Missions: What Is The Authority Of Missions?

The authority of missions is rooted in the God of the Bible and thus in the Bible itself. We go forth knowing “thus saith the Lord”. God sent Jesus, Jesus sent the apostles and thus the church. The church in Jesus’ authority continues the mission in the world until He returns.

The Authority Of Missions Is The Bible Of The Mission

  • The Authority of the Bible: The Bible is sufficient for us to know God’s will and it is the only way for us to be certain about God’s will. The words of the Bible are the words of God and there is no greater authority than God Himself. Since all the words of the Bible are the words of God, a believer who does not obey the Bible is saying that he does not want to obey God; but to obey the Bible is to obey God. Therefore, there are no dreams, visions, offices or positions of ministry, or anything else that has higher authority than the Bible.
    2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Corinthians 14:37
  • The Authority of the Bible and the “Apostles of Christ”: The apostles of Christ were uniquely sent out by Jesus to lay the foundation of the church among the peoples of the world and to be witnesses of Jesus. They spoke with the authority of God and had direct revelation from God as the New Testament was not written yet. But even they were held accountable to the Old Testament—what they proclaimed was examined against the Scriptures that were already revealed to see whether or not they were truly proclaiming the word of God. The completion of the Bible and the cessation of the office of the apostles of Christ means the ultimate and final authority is the Bible itself. Therefore, the authenticity of anyone who participates in missions and their right to be an ambassador for Christ is only legitimate and authoritative if it is in submission to God’s revealed will in the Bible.
    Acts 17:10-11; Galatians 1:8-9

The Exercise Of Authority To Go And Send Forth

  • In Jesus’ Power: After Jesus died and rose from the dead, He appeared to the disciples and told them that all power was given to Him. Jesus was claiming absolute, sovereign authority which would be the basis for the command that He would give them. Therefore, it is in the name of Jesus alone that the apostles and all believers fulfill the great commission. As they fulfilled this command, Jesus told His disciples that He would be with them always. We not only obey this command in the name of Jesus but He also goes with us. We do not go on our own, but we know that He is with us. Therefore, the One who has all authority in heaven and earth sends us forth, and He also has promised to be with us through the entire process until the end of the world.
    Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:19-23
  • In Jesus’ Name: Two of the apostles of Christ, Peter and John, went up together into the temple. Peter healed a man lame from his mother’s womb in the name of Jesus Christ. All the people saw him walking and praising God. Then the healed man held them and they took this opportunity to teach all the people and they preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead—that even though the “men of Israel” had killed Jesus, God raised Him from the dead, thus they were to repent and be converted. The Jewish leaders (the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees) seized Peter and John and asked them a very important question: “By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?”—They wanted to know what kind of supernatural power they had or by what name or authority they had to heal this man. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, told them very clearly that His authority was “by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” and He continued to tell them that “neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
    Acts 3:11, 25; 4:1-12
  • Ordination: As the mission was being carried out, we find the following: the apostles ordained men for ministry; Paul (an apostle of Christ) and Barnabas (a missionary) were ordained by the church that was at Antioch; Paul and Barnabas ordained elders in all the churches in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch; Timothy was ordained by the presbytery (church leadership). Ordination and its symbol of “the laying on of the hands” to express the exercising authority for approving of men for ministry and delegation authority to them is a pattern that can be carefully and humbly applied to the advancement of missions.
    Acts 6:2-7; 13:3; 14:21-23; 1 Timothy 4:14; 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6
  • The Authority Continuum: the church and its mission started with Jesus who was sent by God. When His work was completed, the church and its mission continued with the apostles who was sent by Jesus. When their work was completed through the establishment of the church and the completion of the word of God, the mission continued with the church—the church effectively and solely inherited the responsibility of the great commission. Thus, with its inherited authority and pattern of the New Testament the local church has the right to exercise authority to ordain missionaries and send them out. Thus, the missionaries go forth in this authority and extends that authority when he and the newly formed church ordains the new local church leadership.
    Ephesians 2:19-22; John 9:5; 20:21-23; Matthew 5:14-16
  • Ordination’s Purpose: This seems to have three main functions: (1) The Bible places the emphasis on the New Testament church and that God carries out its mission collectively and not individually. (2) The church and its leadership recognize the spiritual gifts and qualifications on a man’s life for ministry. This includes those who seek to go out from the church as missionaries to serve in a foreign land. (3) The one who receives the “laying on of the hands” is establishing his personal call to ministry through the confirmation of other believers in the church who speak well of him concerning his ministry abilities and lifestyle. Therefore, concerning missions, this is the church collectively approving of a man to be sent forth as a missionary on its behalf.

The Application Of The Authority Of Missions

  • Each local church has the right and responsibility to participate in missions—for this is the reason they exists. They can confidently and boldly fulfill their purpose. They should be actively going forth in their local area and at the same time reaching beyond to the people of the world by sending forth qualified men in obedience to the great commission. This should also created a healthy partnership between missionaries and churches
    Acts 13:49; 19:10, 20; Philippians 1:5-7
  • Every believer has the right and responsibility to participate in missions through proclaiming that Jesus is the one and only way for a person to be saved. We can confidently and boldly proclaim to any people group, any nation, any religious group or minority that their gods and idols are all vanity. It is imperative that we preach to mankind that God commands them to turn from their vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, earth, the sea, and all things that are therein.
    John 14:6; Isaiah 44:9-19; Acts 14:8-18; 19:26; Psalm 96:4; 1 Chronicles 16:25

Review Questions

  • What is the authority of the Bible?
  • We go forth in the Name of who?
  • How does the church choose men for ministry? What is its symbol?
  • What are the three main functions of the above method?
  • What is the application of the authority of missions?

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