“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.” (Acts 1:8, KJV) “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go…….” (St. Matt 28:18b, 19)
Missions! Oh, the call to missions is not something that the average Christian takes seriously. For whatever reason, we seem absolutely confident that this area of ministry is solely for pastors and other church leaders. For others, the idea of missions brings to mind trekking through Africa or some other foreign soil to spread the Good News; a somewhat glamorous exercise but not one for them, as they are too busy taking care of life’s challenges. Yet in the divine plan of God, every soldier in the Army has been commissioned to missions. To be commissioned is to be authorized to perform a certain duty, or certain duties, and every child of God has been so authorized.
In Acts 1, Jesus – our Commander in Chief – gave the command for the disciples to wait. Unlike a plane filled with passengers waiting on the runway for clearance from the Control Tower for takeoff, this was no ordinary wait. Not only were they waiting for, and would be receiving, divine power to effectively transform the world, but also strength equal to their trials and services. The mandate was made clear; once the power was received, they were to spread the message of Jesus not only in the neighborhood, but “unto the uttermost part of the earth”. At that time, this included Caesarea, Antioch, Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome (Chs. 10-28). After 50 days and as recorded in Acts 2, the Holy Ghost came as “cloven tongues like as fire and it sat upon each of them”. Almost immediately, Peter began to preach the first Pentecostal message and about three thousand souls – literally from Peter’s own backyard – were added unto them (v.41).
Today’s believer has been given the same command! Jesus emphatically stated in St. Matt 28:19, “Go…..”. As with the Pentecostal experience, this command was given to all that followed Him. Once we have accepted Jesus as Lord, we have received our commission, and every Christian has a responsibility to “Go”. It is true that we may not all be able to traverse various parts of the globe, but we can be witnesses in our own backyard; at work, at school, and all the other various places that the Grace of God allows us to be. Did you know that the fruit of a Christian is another Christian? With that in mind, when was the last time you distributed a tract? When was the last time you shared you testimony with an unsaved friend or co-worker?
It seems foolhardy for us to think that we can effectively abandon our responsibility to missions and receive the favor of God. We cannot wash our hands of our responsibility to be witnesses and say, like the Pilate the Governor, “I am innocent of this man’s (woman’s, boy’s, or girl’s) blood.” (St. Matt. 27:24). Through the prophet Ezekiel, God declared, “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand…. Again when a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” (Ezekiel 3:18,20). In Ezekiel 33:6, “But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” We cannot absolve ourselves from our commission without dire consequences.
Can you imagine what would happen if planes waiting on the runway refused to take-off when given clearance? There would be massive problems and confusion. In the spiritual realm, that does exists as a significant number of commissioned and empowered Christians are still waiting on the “runway”, totally oblivious to the command to “Go!” They have yet to realize, or have chosen to ignore, the fact that they have been cleared for takeoff! I came across some very interesting statistics recently and while I cannot vouch for its accuracy, I cannot deny them either. A recent survey of church members revealed the following, among other things: “75% never assume any responsibility in their church, 85% never invite anyone else to church, 95% have never won a person to Christ, 100% expect to go to heaven.” It would seem to me that the devil has done a very masterful job of deceiving us into thinking that we are OK when we are not.
It is not enough just to be saved. We are saved for a purpose and that purpose includes the responsibility of being effective witnesses of our Lord. No earthly responsibility can equate with this heavenly responsibility. Failure to reach out to the lost is a sin – a sin of disobedience to God, and a lack of love for Christ. It reflects an unparalleled dishonesty (insincerity); that to the sacred or divine trust that the Lord left each and every one of us.
Can you resolve to make missions a focal point of your Christian walk? Jesus declared in St. Matt. 9:37 “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few”. In 1 Cor3:9, Paul declared “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” In other words, we work together with God, in promoting the purposes of His glory, and the salvation of precious souls. Will you take up the challenge to become an effective kingdom worker? Will you be true to your commission regardless of what others around you are doing? Will you be like Isaiah and declare “Here am I, send me”? Will you declare “Lord, I’m available to you”?
Can one person (you, me) make a difference? Sure we can, as with God on our side, we are a majority. You have been cleared for “takeoff” to missions. Go!