Our God, A Missionary God

An Essay By Sarah L // 10/18/2007

God calls all people that believe in him to tell others about his glory. Many people do not believe that this call applies to them anymore. Our whole Bible constitutes a long story of God’s heart for missions and a call for every believer to take an active part in sharing the gospel. Everyone knows the New Testament “Great Commission” verse, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19-20 NASB). Unfortunately, many people stop there with their references to our missionary “duty.” Numerous Christian people believe that missionaries must have a “divine” call and a “super-spiritual” relationship with God to effectively preach the gospel. God’s Word clearly negates this view.
Our Lord “is not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9b NASB). What about the people that have never heard of Him? God never needs our help to accomplish his will, but he chooses to use us for two reasons. Firstly, He uses our obedience and trials to grow us more like him. Secondly, when He uses us and people choose Him over the world, it glorifies His name. Obviously, some people do not choose to believe in Him. Those that do not will suffer for eternity. God uses his people to live as witnesses for him in this world. Every action we make either ascribes to Him glory or rubs His name in the mud. Christians have a high call to live like Jesus “so that you may become blameless and pure children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life” (Philippians 2:15-16). Whether people believe in Him or not, we always have the responsibility to show His love to the world. Believers can find their first resources about how to glorify God’s name in the Bible.
As they look to the Bible for evidence of God’s missionary heart for humanity, generally people would never think to read the Old Testament. This stems from their incorrect definition of a Christian’s duty to Christ and a narrow view of the Bible. Some Old Testament stories make for dry reading, but when looked at as a whole, the Old Testament breathes a tremendous story of God’s wrath and mercy. Mainly and very importantly, the Old Testament calls God’s chosen people, the Israelites, to live for him and draw others to him by living for his glory. Israel in the Old Testament acts as a centripetal or center-drawing force for unbelievers. God’s holy temple provided the center for this force. All these reasons supply a logical rationalization behind God letting pagan nations capture Israel time and again. God brought glory to himself by his usage of his people to convince pagans to choose his redemption over the world’s gods.
When Jesus came in the New Testament, he nullified the need of sacrifices for sin for the rest of time. God’s missionary message throughout the New Testament exemplifies his love and grace for his people and a renewed chance to become reconciled to Him. After Jesus came the first “evangelists” or apostles. These men used a previously unheard of method to reach the “lost.” Except for Jonah, no other persons had ever gone to other people in order to bring them to God. In the Old Testament, Jesus had not yet fulfilled the full gospel message and so God used a “bringing to himself” force to change people’s hearts. Then, after Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross, people could come right to God for repentance. Many of the more obvious verses about “reaching the lost” exist in the New Testament, such as Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8, “But the Holy Spirit will come upon you and give you power, then you will tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world.”
Just because many verses in the New Testament noticeably pronounce God’s missionary mandate does not mean that they solely express his heart. God meant his words to us, the whole story, to express his one huge missionary mandate for all his people. That mandate applies to every Christian in every country. It does not mean that every Christian must move to a different country, learn a new language, and “convert” the heathens. Our Savior merely commands us to live in this world as shining lights, to follow wherever he leads, and to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15 NKJV) People can do this in their workplace, school, while shopping, and definitely in their own home. When Christ lives in our heart and nothing else matters, no one can stop the gospel from spreading.

Comments

Old Testament

I loved your point with the Old Testament. More Christians should think this way. Excellent!

Ethan | Thu, 10/18/2007

Amen!

Amen! Truly, our God IS a missionary God... and we have been called to help us with that task!

Kyleigh | Wed, 03/19/2008

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