Part 1 of 4
By Kevin Ross, President of Helping Hands Foreign Missions
In the spring of 2000, I was invited by Pastor Johnny Hunt to join him on a mission trip to Argentina. At the time, I was a youth pastor at an Atlanta area church. Our group of thirteen students and adults joined 180 people from multiple churches. This would be my first experience outside of the borders of the United States. While on this trip, the Lord worked in my life in a way that would impact me and my family for the rest of our lives. The greatest impact was learning more about our God and that He was working in a powerful way around the world. My view of God expanded in a new realization that our God is a global God, much bigger than I ever imagined. I believe this was God’s plan, in His timing, to move me in the direction of mobilizing people to the nations for His Kingdom.
Throughout history, there has never been a time when God did not have a plan. God revealed His mission to redeem all people from the very beginning. In Genesis we see the story of creation, the fall of mankind, then mankind’s attempt to get to God. Then we see His plan. Through the Word of God, the ultimate motive of his plan was also revealed, love. John 3:16 is an extraordinary passage showcases his love and his plan, “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son so that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” His amazing love for us is displayed through his plan.
Here is a great question for us to consider, “Which Book or Books of the Bible talk about missions?” Many would quickly say Acts, Revelation, the Gospels, but ultimately the answer is all. That’s right, every book of the Bible reveals the mission of God. The plan of God is revealed through the Pentateuch, the Old Testament Historical Books, the Psalms, the Prophets, the Gospels, the New Testament Historical Books, the Epistles, and finally in the book of victory – Revelation.
“If you take missions out of the Bible,
you won’t have anything left but the covers.”
- Nina Gunter
From the very beginning we learn that God has had a plan; today we call it missions. Those who have been entrusted with the call, we call these people missionaries. Unfortunately, many people have the perception that ‘missions’ is a program of the church. When, actually, this missional plan was God’s idea fully disclosed in Genesis chapter twelve.
“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you, all of the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram went, as the Lord had told him…”
- Genesis 12:1-4a
From this passage of scripture, we can begin to form a simple definition of missions. “A follower of Christ that has been Called and Sent by God for a specific purpose at a specific time, for the glory of God and to be a blessing to all peoples of the world.”
“The mission to preach and teach salvation to the world
wasn’t the church’s idea –
it came from God.”
- Mike Barnett
“The living God of the Bible is a sending God….
[He is] a missionary God!”
- John R.W. Stott, Author
We get our word "missions" from the Latin, "missio", meaning the “sending” of someone with a purpose or duty to perform. It was often used to describe the task of a soldier sent out to perform a military function. It would be fair to say that Abram was the first called and sent missionary of the Bible. Others, like Noah, could also be forerunners of the concept of a missionary. (In part four of this series on missions, we will bring this concept back as we look at 2 Corinthians 5 and how God’s plan will be accomplished.) Using these terms with these specific passages of scripture, others have offered motivation for the mission-minded person to live by:
“I believe it is the responsibility of every generation
to reach their generation for Christ.”
- Jack Wyrtzen, founder of Word of Life
In Mike Barnett’s book, Discovering the Mission of God, he makes this clarifying statement, “First we learn about the mission of God from the Bible. It is our record of God accomplishing his mission yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It begins with God’s vision, records how he goes about his mission, and concludes with the mission accomplished. It tells us whose mission it is, and why. It includes his mandate for us to be engaged in his mission. It reveals that God uses us, the church, as his instruments. It displays his power as he works throughout history among all the peoples on earth. It motivates and empowers us to boldly serve and worship him. It inspires us to be on mission with God to know where we fit in his mission.”
Ultimately, God reveals His reason for the Mission in Revelation 7:9-12, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ And all of the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever! Amen.”
Knowing God’s plan and the future should be a tremendous motivator for you and me to become involved in His mission. Later in the series in parts two through four, we will see how God chose to reveal his plan through His son, Jesus Christ; who His plan is for; and ultimately how His plan will be accomplished.
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations."
- Psalm 67:1-2
Read Part 2 - "God Reveal His Plan"
Read Part 3 - "The Heart of the Master"
Read Part 4 - "The Call of the Ambassador"