WHAT WE BELIEVE – EVANGELISM AND MISSIONS
After Jesus rose from the dead, and before he ascended into heaven, he gave his followers, including us if we claim his name, our ultimate purpose and mission as we live our lives. He did this on several different occasions. It’s what we now call the Great Commission, and it is included at the end of all four Gospels and at the beginning of the book of Acts.
Matthew 28:18-20 – “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”
Mark 16:15 – “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’”
Luke 24:44-49 – “Now He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.’”
John 20:21-23 – “So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.’”
Acts 1:8 – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 states this concerning our understanding of evangelism and missions: “It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man’s spirit by God’s Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.”
Jesus calls us to go, to live our lives, and as we go, wherever we go, to make disciples, more Jesus-followers. We are to help people come to know him, so they may be part of the people of God (baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and then we are to teach them all the things that Jesus has taught us. That is our purpose, to be disciples who help others become disciples. This is why we must be engaged in evangelism and missions. This is our duty, and this is our privilege.
God calls us to do this, because he, the God of creation, has now supremely revealed himself through Jesus, and on account of Jesus’ atonement and resurrection now offers us salvation by grace through faith in Jesus. God has not provided many different avenues of salvation, but one way, and that is through faith in Jesus Christ. And just as the early disciples boldly stood up and proclaimed that salvation is only available through Jesus (Acts 4:12), we must continue to do the same today. No matter what others might say or want us to believe, it is our responsibility as Christians to boldly stand up for the truth that Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
Praise the Lord he allows us to be part of what he is doing to create a people for himself! May “God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us. That Your way may be known on the earth, Your salvation among all nations.”