praying for missionaries, mission fields etc. You can be involved by supporting missionaries and mission work financially and materially.
You can get involved by visiting missionaries on the fields to encourage them, thus helping them to overcome loneliness, and the mindset of been neglected. You can also get involved by using your holidays for short- term mission work. This will help revive your spiritual life.