Evangelism and missions
1. Missions is an Impossibility apart from the Power of God. All men of every culture are born radically depraved, at enmity with God, and restraining the truth. The conversion of a man and the advancement of missions are an absolute impossibility apart from the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit in regeneration. Modern church growth strategies and many new mission methodologies often overlook this essential truth.
2. A True Gospel must be Proclaimed. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16) and the preaching of the Gospel is the great “means” and “methodology” of missions. The Gospel is, first and foremost, God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (II Corinthians 5:19). It answers the eternal question of how a just God can rightly justify wicked men (Romans 3:26). It points to Christ alone, who bore the sins of His people upon the cross, was forsaken of God, and crushed under the full force of His just wrath against sin. The Good News of the Gospel is that through Christ’s death, the justice of God was satisfied, and salvation was won for a great multitude of people. This is evidenced by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead – “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4:25).
3. The Gospel Transcends Culture. The greatest need of all men of every culture is the clear proclamation of the Gospel. Men are saved through the Gospel and continue in sanctification through continued growth in the full counsel of God’s Word. Although differences in culture are to be considered, it is more important for the missionary to be biblically sensitive than culturally sensitive. A missionary was once asked how he preached the Gospel to a certain remote tribe. He declared, “I do not preach the Gospel to a remote tribe. I preach the Gospel to men!”
4. Incarnational Missions is Essential. Although there may be some effective non-personal means of communicating the Gospel, there is no substitute for one man living among a people, teaching the Gospel to them, and living out his faith before them. God sent his own Son, and He became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1,14; 3:16).
5. Superficial Evangelism is one of the Great Obstacles to Missions. Non-theological preaching, entertaining skits, and Gospel films are no substitute for the biblical exposition of the Gospel. Inviting men to raise their hands and pray a prayer is no substitute for the biblical call to repentance, faith, and personal discipleship. Biblical assurance of salvation does not flow from a past decision or a prayer, but from the examination of one’s enduring lifestyle in the light of Scripture.
6. Church Planting is the Primary Work of Missions. There are many gifts and callings in the body of Christ, but all of them are to work together on the mission field with the primary goal of planting a biblical church. It is one thing to do mass evangelism and to boast of the numbers of decisions; it is quite another to establish a biblical church.
7. True Missions is Costly. Amy Carmichael explained that missions is no more and no less than an opportunity to die. We live in a fallen world that is at enmity with God and opposes His truth; therefore, missions and suffering go hand in hand. Any advancement of the kingdom of Christ into the dominion of the devil will be met with warfare. There are many countries and people groups where martyrdom cannot be avoided.
Used by permission of Heartcry Missionary Society, Radford, VA