June 25, 2017

The Primary Purpose of Global Evangelism

I suppose it really all began around the age of six or seven.

If you had asked me at this time (or any other age after that) what I wanted to be when I grew up, you would have received the definite answer, “I want to be a missionary!”

Of course, I didn’t come close to understand all that being a missionary entailed. In my over-imaginative mind, I assumed a “missionary” was someone who went into jungles and rain forests on the other side of the world, having loads of adventures, and occasionally telling people that “Jesus loves you” (my family and I were not Reformed until about three years ago). I had always loved the idea of adventure, and since, to me, this whole idea of being a missionary could co-exist with the idea of “church”, I thought it would be the only adventurous thing I could ever do with my life that my parents might approve of.

I was saved at fifteen. Since then, and especially in this past year, God has radically changed my outlook on global evangelism. While I still aspire to become a missionary, my ideas regarding the true purpose and goal of missions is completely changed. Actually, I am here dealing more with Global Evangelism than with missions in general. Yes, there is a difference; all Christians are “missionaries” in the sense that they bear the gospel and are told to share it with all they come in contact with. The idea of Global Evangelism carries with it the idea of one or two individual Christians going amongst a people group with little to no gospel access whatsoever, and there sharing the Word of God.

Why would a Christian ever consider being a missionary on the other side of the world? What could possibly motivate Christian men and women to travel into hostile countries, putting their lives on the line, in order to share the gospel? Why would young Christians such as Jim Elliot move to a remote swamp in South America infested with mosquitoes, gnats, and spiders (not to mention cannibals) with virtually none of the comforts he left behind in the States?

Many times I have heard this answer given; “Because of compassion for the souls of the Lost”. That is, according to these people, the “Great Goal” of global evangelism. While there certainly must be a healthy amount of compassion for those poor and impoverished people in Africa who may go their entire lives without ever hearing of their great need for a Savior, this is not the primary reason we evangelize the nations. It’s a good reason, but not the main reason.

The first and most important reason for Global Evangelism is the glory of God. Does that surprise you? We don’t go for the people, we go for God? It shouldn’t surprise you. Just as we read in 1 Corinthians 10:31, a passage we should all be very familiar with; So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Likewise, we read in Isaiah 66;

“For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations.
(Isaiah 66:18-19 ESV)

God is glorified when souls are saved. God is glorified when His children direct all of their efforts towards knowing and obeying Him. God is glorified in the deaths of His saints. Therefore, missions of all sorts, both local and global, are pleasing and glorifying to Him. As I have heard and read missionaries make the almost unanimous (and seemingly callous) observation from their experiences on the mission field, “Compassion for the Lost will not keep you on the mission field. Evangelism is hard. Living in another culture is hard. People are hard. Persecution is hard. Once you live in that sort of environment for a few years, you abandon every ideal and fantasy you may have had at one time about missions being “romantic”. Only a burning zeal for God’s glory will keep you on that field.”

Zeal for the glory of God gets you to the mission field, and zeal for the glory of God keeps you on the mission field. It is like that missionary (I can’t remember his name) who was serving in India. He walked into a temple and saw all of the idol-worship that was taking place. He covered his ears and ran out of the temple weeping and crying, “I cannot bear living if God’s name is to be so dishonored!” It was that same burning, all-consuming desire that God’s name be hallowed among the nations that lead men and women such as Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, Gladys Aylward, Lottie Moon, the Disciples, and Paul the Apostle unto the uttermost ends of the earth.

I encourage you to spend a significant amount of time in prayer concerning missions. Pray, as Christ instructed, “for God
to send out laborers into the harvest“. Pray for the missionaries currently around the world, that their ministries would bear much fruit, whatever that fruitfulness might look like. And lastly, pray that God would create in you a greater desire
for the salvation of nations. But remember, as my Pastor says; don’t pray unless you’re willing to be sent.

Elizabeth
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I am Forgiven–Romans 4:7-8
I am a Slave of Christ–John 12:26
I am set-apart–2 Timothy 2:21
I am a new creation–2 Corinthians 5:17
I am striving to be Biblically Feminine–Titus 2:3-8
I am becoming The Proverbs 31 Woman–Proverbs 31:10-31
I am a warrior against the World, the Flesh, and the Devil–Ephesians 6:10-20
I am being conformed to the image of Christ–1 Peter 1:13-20
I am a sinner saved by grace alone–Ephesians 2:8, Romans 5:8
I am a follower of Christ Jesus alone.

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