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 other people from multiple churches. This would my first experience outside the borders of the United States. While on this trip, the Lord worked in my heart 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 He is a global God, much bigger than I ever imaged. 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 reach 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 which 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 for the nations.
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, or the Gospels, but ultimately the answer is all. That’s right, every book of the Bible reveals the mission of God. His plan 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 of creation, we learn that God has a plan. Today we call it missions. Those who have been entrusted with the call, we call missionaries. Unfortunately, many people have the perception that ‘missions’ is a program of the church. More accurately, missions was God’s idea, fully revealed in Genesis chapter 12.
“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…”
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, ultimately to be a blessing.”
“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
We get our word "missions" from the Latin word "missio," meaning “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 person to be called and sent as a missionary. 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 our role in God’s Plan.) Using these terms and these 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 Fellowship
“You have been set on this earth, at this hour,
and in this generation to bring fame to the Lord Jesus Christ
in your sphere of influence. And make no mistake:
He has a specific way He wants you to bring Him that fame.”
- Beth Moore, Founder of Living Proof Ministries
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 I 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 know on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise you!"
Read Part 2 - God Reveals His Plan