THE LOCAL CHURCH COMMITMENT TO WORLD MISSIONS
The Church’s commitment to world mission should be similar to that of our own mission, yet on a grander scale.
The Church’s commitment to world missions should grow with the church. Jesus told His disciples to “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). If we take this scripture as a model, we are to first be witnesses right where we are. Then as we grow in the spirit of missional work, the church would then continue its outreach to the surrounding areas and to the uttermost parts of the earth.
The local church must first find out what their interests and common local surroundings are which can be points of interests to evangelize. In other words, the local church (the members of the local assembly) must select a location where they can start to influence others for Christ. Maybe some of the members are mechanics or equestrians; if this is the case, the church could look into local horse ranches or mechanic shops to start a Bible study or prayer group. One of my fellow pastors started a Bible and Burritos Bible study at a Mexican restaurant; it did not start off quickly, he first talked with the owner on casual subjects (like Star Wars). Then one day, he had the restaurant cater to his church. When the owner asked if he was the pastor, he said, “Yes.” The owner’s guard came down and it opened a door to start a Bible study at his restaurant on a slow night once a month. This helped some of his employees and opened the door for the gospel to be heard and seen.
This example of selection was somewhat like the market place where Paul may have been proclaiming God’s word to the owners which sold goods. This strategy of selection was a point of connection, the owner in this case. It may have been a waitress in another situation or place. A local church must look for opportunities in their local areas to reach out and build relationships to establish a multitude of selected people and places to be witnesses for Christ and the furtherance of the gospel.
Through association one may find a living testimony of truth; through the truth one finds virtue, knowledge, patience, self-control, godliness, brotherly love, and finally agape love. It starts with the leader’s example and the follower’s observation. If the follower sees that the words and actions of a leader line up, then the follower will begin to listen to the leader. As the follower(s) learn more through their observations, they become more intrigued with the truth and want to spend more time associating with the leader.
Association may start off with just getting to know someone through casually conversation about family, occupation, religion, and personal testimonies; it can grows beyond that. As the leader widens his sphere of influence through different situation and circumstances, the followers will observe the leader’s actions and teachings in each scenario: the association of one on one teaching, group teaching, teaching in town, teaching at a church. Each may have different needs or approaches to be effective in ministering to the people. Association takes time and consistency.
The church and its members must start to associate with the selected points of interest to become effective and influence others. Only by staying close to these points of interest and the people, will they become effective. As the church becomes more involved in this process, it can touch a multitude of people and influence them to want to associate with the church. The church needs to be a continuous source of association by staying in contact with new associates and or believers. One way is a daily program like a reading plan, or an accountability partner, or a daily devotional plan. Association cannot be a weekly or bi-weekly event, especially when the follower does not have a firm foundation. The church needs a plan, and the church members need to be encouraged to take action in the association process. After all, Jesus said, “Follow me.” He did not say come see me once a week if you can make it. The association process never ends; the church’s obligation is to make disciples of all nations.
A disciple of Jesus is a loyal follower and a student of His word. When you submit to His authority, you have surrendered your will to Him and effectively set yourself aside for the Master’s good pleasure. Obedience to Christ is therefore a necessity to be consecrated. One must surrender their whole body, soul, and spirit to God’s sovereignty. Total surrender to God is essential. If you hold even 1% back, you will not be loyal. Some part of your life will be subject to an invasion of the enemy. Any area of your life not surrendered to Jesus will become a foothold for Satan. He will use it to gain control of you and cause you to stumble.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16 KJV)
You cannot serve two masters. Whoever you yield to becomes your master and the consequences of your actions will either be a curse or a blessing. Consecration is a serious issue in today’s church. Many want to say, “I am a Christian.” When in reality, they are trying to stand on both sides of the fence having conflicting ideas between God’s truth and worldliness.
How can anyone follow Christ and say I am surrendered to His will and then steal from someone or commit adulterer or idolatry? Consecration is to be set apart from worldly desires and commit oneself to the truth of God and His word. Everyone will not become consecrated by following after a leader, but there will be a time in which the loyal followers will be set apart from the wishy washy unstable followers of Christ. Jesus said, “If you love Me keep my commandments.” Do you truly love Him? If your answer is yes, then what ever commandment you have learned, keep it. In doing so, you will show your love for Christ and be an example for others to follow.
The church needs to be consecrated to Biblical truth and be an example in today’s world. If the church is waffling in its moral values to try and be seeker sensitive, then they are essentially saying I love the world more than Jesus. They are trying to serve two masters. The end results will be instability instead of a pure and holy sanctuary for God.
Briefly, Jesus imparted to His disciples by His example and His teachings. He lived and walked in the Father’s will and even told them if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. Jesus imparted the logos into the rhema of God and put it into action.
The Church needs to do the same. They need to be an example, have discipleship classes to help their congregation grow, have outreaches for their surrounding community, and reach out to the world.
Jesus was our walking example in the gospels. He selected, associated, consecrated, and imparted knowledge through His words and deeds. The church must also be a model to follow. The congregation must demonstrate Christ-like character. Just as Jesus prayed in front of all and in seclusion; He also walked and taught directly to His disciples and those who would listen. The church is to be a continuous sermon to demonstrate the characteristics of Jesus our Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King.
Jesus delegated to the twelve disciples and then to the seventy; He said, “And as ye go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:7-8 KJV). These are all things the disciples saw Jesus perform. Jesus knew it was time to put His followers into action.
The church must prepare and equip others to go out and preach the Kingdom of God and do what Jesus did. There is a five step process in training: Show them what to do, have them do it with you, let them do it while you watch, let them do it on their own, and lastly, come back and check on them. The church needs leaders to put into practice these steps to help reproduce ambassadors for Christ.
Jesus continued to supervise His disciples. For example, after He sent out the seventy, they came back saying, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name” (Luke 10:17 KJV). Jesus told them not to rejoice in that the spirits were subject unto them, but that their names were written in heaven. Another example is when He came down from the mount of transfiguration and His disciples could not cast out a devil. Jesus cured the child and gave them another demonstration on how to cast out the possessed.
The church needs to continue to supervise its disciples until they are ready to go out on their own as well. The need for discipleship seems to be more apparent today. The church needs to learn the process of selection, association, consecration, impartation, demonstration, delegation, supervision, and reproducing effective witnesses and disciples for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We can go from our own home town, to the outer suburbs, to other counties, states, and nations to bring the Gospel to the lost for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King; and His very elect.
THE LOCAL CHURCH COMMITMENT TO WORLD MISSIONS