Missions in the Bible
Weekly Glimpses at the Bible's Dominant Theme
Week One January 6, 1980
Genesis 1 11 These eleven chapters are like an introduction to the whole Bible, explaining why the remainder of the Bible is a missionary story. Here we see the love of a righteous Creator God allowing Adam and Eve to survive despite their sinful disobedience. The seed of the woman will someday strike back against Satan.
God's redemptive love makes Him a missionary God, willing to save Noah, also willing to scatter Noah's lineage across the earth and change their language rather than to have man utterly corrupted.
Today we need to take the Gospel ahead of world wide secular media as they in many ways are spreading corruption. Missions in one sense is a worldwide counter attack on the domain of Satan, "the God of this world." Famine, war, pestilence all derive from a problem more basic than can be cured by technology.
Week Two January 13, 1980
GENESIS 12, 13 God calls a missionary nation into being. He rescues Abram out of the dying civilization of Ur and promises to establish him as the progenitor of a new nation that will bless "all the families of the earth" (Chap. 12: 2,3). This is clearly the Great Commission.
A promised land is to become a missionary base, but Abram's first journey to Egypt was not planned for a missionary purpose but forced by famine. Neither does it honor God but proves that God's messenger can sin, too. Seeking to save himself, Abram almost lost his wife and his life.
In chap. 13 we see Abram willing to lose and instead he gains. Lot this time loses because he chose the best portion for himself.
Week Three January 20, 1980
Genesis 14 50 Through many trials and tests of faith Abraham and his lineage, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph hold true. But as with today's churches, there is little evidence of concern for the rest of the world. We could well wonder what happened to the missionary mandate of Genesis 12:2,3 were that commission not repeated throughout Genesis (e.g. 18:18, "In him shall all the nations of the earth be blessed"). See also 22:17,18 and 28:14.
In chapter 14 Abraham chases a marauding chieftan, Chedorlaomer, but does not seem to be alert to his spiritual debt to other nations. Gradually we get the impression that the matter of God being willing to bless crowds out the responsibility of those who are blessed to be a blessing.
Week Four January 27, 1980
Exodus Deuteronomy. Inneffective as witnesses to the nations, God finally sends the chosen, missionary nation into captivity. (Maybe that way they can witness!) We may wonder if Ikhnaton, the one monotheist Pharaoh, might have caught his faith in one God from the Hebrew slave nation within his land.
In any case, as the chosen nation is reconstituted in the desert, their mandate is again emphasized. Exodus 19:5,6: "All the earth is mine... You are a special nation, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation." Israel's mediation to the other nations is clear.
God's miracle working power is not merely to save Israel "so that my Name may be declared throughout all the earth" (Exodus 9:16. Yet precious little awareness of this is evident in the actions and concerns of the people themselves as we see today. This does not annul the mandate, however. God will be honored among all nations. We must be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
This year we will devote one page in each monthly issue of Mission Frontiers to this theme. Why? Many people, perhaps most Christians down through history, have handled the Bible without being aware that the theme that ties it all together is the relentless, redeeming love of God for "all the families of the earth."
We hope these once a week paragraphs will give extra sparkle to each of 52 weeks this year, and make your Bible "light up" from Genesis to Revelation on the subject of missions. Devotions at home, Sunday School classes, even sermons can spring from these studies by our General Director.
Many outstanding missions professors are featured on the campus of the Institute of International Studies. Some coming at this time are:
January 10, 11 Dr. William Smalley 14 Dr. Ralph Winter 16 Miss Vivienne Stacey 17, 18 Rev. Phil Elkins 21, 22 Dr. David Howard 24, 25 Rev. Don Richardson
February 4 6 Rev. Don McCurry 12 14 Dr. Dale Kietzman 19 21 Dr. Ralph Winter 26 28 Dr. James Engel
March 4 6 Dr. David Moore 11 13 Dr. David Hesselgrave
If you should be in the area, you are welcome to attend some of the lectures. Contact the Center receptionist for exact times and places of the lectures.
Articles to Look For
Impact (Conservative Baptist Foreign Missionary Society), January 1980 Missions Review Hidden Peoples 1980, Ralph D. Winter
Moody Monthly February 1980 The lead article, on Simple Lifestyle, by Roberta Winter