Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Missional Church: Attempting Great Things for God

by Dr. Oleg Turlac

"You will be my witnesses..." (Acts 1:8, NIV)

"We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God." (John Stott)

As Christ's followers, we live in this world for one purpose -- to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We do it with gratitude, for God the Father gave His only Son, so that we may have life. (John 3:16)

We can glorify God through our relationship with Him, which results in our daily holy living as well as the times when we gather together, as the body of Christ to worship the One, who is our Creator and Savior. It is when we exhibit love and kindness toward each other, those that surround us know that we are Jesus' followers. (John 13:34-35)

We can also glorify God by fulfilling the mission, which was entrusted to us by Jesus Christ -- to go and preach the Gospel to all nations. (Mat.28:19-20) Our witness starts "in our own backyard," so to speak. We tell others about our faith in God verbally. We also speak with our actions. It is true that our actions often speak louder than our words. By exhibiting a kind attitude toward our neighbors in the apartment building, where we live by simply saying "Hello, how are you?", by opening the door for an elderly person or expecting mother, we show that we belong not to this world. We love God and we care for people created in His image, as Jesus taught us to do.

We are people on mission. Though we are different, we have one common purpose. We are heaven-bound, but while we live on earth, we are staying busy. One of the reasons why churches close down and become irrelevant to surrounding culture is that believers forget who they are an no longer have a sense of mission.

According to Oswald J. Smith, "Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist."

The church of Jesus Christ is a multinational church. We all come from very different backgrounds, yet we are a family. As a family, we are united by one mission. We exalt Jesus and tell others that He is the Savior of the world. We aim to relate the Scripture to the modern culture so that ancient words of the Bible would have a contemporary sound in the ears of those living in the 21st century. We do care about the lost world.

Keith Wright once said, "Lost people matter to God, and so they must matter to us."

Though we begin our witness on the street where we live, we do not stop there. We go beyond. We care about those who are close to us: friends, family, neighbors, but we also go to "Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth." We follow the footsteps of great missionaries of the past, who witnessed about Christ and shared hope with millions in India, China, countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Among them are: William Carey, Adoniram Judson and David Livingstone.

Some Christians in the West, especially in recent years, started to favor local missions over global involvement. When we read Acts 1:8, we  actually see that there is no conflict between witnessing in Jerusalem and preaching Christ in other parts of the world. Local mission is not in conflict with global work. It is the task of the church to be involved in both. As a family of God, we can do two things simultaneously. Some witness in North America, and some preach the Gospel in faraway lands. Some pray, some give and some go...

Henry Martyn, a missionary to India and Persia, said, "The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become."

Though so many issues concern us about our cities and neighborhoods, let us not forget about foreign missions. As we continue to serve God as members of His family, let us continue to be a missional church. May we never be satisfied with the status quo. May we serve God by being testimonies of His love and grace in the world created by Him.

William Carey, who is often called "the father of modern missions," said, "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God!"

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