“If God’s love is for anybody anywhere, it’s for everybody everywhere.” (Edward Lawlor)
Christian missions around the world is a response to the command of the risen Christ to preach the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15), make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20), and be his witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). The great commission is about evangelism and discipleship on a global scale.
In the book of Revelation, John the apostle saw a vision of the successful completion of this commission.
“For you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:9)
Who is the gospel for?
John Wesley declared, “The world is my parish.” God loves the whole world, Christ died for the whole world, and the church is called to proclaim the gospel to the whole world. The extent of missions goes beyond all known borders and embraces the whole of humanity. “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” (Abraham Kuyper) The gospel is not just for our locality, nationality or culture. It is a message for the world.
How are we doing?
After two thousand years of ministry, how is the church doing at outworking the great commission? In some ways, “It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.” (Charles Dickens) Across the world the church is bigger than it has ever been. More people in more places are coming to faith in Christ than at any time in history. Yet the unprecedented growth of the global population has resulted in more people being alive today who have never heard the gospel than at any time in history. Vast numbers are being born, living and dying without ever hearing a viable presentation of the gospel. “Untold millions are still untold.” (John Wesley) There is still much to be done.
What can be done?
“Is not the commission of our Lord still binding upon us? Can we not do more than now we are doing?” (William Carey) Currently we are living in days of unprecedented opportunity for missions. There are resources available to the church today that previous generations could not have dreamed of. “There is nothing in the world or the Church – except the church’s disobedience – to render the evangelization of the world in this generation an impossibility.” (Robert Speer) If Christian believers took the great commission seriously, the gospel could be preached in all the world in our lifetime. “The evangelization of the world waits not on the readiness of God but on the obedience of Christians.” (Bill M. Sullivan) The unparalleled opportunity is there if the church will engage in missions.
“This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) The great commission will be fulfilled one day, and it will happen through our engagement in world missions.