The occasion that suggested this topic was a meeting of our association of churches. I was placed on the “Missions Committee” with the purpose of encouraging the churches, pastors and members to carry out the work of reaching the lost. I have a vested interest in this matter because I have been graciously sent on a mission by my home church, West Black Creek Baptist. I do not feel worthy of such a call but am humbled by the call of my God and my church.
It occurred to me that the word “mission” does not appear in the Bible though the concept is indeed present. The word of significance that appears in the Bible is the word “Sent” and the mission is the specific thing the person is sent to do. The word “sent” appears over 40 times in the Gospel of John alone and is a key word in that book. One does not have to look far for examples of those who are sent by God. Abraham was sent from Ur of the Chaldees to the land of promise. His descendants would later be delivered from bondage in Egypt by Moses, a man sent from God. David was sent to the nation of Israel to deliver them from the Philistines. Prophets were sent by the LORD to His erring people to call them back to God and His word. John the Baptist was sent to prepare a people for the Messiah, Jesus.
And as we look at Jesus we find one who was sent by God, the Father, as the Savior of the world. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel... he hath sent me...” Luke 4:18. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 1 John 4:10. "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." 1 John 4:14.
Next we see Jesus sending his followers into the harvest fields to reach the world. "These twelve Jesus sent forth...” Matthew 10:5. "Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you." John 20:21. And the Apostle Paul would remind the churches, "And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” Romans 10:15. Two distinct words are translated sent in the New Testament. One means to be sent with authority and the other to be sent with orders. Both concepts are important to mission work. Authority comes from the call of God recognized and supported by the church. Orders are given by God through His Word providing direction, purpose, and passion for the work.
Let us as a people obey the words of Christ and “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:38. Interestingly, the words “send forth” in this verse are from a different Greek word that carries the idea of “being lead out with a force that can not be resisted.” The harvest is still plenteous, the time is much shorter and the urgency of the gospel is far greater. May it motivate us to cry out to God to “lead out with a force that can not be resisted” and call more laborers into the harvest. LORD Jesus, give me more compassion for “the fainting, the scattered, and the lost sheep” (Matthew 9:36) who need you. And may you be glorified in harvest yet to come! O Magnify the LORD with me!