Missions: It’s About God

II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Thinking of missions, we think about the gospel. Missions is nothing without it. Unfortunately, few people know what it is. I Corinthians 15:1-4 tells us it is the good news of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When giving the Great Commission, Jesus Christ said to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Therefore, the thrust of world missions is bringing the gospel.

In the history of missions, Christianity has sometimes gotten caught up with the wrong emphases. We want to see a change in the world, so the social aspect of the gospel became the predominant notion in some circles of missions. This means that “missionaries” went to great lengths to raise support, study, and travel all in the name of humanitarianism. Houses were built, hospitals staffed, schools open, people fed – but no gospel witness. What is missions without the gospel? A great example is Teresa of Calcutta. Lauded even by the secular world, “mother” Teresa stressed the humanitarian side of the gospel while neglecting the most important part of saving souls. And she blatantly claimed her universalism: “my goal is to make a Catholic a better Catholic, a Muslim a better Muslim, and a Hindu a better Hindu.” Imagine if Moses wanted to make the children of Israel better idol worshippers!

In other circles, and as a reaction to the first, the social aspect of the gospel has been neglected. Many have forgotten that things like caring for widows and fatherless, feeding the hungry, helping the sick, and loving our neighbors is all still commanded in the Bible.

Sometimes, in missions, raising support becomes the dominant thing. Some missionaries can’t be sent out because they don’t get the required support. Sometimes, the emphasis is on the people, and when they don’t convert, missionaries get discouraged and come home. All these things are aspects of the gospel, but if we make them emphases we will not be fulfilling missions the way God has intended. The emphasis is not society, humanitarianism, raising support, or even people – the emphasis is God.

 It’s all about God.

II Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

The greatest joy in missions is reconciling people to God. Jesus said, pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest. It is He who is seeking and saving

“This is the highest and best and final good that makes all the other good things promised in the gospel good. Justification is good news because it makes us stand accepted by the one whose glory we want to see and savor above all things. Forgiveness is good news because it cancels all the sins that keep me from seeing and enjoying the glory of Christ who is the image of God. Removal of wrath and salvation from hell are good news because now in my escape from eternal misery I find eternal pleasure beholding the glory of God in the face of Christ. Eternal life is good news because this is eternal life, Jesus said, that they know me and him who sent me.” (John Piper)

Heaven is Heaven because of God’s presence
Hell is Hell because of God’s absence
This life with God’s presence is worth it
This life without God’s presence is worthless

What missionaries do:

Acts 26:16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me

Missionaries are used of God to open peoples eyes to Him. Successful missionaries have always emphasized one thing in their ministries: God.

“Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God” – William Carey

“God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply”; “God is always advancing” – Hudson Taylor

“The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.” – Henry Martyn

“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” – C.T. Studd

“Let my heart be broken with the things that break God’s heart” – Bob Pierce

“‘Not called!’ did you say?
‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say.
Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face – whose mercy you have professed to obey – and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world.” – William Booth

“If God wills the evangelization of the world, and you refuse to support missions, then you are opposed to the will of God.” – Oswald J. Smith

“God had only one Son and he made that Son a missionary.” – David Livingston

– God is everything to the believer!

God is our peace, our hope, our Savior, our friend, our Lord, our King, our power, our help, our Comforter, our Father, the one to Whom we pray, the One who knows us best, our provider, our Creator, our God! He is everything to us, and as His children our greatest desire should be to share Him with others!

Think about that as you support missions.

– The glory of God influences like nothing else

We think about the world around us and we all want to see a change. It’s not going to happen with a government program, social reform, or any other attempt. It won’t even happen with missions if missions is not done right. It can only happen when the glory of God is shining brightest through world missions.

Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
8 And there was great joy in that city

The gospel has influenced the status of women, children, morals, government, education, art, literature, music, and entire cultures just by being preached. Why? Because of the missionary? No, the glorious gospel of Christ.

– We are accountable to Him

Ezekiel 3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand

We hear the expression, “blood on your hands” applied to evangelism, meaning, if we don’t get people saved God will require their blood on our hands at the judgment. Although this particular verse is dealing with Ezekiel and Israel, it is still the attitude our God has toward his messengers today. We have been given a command. If God hold us accountable to obey other commands, He certainly will for this one. But it’s not just about the blood of those who died and went to Hell. As horrible as it is, when we meet God in judgment before the seat of Christ, our biggest sorrow will not be those we didn’t win, it will be standing before God and knowing we didn’t share His glory. By keeping the gospel hid, we literally hid the glory of God. And that’s something God doesn’t take lightly.

Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another

The glory of God is the best thing for this world. It is the highest attribute of God, for it is the result of Who He is. He vowed not to share that glory with anyone. Thank God He has lit our hearts with it. When we think about missions, let us do all for the glory of God.

Only one life
Soon twil pass
Only what’s done for Christ will last

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1 comment so far

  1. Tina on

    This is a very convicting, challenging and encouraging entry! It goes right past intellect and straight to the conscience. I loved the quote “Not called”… wow, that is so powerful!


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