Audio Transcript:

Welcome to Missions On Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions. We thank God for the opportunity to visit with you in episode 180 of Missions on Point. We're in a series on missions insights from the New Testament. In this episode, we're going to make observations from the general Epistles and the Book of Revelation. If you've been tracking with us in this series, you'll know that through the Old Testament we highlighted how much God was concerned with and committed to redemption of people from all nations, including the prophecies of Christ in the Old Testament, culminating in the fulfillment of those covenants and prophecies in the coming of Christ, His life, His death, His burial, His resurrection, and His ascension.

From that point, as the New Testament begins, it launches into Christ's contact with people of all nations in His time, in His world, and the commitment of the great commission to reach all nations. One of the keys to understanding God's priorities we speak of as the whole backdrop of Missions on Point podcast, is the key role of the concept and practice of the local church. Just like the New Testament doesn't ever conceive of or portray an individual believer isolated from the fellowship and commitment to the membership of the body of a local church.

Similarly, we see this symbiotic relationship between missions and the local church, missiology and ecclesiology. Good missiology includes ecclesiology. The New Testament doesn't conceive of missiology without producing a church. The passages that talk to us about the church assume or presume that the church is going to have outreach that effectively is missions. The church produces missions and missions produces local churches. So when we look at the general Epistles in the book of Revelation, which were not specifically written to individual churches or to church leaders like the letters of Paul, we need to look carefully for how it talks about salvation, how it talks about Christ and the gospel, and how it talks about the local church.

The book of Hebrews was written to Christians facing trials. It focuses on Christ, his office, his role, and his present ministry. It connects Christ and salvation to the Old Testament, especially the Abrahamic promise, and it gives instruction and admonition to mutual relationships in the church and relationships with church leaders. So the book of Hebrew's connection to missions is this underpinning of teaching about Christ and how he fulfills all of the promises and the roles of the Old Testament leader as prophet, priest, and king. How the Old Testament believers longed to see his day and to see it fleshed out, we find in the local church from Hebrews chapter 10-13.

The book of James was written to Jewish believers scattered in the dispersion because of persecution. It focuses on the practical aspects of faith and profession of faith, and it deals with some particular instances with regard to partiality in public worship. So it does speak to the conduct of the local church and the significance of teaching and modeling gracious virtues in the church. It gives specific instruction to church elders.

1 and 2 Peter were written to persecuted Christians. It gives them hope in the midst of institutional persecution and equips them for holy living and future minded expectation of the coming of Christ.  It gives very practical instruction for submission to authority, husbands and wives, evangelism, the warning regarding false teachers and assurance of Christ's return. Peter writes this marvelous exhortation to elders in chapter 5 of 1 Peter. It's a great reminder of the qualifications of character of a good elder in the local church.

The first Epistle of John writes about core truths and application of the gospel. He addresses one another and the solidarity of Christians with the truth. He speaks of practices in the church in prayer and confronting sin and staying faithful. The second and third Epistles of John are written to churches and church leaders. In 3 John specifically, it speaks of support for missionaries. He writes in 3 John verses 5-8, "Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are who testified to your love before the church, you'll do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore, we ought to support people like these that we may be fellow workers for the truth." This is a wonderful missionary passage and it has to do with the church supporting the missionaries and sending them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. That send them on their journey, is the word Propempo.

The Epistle of Jude is a warning against denying Christ and a call to steadfastness when he writes, "I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints."  I think there's an assumption that he's actually writing to church leaders. This would be a letter written to church leaders to be read in the public assembly of the church.

Finally, we come to the book of the Revelation. After the initial prologue, John writes this in verse 4, John, to the seven churches that are in Asia, John has a vision of Jesus. And in verse 11, Jesus says to John, "Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches." And then he names them Chapters 2 and 3 specifically address each church in order, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea. It's interesting that Jesus had such personal concern about each of these individual local churches, and it's obvious from reading that he knew every little bit about what was going on in each church. He gives them encouragement and rebuke and warning and then finally reminds them of who he is and that he can keep them through their challenging difficulties.

Now, reading through the book of Revelation, we see the terms like nation,people or peoples, languages, and the whole earth mentioned many times, well over a hundred times. These terms are used to describe the global or comprehensive scope of God's actions, his judgments and his sovereignty in all things. As these descriptive chapters unfold prophecies about what's going to take place on earth in the last days. So we see in revelation this culmination of missions and judgment and final reward for believers.

As John is shown a scene about the throne in heaven, he sees in chapter 5 the view of the scroll and the lamb. In chapter five, verse 6, "Between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a lamb standing as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song saying, worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals for you. Were slain and by your blood you ransom people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God and they shall reign on the earth."

So we see this incredible scene around the throne with people from every tribe and language and people and nation. That is the fulfillment of missions, the redemption of some from every tongue and tribe and people of mankind. As the revelation progresses, we see a similar scene in Revelation chapter 7:9, "After this, I looked and behold a great multitude that no one could number from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages standing before the throne and before the lamb clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands and crying out with a loud voice. Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the lamb."

We see the prophetic revelation proceed through the chapters of the book with all kinds of symbolic things and judgment. It proceeds toward rejoicing in heaven for all those that are gods and the marriage supper of the lamb and the final climactic victory of Jesus Christ over all things. There is the final judgment and a new heaven and new earth, the river of life. And it says this in the last chapter, chapter 22, "I Jesus sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches, I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star."

So the beginning and the end of the Book of Revelation indicate Christ's love and care for the churches. He's writing this whole book of revelation for the sake of the churches to give them hope that even though there is great catastrophe coming down the road for many on earth, they ultimately will have a place in heaven because of their faith in the one true savior Jesus Christ.

So we see through the entire Bible God's love for mankind in drawing people from every tongue, tribe, and nation to worship Him in heaven. It speaks of God's power through the gospel of Jesus Christ and our part in God's plan to spread that gospel and plant churches among every tribe and language and people and nation on earth. May we be faithful to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and send our emissaries, missionaries to every nation on earth to accomplish this.

Hey, as we close out this series on mission's insights from the New Testament, I just want to introduce myself and introduce you to my assistant Joel Hollins. My name is David M. I haven't said that on the podcast before. I have experience in ministry in an unreached people group in the Philippines, which the Lord very richly blessed and gave us spiritual fruit in many dimensions, way beyond our wildest expectations, and it was all due to the Lord's special blessing and for his glory.

The Lord also allowed me to be involved in missions administration, both on the field team side, the whole field countryside, and internationally from the home office side of our mission sending agency. For the past almost 30 years, I've been focused on church missions mobilization that is ministry to churches and especially the church leaders teaching them, coaching them, helping them with implementation and the details of how it works in the local church to rise up, to take their biblical role in missions, and particularly to be involved in training and sending their own people into missions, especially the strategic value of going to unreached people groups to fulfill the Great Commission.

This past year, the Lord has really blessed me with an assistant named Joel Hollins. He is my assistant in Propempo Ministry with MissioServe Alliance. We've known each other for some years, but worked together in ministry for one year now. Joel has wonderful positive experience in missions work in Asia. He's been a pastor and an elder. He is back in missions with me, and he is trusting the Lord for his support to continue to serve with me in Propempo.

So if you have an interest in supporting Joel Hollins, we would all be very encouraged for you to do that. Joel really has a deep ownership of the Propempo perspective on the church and missions. I am so grateful for his ministry, so please listen to his series coming up and give us feedback. Hey, I happen to have Joel Hollins right here with me on the phone, and I've asked him to say hello before he starts his series in the next set of episodes.

Hello everybody. My name is Joel Hollins and I am so thankful that I can come along and help out with the podcast. I look forward to diving into the great commission with you.

Thanks for joining us today on Missions on Point. We trust that you'll find more help and resources on our websites and We are so thankful for those who support us, enabling us to produce this podcast. Now, to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever, and amen.

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