The Missionary Mandate

January 14, 2016

                                         The Missionary Mandate

          God’s people have been given the mandate to evangelize the world. That involves winning the lost to Christ and organizing them into local churches.  After Jesus resurrection, and before his ascension to heaven, he said, “ All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.   Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).  That might seem impossible for us, but God has promised to give us the power to do what he tells us to do.  Acts 1:8 says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

The church wasn’t in existence yet when Jesus gave the missionary mandate in Matthew 28:18-20.  When the church came into existence we find that, in great part, the church has been given the responsibility of reaching the world with the gospel of salvation.  Every local church should make an effort to reach the people around it with the gospel.

Once a church is well established the pastor should lead them in an organized effort to get other churches started.  Churches can plant new churches in other towns, or suburbs if it is a city church.     If there is a couple attending the church that live some distance away, they can open their home for a weekly Bible study.  If they don’t feel capable of teaching a Bible study, it may be that someone in the church would be able to do it.  An effort is then made to invite people around that home to come for the Bible study.  The thought in mind should be that of starting a new church with the group attending the Bible study.

An established church that knows of a home missionary attempting to start a new church in another town within reasonable distance could help him with financial support.  Another thing the church could do for him would be to send a group from the church to do door to door visitation in that town.

Many churches extend their outreach to the far corners of the world by supporting missionaries.  God calls missionaries and sends them out, but they can’t go without financial support.  For the most part, that support comes from churches.  Included in the budget of every church should be money given in the form of monthly support for one or more missionaries.

The sad truth is that we aren’t completing in the work God has called us to do.  There has never been a time in history when it could be said that the church was completing its missionary mandate.  There are a number of reasons for that.

The primary reason for our failure is that there has never been enough churches.  At the same time, there has been a lack of manpower.  We can’t lay the blame on God.   The power is promised to us.  We just haven’t availed ourselves of it.  Some years ago Christians talked about “reaching the world in this generation.” It appears as though most of God’s people have given up on that objective.

The fact that it has never been done doesn’t justify negligence in doing our part.  Instead of looking at the big picture, i.e. reaching the world, we should give consideration to what we can do.

The lack of manpower stems from a lack of surrender to do the will of God.  I Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?   For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  We belong to God and he should have a right to do what he wants to with us.  Adolescents need to be exhorted to surrender their lives to God and to seek his will for their lives.  That way God can guide them from an early age in their interests and their studies.  God can then prepare them for what he has planned for them.  God isn’t going to call all of them to be missionaries.  A life surrendered to the will of God is always a successful life.

Another hindrance in completing God’s missionary mandate has always been the undue emphasis Christians place on materialism.  When young people are encouraged to consider the possibility of being a pastor or missionary, one of their first questions most often is, “How much do they get paid for that?” Perhaps the reason for that is the undue emphasis their parents and others place on money.  The materialistic mentality hinders Christians in their giving to the Lord’s work.

Another impediment in our day is the sad fact that many young people are not going on with God.  Part of the blame for that is the indoctrination they are receiving in the public schools.  That should be a concern to us for a number of reas0ns.  (Please see also the following articles on this web page; “Youth Evangelism” under “Christian Workers.”  Also “Is There Not a Young man?” under “Young People”).

Pastors can facilitate the missionary mandate by instilling a love for God’s work in the hearts of the people in their church.  That can be done by keeping the congregation current on what missionaries are doing and what their needs are.  He could also mention them frequently in public prayer. Young couples who surrender to go to a mission field should be held in high esteem. The church should do all they can to encourage and help them.  The congregation should be praised for the money they give to missions, and encouraged to give even more.

One more way of facilitating the missionary mandate is by prayer.  Christian workers need to be upheld in prayer.  Can you name missionaries you are praying for?  Perhaps the elderly and handicapped may be limited in what they can do in the church, but they can uphold and strengthen the hands of missionaries by their prayers.  In Matthew 9:38 Jesus said, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

The missionary mandate isn’t given the importance that it deserves.  It pleases the heart of God to see people being reached with the gospel.  If it is your desire to please God, one important way is to give the missionary mandate the importance it merits.

 

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