THE CHALLENGE OF MISSIONS
John A. Hatcher
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MISSIONS IS ABOUT GOD’S SON
Missions is about the position and the eternal work of the Son of God. Although the persons of the Trinity have just been discussed, it is necessary to speak more about the work of the Son. He has preeminence in all of God’s plans and purposes. In mission work, He must occupy the very same position of preeminence. God has determined that Jesus shall have preeminence in all things. A study of the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Colossians will be of great benefit.
Missions is proclaiming to the world the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the eternal benefits offered to all who will receive His pardon and submit to His Lordship. “For by Him were created all things, that are in Heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church: “who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.” Col. 1: 16-18. Forsaking family and friends, sacrificing all material ambitions, doing good to men, and even dying signify nothing unless Christ is exalted.
Many means and motives have been used to promote mission service and stewardship: the illiterate, the sick, the enslaved of vices, the hungry, the dirty, and the dying. All these can successfully motivate service and giving without the mention or even belief in Jesus Christ. Real missions must follow the purpose of the Father and the Holy Spirit—to exalt the Son.
Jesus must be exalted for the Father has so determined. Paul wrote that the Christian’s growth: his wisdom and spiritual understanding, his fruitfulness, his strength for patience and longsuffering, his thanksgiving to the Father, his inheritance with the saints, and his deliverance from the powers of darkness are benefits received from the Son. Col 1:9-13
Jesus must be exalted for He is the image of the invisible God. He is the firstborn of every creature; He has the first place in every aspect of God’s work and dominion. All things were created by Him and for Him. He is the final and perfect revelation of God—He has first and final place in revelation.
He is the first to have overcome sin and the power of Satan. He is the first to have raised from among the dead. He is the first to come from and return to heaven. He is the first one born of and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He is the Sustainer of all things. He alone has the power and ability to stand between God and man. He is the person and message of reconciliation—the daysman of whom Job (Job 9:33) had not heard, Who puts His hand on God and on man—reconciling the sinner to the Holy God. What Grace! What a message! What a privilege men have to carry it to the ends of the earth! That is what missions is about!
In His exaltation Jesus is the head of the body, the church (generic). Idolatrous men carry their adored images and idols through the streets of many lands. They carry them on their shoulders to exalt, to praise, and to manifest their adoration, though their gods are dumb and dead. The churches of Jesus Christ have the privilege to exalt Him. He has redeemed them by His Blood. They are the heirs of His Kingdom. The church must carry the message of Jesus Christ on its shoulders to the ends of the earth. The processions of the wicked praise their idols; the church must walk in continual procession proclaiming the praises of Jesus. God is glorified in the church through the (Eph. 3:3) ages by the exaltation of Jesus Christ. God’s Son is what missions is about.
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