When most people in the church today think of missionaries they think of a family or couple who has decided to give up ‘the normal life’ to head off to some distant country to spread the Gospel. The rest of us get involved in missions by committing to a few short term trips, sending money, praying, etc. There’s nothing wrong with this view of a missionary- it’s simply incomplete.
When we search the scriptures for what a missionary truly looks like we get the perfect example, Jesus Christ. John 1:1 says that ‘in the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’ (Parenthesis Added). We get this picture of Jesus Christ dwelling in heaven with God since before the beginning of time.
As we read on we see that God did something major with His son. Verse 14 says, ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…’ Jesus came to earth. Why? To accomplish a mission.
As we continue to read in John we begin to see that God sent Jesus for a very specific purpose. John 3:17 says, ‘For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.’
God sent Jesus into the world on a rescue mission for mankind. Jesus perfectly obeyed every aspect of God’s mission for Him-even to His death on a Roman cross.
If we skip ahead in John to chapter 17 we find Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane the night before His death. He knows that He is going to suffer and die the very next day, accomplishing the salvation of man. What does He do? He prays for us:
I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. (v.15-18)
Here’s the point. God sent Jesus into the world to rescue man from sin and death. Jesus accomplished that rescue on the cross for those who place their faith in Him. And now He sends us on mission to take to the world the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
This isn’t a call, it’s a command. Before Jesus’ ascension back to heaven after His accomplished mission He made this command very clear:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Don’t ask yourself, “Am I called to be a missionary?” That’s been answered for you. Instead, ask yourself “Am I living out God’s command to be on mission in my life?”
Stay tuned: On Wednesday, Ken will be addressing the sanctification of the believer