Theme of Missions in the NT
God has always been a God concerned with missions. In the Old Testament His desire was for Israel to share Him with the entire world. Israel was not interested in this mission. They grew to hate the pagan world. God himself came to earth in the form of man to be a mission-model for us. Jesus came to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). He then required all who followed him as a disciple to do the same. Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 4:19 to “come, follow me and I will send you out to fish for people.” In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He taught his disciples that they were to be the Salt of the earth and the light of the world. In other words, they were to be different than the world, yet in the world. Over 30 times in the gospels Jesus told his disciples to “follow” Him. He required a great deal from His disciples. They had to put Him first and foremost. He told a rich young ruler wanted to become a follower to sell everything he had and come follow him. Jesus required that his disciples were to deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Him (Matthew 10:38 and 16:24). Many thought the cost was too great and the gate too narrow. Jesus said in Matthew 7:13 that we are to “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” The mission of the New Testament was that the “gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). The end of age cannot take place until the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached throughout the entire world. Jesus gave us his Great Commission before His Ascension. This is what our mission is to be as disciples of Jesus Christ: “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20). It’s interesting to me that Jesus originally told his followers to “come” and “follow” him and learn. Then after following and learning of Him he commanded them to “go” and “make” disciples of others. Many Christians today have “come” to know Jesus through receiving him by faith, but have yet to “go” and “make” disciples. Jesus clearly described how they were to do it. He says in verse 19 that we are to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit and then teach them to obey everything I have commanded. Jesus didn’t want us to simply preach repentance, but also transformation. He wants us to continue to disciple those who accept him as Savior. He wants to be their Savior and their Lord. We have an obligation to disciple, not just convert. Conversion is momentary decision to accept Jesus as Savior. Transformation comes from a life-long process of discipleship. Jesus made disciples out of his followers. We are to do as Jesus modeled and “make disciples” by teaching them “to obey everything” that Jesus commanded. Jesus promises he will always be with us as we are his disciples. In John 20:21 Jesus says, “Peace by with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” If Jesus is “sending” us this means we must “go.” Where do we go? In Acts 1:8 Jesus tells his disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” We can’t be Jesus’ witnesses unless we have His Holy Spirit. When we do we are His disciples and witnesses. We are then to go to Jerusalem (those who were their own people) first, then to Judea (those who surrounded their people, but they did not know) and then to Samaria (the people they did not like nor associate with)...
Cited: Piper, John. Let the Nations Be Glad. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1993. 111-154. Print.
Guthrie, Stan. Missions in the Third Millennium. eBook.
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