Study 9 GETTING THE MISSIONARY VISION
(Scripture Portion: Romans 10: 1-17)
In this study we are to think of the need for every Christian and for every church to become missionary-minded and missionary-hearted. The title of our study implies that there are many Christians and churches who have little or no missionary vision. Unfortunately, this is true. Some Christians are not very concerned for the salvation of souls here at home, and they are still less concerned for the salvation of the millions of lost souls in other lands. Some even say that they “do not believe in missionary work”; others have been heard to say that, “Charity begins at home”; still others have been overwhelmed with the immensity of the task and have cried out, “The task is impossible!”; and a few uninstructed Christians have even said, “Why interfere with the heathen? They have their own religions, and we should not go and upset their culture!” A missionary vision may be defined as: “A blending of correct INFORMATION and Spirit-begotten INSPIRATION that leads to definite ACTION.”
Now, of course, every Christian should be a missionary, though not necessarily a “foreign” missionary. But, are we right in speaking of “foreign” missionaries or the “foreign field”? The Lord Jesus said, “The field is the world” (Matthew 13:38). In this study, however, we are thinking of missionary work overseas, where the need is greatest and where so many have still never heard the gospel. How may a Christian get a missionary vision? Here are some suggestions:-
1. OUR EYES MUST SEE
There are certain great facts which must be clearly recognised before we can become missionary-minded and missionary-hearted, and of these we will mention three:-
- God’s great redemptive purpose is for the whole of mankind. God loves the whole world (John 3:16); the Lord Jesus died for all men, everywhere (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2). We need Peter’s vision - look up Acts 10:7-16, and compare Romans 10:12-13.
- God’s plan for making known the gospel is still Matthew 28:19, and this commission is just as binding upon us today as it was upon the first disciples. Have you ever spent ten minutes alone with your Lord and His Word in Matthew 28:19 and Romans 10:14-15?
- God’s plan in this dispensation is not the conversion of the world, but the evangelisation of the world. The Holy Spirit is engaged in this age in calling out a people who will constitute the Bride - look up Acts 15:14. Our primary task is not to educate, civilise or even Christianise the world, but to evangelise it - look up Acts 1:8.
2. OUR MIND MUST THINK
That is, we must become intelligently informed about three things:-
- As to the size and extent of the world field. This demands a careful study of an up-to-date map of the world, and if possible a scale showing the present population of each continent or country.
- As to the relative needs of each continent and country. In England there are churches in every town and in many villages, but India, for example, has more (and larger) people groups with no Christians, churches or workers than any other part of the world.
- As to what is being done. This information can be gleaned in some measure from missionary magazines and meetings. Anyone who is available for special missionary service, or who is a missionary candidate, should do everything possible to gain as much information as possible about what is actually happening (or not happening) in the field of missionary endeavour.
3. OUR EARS MUST HEAR
If our eyes are opened to see, and our mind becomes informed, before long we shall hear a call - look up Acts 16:9. This call comes from millions of souls who are still waiting for “help”. They have never heard of our Saviour - the only One who can really “help” them. Do we hear their earnest, beseeching call?
4. OUR HEART MUST FEEL
What we see, think and hear will cause us to feel - look up Lamentations 3:51, and compare Matthew 9:36; Luke 19:41-42 and Acts 20:31. Are we “moved with compassion” as we think of the vast multitudes of lost, helpless, hopeless men, women, boys and girls who are bound by fear, superstition and degradation, who are dying and going to a Christless eternity?
5. OUR LIPS MUST SPEAK
If our heart begins to feel the desperate need of those who are eternally lost, then we shall be burdened to pray for labourers to be thrust forth into the world’s great harvest fields - look up Matthew 9:38. Start compiling a Missionary Prayer List. Start a Missionary prayer meeting in your church or home (Philemon 2). Covenant with others to exercise this vital ministry - look up Matthew 18:19.
6. OUR HANDS MUST WORK
Yes, by now we shall want to do something in a very practical way - our hands will want to work. How? By corresponding with missionaries, by making and sending clothing and other articles to missionaries; by welcoming a tired missionary on furlough to our home for a rest; by gathering missionary information for our church; by giving our money - look up Galatians 6:10.
7. OUR FEET MUST GO
All cannot go - but many who could go are not going. Young person, have you placed yourself at your Lord’s disposal for missionary service? If not, will you do so now? – look up Isaiah 6:8.
Closing challenge: Can you say - Acts 26:19?