Recently, I have had the opportunity of being part of a Bible Study group called Xplore where we have been learning about missions. The experience has been very insightful and eye-opening and through this God has been stirring my heart concerning His desire for His glory to fill the earth and His desire for everyone to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
It has been said that the longest journey is from the mind to the heart. In light of this, for most of us, it is not a matter of whether or not we know what missions is, but rather a matter of whether or not we are putting into practice what we know.
Is it likely that missions is something that is at the back of your mind, having not found its way to your heart? It is my desire that through this article, God will stir your heart towards missions, which in its most basic definition is the sharing of the gospel with other people. Through God’s Word, we are going to see what God’s ultimate desire is- for His glory to fill the earth.
THE BIBLICAL BASIS OF MISSIONS
When we take a closer look at Scripture, we realize that missions is not something that is mentioned only in Matthew 28:18-20 but a theme that permeates all the books of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. To see this, we are going to look at several Scripture passages that reveal God’s heart for the world.
Right from the beginning, we see that God has been intent on redeeming all people to Himself. In Genesis 1:28, we see God blessing Adam and Eve and telling them to be fruitful and increase in number.
This happens right after God creates man in His own image. This therefore means that God expected Adam and Eve to fill the earth with more people who are like them, that is, in God’s image and therefore people after God’s heart and this is where missions comes in.
In Joshua 4:23-24 we read that the Lord dried the Jordan for the Israelites to cross. In verse 24, it goes on to say that this happened in order that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that the people might fear God.
“For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.”
Some of the other verses that show us God’s desire for His glory to fill the earth and which provide the Biblical foundation of missions include: Deuteronomy 4:5-6, 1 Kings 8:41-43, 1 Samuel 17:46, Daniel 6:25-27, Isaiah 49:6, Psalms 46:10, Psalm 86:9, Matthew 24:14, Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 11:17, John 20:21, Acts 1:8, Ephesians 3:6-8, Romans 15:15-21, Galatians 3:8, 1 Timothy 2:3-4, 1 John 2:2, Revelation 5:9-10, Revelation 7:9-10.
In Matthew 28:18-20, we read Jesus’ last words. He tells His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” When we look closely at what Jesus says, we realize that it is not a suggestion, but rather a command to all believers.
In Revelation 7:9-10 John, the author of the book, is shown a vision in which he sees a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne of the lamb. Through this vision, it is clear that God’s desire is that people from every tribe, nation and language may be reconciled to Him.
Through the Scripture passages outlined above, we see God’s heart for the world. It is clear that He desires that everyone may come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4) and therefore be reconciled to Him.
Having seen God’s desire for His glory to fill the earth and for all people to be reconciled to Him, what follows is the question: how can we become part of God’s mission?
BECOMING PART OF GOD’S MISSION
In Romans 10:13-17, we get the answer to our question: “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how they can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach if they are not sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”
Having established that it is a command for all believers to share the good news, it is important that we now look into our personal lives. I am certain that we have friends, relatives, neighbors, classmates and other people we know who have not yet come to the faith.
Being aware of that, we must now acknowledge that God has put them in our lives for a reason: that we may help them seek God and even know Him and reach out to Him (Acts 17:26-27).
From the parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-13), we are able to see the various outcomes of sharing our faith with others and from this we learn that it is God who is able to cause change in their hearts (1 Corinthians 1:21).
At first, we may think that sharing our faith requires a lot of boldness and therefore think it is hard but one of the ways one can do this is by initiating a conversation so as to establish rapport and then trusting God to guide you as you share the gospel.
One way I am learning to do this is by asking the person I intend to witness to what they think is the best thing that ever happened to them and when they answer I get a chance to share with them about salvation-for this the best thing that has happened to me. Of course, this can only happen if you truly believe that getting born again is the best thing that ever happened to you.
MISSIONS AS A LIFESTYLE
Having seen God’s desire for His glory to fill the earth, we come to the realization that missions is not something we do once in a while or once a year or a certain week of the semester, but rather it is a lifestyle (a part of our daily lives).
Other than sharing the gospel with others, one of the ways we can make missions part of our daily lives is by praying for the lost and unreached. Do you know that there are more than 2.9 billion people in the world who have little or no access to the gospel?
Majority of these unreached people live in an area of the world nicknamed the “10/40 window”. This is simply a term used to describe a region of the world within 10 and 40 degrees latitude from Western Africa to Eastern Asia.
Having been saved from our sinfulness, we ought to have a burden for those who have not come to faith and those who have little or no access to the gospel (the unreached). One of the ways I have found really helpful is using an app called unreached of the day which you can download for free on Playstore. It gives an unreached people group to pray for each and every day.
We also ought to pray for the missionaries and even support them as God enables us to. This could be financially or even texting them or calling them once in a while or even buying them airtime to talk with their loved ones who may be far away. This means a lot to them because they are away from family and their normal environment.
In our daily lives, let us ask and trust God to lead us to the people we can share the gospel with. Let us be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit for He will empower us and give us boldness, courage and utterance. Let us not forget that we have been granted the ministry of reconciliation and therefore we are Christ’s ambassadors to the world and people around us (2 Corinthians 5:19-20).
In light of this, let us also purpose to attend commission 2017, which is a mission centered conference organized by FOCUS. It will be taking place in Kabarak university from 27th December 2017 to 1st January 2018. There will be great plenary sessions and I am certain you will get to learn a lot about missions.
For more information on this, you can leave a comment at the bottom or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. It is my hope that we will continue reflecting on God’s desire for His glory to fill the earth and that we will live our daily lives in a manner that glorifies God and that we will be found faithful in taking part in The Great Commission. Baraka.