THE LOCAL CHURCH AND GLOBAL MISSIONS-PART SEVEN. “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20).
This passage is one of the major Bible passages that is often quoted whenever a cross-cultural mission is mentioned. It speaks about mission in its different perspectives, and its overall contents like no other passage in the Bible did. Mission has to do with a disciple of Jesus Christ, crossing geographical and linguistic barriers, to go and make disciples, through the teaching of God’s word. This entails the presentation of Jesus Christ and his Lordship to the people, through practical life testimonies, formal teachings and demonstration of his power. Through this, people of different tribes and tongues where Christ is not yet known, will be brought to obey the commandments of Christ. Men will be delivered from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. That is mission and the work of missionaries! This passage: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” explains the magnitude of the task.
THE GOSPEL TO EVERY TRIBE AND PEOPLE:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” There is no way we can claim to be obeying God’s mission mandate, if we are not deliberately making efforts to preach the gospel to different tribes and tongues that are yet to be reached with the gospel. Christ commanded the disciples to make disciples of every nation (tribe) and the Holy Spirit empowered the church to be a witness to every man on earth. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts1:8).
When the disciple understood this, they fearlessly took the gospel to their fellow Jews both in Jerusalem, Judea, and other regions, and then to the gentiles who have not heard the gospel, regardless of persecutions. Mission will continue until every tribe and tongue has been reached with the gospel, and mission will cease to exist by the time they are adequately reached with the gospel of Christ with evidence of a strong and a vibrant church capable of preserving and proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus Christ among them without external supports. That is our mission mandate!
A CHURCH SEEKING TO PLANT ANOTHER CHURCH:
The same way that ‘disciple making’ is a must in mission, is also ‘planting of churches’ is inevitable. Mission involves raising a group of people that are separated or called out from the world and its system. That is what the church is. So we cannot talk of mission without talking of planting churches. The nature of churches we plant, now vary from one place to place, from tribe to tribe and from one people to another. Jerusalem Church was the Mother church to all other churches that the Apostles planted in the apostolic era. It was the first church. It was the church that resulted from the Pentecostal experience and the preaching of Peter on the Pentecost day. It was a mission church, though it did not realize and responded to his mission mandate until persecution broke out. The moment Jerusalem church understood its mission mandate it released men and resources for further planting of churches in other places where the gospel has not yet preached. Mission is church begat another church and not necessarily a denomination begat a denomination. It is multiplication of disciples and not expansion of a church denomination or branches. Every church must be committed to planting another church/ churches among the unreached people either the church/churches bear her name or not.
“Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts” (Acts 11:19-23).
THE SENDERS AND THE GOERS PRINCIPLE:
Have you ever wondered why the Lord Jesus Christ did not do a miracle for everyone on earth to hear the gospel in one day without necessary sent his disciples to go and preach to them? This is what the ‘Master’ can do, but he chose to collaborate with men to fulfil his salvation plan for mankind. Mission involves collaboration and partnership within different people at different levels. For the twelve disciples before the Pentecost experience, the Lord Jesus Christ who was physically present with the disciples was the one who called them and equally served as their ‘sender’. The Lord promised the disciples his presence when he sent them out. His presence was all they needed for every provision and power that they needed to succeed in their mission. His presence was the only support they needed. A missionary needs first and foremost the presence of God who called him or her, and men who serve as senders. To serve as a sender, means to provide a spiritual, financial and moral supports to those that are called by God to go. A Local church, a group of people, family or individual can serve as senders. Both the ‘Goers’ and the ‘Senders’ collaborate with Jesus who call them to deliver men from darkness into light, and expand the kingdom of God among the unreached. Every believer must see the need to take the gospel to unreached people in different places as God’s mandate and priority.
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15).
Matthew Olorunnaiye is a Cross – Cultural missionary, he and his wife Titilayo both serve with Calvary Ministries (CAPRO).
Most of our past articles are available on the website: www.thykingdomcome.net.
Please consult www.capromissions.org also for detailed information on missions