Why I’m a Missionary

During yesterday’s Sunday morning message, Joseph Najera, one of the elders at my church quoted Abraham Kuyper’s famous statement about Jesus’ authority:

“There is not one square inch of the entire creation about which Jesus Christ does not cry out, ‘This is mine! This belongs to me!'”

That’s why I’m a missionary. The missionary task is much more than preaching a message of the sinner’s personal salvation from hell. It includes that, but it’s much more. The missionary task is to take the message of a sovereign Jesus whom God has made “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36) and with all the authority of a commissioned ambassador, proclaim the message of his rule.

We take the message of Jesus, to whom has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, and call people to obey all that he has commanded (Matthew 28:18-20).

Isaiah 52:7 puts it like this:

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’

“Your God reigns!” Jesus reigns! That’s the “gospel of the kingdom” proclaimed by Jesus and the apostles. When the reign and authority of Jesus are proclaimed, there’s just one appropriate response:

Submit to (lit. “kiss”) God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities— for his anger flares up in an instant.” (Psalm 2:12, NLT)

Jesus’ message was simple: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). When the kingdom of God is preached, rebels are commanded to fall down before Christ in broken, humble repentance. “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Philippians 2:10-11)

That is why Paul was so adamant that the goal of his ministry was “to bring the Gentiles to obedience” (Romans 15:18). He preached the gospel “to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations” (Rom 1:5; cf. 16:26).

The mountains of southern Mexico are exactly the kind of place where Isaiah’s 52:7’s message needs to be preached. There we run and proclaim “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7).  Our mission is to press the kingdom of God and the authority of Christ deeply into these mountains.


What Will We Suffer if We Refuse to Suffer for Christ?

In the time it takes to read this page, another Christian will be killed because of his or her faith in Jesus Christ.  160,000 believers around the world will be slaughtered this year alone… simply because they love Jesus.

This is not a news flash.  The physical risk of “going public with the glory of God” (John Piper) among satanically dominated peoples is obvious.  Jesus predicted that you will probably be chugged (disposed of quickly and without pause) like a lion eats a lamb (Matthew 10:16; 1 Peter 5:8).  That’s the risk of identifying with Jesus in this world; and too many shrivel up at the thought.

Scripture describes the butchering of missionaries as horrifically beautiful.  Horrible because of the indescribable torment endured by so many; but stunningly beautiful in their humble Christ-likeness as they are afflicted, persecuted, struck down; but not destroyed (2 Cor. 4).  When believers are crushed by suffering, the aroma of Christ stretches out even more widely and rapidly among the peoples.

This is biblical boldness: to plow through hostile resistance with the gentleness of Christ and “loving the hate” out of those fierce enemies of the cross.

I dread a greater danger than death.  I dread the consequences of not risk-taking for the gospel.  What will I suffer if I refuse to suffer for ChristWhat will I lose if I refuse to lose my life with Jesus for the nations?  What “glory” (Paul’s word – Romans 8:18) will I miss out on if I shirk suffering for the gospel?

There is something in suffering for the gospel that produces supernatural affection and compassion within you towards those who are harming you.  At the same time, when one can praise God instead of denying him in the midst of suffering, unbelievers take notice.  Some are inevitably saved, which generates more persecution, which in turn, fuels an even more passionate scattering of the gospel.  The result is that whole new regions are quickly populated with believers and churches.  This is how suffering and persecution nearly always advances both personal sanctification in the sufferer and the speedier, wide-ranging expansion of the gospel among the persecutors.

There is nothing more powerful in evangelism than a life humbly laid down for Christ and the gospel.  These gospel risk-takers are missionary madmen (2 Cor. 11:23).  But God is glorified by them.  The world’s unharvested fields need many more like them.