EVERY Christian a MissionaryNOW I realize that times have changed since Christ gave His great commission/command in Matthew 28:19. In ancient times, missionaries traveled in boats for months and months to reach their respective mission fields; today we can fly in an airplane across the world in a matter of hours. Even when missionaries wrote letters, it took months and years for those letters to reach their destinations; today we can write an e-mail and talk with someone on the other side of the world within seconds, and even our "snail mail" (regular paper/postage mail) only takes several days or maybe weeks depending on where our letters are going. How blessed we are to have certain advances at our fingertips!
But all the advancements of modernization have their drawbacks. Advancements can make Christians lazy and unconcerned. The problem is too much comfort. With so much TV-viewing among the people called "Christians," there is no incentive for people to meet the mental, physical, and spiritual challenges that must be tackled. Too much materialism displayed on the screen has caused God's people to become materialists, not realists. Reality is what we need. Reality proves that the world is starving for the pure Gospel--now more than ever! NOW!
Let us never lose the universality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can take the Gospel to our close neighbors or we can go to the utter ends of the world. We can put on our sandals of peace and literally go into all the world or we can preach and teach via the printed page, radio, video, or Internet. Letter writing is effective. A phone call is too. There are a multitude of ways to spread the Gospel.
After 33 years in God's service, I have found the key to remaining on "the front lines of battle"--STAY HUNGRY!! If we lose our spiritual appetite, how can we awaken or stimulate someone else's? How can we proclaim the Kingdom of God to others if we have grown fat and full on the things of the world? How can we demonstrate His great power and miracles if we have stopped believing in them? How can we produce a sense of personal responsibility to God if we have lost ours? Think about this. Can we arouse attention in God's saving grace if we are not attending to His commands?
The Apostles attestation of their authority was their miracles. The Apostles were representing Christ, who showed them the power over demons, circumstances, and self. Sorry to report this, but most professed Christians know little or nothing about any of the above, and they don't care to either. They have fallen from God's grace and have been seduced by demons.
Friends, we need to cultivate obedience, for if we do not, demons will not be subdued by us. Making excuses for inactive service strengthens the strongholds of Satan. Can we not all agree that most of the Church is preoccupied with secular occupations and not with the pure Gospel of our Lord? So to be a "winner" we must keep ourselves unspotted from the world--the very world we're to go into! Are we to act like and smell like the world to win the world? I say NO! Worldliness spells ANATHEMA for the professed Church, but the Church has embraced it.
Christian life is not one of expensive uniforms, "victory music," great honors, promotions and good pay. The Christian soldier's life is one of hard work, persecution, fasting, demotions (in the eyes of men), lack of honor and often poor pay. Yet the true believer has the Lord and all His blessings--eternal blessings.
Christian, are you doing your best for Christ? Is difficulty and danger a stimulus for you? or are you lazy? One old-time missionary who gave up a good career years ago here in the USA, volunteered for Africa. He knew that following the commission would result in his death. So, he told a friend that he wanted his epitaph to say, "Let a thousand fall before Africa is given up!" He went to Africa, and within five months he died in that land. This scenario has been repeated over and over by Christ-loving soldiers of the cross. Yes, even one of our beloved soldiers of ACMTC laid his life down in Africa. Laying your life down for the Lord, in His will, is a worthy cause.
My wife and I have faced death on more than one mission trip. Are we to give up in the face of death? Are we to give up when persecuted? Did Jesus? Did the Apostles? Did the early Church Fathers and missionaries all thru the centuries? I say NO! Every Christian worker has with him or her all the currents of destiny. We are bade to work in anticipation of such hardships. Paul the Apostle told Timothy, his son in the faith, to "endure HARDNESS, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (II Timothy 2:3). This HARDNESS can be endured by the power brought about at Calvary and Pentecost.
Don't lose heart. Paul, like all wise leaders, did not stop with pointing out the difficulties but also told of the great rewards for faithful service. We are to be recipients of great joy and blessings in the Lord. We are to be IDENTIFIED with Christ's very own sufferings: a great honor in itself.
The need of Christian laborers, soldiers, leaders, is as appalling now as it was in Christ's time. In ALL lands, the fields are white (ripe) for the harvest and waiting for men, women, even children to gather it in. It is all too evident that the world needs Jesus Christ the Lord--NOW!! Shall everyone wait for the cyclonic storm to break and wreck the harvest? I say NO! Farmers labor hard to bring in their harvest before the storm. Should we not be compelled to GO into all the world and reap the harvest in light of such dire emergencies, like that of international terrorism?
Shall we just be content to pray to God for laborers to be raised up, or shall we make ourselves available? Too many pray, "Lord, here am I . . . send him!" The true soldiers of Christ will not be hindered by such an unnecessary load of selfishness! Nor will they be hindered by loads of worldliness! They will shun selfishness and worldliness.
A soldier going off to war would be strange if he took only his clean uniform and no weapon. Yet, in this hour and in this generation, we have strange soldiers, parade soldiers, who are merely putting on a show, lacking in will and skill to kill the enemies of Christ. They are not equipped to battle even the smallest SINS.
The religion which teaches you to save others is a great deal better than the religion which prompts you to save yourself. In fact, a self-saving religion is a damnable one. True Christianity is selfless. Christ's call is for young and old, male and female, who scorn the worship of SELF, hate the idolatry of materialism, and are READY to place their lives and their ALL at the feet of their glorious Redeemer.
--General James Green