“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”—Acts 1:8
Emily and I came to faith around the same time a number of voices were loudly calling for a drastic shift in missions focus—an end to what some viewed as a form of “American colonialism.” While called for a greater (and necessary) emphasis on reaching the lost here at home, others seemed to slowly lose any impetus to share the gospel altogether. What happened?
I wonder if it’s that they lost sight of the Great Commission. They lost the mission of the church—and when that happened, they ceased to be the church altogether.
This is one of the many things I loved about TGC’s Missions Pre-Conference—it’s strong emphasis on making a concerted effort to making disciples of all nations. It’s a vision we need to recapture, a point R.C. Sproul makes well in a story he shares in his commentary on Acts:
I had lunch with an extraordinary man who ministers in the Sudan. As we were eating, he showed me a picture of his family, and in it the children were carrying guns. When I asked him about that, he explained that they carry guns when they go to church because the church had been bombed ten times by Muslims. This man is on the front line of mission work every day. That is what we need—to be in touch with people like that. We are to live by this same Great Commission. It is our responsibility to make sure that Christ’s kingdom is being witnessed to throughout the world. We are called to be a missionary church.
“We are called to be a missionary church,” Sproul says. Locally and globally, we are to be intentional about the spread of the gospel, hunting for those whom God has called to salvation and trusting in the God who is sovereign over the whole endeavour to bring it to completion.
And then, when the gospel is proclaimed throughout the whole world, the end will come (Matt 24:14).