Do you enjoy reading church doctrinal statements? Personally, I enjoy going into a new church, locating the doctrinal statement and examining it for its uniqueness. I enjoy how every church or denomination chooses its words very intentionally as it coins its statement of faith; the rocks, if you will, that the church will die on. It is vital for a church to have a doctrinal statement, I think. It is a line drawn in the sand for the sake of truth. It states what the church believes, and if you can read between the lines, what it does not believe. The purpose of this article is to present eight points of truth that I believe are vital, drawn from the scriptures, to shape our understanding of missions. In drawing out these building blocks of truth, it can be seen that many are involved: God the Father, God the Son & God the Holy Spirit, the Body of Christ, the Believer & the Unbeliever.
1. All Mankind is Stands Rightly Condemned Before God
- Rom 1:18-19 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them…
- Rom 3:10 …There is none righteous, not even one…
- Rom 3:23 All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God…
2. God Desires All to be Saved
- 1Ti 2:3-4 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
- 2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
3. Jesus Died for Everyone
- 1Jn 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
4. The Holy Spirit is Convicting the World
- Joh 16:8-11 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
5. The Church was Given a Commission to Go Out
- Mat 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
6. The Unbeliever is Urged to Believe
- Joh 3:16-18 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
- Joh 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
7. The Believer is Implored to Offer Life to God for Use
- Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
8. Those who Do Not Hear & Believe Will Not Be Saved
- Rom 10:13-15 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”
In summary: Mankind stands rightly condemned before God, separated because of sin. But God, in His grace, has made away for fallen man to be reconciled to Himself through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. God has chosen to use the bride of Christ acting in obedience, coupled with the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, to bear witness into all the earth, so that those, who hear the good news and respond in personal faith (relying exclusively on the finished work of Christ on the cross as the sufficient payment for sins) would be graciously justified in God’s sight.
What Does All This Mean for Us Today?
These vital truths, drawn from the scriptures, are the building blocks that should shape our understanding of missions. By way of application, the question needs to be asked, how then shall we respond? As individuals, we need to embrace our God-given responsibility to take part in fulfilling the Great Commission. Does that mean everyone must go overseas? I do not believe so. We are all required to have a part, but just as the body has many parts, so the task of fulfilling our calling has many aspects, that require our united effort. Obedience requires our involvement in the task, but I believe God given us the freedom to choose how. We are here to expand the reach of the gospel to the ends of the earth, for the eternal glory of God. The world is a sinking ship, and we have been given lifejackets to pass out. We have to ask this question of ourselves: as the universal church are we making effective use of our time and of our witness?
As a teacher of ours once said, if the world be a sinking ship, are we passing out life jackets, or are we arranging the deck furniture?