The Biblical framework for missions is that from the beginning God promised to save “whosoever will” through sending Jesus as the Saviour of the World and in the end He will accomplish His mission by saving people from every kindred, tongue, people and nation. The Bible is the outworking of God on mission to save sinful mankind for His glory.
The Framework “From Beginning To End” For Missions
- From the beginning: In the first eleven chapters of Genesis, the first book in the Bible, we find our basis for humanity. At this time, God dealt directly with all of mankind and there was no distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles. It is within these chapters that we find the foundation for the story of all mankind: God creates mankind (Genesis 1:27); Mankind sins against God (Genesis 3:6); God promises to save mankind (Genesis 3:15; 9:26-27). Thus from the beginning, God was on mission to save “whosoever will” from their sin and its penalty of death or eternal separation from Him. This mission was initiated by God and will be accomplished by God. He is promising to defeat Satan and his followers (unbelievers) through the offspring of the woman (Jesus). One day the “Promised Man” would come to defeat Satan and even though Satan will strike His heel (suffering), the promised Man will crush Satan’s head (eternal damnation).
Genesis 1-11; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 5:12-21; 16:20; Revelation 12:9; 20:2, 10; Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8; John 8:44
- To the End: In the last two chapters of Revelation (21-22) we find the fulfillment of God’s promise to save “whosoever will”. God says, “It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 21:6). The saved will be God’s people, God Himself will be with them and be their God. This includes people out of every kindred (tribe), tongue (language), people, and nation (people groups). But those who reject God’s salvation will be cast into the lake of fire (eternal damnation).
Revelation 21-22; 5:9; 7:9; 14:6
- In-between: If the above is the framework “from the beginning to end” for missions, then the in-between is the outworking of God on mission to redeemed “whosoever will” to Himself by Himself.
Genesis 12 through Revelation 20
The Old Testament Emphasis On Missions
- In Genesis 12:1-3 God makes a unilateral, unconditional, literal, and eternal covenant with Abraham. The main missional aspect of this covenant was that God was going to bless all the families of the earth through him. The scriptures preached the gospel unto Abraham. The “Promised Man” of Genesis 3:15 would be of the seed of Abraham. This “singular seed” is Jesus. God was willing to justify “whosoever will” through faith. Just like Abraham, those in this time were to have faith in God’s promise, unto the fulfillment of the promise came in Jesus, and it could be accounted to them for righteousness. The second missional aspect of this covenant was that God was going to: (1) make a great nation from him, (2) bless him and (3) make his name great so that he would “be a blessing”. They would receive inward blessing for an outward cause: God would use them to be a light for the nations, so that His salvation may reach to the end of the earth.
Genesis 12:1-3; 15:18-21; 17:1-21; 26:2-5; 28:10-17; Isaiah 9:6, 7; 19:24; 42:6; 49:6; Galatians 3:6, 8-9 16
- God keeps His promise with Abraham and blesses him. A nation is born and the people of God (Hebrews, Israelites, Jews) were called out for a specific purpose: to be a peculiar treasure unto God above all people and a kingdom of priests through which all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else. They were to be “inward focused”—meaning they were to minister God’s will to their own people and the strangers among them, but they were also to be “outward focused”—meaning they were to deliberately minister God’s will to all other nations.
Exodus 9:14, 16; 19:5-6; 1 Kings 8:41-43; 8:60
- God makes a covenant with King David that was connected to the promise (Genesis 3:15; 12:1-3). David recognized part of this promise as the “the manner (teaching) of man (humankind)”. “This” was the “seed” or the “promised Man” (2 Samuel 7:12, 16) and the throne that will be established forever. The promise will be fulfilled through the Jews, and specifically the linage of David, but it would benefit all mankind.
2 Samuel 7:1-29; 1 Chronicles 17:1-27; Psalm 89:1-52; Isaiah 9:6, 7; Luke 1:32, 33
- The Psalms reflect God’s will to use the Jews to reach out to all nations with the truth. The peoples of the nations are called to worship God because He is the great King over all the earth. The Jews were to sing, praise, speak, not be ashamed, to make known His deeds and declare the Lord’s glory / wonder / doings among the nations.
Psalms 2:1-12; 9:1-20; 18:49; 22:27-31; 33:1-22; 47:1-9; 57:9; 66:1-20; 67:1-7; 72:1-28; 86:9-10; 96:1-13; 98:1-9; 100:1-5; 105:1; 108:3-5; 117:1-2; 119:46; 126:2-3; 145:1-21
- Other examples in the Old Testament that give structure to the intent of God to reach all peoples are: (1) the stories of gentiles who had a relationship with God, such as Melchizedek, Jethro, Balaam, Rahab, Ruth and Naaman; (2) the examples of the prophets, such as Isaiah, Jonah, Joel, Amos, Micah, Jeremiah and Zechariah.
Genesis 14:18; Exodus 18:10-11; Numbers 22:9; Joshua 2:9-11; Ruth 2:12; 2 Kings 5:15-19; Isaiah 19:24; 42:6; 49:6; Jonah 1:1-2; 3:10; 4:2, 6-11; Joel 2:28-32; Amos 9:11-12; Micah 4:1-5; Jeremiah 3:17; 33:9; Zechariah 2:11-13; 8:20-23; 14:16-19
The New Testament Emphasis On Missions
- Jesus, the Promised Man: Jesus came into the world to be the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. He is the light of the world. He came to fulfill the promise. He was the “Promised Man”. Through a virgin birth God became man in Jesus. He lived a sinless life. Mankind rejected and crucified Him. He was buried, but three days later He rose from the dead. He defeated sin, death and evil. He is the way, the truth, and the life and “whosoever will” can come unto the Father by faith in Jesus alone. All the Gospels are evidence of these truths (Matthew-John).
John 1:29; 3:16-17; 4:42; 6:33; 8:12; 9:5; 12:32, 46; 14:6
- The Church: The local church started with Jesus and His disciples, and it was established when they received and were filled by the Holy Spirit. The mandate of the church was to make disciples of all nations through going and preaching the gospel, baptizing new believers and teaching them all that Jesus taught. As a result, new local churches would be established all around the world. The rest of the New Testament (Acts-Jude) records the living out of this mandate with Revelation explaining how it will all end victoriously.
Acts 1:7-8; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; Luke 24:45-53; John 20:20-23; Romans 1:1-2; 10:14-15; 1 Peter 2:9
- What is the framework “from the beginning” for missions?
- What is the framework “to the end” for missions?
- What is the storyline throughout the entire Bible?
- What is the Old Testament emphasis of missions?
- What is the New Testament emphasis of Missions?