This entry is part of 50 in the series article 26

THE church of the living God is the means which 
Jesus has placed in the world for the evangeli- 
zation of humanity. The last commission (Matt. 28: 
18-20) was a vital, all-absorbing command to the 
apostles. They felt the burden of their responsibility 
(Acts 20:17-27). To them the preaching of the 
gospel for the obedience of faith incurred a responsi- 
bility that was both individual and universal. It was 
a matter upon their fidelity to which depended their 
eternal weal or woe (1 Cor. 9:16; 2 Cor. 4:8-18; 2 
Tim. 4:6-8). It was also a matter upon their fidelity 
to which depended the salvation of a lost race (John 
3 : 16, 17 ; Acts 4 : 11, 12 ; Rom. 1 : 15-17 ; 1 Cor. 1 : 21) . 
Such missionary zeal naturally resulted in the remark- 
able spread of Christianity in the first century. Even 
during the lifetime of the apostles, the gospel was pre- 
sented in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, and over 
the entire ancient world (Acts 1:8). 

The ministry of the apostles laid the foundation 
for world-wide evangelism (1 Cor. 3:10, 11). Their 
qualifications were extraordinary; their work, once 
performed, remains in the divine record, for the guid- 
ance of the church throughout all ages. A super- 
natural proposition requires a supernatural proof. 
Everything in the divine economy has originated in 
miracles, and has been perpetuated by natural law. 
The material creation, of which Adam was the head, 
was the result of a miracle (Gen. 1:28; 1 Cor. 15:45- 
47), but is perpetuated by the natural order of things. 
Likewise the spiritual creation, of which Jesus Christ 
is the Head (Eph. 1:22, 23), originated in manifesta- 
tions of supernatural power, and is perpetuated accord- 
ing to the natural order of things. So the ministry 
of reconciliation was committed by the apostles unto 
the church of the living God, with her various local 
and supervisory officers (Eph. 4:11, 12). The church 
has become "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 
Tim. 3:15). This means that the work of supporting 
and promulgating the truth has been left to the church. 
The word "truth" includes all that is embraced in the 
Christian system (John 14:6); the revealed will of 
Christ, as contained in the New Testament (Luke 18: 
8). "Whether or not Jesus will find the faith on earth 
at His second coming depends entirely upon the 
fidelity of the church to her divine mission, the pri- 
mary reason for her existence on earth. 

The New Testament is the divine missionary record. 
The inspired apostles were the first missionaries, 
divinely selected and guided into all truth. The 
church is the divine missionary agency to-day for the 
preaching of the gospel to the whole world (Matt. 
24 : 14) , a work which must be accomplished before 
we can expect the return of our Lord (Rev. 11:15; 
1 Cor. 15:24-26). 

As the New Testament is the divine missionary 
text-book, to it we go to ascertain the divine mission- 
ary policy. This policy is outlined in four remarkable 
incidents in the Book of Acts. 

1. Pentecost (Acts 2). Pentecost was the day of 
beginnings. Jerusalem was the place of beginning 
(Isa. 2:3; Luke 24:45-59; Acts 1:4). Every move- 
ment must have a definite time and place of beginning. 
The church was no exception to the rule. Human 
institutions may have originated in other regions of 
the world, as in Rome, Germany, France, England or 
America, but the church of the living God was estab- 
lished in Jerusalem. Human institutions may have 
originated during all the centuries of the past, but 
the church of the living God came into actual existence 
on Pentecost, 29 A. D. 

Pentecost was the day when world-wide evangelism 
for Christ was inaugurated. Jerusalem was the place. 
Every wise general, in planning a military campaign, 
first selects the base of operations. Jesus selected Jeru- 
salem as His base of operations in planning the great 
campaign against the forces of evil. So the Holy 
Spirit came on Pentecost at Jerusalem to guide the 
apostles into all truth, and to abide with the church 
forever (John 14:16; 16:13; 14:26). The Holy 
Spirit revealed the plan of the campaign to His first 
lieutenants. A call for volunteers was sounded, and 
the response numbered three thousand souls on the 
first day (Acts 2:37-41). Thus the army of the great 
King was organized and the conquest of the world was 

The plan of campaign was also definitely revealed 
at that time (Acts 2:1-11). At the time of Christ 
the Jews were scattered among all civilized nations. 
On this memorable day of Pentecost, these Jews had 
returned to Jerusalem to keep the feast of the Pass- 
over. There were seventeen different nationalities, 
and probably more, that were represented in the 
gathering that listened to Peter's sermon. And every 
Jew present heard and understood the gospel in his 
own language. The baptism of the Holy Spirit endowed 
the apostles with power to preach so that they could 
be understood by all nationalities represented. 

Does not this incident have a remarkable signif- 
icance? These Jews who heard and obeyed the gospel 
represented every nation of the ancient world. No 
doubt they returned and told the story of Christ to 
their own peoples in their respective languages. No 
wonder that Christianity spread over the entire ancient 
world in less than half a century! 

2. The conversion of the eunuch. The story of the 
conversion (Acts 8:26-40). The eunuch was a man 
of importance in Ethiopia. Hence it is significant that 
the Lord brought Philip and the eunuch together, so 
that the latter might hear and obey the gospel. No 
doubt the eunuch took the gospel back to his own 
people in his own language. It was a more practical 
plan to send the gospel to Ethiopia through a native 
son, in the native language, than to send Philip, or any 
of the apostles, into this foreign country, without any 
knowledge of its language or customs. 

3. The conversion of Saul. The story of the con- 
version (Acts 9:1-22; 26:14). Saul was an orthodox 
Jew, a Pharisee of the strictest sect (2 Cor. 11:22; 
Phil. 3:5; Acts 26:5). Hence it was in accordance 
with the divine missionary policy that Jesus spoke to 
him in Hebrew, although Greek had long been the 
established language. A man's heart can be reached 
through the medium of his native language more easily 
than through a language of alien origin. 

4. The conversion of Lydia. The apostles were 
guided by the Holy Spirit in the establishment of the 
gospel. It is significant that the Spirit led Paul and 
his companions across the Hellespont on this second 
missionary journey (Acts 16:6-10). It is also signif- 
icant that the introduction of Christianity upon the 
European continent, where it was destined to win its 
chief triumphs, began with the conversion of a handful 
of women on the river-bank at Philippi (Acts 16 : 11- 
15). Lydia was a native of Thyatira, which Strabo 
maintains to have been a Macedonian colony. At any 
rate, we know that a church was established at 
Thyatira later, as one of the messages of Christ in 
John's apocalyptic vision was addressed to that church 
(Rev. 2:18). Who knows but that Lydia might have 
figured in taking the gospel to Thyatira? 

We are heartily in accord with every missionary 
propaganda that is loyal to the truth as revealed 
through Jesus Christ. Yet it is a very significant fact 
that at least one-half of the present population of the 
United States is of foreign extraction. Instead of 
sending Americans to the foreign nations, without any 
knowledge of the languages and customs of those 
nations, we feel that it would be more practical to 
reach the foreign population of this country with the 
gospel* of Christ. This could be done while the present 
chaos exists in Oriental affairs. After the world is 
quieted, the educated sons of these various foreign 
nationalities can take the gospel back to their respec- 
tive peoples in their native languages. Then Jew can 
preach the gospel to the Jews, Syrian to the Syrians, 
Swede to the Swedes, Russian to the Russians, and so 
on. This policy would indeed hasten the evangeliza- 
tion of the world. 

The Jews are scattered among all nations to-day, 
primarily as a punishment for their rejection of Christ 
(Matt. 23 : 37, 38 ; Luke 21 : 24) ; secondarily, as an 
example to the Gentiles of God's punishment for dis- 
obedience (Deut. 18:18, 19; 28:37; Jer. 18:7-10; 
Rom. 11:1-11). But the period of Gentile supremacy 
is certainly drawing to a close, judging from the trend 
of modern events, and will be followed by the return 
of the Jews to Jerusalem (Dan. 12: 1, 2; Ezek. 37: 11- 
14, 22-28). The Jews, as a people, will be converted to 
Christianity, and will then become the greatest preach- 
ers of the primitive gospel that the world has ever 
known (Dan. 12:3; Rom. 11:11-36). Is it not a sig- 
nificant fact that the Jews have preserved their 
identity as a separate and distinct people among all 
nations? Is it not more significant that they have 
become acquainted with the arts, customs and lan- 
gauges of all nationalities on the globe? Is not this 
merely the preparation of the Jews for the great work 
that they will finally be called to undertake, that of 
preaching the primitive gospel over all the earth? 
When the Jews return to Jerusalem, and are converted 
to Christ, what a priceless boon it will be to them 
to be able to carry the gospel to all nations in their 
respective languages! Then indeed the kingdoms of this 
world will become the kingdoms of our Lord (Rev. 
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