A Vision for Missions

"The reason some folks don't believe in missions is because the brand of faith they own isn't worth propagating."
I don't know who said this, but it's true. Missions is about being so on fire for the Lord that you want to spread the flames! There are many in the church who just aren't that excited. They have faith, but they don't own it. They don't own a faith that finds rest in the Father's love. They don't own a faith that puts them above their circumstances and difficulties. While they confess that God is good, they don't experience His goodness. Otherwise, they would want to share it with the world.

I'm not saying that such folks aren't saved. I'm not saying that they are bad Christians. But many lack vision for what they've got in Christ. They lack vision for who they are in Christ. And they lack KINGDOM vision. Paul prayed for the Ephesian church, "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe" (Eph.1:17-19). Think about it!  It's possible to have hope, riches of glory, and great power, AND NOT EVEN KNOW IT.  It requires vision, which is why Paul prayed for the spirit of wisdom and revelation.

Some preachers can motivate you to missions by making you feel guilty. "It's all up to you! They will all perish without you!" That may move you for a season, but it doesn't impart vision. Missions isn't just about saving souls. It's ultimately about extending God's Kingdom. Get a vision for the kingdom of God, and a vision for missions will flow naturally from there.

A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken

We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28). That's present tense. We should be living according to kingdom principles and enjoying kingdom privileges NOW in this lifetime. While the world is rocketing onward in uncertainty and instability, we are safely buckled in with hope.

While the world is lost in a search for meaning and significance, we have the knowledge of God's redemption and purposes. He has towards us "plans of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end" (Jeremiah 29:11). We have the assurance that there's more to this life than meets the eye. We have been freed from the oppression of the temporary, knowing that eternal life is ours! Meanwhile, a world languishes in darkness because they haven't seen the light. Missions is about bringing Jesus, the light of the world, to them.

Many in the world suffer anxiety and depression. Jesus came that their joy might be full. Suicide rates are at alarming highs. It's because there's no hope out there. There are no standards any more. Everything is what you make of it. There are no guardrails of right and wrong to help people navigate their way. They've been taught that they are the ones in control, and that they have the right to choose what feels best to themselves. But they make miserable gods, and thus become miserable.

Jesus, the light of the world, called His people the light of the world as well (Matthew 5:14). We are the ambassadors of a better world, and we can shine in the darkness.

Darkness Must Flee

When light shines, darkness disappears. Missions is about bringing the light of the kingdom into this world, which will eventually be handed back to the Father: "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power" (1Corinthians 15:24). All events in this world are leading up to that great climactic moment when Jesus will return and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess!  All will be made right. The works of the devil will be a thing of the past. Missions is a way of hastening that day. Jesus said, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matthew 24:14).

But it's not only that we go forth in hopes of the end. "For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet" (1Cor.15:25). Jesus wants to reign through His people NOW. Wherever we go and do His will, His enemies fall!  Whether it's preaching the gospel or doing benevolent works, missions involves setting things right in this messed up world.

Again, we are the light of the world, and where we go the darkness must flee. We are workers of God's kingdom, and wherever we go, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We bring the kingdom. God is using us to set it up. He's using us to overcome what the enemy has done. And wherever we go, or whoever we support through prayer or finances, we make divine investments. I believe that on the new earth we will have a part in ruling the geographic areas we have become involved with here.

Who's the Missionary?

I've been to different nations and I continue to have a work in China. But you are just as much a missionary as me if you are a born again new creation Christian!  Your first mission is to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength" (Mark 12:30).  Then you have another mission, which should easily flow from the first: "love thy neighbour as thyself" (vs.31).

If you're filled with the love of God, you will love Him back. If you need to be filled with the love of God, ask for spiritual vision. Get a vision of what Jesus did for you.

"Oh I know what He did!" Yes, you know it as a matter of fact, but do you know it personally? Do you sense the wonder and magnitude of it? This requires Holy Spirit illumination. So many spiritual truths are just truths to believers. They need to be activated, so that you become alive and affected by them.  Seek the Lord for a stronger vision and relationship with Him.

Then, you won't want to contain yourself! You'll desire that everybody knows Him. You'll possess the answer the world is looking for. You'll be the missionary, whether it's in China or at home, whether it's in the inner city or in the office. It doesn't mean you have to preach or evangelize if that's not your thing. But it does mean you are involved somehow with God's agenda to see lives redeemed. You are a witness of God's love. Every believer is an agent for the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of God is needed here and everywhere.

Let's get God's message to all the nations so that everything can be finished up. Jesus, the King, is coming! Envision a world of righteousness where a perfect King reigns with His redeemed people.

Don't just wait for it, start living the kingdom life now!