Victoria Fellowship Church (VFC)
International and Interdenominational
House Fellowship for week commencing 13th September 2015
Quarter Theme: A Revived Church: Lessons from the Acts of the Apostles
Topic: Sending and Supporting Missionaries
Texts: Acts 13:1-5 ; 14:21-28
Memory Verse: Acts 13:2-3 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.
Frequently one hears it said that every Christian is a missionary – that is, that every Christian ought to be a missionary. The little chorus puts it, “Be a missionary every day!” It sounds good, but this kind of fuzzy thinking only clouds the issue. Every Christian cannot be a missionary, nor should be. But what is wrong is saying that every Christian is to be a missionary? First of all, it is just like saying that every Christian ought to be an evangelist. These statements are so obviously wrong that few Christians would make that mistake; but as pastors and evangelists are specially called by God for a ministry of the word of God, just so with the missionary!
A missionary is specially called of God for a distinct ministry. But let us see what the Biblical data indicates before we go any farther. The root of the words ‘mission’ and ‘missionary’ is the Latin verb mitto (I send). But since the Bible wasn’t written in Latin, but in Greek and Hebrew, we need to find the same concept in the Greek New Testament. The verb apestello has the idea of being sent, and from it comes the word for ‘apostle’ (apostolos), which means ‘sent one’.
The Lord Jesus set apart twelve of His disciples as ‘apostles’ and sent them out to their own people Israel (Mk. 4:12; Matt. 19:1-6). They were sent to announce that Jews should repent since the Messiah-King had come and his kingdom was impending. Later God set apart others like Paul and Barnabas as apostles to the Gentiles as well (Acts 9:19; 13:3; 22:21; Gal. 2:7-9). The idea of ‘being sent’ is central in both cases. So the apostles were the first ‘missionaries’ – home and foreign. But what were they sent to do that ordinary Christians were not commissioned to do? First, we find that the twelve apostles had left their secular occupations and devoted themselves full time as disciples of Christ. Some had left their fishnets and boats long after they became believers in Christ. Matthew left his tax-collecting occupation. Now they devoted themselves full time to Christian ministry, as Peter said, “but we will devote ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).
We find that Paul and Barnabas and the other apostles normally did the same when they had financial support from churches. Although Paul worked at tent making in Corinth when his money ran out, when Silas and Timothy brought gifts from the Macedonian churches, he devoted himself again completely to the ministry of the word (Acts 18:1-5 NAS)
In conclusion, Missions is the whole task, endeavor, and program of the Church of Jesus Christ to reach out across geographical and/ or cultural boundaries by sending missionaries to evangelize people who have never heard or who have little opportunity to hear the saving gospel and we are all part of that assignment directly in the frontline or behind the scenes.
Questions for discussion:
1) VFC is said to be a missionary focused church. What gift or gifts have the Holy Spirit equipped you with in supporting the great commission mandate? Matthew 28: 16-20 ; 1 Corinthians 12: 12-31
2) VFC supports different missionary organizations. Suggest criteria for qualifying current database and recruiting new ones into VFC support system. Acts 13:2-3; Luke 6:12-16 ; 2 Timothy 1:1-18
Shalom! From the Fellowship Directorate