And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles. ~Acts 22:21
Travel advisors make it their responsibility to encourage travelers to include certain countries on their bucket list of countries to see. The factors contributing to this recommendation include attractions, things to do, hotels and resorts, food, and safety. God has a travel bucket list for those to whom He gives a specific calling when it comes to serving Him as a missionary on foreign soil. Let us consider the calling of God to the Apostle Paul.
We see the priority.
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Missions and the Great Commission are the sending of the gospel and the establishment of local churches throughout the earth. Every local church and Christian has an individual and financial responsibility. We are to build up our local church so that it has a strong gospel influence in its immediate area, but we are also to pray for laborers to be sent out from our midst into needy areas where the gospel has little or no influence. The priority is to every nation and to the uttermost parts of the earth.
We see the place.
God told Paul, “I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” “Far hence” is another way of saying “far away.” “Far hence” can refer to anywhere in the world. It will include places where a new language has to be learned and cultural practices that are in conflict with the gospel must be overcome. “Far hence” takes the one being sent out of his comfort zone. It means investing your life in an area where you do not have contacts and relationships already established. I think of a missionary family sent out of my church that is living in a location several thousands of miles away, where there are no independent Baptist churches. He has been sent far hence. Though it is far away, the one who is sent is God’s called servant for that place.
We see the pioneer.
God sent Paul to be the pioneer missionary-church planter. He was the first to take the gospel to where he went. He was the first to see souls saved and a church started in each location. He paved the way for other missionaries. He stirred the hearts of the converts to grow in the Lord, to become soulwinners, to become faithful leaders, and to eventually become a missions-sending church. When Paul was at Ephesus, the believers were so stirred that the gospel was preached throughout all of Asia Minor. He helped to pioneer the spread of the gospel into Europe. There will be unexpected hardships, setbacks, and pushback. However, the reward of a thriving church making a difference always outweighs the risks that are undertaken.
We see the performance.
First, there is the working of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit Who speaks to the pastor of the church and the individual: “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” Second, there is the work of the sent one. The sent one must know that he has been called. He must set out to win souls and get the gospel to everyone in his city. He must get the converts baptized and into the church. Third, there is the work of the church. The church must pray for laborers for the harvest. The church must participate in Faith Promise Missions to help fund the needs of the missionary. Then, the church should follow the pastor’s vision for starting new churches and ordaining elders for every city.
Get your eyes and heart on a city on God’s travel bucket list, and go! Be a pioneer and help get the gospel far hence.
Have a missions-minded God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Proverbs 27-29