Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Great Missionary's Plan to Reach the Nations

Genesis 12:1-3 1Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:  2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:  3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

This text is where we find the first mention of a specific strategy for God's mission to the world.  Certainly we can note  the following features of this incredible text:
1. He called a particular man - Abraham
2. He had a particular place for this man to go - Canaan
3. He desired to make a particular nation from this man - Israel
4. He desired to use this nation for a particular purpose - Be a blessing
5. He had a particular goal in mind - His glory
God's glory is defined in terms of the word "blessing".  It is when God gives Himself to be enjoyed and treasured by a people who are affected to trust in Him.  In a span of just three verses God was to lay out His entire missionary strategy in the Old Testament.  Through Abraham's Son Isaac and grandson Jacob would come the nation of Israel.  God's program for the nations was to be funnelled through tiny Israel.  The Bible says that in ancient times God had orchestrated the number of the nations on earth in accordance to the number of the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:8).  Ultimately God the great missionary desired to use redeemed human beings as His voice and hands.  Although Israel would ultimately fail in its mission set by God, God's will to reach out to the nations would not fail.  Furthermore, Romans 11 tells us that God still has a plan for restoring Israel in the future. 

How do we know that God still wants to use redeemed human beings as his hands and voice in reaching the nations?  Matthew 28:18-20 represents Jesus' great commission to His church: 18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Note the similarities to the pattern we found in Genesis 12:1-3:
1. He called a particular people - The Apostles
2. He has a particular place for them to go - The world
3. He desired to make a particular people from their preaching - Disciples
4. He desired to use disciples, the church, for a purpose - be a blessing
5. He has a particular goal in mind - His glory
He desires to use Christians as His voice and hands to reach out to a world needing to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.