by glen | January 1, 2018 1:17 am
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 begun. 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. 11:15).
Source URL: https://freegroups.net/guide/the-divine-missionary-policy/
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