What is Missions? (Part 1) -Written by Dylan

What is Missions? (Part 1)

Support Team,

I'm going to try something that I have yet to do. As I look back upon all of our posts and updates I found something to be lacking. I have learned so much since entering into full-time ministry in January of 2017. It is my desire that Holly and I could be as much of a blessing to you all as you are to us. I am going to do my best to start including blog posts that are different than the normal updates. I want to work on my writing skills and also share some of what I have learned thus far being in full-time ministry. What better topic to discuss for my first blog post of this type, other than "Missions". I hope that this post finds you well and helps to further your understanding of what Christian Missions truly is and what our role is in this divine plan of God. 

 Houston Baptist Church Youth Retreat at Camp Ferncliff in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Houston Baptist Church Youth Retreat at Camp Ferncliff in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Holly and I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to lead a youth retreat that was solely focused on missions. The organizers of this retreat scheduled for the youth to tour the Heifer International Global Village. This village was set up to represent living situations in other parts of the world. It gives a great picture to visitors what life is like in other cultures. Along with the tour of the village we were given an outline of all of the great social help that Heifer International offers across the world. The work that they have done both here and in developing countries has been a huge help to fight against hunger and poverty worldwide. This provided a great opportunity to springboard off of in order to discuss missions later that evening with these young people. I opened up the night with a question and ended it with the same question. Heifer International is doing great work around the world to help fight against poverty, my question to them was...Is this type of work Christian missions? Every student agreed that it was. What do you think? 

Why am I using the term Christian missions? Missions is not a Christian term. The word missions implies that there is a mission to be accomplished. The word mission, according to dictionary.com is "any important task or duty that is assigned, allotted, or self-imposed." So when talking about missions in the Christian context, what is the "mission" to be carried out? What better place to look than God's holy, perfect Word to us. The Scripture is the way that God has chosen to speak to us today, it is our sole authority and source for doctrine. (Hebrews 1:1-2) So what does Scripture say about this "mission", is there a clear and concise mission evident in the Bible, and whose mission is it?

 The Andes Mountains of Ecuador, an amazing example of God's vastness and power. 

The Andes Mountains of Ecuador, an amazing example of God's vastness and power. 

The Divine Plan of God

 

I would argue that there is a crystal clear plan being carried out by God, evident from Genesis to Revelation. Our awareness and understanding of this plan are essential to understanding the mission of Christian missions.

Let's begin in the garden of Eden. God is eternal. (Revelation 1:8) Our eternal God decided to create. In Genesis chapter one we see God creating everything that exists in six days. God decided to make man and woman and to make them in his image (Genesis 1:26-27). He gave man free reign and authority over the perfect world that he had created (Genesis 1:28-31). God gave only a few commands to Adam (Genesis 1:28; 2:15-17, 19,24), one being that he could eat of all of the trees of the garden, "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Genesis 2:17) Man was faced with a choice at this time, to obey or to disobey their Creator. We know the choice that they made (Genesis 3:6). Genesis chapter 3 tells us about the fall of man. Man disobeyed their creator and brought sin into this world. With the entrance of sin into this world so came death. Remember the promise that God gave to Adam, the day that he ate of the tree he would surely die. This death was in the physical but also in the spiritual. Romans 6:23 tells us the wages of sin is death and Isaiah 59:2 tells us that our sin separates us from God. 

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned
— Romans 5:12 ESV

So, sin is here. What now? Well, we begin to see a glimmer of hope even in the curse in Genesis 3. Genesis 3:14-19 God is delivering the curse to the man, the woman, but also to the serpent. Who is the serpent, and why was he included in the curse? The serpent is identified by John in Revelation 12:9, 20:2 and also by Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:3. It is Satan, the fallen guardian cherub of heaven (Ezekiel 28:12-14). The one who desired the throne of God and was cast down into Sheol (Isaiah 14:12-15). Why is this important for us to understand? Well, let's look at the curse to the serpent and woman. In Genesis 3:15 God promises that there will be "enmity" between the offspring of the woman and the serpent. The serpent was going to "bruise the heel" of the offspring of the woman and in turn, he would "bruise" the head of the serpent. This is foreshadowing a coming Savior and the ultimate defeat of the serpent. Hmm...who could this snake crusher be? So, THERE IS HOPE. A divine plan begins to unfold...