Just how significant is missions content in the Bible?

One Bible teacher said that we could equally argue for the missions basis for the Bible as much as for the biblical basis for missions.  The special revelation of the Scriptures is, in itself, a grand example of God’s mission heart in initiating loving outreach to lost humanity.  From the proto-evangelon of Genesis 3:15, to the culmination of the ages in Revelation 22, God demonstrates His holiness, sovereignty, and love.  The preservation of Noah, the Abrahamic Covenant, the continual steadfast love of Jehovah throughout the history of Israel, all these, both in descriptive and prescriptive passages, show the trajectory of the Gospel culminating in the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.   

Almost every time the Old Testament uses the terms “all nations,” “all peoples,” or “all families,” “all flesh,” “the ends of the earth,” (or equivalents), it speaks to God heart for the nations.  These phrases occur approximately 1,000 times!  Sometimes, fresh objective observations of the Scriptures bring fresh insight.  For example, while we often think of Ezekiel as being a strange exilic prophet to Israel, some 60 times God indicates that the judgments and calamities prophesied for Israel and the surrounding nations are intended to result in an awareness and dependence upon Himself as the one true God: e.g. –  “that they might know that I am the LORD,” “then they will know that I am the LORD,” “and you shall know that I am the LORD,” etc.  These are missional statements!

Paul certainly saw that Christ was the seed foretold in the Abrahamic Promise (Galatians 3:16).  So, every time we see a connection to the Abrahamic Promise, we can see connections to Christ.  The whole book of Hebrews points to images and illustrations from the Old Testament demonstrating the superiority of Christ in every respect.

Missions aficionados often refer to ‘the Great Commission” as Jesus’ Last Command – having priority as a mandate for His people until His returns.  An awareness of Christ’s sensitivity and intentionality to reach other ethnicities is evident throughout the Gospels.  He “must” go through Samaria; he heals all that come to him from throughout the region of Galilee (called, “Galilee of the Gentiles”) and Decapolis, irrespective of ethnicity; he raises the centurion’s servant, and a Syro-Phoenician’s daughter.  One cannot read the Gospels with an open mind and not be impressed with Jesus’ heart for all people.

Certainly the close of each of the four Gospels and the book of Acts leave no shadow of doubt as to the intent and direction of God in reaching all nations.  Fast-forward to the scenes recorded for us in Revelation chapters 5 and 7.  In the future we know that some from every tongue, tribe, people, and nation (ethnicity) will be present around the Throne of God in Heaven worshipping the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, our Savior.

This over-arching purpose of God for His glory to all peoples across every ethnicity of earth is our purpose.  It is the ultimate temporal purpose of the church.  It should be reflected in the vision statement of every local church.

 


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