by David Burka
What a great Missions Emphasis Day we just had! With two guest speakers, as well as our own J.P., each presenting excellent lessons plus displays of all the great places where we are involved, the whole day was really exciting. If you haven’t stopped by the fellowship hall to see the tables, please do so this week. Many hours of dedication were taken to put the mission efforts into pictures and words to explain each one in an easily understandable way.
I was really impressed with several scripture thoughts presented by our guest speakers. I just want to give a hearty “Amen” to some by summarizing them here. Kent Allen helped me see how our job as Christians is not to come inside a beautiful building and retreat from the world, but rather to get out there and wage war against Satan on various fronts. He reminded us of the great weapons we have and the fortresses we must destroy. In II Corinthians 10:4-5 Paul describes the difference in our warfare: “for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…” Brother Allen said we use our powerful weapon, the Word of God, which is sharper than any two-edged sword, to attack these fortresses: human pain and suffering, false doctrine, and mankind lost in sin. It’s true that we may fight on different fronts in different battles, but we’re all in the same war against Satan.
Philip Slate gave us an overview of the message of the Bible and the way God has approached mission work from the beginning of time. From our creation in Genesis 1 to our rebellion, which separates us from God, He has always intended to have a close relationship with mankind. He set up a plan whereby we can be reconciled to Him, presenting it first to Abram in Genesis 18. As Paul explained in Galatians 3:8, “The scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying ‘All the nations will be blessed in you.'” Throughout the rest of the Old Testament there are references to the nations that will be blessed because of the Israelites, but it ends without any specifics about where and how that will happen. Even the book of Jonah shows that God is reaching out to other nations (the Ninevites) but the Israelites (represented by Jonah) resented His mercy. From Psalms 45, 46, 47, and 67 to Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple (I Kings 8) to Isaiah 2, 56, and 60 to Micah 4, there are many times when inspired writers tell of “foreigners” and “nations” that will come to God and be blessed. When Simeon blesses baby Jesus on the temple steps (Luke 2:29-32), he quotes from Isaiah, saying, “For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”
It really is not surprising, then, that Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 28:19 to “go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations.” As His followers today, we may understand that evangelizing is not an “option”, rather it is what we DO. I liked Brother Slate’s three ways to carry out our mission: 1) to be prayerful – especially, to pray for specific missions and missionaries on certain days; 2) to send workers; and 3) to go ourselves, whether through a church or as an employee. He even suggested moving to a less-evangelized part of the country in order to spread God’s word.