We asked the students of BJU to tell us why we should pray for the persecuted church. Here is what they said:
In this time of thankfulness, it is good to remember our brothers and sisters around the world who must gather in fear for their lives - and yet are thankful!
Kenneth Driscoll, Men's Director of Missions Advance
The Great Commission is one of the most frequently referred to passages on the topic of missions. We hear missionary speakers and pastors use these verses when they are encouraging us to share the gospel with other people. In our minds, this passage almost seems cliché and overused. We often think we know everything there is to know about this passage because we have heard it so many times. But how often do we actually live it out? Do we really take this command to heart?
What is the Great Commission actually all about? Is it a supreme calling? In a sense, yes it is, because it is the most valuable thing we can do with our time as believers. But is it just for the elite Christians? Is it just for the great missionary heroes? We can easily be intimidated by what David Livingston, Adoniram Judson, William Carey, or Hudson Taylor have done for Christ and believe we can never achieve what they have done. Do we think if we are part of the Great Commission we will have to live in a grass hut without internet while eating strange food? Even more, do we fear rejection from others, or even persecution? What is the Great Commission and what does it mean?
Well, first of all, it is a command from Christ to all Christians. No one is excluded from this message. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, this applies to you. We have the power of Christ living within us to do great things for Him. But most of all, we have the greatest news ever given to man to share with as many people as possible. However, we may feel overwhelmed with so great a task. Even the disciples felt overwhelmed at times, and they were in the presence of Jesus Christ Himself! Paul was a former terrorist persecuting Christians wherever he went, but the power of the Gospel changed his life and he wrote many books of our New Testament! That same power that filled the disciples, Paul, and many great missionaries is still alive today! Each one of us has the opportunity to use that power in our own lives. You may wonder where to start. Well, here are three steps to fulfilling the Great Commission.
STEP 1: LEARN
Is there something you are passionate about? Maybe you love gardening and you spend time researching the greatest gardening tips to know how to make your garden better. Maybe you are great at building things and you are interested in stronger and more elegant ways to make what you make. You might even love to collect stamps or coins or coffee mugs. Learning is important to understanding more about something. You spend time researching and finding out information to become more knowledgeable in something you are passionate about.
The same can be done with learning about countries, cultures, religions, or people groups. In order to understand them better, you must learn about them. You may discover interesting facts along the way. Find a missionary in a particular country or working with a people group or religion that you are interested in. Get in contact with them and find out more about what they are doing. Use what you have learned and find ways in which you can be a blessing to them. Christmas is coming soon, and they might have children you can send gifts to. Just by being an encouragement to missionaries, you are participating in the Great Commission. You may be exactly what they needed that day to continue on in their work. Also, use what you learn to explore opportunities God may give you. You may never know the extent of what God can do through you. You might even have the opportunity to help that missionary in a way you would have never thought of.
STEP 2: PRAY
Have you ever been afraid to pray for something because you thought God might actually grant your request? You may be frightened to know what would happen if you actually asked God for something. That is because there is power in prayer! God is at work, and He can do amazing and marvelous things!
That same powerful God can use you! Pray for other believers and missionaries around the world. Pray God would use them in mighty ways. Pray for your own heart that God would direct you in the path He wants you to go. He can change you into exactly what He needs you to be for His glory. And everything God does is for His glory. If you allow God to work in your life, His image will be seen in you. Ask God to give you a burden for His work in spreading the Gospel. As your burden grows, take action. This leads to the last step.
STEP 3: MOBILIZE
Plan out how you can do something for God. There are so many opportunities all around us to share the Gospel or simply be a blessing to someone in need. There are endless opportunities for you to be involved in missions. But before I go further, let me make something clear.
People often get confused about what missions actually is. When you hear the word missions, you may think that only exists in another country. You are actually thinking of foreign missions. You can be a missionary anytime and anywhere. The burden God has given you may be for another country or for your own city or neighborhood. You might go to another country to share the Gospel with a people group that has never heard of Jesus before. You could start a church or a business with the intention to share Jesus with those people. You could also start inviting neighbors to your house and having Gospel centered conversations with them. Even going to a Ronald McDonald House and sharing the hope the Gospel brings to families going through a hard time is possible for you to do in your city.
Share that burden you have with friends and family. Get them excited about what God is doing in your life and how He is guiding and directing you. Ask a pastor or spiritual leader for advice and prayer. See what they have to offer in regards to the next steps you can take.
In conclusion, are you ready? Do you have faith in the power of the Gospel and our God? Our generation tends to undervalue the effectiveness and importance of missionaries. Missionaries and missions is needed now more than ever. What can you do to make a difference in this world for Christ and shine His light? Most of all, is the Gospel worth it? Is it real for you? If so, live it out and use the power given to you by the Holy Spirit and do something great for God!
Missions Advance is a great way to take part in these three steps. Come to Missions Advance meetings in Alumni 217 at 9pm on Mondays and Thursdays to learn about and pray for missions. Also, stop by the CGO office after chapel or society and pick up a missionary prayer letter and spend a few minutes in prayer for that missionary. The CGO can also help you reach beyond yourself and into the Greenville community with various mission and service projects.
Nick Mauer, Coordinator of Outreach & Evangelism
When a person knows they are about to speak their last words, they tend to be very careful and thoughtful about what they say. The final words of Jesus, before He ascended to heaven, were no different:
1. When Jesus gave us the Great Commission, He gave it not as a suggestion, but as a command.
Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China, said as much: “The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.” The heart of that command concerns making disciples (followers) of Jesus among all the nations by taking a message.
2. When Jesus gave us the Great Commission, He embedded in it both prophecy and promise.
The power of the Great Commission is this trifecta—it is command, but it is also prophecy and promise.
3. Jesus’ command has not been fully obeyed and His prophecies have not been fully realized.
This ought to be obvious. There are a lot of things left undone. And yet it’s interesting because the unfulfilled-ness of the command and prophecies contrasts with the utter and complete fulfillment of Jesus’ promises. He has kept His promise. Did the Spirit come? Has Jesus been with us—all the days—till now? Yes and yes.
But we are still—2,000 years later—slowly picking away at our command. Have we taken the gospel—the light-infusing, life-giving, darkness-rending, Jesus-exalting, hell-stopping, heaven-opening, God-glorifying gospel to every tribe? To every tongue? To all the nations? No. And I want to demonstrate that to you.
Look at just one of the passages we have discussed: Acts 1:8 – Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. What is the uttermost part of the earth? Literally, the text says, “and until the last [place] of the earth.” So let me rephrase the question: Is there anywhere that the Gospel has—as yet—not gone? The answer to that question is a resounding: YES.
4. Jesus’ commission places several specific demands on all of us.
First, we must go.
Now, “go” is a very flexible verb. It can be used of a long distance: “Go to China.” It can be used of a short, yet considerable, distance: “Go across the state.” It can be used of a very short distance: “Go to the basement.” It can even be used of distances so small that others wouldn’t even realize that you had gone anywhere: “Go to the other side of the room.” One thing it cannot mean, however is this: “Stay.” It always involves motion. It cannot mean “Get comfortable” or “Relax” or “Live in your bubble.” None of these things can square with, or be interpreted as obedience to, Jesus’ “Go” in the Great Commission. One way that we go collectively as a church is by sending others. We ought to have a heart to extend the Gospel beyond the regions we can reach individually. Two major ways we do this are through prayer (Matt 9:38) and giving (Phil 4:15-17).
Second, we must speak.
The Great Commission is more than a call to go show Jesus’ love. Francis of Assisi is famous for his quip: “Preach the Gospel always. If necessary, use words.” Witty, yet there is no true fulfillment of the Great Commission independent of the verbal proclamation of Jesus Christ as crucified, dead, buried, raised, and exalted to be Lord of all the nations. The most basic form of speaking is witness—telling about one’s own personal experience of Jesus. All of us can do that. And all of us—today, beginning now--must do that.
Third, we must think about this more.
Don’t let the words of the Son of God pass through your ears and leave you unchanged. This is a brief and insignificant blog post, but the words of God it contains are a commission from the King of kings.
Your Great Commission
How are you working right now—today—to obey Jesus’ final words on this earth? Are you going? Maybe for you, going is a matter of crossing an ocean, but maybe it’s only a matter of crossing your back yard…or picking up the phone…or turning in your airplane seat. Whether you are reaching those in Asia who have never heard of Jesus or reaching unbelievers in your home town, you have a command to go. This is your commission. The task is not optional; Jesus has provided all of the power you need by sending the Holy Spirit; the task is unfinished. So let’s go.
Statistics on unreached/unengaged people groups cited from www.joshuaproject.net and public.imb.org/globalresearch
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The CGO Blog
Written by the CGO staff, with guest posts from students and other faculty/staff at BJU to provide thought leadership for missions in a new millennium.