An extensive look at the theme of missions throughout the Bible.
“Not the welfare and glory of man, not the growth and expansion of the church, but the glory of God forms the highest goal of missions because the being and character of God are the deepest ground of missions ‘for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever.'”
This book was difficult to read but overall a good look at how missions permeates the Bible and God is a God of missions. I didn’t agree with some of the author’s views but the book is a good treatise on what missions is and the importance of it in the believer’s life.
“The challenge of the believer is to be a ‘missionary,’ a ‘sent one,’ sent by the Holy Spirit through the church…to bear witness to Christ and proclaim the revealed message of God’s redeeming act in Christ Jesus. This, of course, requires thorough knowledge of the message as deposited in the Bible, and intimate personal acquaintance with Christ.”
The author also talks about discipleship and what that looks like in the life of a Christian. “Note five basic principles of cross-bearing: (1) Cross-bearing is voluntary – ‘if any man will.’ (2) Cross-bearing is continuous – ‘daily.’ (3) Cross-bearing is absolutely necessary to discipleship – ‘whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.’ (4) Cross-bearing is not pleasing to our natural self for it is basically associated with self-denial – ‘deny himself.’ (5) Cross-bearing is taken up for the sake of Christ – ‘my disciple.'”
“Whatever else cross-bearing may mean, it certainly implies such voluntary identification with the Lord that He absorbs our love, devotion, time, talent and strength to such a degree that nothing and no one else matters in our life except the Lord. Self-interest, plans, pleasures, position and relations have been denied; self is dethroned and delivered to the Spirit to be crucified. Discipline, limitations and dependence are accepted to follow the Master at every cost and at any expense, even the expense of life. Such is implied in cross-bearing. Here we come to the heart of Christian discipleship… A Christian disciple is more than a believer. A disciple is more than a learner in the ordinary sense of the word. A disciple is more than a follower and imitator of Christ, more than a holy enthusiast for Christ, yea even more than one who lives in full devotion to the Lord. A disciple is a believing person living a life of conscious and constant identification with the Lord in life, death and resurrection through words, behavior, attitudes, motives and purpose, fully realizing Christ’s absolute ownership of his life, joyfully embracing the saviorhood of Christ, delighting in the lordship of Christ, and living by the abiding, indwelling resources of Christ according to the imprinted pattern and purpose of Christ for the chief end of glorifying his Lord and Savior.”
“The biblical concept of Christian discipleship must always be interpreted to involve humble following, constant fellowship, sanctified openmindedness, undisputed obedience, ready submission, heroic faith, arduous labor, unselfish service, self-renunciation, patient suffering, painful sacrifice, and cross-bearing. It is the bringing of all of life under the lordship of Christ.”
“Missions is inherent in the very nature of Christianity and is a true product of our personal faith in proper relationships to a Spirit-enlightened understanding of biblical Christianity. Such a statement does not mean that missions need not be taught and nurtured in the Christian church or that it grows spontaneously or automatically. Nothing is spontaneous in Christianity. All must be cultivated and nurtured. But it does mean that when the whole counsel of God is taught, believed and obeyed, missions will cease to be considered a side work or something we may engage in or not. It will cease to be optional and ‘elective.’ It will not be merely a work of the church, beneficial and praiseworthy; it will be the work of the church, absolutely essential to the church to retain her Christian character and purpose. It will become primary and dominant in the purpose and activity of the church, with all powers geared toward accomplishing the task.”
And this quote – ouch! Quite an indictment on the church who doesn’t view missions as important.
“A church that does not recognize the primacy of missions deprives herself of the most intimate relationship with her Lord, fails to identify herself with the primary purpose of God, robs her membership of the deepest experiences of the Holy Spirit, and denies the world the greatest blessings the Lord in grace has provided. She ceases to be truly Christian.”