“The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—-your faith in God has become know everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it.” (1st Thessalonians1:8)
No better example of the church’s discharging in missionary responsibility appears in the New Testament. The faith of the church at Thessalonica had spread through the surrounding region of Macedonia just as the faith of the church region of Macedonia just as the faith in Rome had spread throughout the world. What a challenge for contemporary churches to become models for missions in the surrounding territory!
Their faith spread beyond their own province or state (Macedonia) and to the next province of Achaia. But their interest in missionary outreach became known far beyond even those regions. Their central testimony concerned the change in their lives Jesus had brought about and their confidence in His return. How about your church, would people describe your church in a similar manner? If not, why not?
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, You began a good work in us and then sent Your Son, our Savior, to give us a real life example of how to model our lives with His. Abba, we seek You, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to guide not how to begin this model in our own churches, but also how to sustain this model into the future. It is in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“We don’t have to know the answers to remain faithful. Place your faith in the One with all the answers.’
“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road—-the desert road—-that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, and important official in charge of of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.; Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked. ‘Hos can I, he said, ‘unless somebody explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: ‘He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.’ The eunuch asked Philip, ‘Tell me, please, who is theprophet talking about, himself or someone else?’ Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?’ And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however he appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.”(Acts8:26–40)
When Philip asked the eunuch asked if he understood what he was reading, his response reveals he is a smart person; for his question in response was, “How can I, unless someone explains it to me?” This is the core of mission work and why it is so important that whomever you send as missionary’s is steeped in God’s Word, so that can do just that, explain what the text means. It’s not my interpretation, it is God’s Word, but we must be able to give real life examples of the text, for understanding.
Philip had been sent to the Samaritans, who lived a great distance geographically from Judea, but at a great distance culturally, socially, and religiously. God led Philip into a still wider circle to reach an Ethiopian who was a eunuch and of a difference race. The Holy Spirit leads His people into missions in and beyond home community, as well as in their own community, but the reasons are for reaching people who may have never heard God’s Word or if they did, didn’t understand it.
“After the Lord appointed seventy -two others, and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where was about to go. He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore to send out workers into his harvest field. God I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals, and do not greet anyone on the road…” Please read the rest as you have time, this is important.(Luke10:1-18)
The sending of missionaries in addition to the disciples was intended to prepare people for the actual visit of Jesus. This sending had many similarities to the sending of the twelve.
Although the specific assignment was limited, Jesus gave some missionary principles that are valid for His followers in all times: 1) Effective witnesses go in obedience to their Lord; 2) God has people willing to respond if His people will; 3) Fellowship in witness gained by going with a partner strengthens the witness; 4) An adequate supply of evangelists, clergy, and missionaries comes in response to prayer; 5) Christian witnesses are often at risk as “lambs among wolves; 6) God can and will provide for His messengers needs; 7) God’s business is urgent; 8) The impact of our witness can be enhanced by receiving hospitality graciously; 9) messengers of the gospel deserve support; 10) God’s missionaries or “sent ones” represent Him; and 11) Following Christ’s instructions will bring harvest and joy.
SECOND THOUGHT of the DAY:
“These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of he Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received freely give. Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving let your peace rest on it, if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet, when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.’” (Matthew 10:5-15)
The sending of the twelve is similar, but different from when Jesus sent the missionaries and disciples to prepare for Jesus’ arrival in those communities. In this case God was sending them to the Jews, who had already received the promises of the Messiah. Jesus cared for all the people, but in this case the disciples were limited to those were prepared for His message. Jesus told the disciples the specifics of their mission and there ere to go and proclaim the good news of the kingdom. Those sent were to preach the good news that sinners can find forgiveness and eternal life in Christ Jesus.
The call to participate in God’s kingdom stands at the heart of missionary work, beloved Proclamation is to be accompanied by acts of compassion. Jesus as our example of mission carried out a balanced ministry of word and deed. Jesus appears to have three teaching purposes: teach the apostles to depend on God to provide their needs, and that gospel ministry is a calling worthy of support; Missionaries should receive the hospitality of the community and identify with the people they minister and bless; if the ministry of Christ is received it carries its own blessing; rejection carries its own judgment. Finally, the destruction of the godless Sodom and Gomorrah stands as a frightening example for those who would reject Christ’s claims.