“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’”– Matthew 28:18
Most involved in missions would heartily agree with everything that has been said thus far about Christ’s authority and its implications for world missions. However, we often fail to recognize that in order to go out “in” Christ’s authority, we must also go out “under” His authority. In other words, both the content of our teaching and our methodology of missions must be taken from our careful and painstaking study of the Scriptures. We have no right or warrant to carry out the Great Commission according to what seems right in our own eyes.1 Our doctrine must be thoroughly biblical and not the product of our culture or its so-called wisdom. In the same way, our methodology or mission strategy must be drawn from the same Scriptures and with the same care or exactitude. We must not attempt to employ unbiblical means to propagate biblical truth or carry out a biblical endeavor.
When Moses was about to erect the tabernacle, God gave him a solemn warning, “See that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.”2 Now we know that “whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction,”3 therefore we can conclude that at least the same care to follow God’s pattern should be taken with regard to God’s greatest endeavor—the building of His church through the Great Commission. Like Moses, we have no right to alter God’s design or to replace it with one of our own. To reject or even ignore the biblical pattern for advancing the Great commission will ultimately lead to failure. We must never give into pragmatism or accept some methodology of missions simply because it seems to have some apparent success. In both our doctrine and our strategy, we must lash ourselves down to the Word of God!
God has given the church and her ministers the Scriptures so that they “may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”4 It is only through the Word of God that we may know how “one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”5 In all our missionary endeavors, it matters very little that we hold to the inerrancy of Scripture if we do not also hold to its sufficiency. It must be our unrelenting conviction that we have everything we need in the written Word of God to instruct the nations and to order our steps.6 As a missionary, you must decide from what source you will draw both your teaching and methodology. Like Moses you must take care to do all things according to the pattern that is shown you in the Scriptures. One goal of this handbook is to plead with the reader to renounce the works and strategies of the flesh and to search the Scriptures in order to discover both the content and methodology of missions. The more we trust in the arm of the flesh, the less we will see the power of God.7 We must shun Saul’s armor and pick up the smooth stones of the gospel that have long been neglected.8 It is the only way to slay the giants that oppose us and to win this war of world missions.
- Judges 17:6; 21:25
- Hebrews 8:5; Exodus 25:40
- Romans 15:4
- II Timothy 3:16-17
- I Timothy 3:15
- Psalms 119:105; I Thessalonians 4:1
- Jeremiah 17:5-8
- I Samuel 17:38-40
Paul is the founder of HeartCry Missionary Society and currently serves as its missions director. He also ministered as a missionary in Peru for ten years. He has preached hundreds of sermons and has authored a dozen published works. Paul lives in Radford, Virginia, with his wife Charo and their four children: Ian, Evan, Rowan, and Bronwyn.More By Paul David Washer