Missions Lesson 11
SCHOOL of the BIBLE
Instructor: J. VandenHurk
- LESSON ELEVEN:
BIBLICAL QUALIFICATIONS OF A MISSIONARY
- The Importance of the Church
- The Importance of a Spiritual Gift
- The Importance of Dedication
- The Importance of Availability
- The Importance of a Call
- The Importance of Working With Others
- The Importance of the Holy Spirit’s Guidance
- The Importance of Love
- The Importance of Humility
- The Importance of Hard Work
- The Importance of Faith
- The Importance of Prayer
- The Importance of the Bible
Missions Quote of the Week –
“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me,
then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”
– C. T. Studd in his mission pamphlets
(Cricketer; One of the Cambridge Seven; Missionary to China, India, and Africa)
BIBLICAL QUALIFICATIONS OF A MISSIONARY
Really only the Holy Spirit is able to qualify us for the work of the Lord (Zechariah 4:6). In order to be fruitful in the ministry of the Lord, we must learn to walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16,25).
The Importance of the Church
A missionary must be in the Church, serving the Lord already (Acts 13:1-2).
The Holy Spirit spoke to the church. The church should recognize God’s hand on these individuals and send them out if they are willing.
The Importance of a Spiritual Gift
A missionary must have been guided by the Lord into that aspect of the ministry and trusting the Holy Spirit to bestow the necessary spiritual gifts making it possible (Acts 13:1; I Cor. 12:1-11), whether with one of the gifts related to the “ministry of the word” or as a related “helper” (I Cor. 12:28).
— The office of a missionary church planter (evangelist) or pastor, is reserved for males. God is a God of order and balance. He has established order within the family (Gen. 3:16; 1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-21) and the church (1 Tim. 2:11-14; 1 Cor. 11:8-9).
The Importance of Dedication
A missionary must be a committed, wholehearted and dedicated disciple of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:2). The fact that they ministered to the Lord shows us that they were deeply devoted people. The fact that they fasted tells us that they were willing to sacrifice time, pleasure and necessities so that they might seek God’s face and do His will.
The Importance of Availability
A missionary must have made himself available for God to use (Acts 13:2; Rom. 12:1-5). The fact that the Holy Spirit said, Separate or Set apart for me, tells us that He was able to select them and set them aside for the special task He had in mind. Today God requires men and women who are fully surrendered and available for the Holy Spirit to use. God is not looking for your ABILITY. God has all the ABILITY. God is simply looking for your AVAILABILITY. This means that He wants you to be available to Him and useable and attainable. God wants to be able to get at you so that He can use you as He pleases. Are you ready to say what Isaiah said in Isaiah 6:8? Are you ready to say what Paul said in Acts 9:6?
The Importance of a Call
A missionary of the word / church planter / missions worker must also recognize God’s call to that particular service (Acts 13:2). See how definite the call was – even their names were mentioned! It was to engage “the work whereunto I have called them”.
What is a call?
- The need is not the call. The need is great but does not constitute a call.
- The ability is not the call. God wants men and women with ability, because He is worthy of the very best, but the ability is not the call.
- The desire is not the call. Many desire to serve the Lord, but it’s not enough.
- The willingness is not the call. We should all be willing to do anything, go anywhere for God, but willingness is not the call.
The Holy Spirit’s call is clear and unmistakable, though sometimes inexplicable!
*Remember, the Great Commission is for all of us (Mt. 28:19-20). But for those who are called to go and be cross-cultural missionaries in other places, there is a need to “count the cost” (Luke 14:28) and have a call. If we have given our lives to God and are willing and available to do anything and go anywhere, then He won’t leave us in the dark. He will guide and show us what part we are to play in the worldwide adventure of missions. Remembering God’s call helps us not to quit when times are tough (I Cor. 15:57-58).
The Importance of Working With Others
A missionary must be willing to work well with others and get along with people (Acts 13:4). Notice the words “so they…departed…” This refers to Barnabas and Saul, very different men but called to work together. In missionary service one of the first requirements is that we are willing and able to work with others. The biggest test is not relating to our health, the language, or the resources: it has to do with human relationships. Christ was constantly with his friends, colaborers, and disciples (Acts 1:2122). Paul also as an apostle had a unique position and authority, yet he was always intimate and kind to his associates.
He called them
fellow laborers (1 Cor. 3:9; Phil. 4:3; 1 Thess. 3:2; Philemon 1:1,24);
fellow helpers (2 Cor. 8:23; Rom. 16:3,9);
fellow workers (Rom. 16:3,9,21; Phil. 2:25; Col. 4:11);
fellow soldiers (Phil. 2:25; Philemon 1:2);
fellow servants (Col. 1:7; 4:7);
fellow prisoners (Rom. 16:7; Col. 4:10; Philemon 1:23);
partners (2 Cor. 8:23);
and companions (Phil. 2:25).
He never criticizes the people he is working with in his letters, but does lament those who had forsaken him and turned back into the world (2 Tim. 4:10) or had suffered shipwreck in their faith and doctrine (1 Tim. 1:19-20; 2 Tim. 2:17-18).
The Importance of the Holy Spirit’s Guidance
A missionary must be a man who is sent, led, and controlled by the Spirit (Acts 13:4). Not only did the Antioch Christians send them out and identify themselves by the laying on of hands, but they were sent out by the Holy Spirit, who was in the driving seat of this missionary enterprise, and because of this four things resulted from their obedience:
- They could discern God’s will about their place of service (Acts 13:4-6): ”Seleucia… Cyprus… Salamis… Paphos…”
- They were empowered to preach the gospel (Acts 13:5)
- They knew victory over the powers of darkness. (Acts 13:6-12)
- They were able to overcome discouragement. All missionaries meet this. Barnabas and Saul were deserted by Mark, but they pressed on (Acts 13:13-14).
How do missionaries know where to go?
The answer is: THEY DON’T! But God does!
God is the One who SENDS missionaries forth! In Romans 10:15 we learn that a PREACHER must be sent and God is the great SENDER. God knows where there are people with seeking hearts. God knows where His workers need to be. He is the Lord of the harvest (Matthew 9:37-38) and His field is the world and He knows just where the workers should be!
[Example of David Livingstone]
The Importance of Love
A missionary must have a love for God and His Word and a love for people of any culture (Eph. 4:15). We must be fully convinced of the message, authoritative but not arrogant. If “God so loved the world” (John 3:16), should not believers share a love and concern for the world? The great missionaries of the past have been those men and women who have shared God’s heart of concern for lost men.
[Example: William Carey; Mary Slessor]
The Importance of Humility
A missionary must have the mind of Christ in humility, true servanthood, and unselfishness (Phil. 2:5-8; 2 Cor. 8:9). As a servant he must also be flexible, adaptable, and sacrificial, thinking of others without seeking credit (1 Cor. 9:19-23).
A missionary must be willing to sacrifice. Barnabas and Saul were deserted by Mark, but they pressed on (Acts 13:13-14); Paul was stoned (Acts 14:19); encountered other tribulations (Acts 14:22). It costs something to be a missionary. It costs something to leave the comforts of home and to go to a foreign field. But we must never forget that it cost the Lord Jesus Christ His own life to provide salvation for us. No sacrifice that we can make can compare with the sacrifice of Christ who “loved us and gave Himself for us” (Gal. 2:20; Ephesians 5:2).
[Examples Count Von Zinzendorf; C.T. Studd; David Brainerd]
The Importance of Hard Work
Commitment and sacrifice to obey the call and to plant a church should be demonstrated clearly. Commitment (1 Peter 5:2) keeps you going when times are tough. A hireling leaves when the wolf arrives. But a called shepherd stays with his flock through adversity (John 10:12). The Bible calls a pastor an ox (1 Tim. 5:17-18) a soldier, athlete, and farmer (2 Tim. 2:3-6). Those are laborious jobs and the Holy Spirit used them to describe the kind of man who is qualified to start or pastor a church.
The number of converts is not really the missionary’s business. Whose business is it (see Acts 2:47 and Matthew 16:18)
[Example Adoniram Judson; Robert Morrison; John Paton]
The Importance of Faith
A missionary must be a man of faith! Hudson Taylor was a great missionary to China. He also founded the China Inland Mission. This mission was established on the principle of faith. No direct solicitation for funds was ever to be made. This means that the missionaries were to look to God and not to men for their financial support. They were to depend not on men, but on God alone to meet every need (Philippians 4:19). Also none of the workers was guaranteed any fixed salary. The missionary was to trust God whether the funds came in or whether funds did not come in.
The early missionaries learned that “those who trust God WHOLLY find Him WHOLLY true!” He never disappoints those who put their trust in Him!
The Importance of Prayer
Prayer is a vital part of missions. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught us the importance of prayer. Matthew 9:36-38. We must do the Praying and God must do the Sending (Matthew 9:38).
[Example of Samuel J. Mills and four other college students at Williams College – the famous HAYSTACK PRAYER MEETING.]
The Importance of the Bible
Wherever missionaries have gone the Bible has gone! The work of Bible Translation has always been one of the great labors of missionaries. The people must have the Bible and they must have the Bible in their own language.
Think of how difficult it would be for us if we did not have a Bible in the English language.
[Example of William Carey; Adoniram Judson]
In short, a missionary has
— A spiritually healthy personality, developed through a consistent life of meditation upon the Word of God and through obedience to the Spirit.
— A matured personality who has learned to live in healthy relationships with fellow workers and fellowmen.
— A person with a message from God based upon / derived from the Bible.
— A person with the ability, love, divine motivation and divine authority to transmit the message to mankind.
Hudson Taylor lists the following as essential things a missionary must have:
- A life yielded to God, controlled by His Spirit.
- A restful trust in God for the supply of all needs.
- A sympathetic spirit and willingness to take a lowly place.
- Tact in dealing with men and adaptability toward circumstances.
- Zeal in service and steadfastness in discouragements.
- Love for communion with God and for the study of His Word.
- Some experience and blessing in the Lord’s work at home.
- A healthy body and vigorous mind.
Paul says, “So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel…” (Rom 1:15). This means that we should mobilize and develop all the gifts and abilities God has put within us and organize them for one purpose, that of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.