Summary: Guidelines for a growing church that knows how to put mission back in the great commission
How To Utilize Christ’s Principles for Missions
Quote: The greatest sin that most Christians make is the sin of omission. Here are some time tested guidelines for helping us avoiding the sin of omitting the great commission in our service to the Lord Jesus.
Illustration:It is easy to determine when something is aflame. It ignites other material. Any fire that does not spread will eventually go out. A church without evangelism is a contradiction in terms, just as a fire that does not burn is a contradiction.
Christian Theology in Plain Language, p. 162.
1. The Holy Spirit helps us simultaneously apply the following wise strategies to spiritual warfare while reminding us that the battle belongs to the Lord and He will give the victory:
A. Harvest Instead of Maintenance Oriented - The Holy Spirit helps us orient our ministries toward becoming harvesters of lost souls instead of maintenance ministers who merely seek to preserve the sheep that are already a part of God’s flock. Jesus said, “Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers into His harvest fields.” (Matt. 9:36-38)
Illustration:"It is the impassioned pleading of a quiet little Scottish lady that linked my life with the Soudan," wrote Rowland Bingham (a founder of S.I.M.). "In the quietness of her parlor she told how God had called a daughter to China, and her eldest boy (Walter Gowans) to the Soudan. "She spread out before me the vast extent of those thousands of miles and filled in the teeming masses of people. Ere I closed the interview she had place upon me the burden of the Soudan."
A year and a half later Bingham returned to Canada, alone. Walter and Thomas Kent lay buried in Nigeria’s interior. "I visited Mrs. Gowans to take her the few personal belongings of her son," he recalled. "She met me with extended hand. We stood there in silence.
"Then she said these words: ’Well, Mr. Bingham, I would rather have had Walter go out to the Soudan and die there, all alone, that have him home today, disobeying his Lord.’"
Our success in this venture means nothing less than the opening of the country for the gospel; our failure, at most, nothing more than the death of two or three deluded fanatics. Still, even death is not failure. His purposes are accomplished. He uses deaths as well as lives in the furtherance of His cause.
B. Offensive Rather Than Defensive Oriented - The Holy Spirit gives us power to go throughout the 228 nations of the world and the 18,800 ethnic groups on the planet to offensively take the gospel to people who are yet to receive Christ as their Savior.
Illustration:When Hudson Taylor was director of the China Inland Mission, he often interviewed candidates for the mission field. On one occasion, he met with a group of applicants to determine their motivations for service. "And why do you wish to go as a foreign missionary?" he asked one. "I want to go because Christ has commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature," was the reply. Another said, "I want to go because millions are perishing without Christ." Others gave different answers. Then Hudson Taylor said, "All of these motives, however good, will fail you in times of testings, trials, tribulations, and possible death.
Application: There is but one motive that will sustain you in trial and testing; namely, the love of Christ."
C. Qualitative and Quantitative Growth Oriented - The Holy Spirit gives both qualitative (Fruits of the Spirit) and quantitative (numbers, geographical expansion & ethnographic expansion) as we sow the seed.
D. Initiating Love Instead of Reacting to Problems - The Holy Spirit helps us introduce love to those who need it most instead of waiting for people to come to us who are looking for love, truth and solutions to their problems.
E. Leading By Example Instead of By Default - The Holy Spirit chooses leaders who have consistently shown faithfulness, obedience and a great measure of evangelistic faith, not just anyone who is available.
F. Dauntless in the Face of Opposition - The Holy Spirit gives us unyielding courage to take the gospel to the lost regardless of the social, political, emotional, physical, financial, environment or spiritual obstacles.
G. Empowered By God Not By Men’s Motives - The Holy Spirit fills us with the empowering love of God that constrains us to seek the lost. The Spirit does not bless people who are out to impress others with their public pleasing presentations.
H. Building Bridges Rather Than Defensive Walls - The Holy Spirit enables us to build communication, service and relational bridges to those who are in need of salvation in Christ. The Spirit does not bless Christians who are so afraid of the world that they spend their resources in erecting barriers against others.