Tuesday, February 17, 2009

M-I-S-S-I-O-N Defined

M stands for MESSAGE. At the heart of missions lies the message of the gospel. It is a message of grace to undeserving sinners.

It declares that a holy God, the only god there is, has found a way to be just and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus (Rom. 3:26). Unconverted folk are inclined to believe that God exists for us, to make us happy. This views God as a cosmic butler whose role it is to ensure that our needs are met and satisfied. But the truth is that we are rebel sinners, estranged from God and at enmity with him. Made for God to reflect his glory, man now finds himself in a state of spiritual inability. We are dead by nature to God’s every overture. But what we cannot – will not -- do, God does. God has gone into action as mankind's redeemer. God first of all sends us a Savior to make atonement for our sins, and then he sends the Holy Spirit to change our hearts and make us willing to see and respond to Christ. Unless we appreciate that it is God who must give us the gift of faith to respond to the Savior we will not even be able to tell people what the gospel means. The gospel is a message of grace apart from effort or achievement on our part.

The first I stands for INTERCESSION. Praying for missions should form a central part of our lives. Prayer is the power-house that ensures the fulfillment of God’s plan and purpose in the world. Not only has God made the accomplishment of his global purposes of salvation hang on the preaching of the Word; he has also made the success of the preaching of the Word hang on prayer. The gospel will not be proclaimed in power to all the nations without the persevering, earnest, global, faith-filled prayers of God's people. This is what Paul believed: “Pray also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel” (Eph. 6:19). And again, “Pray for us also, that God may open to us a door for the Word, to declare the mystery of Christ” (Col. 4:3). It is what Jesus taught when he said, “Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:38).

The first S stands for “SENDING” which renders the Latin word missio that lies behind our English word mission or missionary. It is precisely what Jesus told his disciples: “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21). Every Christian individual and every Christian church is sent into the world to fulfill Christ’s purpose in making the gospel known. We are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). We are sent with marching orders to go into “and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). No Christian is exempt from this charge. No believer may refuse the order without committing insubordination. We are soldiers under orders to obey our Master’s command.

The second S stands for SUPPORT. Some of God’s soldiers serve on the front lines, in the thick of battle. Others are called upon to remain at home and support through encouragement, prayer and regular, sacrificial giving. Without these, soldiers lose their vision and grow despondent. “Remember our troops” has become a regular battle-cry of our troubled times and it stands equally valid in the church. “Remember our missionaries – regularly and effectively. Pin their prayer cards in prominent places – fridges, prayer reminders in our Bible, prayer meetings at church.

The second I stands for INTEREST. It is an important test of our discipleship: where does our interest lie? What is it that excites us? Where is our treasure? It cannot be gain-said that God’s “interest” lies in saving sinners. He sent his Son to die on a cross for this purpose. But can we say that we share that interest. An interest in Missions is not a preoccupation of the mature or elite; it is the consuming passion of every Christian. To disregard missions is to demonstrate a selfish and parochial interest that is un-Christlike.

O stands for ORDERS. Some serve at home. Some serve abroad. But all serve. Every Christian has an obligation to obey the command of Jesus to be a witness. Its concern may vary: ministries relating to evangelism, poverty, medical care, unemployment, hunger, abortion, crisis pregnancy, runaway kids, pornography, family disintegration, child abuse, divorce, hygiene, education at all levels, drug abuse and alcoholism, environmental concerns, terrorism, prison reform, moral abuses in the media and business and politics, -- all these fall under the purview of mission. So does reaching unreached peoples in far-away countries of the world. All these follow orders from the King of Kings to bring the gospel so as to bring the personal and societal change that the gospel effects. Wherever God calls, at home or abroad, domestic or frontier, we are under orders to obey.

N stands for NATIONS . The vision of missions is of Christ ruling over the nations. The vision of Psalm 47:8-9 is the model: “God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne. The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted!” It is the picture that we see at the close of the Bible: “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9-10). Reading something like Operation World with its facts and statistics of human populations in various countries of the world will focus our attention on the task ahead. There are far too many un-reached people-groups, at home and abroad, for us to grow complacent. Is this global vision ours?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing information with us.....
nice blog..

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