It is the privileged obligation of every believer to participate in missions. The church is to continue the responsibility to be actively making disciples of all nations. We have been entrusted with the ministry and word of reconciliation. We are ambassadors for Christ. Some will be “sent out” from the church to preach the gospel of peace so that all the earth can hear, believe, and call upon the name of the Lord to be saved.
The Privileged Obligation Of Every Believer
- The continuity of the mission—the church was built upon: (1) “Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone”—representing the first stone put in place to make sure the foundation is laid right. (2) “the foundation of the apostles and prophets”—men chosen to have a special office of authority. Therefore, the church and its mission started with Jesus who was sent by God to be “the light of the world”. When His work was completed through His miracles, teaching, death, resurrection and His final ascension to heaven, the church and its mission continued with the apostles who was sent by Jesus to be “the light of the world”. When their work was completed through the establishment of local churches and the completion of the word of God, the mission continued with the church to be “the light of the world”—the church effectively and solely inherited the responsibility of the great commission—to be God’s witness in the world.
Ephesians 2:19-22; John 9:5; 20:21-23; Matthew 5:14-16
- The entrustment of the mission—as believers, the love of Jesus constrains us—meaning that it urges or motivates us to action. It means that we should no longer live for ourselves but live for Jesus who died for us and rose again. The gospel should radically change our lives. In Jesus, we are made new creatures by God. This means that our old way of life has passed away and we live life in a new way. Part of this new life is being entrusted with the message of the mission that changed our lives.
2 Corinthians 5:14-18; Galatians 2:20
- The ministry and word of reconciliation: God was in Christ, reconciling the people of the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them. Reconciliation means the act of restoring our relationship with God. God has done all the work necessary through Jesus to reconcile mankind to Himself. God sent Jesus to suffer the penalty of His enemies so that they could be made His friends. Everyone who is in Christ has been declared righteous (justified) and has his relationship restored with his Creator (reconciled). This restored relationship gives us great joy. As believers—those who have been reconciled, we have been given (privilege) by God “the ministry of reconciliation” and He has committed (obligation) to us “the word of reconciliation”. Thus, it is the responsibility of every believer to proclaim the gospel to the people of the world.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Romans 5:8-11
- Ambassadors for Christ: We are given authority by God to represent Jesus in this world. God makes His appeals to the world through us. We are to implore the people of the world on the behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God. We are to declare to the people of the world that God made Jesus to be sins for us—even though Jesus knew no sin—so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Jesus. This means the main occupation of ours lives is to make disciples—teaching others who Jesus is, how to know Him, and how to serve Him.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21
The Distinguished Calling Of A Missionary
- Church Authority—sending forth: Now that the church has been entrusted with and bears the responsibility of the great commission (every member should be involved), it is thus the sending agency that God works through to send chosen men (evangelist, preachers, missionaries) to preach the gospel of peace so that all the earth can hear, believe, and call upon the name of the Lord to be saved.
Romans 10:13-17; Acts15:22; 2 Timothy 4:5
- The succession of the apostle function: Apostle means “sent one”—one who is sent forth with a specific mission to accomplish under the authority of the sender. Jesus was the “Apostle”—chosen and sent forth by God on a mission that the people of the world through Him might be saved. This was a unique calling in that He was the propitiation for our sins. The twelve disciples and Paul were called “apostles”—chosen and sent forth by Jesus to carry forth His mission. This was a unique calling in that they were to testify as eyewitnesses of Jesus. Today, the church sends forth “apostles” or messengers—those that preach the gospel of peace to all the earth. This was a unique calling in that they are to do the work of an evangelist and/or teacher.
Hebrews 3:1; Luke 6:13; John 3:17; 17:18-21; Romans 1:1-7; Acts 1:1-8
- Distinguishing the office and the gift: There were two main types of “apostles” in the New Testament. The twelve disciples and Paul were “apostles of Christ”. They were confirmed through being eyewitnesses of and chosen by Jesus, as well as, performing miraculous signs. This was a special “office of authority” that only these men had. The other type of apostles were “messengers of the churches”. They did not have the “office of authority” like the other apostles but they were their successors and were labeled as apostles for being “sent out” of the church as evangelists and teachers.
1 Corinthians 4:6, 9; 2 Corinthians 8:23; 11:13; Philippians 2:25; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2:6; Acts 13:1-3; 14:4, 14
- Missionary Calling—going forth: There are three kinds of missionaries the church should look for to send forth: (1) “Evangelists”—those who are sent by the church to preach to unbelievers among the heathen of the world with the message of Jesus. (2) “Teachers”—those who are sent to teach the new believers with the word of God; establish new local churches among them; train adequate church leadership. (4) “Evangelists/Teachers”—those who are gifted and able to fulfill all or a combination of these functions.
Ephesians 4:11; Acts 8:5; 21:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:2-3; 1 Corinthians 3:5-9; 2 Timothy 2:2; 4:5
- Chosen men are given the “gift of evangelist/teacher/pastor“ which is often referred to as Jesus “calling” that man to be a full-time vocational missionary. The call of a missionary then is not God orally telling you what to do, but it is acknowledging and submitting to the gifts that He has enabled you with.
Ephesians 2:10; 4:7-8, 11; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 Corinthians 12:11
- Thus, certain men will have an inclination to give their life to God for full-time missionary service. But how can they know for sure? They can recognize “the call” through the following steps: Desire—Is there an inner compulsion that is leading you to consider being a missionary? Ability—Do you have leadership skills, the ability to communicate the gospel, and a compassionate heart to reach the lost around the world? Lifestyle—Do you meet the qualifications and are you living a life that other believers can follow in regard to character, marriage, family, conduct and ability? Confirmation—Do other believers in the church speak well of you concerning your ministry abilities and lifestyle?
Philippians 2:13; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9; 1 Peter 1:15-16; Acts 16:1-2
- What is the continuity of the mission?
- Who is the mission entrusted to?
- What was given the ministry and word of reconciliation as ambassadors for Christ?
- What is church’s function to send forth?
- What is a missionary calling?