Every Christian is a Missionary – This is a statement of fact, not a question nor an exhortation.
Some, however, may doubt the validity of such a statement. So, let us consider the word Christian for a moment.
The word Christian only appears three times in the Bible. Its first appearance is in Acts 11:26c, "And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."
The title Christian was not originally used to describe the believers in Jerusalem. Instead, it was applied first to the believers who had begun to obey Christ’s command to "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15b, KJV) and be witnesses for Him "both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8b, KJV)
Of course, these disciples fled to Antioch because of persecution, but the Lord was with them and many people in that city believed and turned to the Lord (Acts 11:21). Eventually, the first "missionaries" sent out of a local church (Paul and Barnabas) would come from this same assembly of believers.
Considering the setting in which believers were first called Christians, we can develop an accurate definition for the title Christian. A Christian is both a "follower of Christ," and "one sent by Christ."
This brings us to the title Missionary. This word never appears in the Bible. However, the dictionary defines it as "one sent on a mission." The root of the word, mission, means "to send." We may therefore justifiably define the title Missionary as "one sent on a mission by Christ."
What then is the mission of every Christian? To obey our Lord’s command and preach (proclaim) the gospel, as did the believers first called Christians at Antioch. However, fulfilling our mission does not always mean going off to some far away place.
Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:18 concerning His disciples saying, "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world." Jesus left us in the world after our salvation so that we might serve and proclaim Him right where we are.
Speaking to His disciples, Jesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earth…Ye are the light of the world." (Matthew 5:13-16) Notice that He said "you," not "they." He was speaking to all His disciples, not just those called to some special service somewhere. What Jesus explained to His disciples in that passage applies to us today. It reveals God’s will for your daily life and mine.
Salt and light are used as illustrations of how our lives should have an effect on the world around us. We do not have to strive to become these two things that are found in any home anywhere in the world. Jesus said that as believers in Him, we already are salt and light.
What attributes do these two substances have that should also be found in our lives? Salt is a preservative and prevents decay. On the other hand, if salt loses its savor, it is good for nothing. Light has nothing in common with darkness. In fact, its very presence dispels darkness. Our lives likewise should display these attributes of preservation and illumination.
Does our presence stop certain kinds of conversation? Does our life affect the conduct of friends and acquaintances? Do people know that we are a Christian by both our words and deeds? Do we make a stand against sin and evil in the world?
It has been said that the best witness is not to try to convince others that our way is the right one. Instead, the best witness is living in such a way that our lives make no sense apart from our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
How does our witness measure up?