Grace For The Journey
What comes to mind when you think of the word “missionary”? How would you define it? Here is a sampling of dictionary definitions:
A person sent by a church into an area to carry on evangelism or other activities, as educational or hospital work.
A person strongly in favor of a program, set of principles, etc., who attempts to persuade or convert others.
A person who is sent on a mission, especially one sent to do religious or charitable work in a territory or foreign country.
These are solid textbook definitions for a missionary. But the Bible details what makes a missionary in more specific ways.
What does the Bible teach a Christian missionary does?
A Christian missionary proclaims Jesus as Savior and Lord. Whom do they tell? Jesus made it clear that Christians are to reach out to “all the nations” (Matthew 28:19), especially those ethnic groups without a Gospel witness. Unreached people groups are still waiting for the way, truth, and life found in Christ (Romans 15:20). But Christians at home should be missionaries in their own communities, doing personal evangelism (Acts 1:8).
Missionaries do more than evangelism. The commission was to make disciples, not immature believers. Thus, a Christian missionary’s outreach involves evangelism, discipleship, and church planting. These main goals are accomplished in a variety of ways: street preaching, tract hand-outs, church building, Bible studies, teaching English as a second language, relief projects, children’s clubs, mountain trekking, literacy teaching, radio broadcasting, etc.
Why does a Christian missionary go?
Christian missionaries go in obedience to God’s call. God called the apostle Paul. Acts 26:16-18 says, ”But arise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now seen you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.”
Christian missionaries of this sort are both vital and valuable to expanding the cause of the kingdom. They are a very special breed of Christian, who have been called and equipped for kingdom work, often in some of the most remote places and harsh environments. They embody our Lord’s Great Commission to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Every member of the church of Jesus Christ should be committed to supporting these mighty warriors of the Word.
But they are not the only ones
In the church
Who are called to be missionaries!
Far too many in the church today regard a missionary as someone else who has received special gifts and has been sent off into some distant land to reach out to a particular people. When we think this way . . .
We remove ourselves from
The front lines of faithful living
Under the Lordship of Christ
And mistakenly assume it is
Someone else’s job to reach out
To the lost and broken people of this world.
This results in sleepiness of the soul
And a woefully weakened witness.
I would like to expand on the job description of “missionary” just a bit, so we can see that we are all missionaries who have been called by God into the mission fields – right where we currently are! Make no mistake, you are a missionary, no matter what your gifting, your education, or your vocation.
So . . . what mission are you currently on? Is it a mission of expanding the kingdom of your Savior? Or the kingdom of yourself? Below are two primary marks of the Christian who is living for the Savior and not the self.
- “Other” Orientation – Living for the kingdom of your Savior is marked by being oriented toward others. You put others first. You consider others better than yourself. You want to serve others rather than being served by others.
- Self-Sacrificing – Living for the kingdom of your Savior is marked by self-sacrifice, rather than self-protection. Being inconvenienced is not an inconvenience. Being discomforted is not discomforting. Being troubled is not troubling. A day well spent is a day spent in sacrificial service to others.
Putting others first and serving them sacrificially is the way we act out practically what we already are positionally. When we locate our identity in Christ and not in the things of this world, we rightly see ourselves as missionaries, privileged to be serving our Lord wherever we are and in whatever way we have been equipped to do it.
We have been called to be the aroma of Christ to the world (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)—whether that part of the world be darkest Africa . . . or your local grocery store. Every child of God is commissioned by God. The Bible clearly tells us in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you …”
This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”