These 3 Podcasts by John Piper really sum up a lot of issues that I have been wanting to express in recent years, and they all fit really well for an article into the emphasis of Propempo to motivate, stimulate, strategize with, help, serve, train and teach local churches (elders, pastors, mission leaders) how to raise up and “send forth” (Greek: propempo / προπεμπω ) their own missionaries, who are “fully equipped” and “confirmed” by the local church.
“There is no formula.” On this issue of methods, it is not either/ or, but both /and.
This is a good balance of the need for both street evangelism, passing out tracks, 5 minute evangelistic encounters, and long term friendship evangelism. BOTH & ALL !! With some groups, we have to have hospitality and friendship in order to break down the walls of mistrust, like with Muslims, homosexuals; and we need to also not let friendship evangelism be the only method because of fear of what others might think about us. BOTH & ALL. Rosario Butterfield’s books on reaching out to homosexuals is great; and there are good books on how to reach out to Muslims also. (there are other groups in the more Left wing social and political that Christians need to learn to reach out to also, without giving up convictions about sin and right vs. wrong.
Mark 9:47-48; John 3:18; John 14:6; Romans 10:13-15; Acts 4:12; Revelation 20:10-15
6 to be specific, that the Gentiles (the nations, non-Jews) are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, 7 of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. 8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles (the nations) the unfathomable riches of Christ,
9 and to bring to light what is the administration [ plan ] of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,”
The plan of God to use the church was eternal – from the beginning. Israel was God’s missionary people in the OT, and that plan, that started to be communicated through the covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:1-18) is being fulfilled through local churches in all nations and churches made up of all kinds of ethnicities in big cities all over the world.
20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
God is getting glory through the church, all through history. Notice the phrase “in the church” and “to all generations”. The early centuries of Christianity had more Biblical churches until around 553 AD (The Perpetual Virginity of Mary dogma), when they started adding extra Biblical dogmas to the faith. (Some other minor problems started earlier and slowly developed, like the mono-episcopate, baptismal regeneration, priests as a NT office, and ideas of sacrifice at the Lord’s Supper / Eucharist celebration). But the big era of dogmatic man-made doctrines and traditions of man was from 600-1517 AD. At the Protestant Reformation, after the Roman Catholic refused to listen to men earlier than the Reformation, like Gottschalk, Jensen, Plaise Pascal, Wycliffe, Hus; then at the Reformation itself – it refused to listen to men like Martin Luther, Zwingli, and John Calvin; and when the Roman Catholic Church condemned the doctrine of justification by faith alone at the Council of Trent (1545-1563), then the RCC became apostate and the true churches were then in the Reformation theology churches. Churches before the Reformation were not completely apostate, but they were full of corruption and false practices. (over-exalting of Mary; Purgatory; adding works to justification; indulgences; priests as a special NT office; priestly ex opere operato powers; infant baptismal regeneration; Transubstantiation, praying to icons and statues, Marian dogmas of 553, – the Roman Catholic Church became apostate at the Council of Trent (1545-1563), because it knowingly condemned the doctrine of justification by faith alone, apart from the merit or pre-conditions of works. Then later, they still continued to add man-made dogmas such as the Immaculate Conception of Mary in 1854, and the 1950 dogma of Mary’s Bodily Assumption into heaven, and the Papal doctrines and infallibility dogma of 1870.
It is important to realize how Biblical it is to see the local church as the primary sending agency of missionaries, and the importance of grasping church history and understanding how the true Biblical churches are throughout church history, even though at times, full of problems, sins, & heresies. Kind of like the Corinthians and Galatians and Colossians and their doctrinal and behavioral problems and sins!
Acts 13:1-4 – summary: “When a local Biblical church sends missionaries, the Holy Spirit sends them.”
Acts 14:21-23 – the 4 stages of church planting – 1. Evangelism 2. Discipleship 3. Teaching and Equipping on perseverance 4. appointing a plurality of elders for each church
So, after studying these passages about the local church and missions, and listening to the 3 podcasts by John Piper, what is the next step for your church to strategize for sending missionaries?
To be continued.