The Local Church and The God Called Missionary
Daniel Scott, Sr.
Why Evangelize the World?
The world into which we were born is a hostile environment. Through the entire stages of our lives there is a tearing, searing spirit of unrest that reminds us of the constant pounding of the waves of the sea upon the seashore. Ceaseless activity crashing day and night with a tremendous force … relentless in its quest to swallow everything that can be swept away into its currents.
From the time we were born life began its war to destroy the tranquility of the soul, and everything that is considered normal. Around every corner hope peers with anxious desire that there is a peace that will satisfy the human heart. The search seems endless, but outside the gospel there is no peace.
It is not that the world is an incubator for trouble or heartbreak; the world is people … all kinds of people. People like you and me. The heart of every man merely desires to live his life and conclude his time on the earth with a smile of satisfaction that the journey has been one of personal contentment.
Is life any different in any other culture? Is it different than during any other era of time? Is not the basis of human happiness a peace that prevails within the soul? This is where the gospel is relentless in its mission to transform the lives of all men everywhere. It produces the changes most necessary to provide the principles that will ultimately lift the human heart from depravity and onto a solid foundation of hope.
The key to every man’s future and security is found in Jesus Christ. As in the time of His earthly ministry when men thronged to learn of the principles he taught, those same principles became woven into the power of the gospel that He entrusted to those who would proclaim it in His stead. What was it that inspired such interest?
Through the entirety of Jesus’ earthly ministry, the one thing that stood out most vividly was the simplicity of His methods. Contrary to the ways of modern ministry He did not extend his kingdom by a spectacular promotion Nor did He seek after the social levels of the more affluent.
Jesus ministered to the needs of those that were impacted by His presence, and He made them feel comfortable with His ministry. By His own admission, He established His purpose … “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
The religious leaders found Him affecting multitudes of people. They came from miles around and endured hunger and discomfort to assimilate His teaching into their lives. As the people responded to His principles, there was a forceful opposition ignited by a jealous passion in those leaders.
On the pages of the scriptures you find Him on the seashore you find him on the mountain in the street in the synagogues
You find Him with people… around people… and touching people!
Only one common thread is woven into the fabric of His ministry. It was not the circumstances He encountered. It was not the class of people He addressed. It was an inherent need to touch the lives and hearts of the people … hurting people, bruised and torn. You find Him reaching for them … you find Him preaching!
His method was not pretentious. His plan varied with the need but one thing always prevailed: Jesus committed his message with outstanding clarity. The people heard him … And they heard him gladly.
They clung to His words and were touched deeply by His tenderness. His compassion searched for fertile ground like the seed flung wide by the sower. There it penetrated to the hearts of men where it waited patiently for the law of the harvest to perform its task.
He was the Master! He openly expressed it! Yet He was approachable … His preaching transmitted a personal appeal to every social level of men everywhere. Every ear was finely tuned to the message as though they were alone with Him for the moment. Every eye was focused upon the face of one who could communicate with such clarity: “Come unto me,” He would cry aloud, “all ye that labor and are heavy laden… and I will give you rest!”
Jesus was a powerful, magnetic force that drew multitudes into an incredible relationship. The religious world recognized the personal touch and complained jealously: “This man receiveth sinners…” It was perhaps the only accusation they could fling into His face with credibility.
Where you found the multitudes, you found Him at the center. Where you found physical or emotional need, His hand was outstretched. Where there was a child, you found Him molding the young mind to understand the deep love He manifested for humanity.
He made Himself Lord of their lives and this was the beginning of World Evangelism! It was a message of hope offered, not only for that time but for all eternity! He was reaching a world filled with despair … a candle whose beams charged the darkness and dispelled it with such finality that the very souls of men were illuminated. He expended Himself to reach those of His creation whose hope and expectation had been reduced to a mere smoking wick… a spark in the night. His first thought was to get His message of hope into the minds of others who could duplicate His methods.
Christ Developed Leaders
The work Jesus was accomplishing demanded that it be transmitted to other men in order that its message would increase by multiplicity. One can stand in the shadows of His times in the scriptures to hear Him call men to leave and follow Him! There was no barrier to admission, save taking up the cross to follow Him. They came from all levels of the social ladder. Of the men He chose to succeed Him: each was a master in his own profession, each was busy with the affairs of his life, and each was expending energy to achieve.
They were men who had no time for foolish journeys into senseless dreams … there were no fantasies as it related to their response. In the midst of their busy, daily schedule He spoke to them … and time stood in a balance!
In a fleeting moment every sacrifice they had made to become what they had dreamed … a fishing fleet… a partnership in a flourishing business… an accounting business that reeked of security… even a zealous energy expending itself to modify the political opinions of men, was called into question. However, within a twinkling of an eye every doubt was settled in their heart that the choice was not theirs … it was uniquely His. “You have not chosen me…” He explained from the outset, “But I have chosen you…! Come follow me, and I will make you to become fishers of men!”
There were no questions like, “Where are we going? What’s in it for me? What about my future … my family?” No, every question was settled in that one invitation, “Follow me!” It was as though life had suddenly revealed a marvelous door of opportunity … a chance to become world changers!
No one challenged His right to choose. There was no question as to His purpose. Was His a plan of fantasy concocted by a fanatic mind? It did not take them long to understand when they saw Jesus transform a man whose life study had been devoted to theology… “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…” The man was actually mesmerized by the very thought! Through His soft reasoning, the underlying truth was revealed that has impacted the entire world: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Then they watched Him as he stopped by a wayside well and dipped into the dregs of life’s discarded and forgotten souls … a woman whose life was in a state of emotional chaos … her days were mere pieces of human wreckage strewn upon the highway of life. They watched His eyes stare into the distance of eternity as He declared: “There is a harvest of souls out there. Can you not see the fields of the entire world, each waiting for the tender hands of the harvester? The fields are white and ready for harvest.”
Those men who had accepted His call followed Jesus Christ, noting with keen interest that all that He did… and all that He said was finely woven into the fabric of His purpose … He had come to save the whole world! And they each felt the tremendous impact of the responsibility.
For three and one-half years He poured into them the urgency of ministering to the needs of people. Each felt a consuming passion to duplicate His ministry. Then, it was time for Him to go away. At the very door of the future, Jesus communicated that world evangelism was not an impossible task but an attainable goal! They became aware that evangelism was not to be the personal assignment of a few but a team effort by all believers who would be energized by His Spirit! It was to be an ever-extending partnership … As the body of believers increased, the work would multiply until every believer would become a soul winner and every congregation an energizer of hope. He left a simple instruction: “Go ye therefore into all the world, and preach the gospel… make disciples of every nation… and when this gospel has been preached in all the world for a witness, then shall the end come…”
You will not function by your own ability, “I will give you power… as you go, preach the gospel, heal the sick… cleanse the lepers… cast out devils…” The results will be astounding! The multitudes will feel the charge of holy energy and every nation will find hope in the gospel.
The apostles became the forerunners of world evangelism for the church. Was it easy for those first missionaries to leave a thriving fishing business … an accounting firm … a political movement … or as in the case of the Apostle Paul, a successful law practice and a position on the Supreme Court, to serve in a missionary ministry? Successful pastors, evangelists, business executives, and others who are accepting the call to serve in missionary ministry in modern times are experiencing the same traumatic heartbreak as they leave their positions to answer God’s directive.
The Apostle’s World and The Gospel’s Challenge
The apostle’s world was a time when the choices were clear, when death was near, and life was precious. It was a time when decisions were made with finality. It was a time of courage and honor … of passion and sacrifice. Those who became the key players in world evangelism were swept into the arena to push back the powers of their times so that the world would come to know Jesus Christ. No one in that day accepted the call of God as a profession, for a profession is chosen. The call of God demanded commitment. For them, a pulpit was not a place; it was a response. Preaching was not the eloquent use of words; it was an answer to the world’s need.
Their lives were synonymous to their message! What they believed was exposed by what they did … it was a time when action was a result of their faith. They could not profess a commitment to Christ without committing their very lives for the cause. The world knew revival!
The gospel swept across the fields like molten lava to fill every empty crevice in its insatiable desire to find a level common to its purpose. They went everywhere preaching the word. And just as He had promised, He worked with them confirming the word with signs following. They charged the world and declared the gospel. They did not change His method. They did not change His message.
But with the same simplicity of style, they gave themselves to the task He had called them to perform. They had accepted the ministry of reconciliation and realized that the task was theirs.
The very first opposition was dispelled with a boldness that defied a response. “You are drunk!” they cried. “Oh no, not as you suppose, but this is that promise of hope to be shared with His world!” The conviction was so commanding they cried with anticipation, “Then, what must we do?” The resounding answer was: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” The door was open, and three thousand souls charged to the front and entered the water that day!
The first challenge was accepted … “Silver and gold I do not possess … but that which is burning within with consuming passion, I give you Rise up and walk…” Persecution could not stop it. Misunderstandings to His purpose were quietly defused. And differences that brought pain and suffering were willingly endured.
All opposition became the lubrication for the wheels of world revival. With this platform, the explosive forces of the men called to be world changers detonated a message that began a chain reaction that reproduced itself over and over again! Those who cherished its dream multiplied. They realized that they together were the church!
The unity of the believer’s purpose expanded its borders until the entire world was within the grasp of the church … It would now be: every creature, every nation, and every language just like He said!
The gospel spread throughout the known world. Municipalities were warned, “The men who are turning the world upside down have come here also…” Revival or riot were the only options for apostolic ministry. Life changing experiences or flat rejection sent the populace of cities and nations reeling like a drunken man, inebriated with excitement. In the space of two short years all of Asia heard the word!
Entire cities were impacted to faith as they saw the miraculous work of the ministry. The good news of the kingdom of God was doing its work of reconciliation. Men and women were swept into the church as the Spirit empowered the ministers with great boldness. The word great was used with common practice as believers marched upon the stage of action. The scriptures record …with great power … great fear … great grace… to describe the work of the church. There were such numbers that the reports were ascending daily: …added to the church … many of them, which heard the word, believed … and the multitude of them that believed … and believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women… The work of missions had begun!
How Was It Accomplished?
In our own way let us explain how the apostles did it, for there is a biblical precedent! It occurred during a church service in Antioch, maybe like any enjoyed in your local assembly, as the believers gathered to worship. Antioch was a great church with a great congregation. The leaders of the church were outstanding and effective. The Bible identifies this assembly simply as the “church at Antioch…” Suddenly, without expectation, the voice of the Lord spoke to a sensitive people saying, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work where unto I have called them….”
It could have been a scene in that day much like the one where missionaries are called today. Perhaps the members of that church cried as you would cry, “No, not our pastor…. Not our choir director… Not our youth minister! Someone else, but please God, not them!”
One thing we have to understand. God does not select just anyone. He selects with care. He selects the person that will do the work of missions. He selects busy and effective people. None else need apply! The task is too intense … the personal profile must fit!
The church at Antioch, with all probability, wept a while as they felt the impact of what was transpiring. Then with understanding that God’s will was being expressed, they placed arms around about those cherished and appreciated leaders, then prayed and sent them to preach the gospel to the regions beyond. It became a precedent … an apostolic precedent! The work of an apostle would be that of a missionary. The missionary is an apostle. World evangelism was, and would be, a partnership between the missionaries called to go and the local church that sends them.
The church at Antioch was a partner with the missionaries! When the evangelism activities had begun to produce, field reports were recorded regularly, as any missionary report read in our day on any given missionary Sunday. The missionaries wrote:
“We are at Philippi. Persecution is pretty heavy right now … we were beaten in the public square… and spent the night in jail… However, as we sang praises and prayed, God jolted the whole area with His power… that same night we baptized the jailer and his entire family. We established a church, a new church here in the city and believers are flowing into it.”
In another newsletter, and you can imagine the joy the congregation felt when they heard from their Partners in Missions:
“One of our new congregations gathered to hear the word. Brother Paul was preaching and a spirit of hunger ripped through the crowd. The service lasted until after midnight … We don’t know exactly what happened, but a young man fell from the balcony and was killed in the impact. However, Brother Paul rebuked the power of death, and the church rejoiced as the young man opened his eyes…”
And again: “We were traveling together to the city of Ephesus. A denominational preacher had come to town. Brother Aquila and Sister Priscilla, one of our lovely couples, went to hear him. After the service, they conversed with him about deeper truth. They explained the message more clearly … the man was baptized in Jesus name … and he then later baptized his followers in Jesus name!”
Sometimes the gospel must break through the powers of darkness. The work of a missionary is not easy! However, he understands that many times adversity is the key that will unlock the door to a tremendous revival. Suppose your missionary partner would write:
“We were being buffeted by intense persecution, the deputy of Achaia brought Brother Paul to the judgment seat, saying that he persuaded men to worship the true and Living God. As a result of Brother Paul’s bold defense, many believed, especially Justus. Then the chief ruler of the synagogue also believed and was baptized in Jesus name.”
As results of missionary endeavors, churches were established … ministers were trained … untold thousands were baptized in Jesus name… and empty lives were filled with the Holy Ghost.
From the successful missionary endeavor in Philippi, there was a new church … then the missionaries moved into Thessolonica … after that to Corinth … to be followed by Galatia and Ephesus. These important churches you have read about in the Book of Acts were the result of a local congregation just like yours becoming partners with missionaries to financially and prayerfully enable them to carry the gospel to the regions beyond. It is a partnership, Partners In Missions.
Two thousand years have slipped by and the modern church has become the flip side of the apostolic coin. Today’s church possesses the same values … the same characteristics … the same message. One Lord, one faith and one baptism is recognized around the world as all men flow into the family of God. The work of missions is the church expending itself throughout the world. All believers are partners in purpose and companions in service, inseparable, and driven by the commission to bring the world to know Jesus Christ. What a message. What an experience!
Is this the partnership of which you would like to be a part? If not, how will the work of evangelism be accomplished? Is world evangelism an attainable goal? Was the saving of mankind the purpose of Jesus’ coming into the world? Are the United Pentecostal Church and its message the hope upon which hangs the eternity of the world? If so, what is your part to play and what are your responsibilities in the great commission? Is it the will of God that only a part of the fellowship carries the tremendous responsibility to accomplish world evangelism? Perhaps this project can assist everyone in understanding the work of missions. Although we are living in a different time, the work is still, after two thousand years, the same …missionaries going into all the world … and a local church that enables them. And by the way, you will actually read the accounts of some of the world’s greatest missionaries because once you become a part of the Partners In Missions program, you will receive reports and news from their endeavors. The United Pentecostal Church International can become the embodiment of the Book of Acts. We merely remove the period at the end of the book, replace it with a comma and continue to record great and exciting chapters for the cause of evangelism.
The above article, “A Divine Partnership” was written by Daniel Scott, Sr. The article was excerpted from chapter one in Scott’s book A Divine Partnership.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes