Missions, God’s heartbeat for his lost world, must become the Christian’s heartbeat. The evangelist Mark, notes how the early believers “went… the Lord working with them” (Mk. 16:20). Jesus called his disciples first to “be with him” to learn from him so that he may send (Latin, missio) them into the world as his representatives (3:13-14). Now, as risen Lord, he commissions them to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creatures. The gospel has an impelling “go” in it!
Indeed, the work Jesus came into the world to do was finished at the cross, in one sense. Then, raised from the dead, he “was taken up into heaven, and sat at the right hand of God” (16:19). Yet, in another real sense, Jesus’ redemptive mission is still being accomplished. This happens as Jesus’ Spirit works everyday through his followers even as they go proclaiming the gospel everywhere by their lips and transformed lives. The most amazing partnership in all the world is that between the resurrected Jesus and his Spirit-filled disciples fulfilling the work the Father has given them: to win the lost at any cost! But how does all this happen?
Firstly, as Jesus’ followers, we must recognize his reign in and through our lives. The Lord Jesus is our commander-in-chief to whom all authority has been given in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). God has highly exalted Christ’s name, honoring him above everyone and everything, and Christian missions is Jesus’ Great Commission (sadly made the Great Omission) to God’s people, the Church. For this to become a reality, Christians must realize that they are at best crucified people who have been animated and energized by Christ’s own resurrected life (Gal. 2:20). It is Christ’s Spirit who, as in the case of the early disciples, still indwells and works with us in God’s Mission (missio Dei).
Secondly, Christians must realize our responsibility to submit and obey Jesus’ words. There is a finality as there is “no other name,” and without Christ people will perish. There there is an urgency to win the lost while we can! This is possible because Christ, now in us, works with us by his grace (literally empowerment, 1 Cor 15:10). This enabling is there precisely to “make us both willing and able to do his good will” (Phil. 2:13). Hence, yielded obedience and effective mission are inseparably wedded. A study of the early church reveals how the wholehearted obedience of those Spirit-controlled believers was both the starting point and the open secret for the success of their missionary task and methods.
Of course, the challenge of doing this mission, particularly in India’s pluralistic context where Christians are the minority, is not easy. Nevertheless, as obedient, empowered Christians on the move with the Gospel of Christ, we need not feel alone or afraid. We must be persuaded that “without Chris we can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5) yet we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Phil. 4:13). Let us be mindful that it is not so much as we research or strategize for missions, but as we go and tell that Christ has promised to be with, and work with and for us (Matt. 28:20; Rom. 8:31, 32). The added assurance in the Christian’s mission is that the same Spirit also works convicting the hearts of unbelievers concerning the truth about Jesus.
I’m convinced there are only two types of people in our world: (1) missionaries, who are going with the Gospel, and (2) mission-fields, that need to be reached with that Gospel, which is God’s power to save all who believe in our Lord Jesus. And the promise is that many will. So let’s trust the Lord and tell the lost!