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Missions

16 Reasons Why Missionary Work is Important: Biblical Answer

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Written by Karina Zolotarev

What fuels missions work or missionaries to go? What is the purpose behind it? We can look to the Bible and God’s redemptive plan to see the goal of a missionary.

Why is missionary work important? Missionary work is important because they are messengers of the gospel message. They bring the message of Jesus Christ around the world. The work missionaries do (teaching, business, farmer, etc.) can help them build relationships with those we do not know Christ. Through their friendship, the missionary can share the gospel message.

When we think of the reasons why God chose humans, believers in Him, to participate in His work, it is a little mind-blowing. Every day is a battle for the Christian, to run the race that God has set before us.

In our own strength, we contribute nothing. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, that missionaries can share the Gospel.

1). God Calls Christians To Go

The most common passage in Scripture on missions is known as the Great Commission. This is where Jesus instructs his disciples to keep spreading the gospel even after Jesus’ flesh leaves earth ascending back into heaven.

And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.’Matthews 28:18-20

This passage continues and says, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus reminds his disciples that even though he physically was leaving them, his Spirit would still be with them. This is the Holy Spirit.

Jesus asked God the Father to send a helper to his children on earth while He was away to help His followers to do all that He calls them to.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.John 14:16-17

“The world” or those who are not Christians, cannot see or know the Holy Spirit working because they have no recollection of him. Only believers know the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is apart of them, dwelling in them.

When God opens the eyes of unbelievers, they too will receive the Holy Spirit. Our Creator commands us to go and make disciples, teaching what the Lord commands in Scripture.

Missionaries are taking the call to go and acting. They are actively participating in the Great Commission.

2). God Calls Us To Proclaim The Gospel & Make Disciples

To proclaim the gospel is to be open about it, declaring sharing the Good News to those around you.

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The Greek word for “proclaim” or “preach” is kerysso [khruvssw] and used thirty-two times in the Gospels. The noun proclaimer, herald (keryx), refers to one who proclaims news publicly.

As Christians, we are not to be ashamed of the gospel, but to be actively sharing it with those who never heard.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the GreekRomans 1:16

Another verse in Scripture says we are to go and proclaim the gospel to all.

And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.’Mark 16:15

This doesn’t mean we will always see the outcome in who we share the gospel with. We are called to proclaim the gospel no matter the outcome. God works out all things according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11).

The counsel of his will has determined that he will use his people to reach the lost and call them into his kingdom. He has decided that in the ordinary course of events, people will be saved through the explanation of the gospel on the part of Christians.

The necessity of preaching is found in many places in Scripture including Romans 10:14-15, in which the Apostle Paul notes that salvation comes through faith in Christ alone and will not be extended without the preaching of the gospel.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 

And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’Romans 10:14-15

God sends his gospel to the world through the church and its preachers, teachers, and evangelists. This is a great privilege – to be used of the Lord in redeeming people for all eternity.

3). 42.5% Of People Groups Are Unreached

An unreached people group is a people group where there is no native community of believing Christians able to evangelize this people group.

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In the middle 1990’s mission, strategists sought to quantify this definition. They settled on the criteria for unreached as less than 2% true Christ-followers and less than 5% Professing Christian (this includes all forms of Christianity – anyone that would call themselves a “Christian”).

So how many of the approximately 17,400 ethnic people groups are considered unreached (less than 2% Christ-follower and less than 5% Professing Christian)?

Estimates suggest that approximately 7,400 people groups are still considered unreached.

That means over 40% of the world’s people groups have no indigenous community of believing Christians able to evangelize the rest of their people group. Over 42% of the world’s population live in these over 7,400 people groups.

To find out more on these facts, click here.

It’s a sobering fact that so many people still have never heard the name of Jesus.

4). Many People Have Never Heard the Name of Jesus

In the 50 largest unreached people groups:

  • All 50 of these people groups have less than 2% Christ-followers
  • Individuals in these groups may have very limited if any, access to the Gospel.
  • These 50 unreached people groups are comprised of 1.48 billion souls.
  • One in five people on earth lives in these 50 unreached peoples.
  • Every group is larger than 10,000,000 in population.
  • None have an indigenous church capable of taking the Gospel to the entire group.
  • Primary religion: 23 are Muslim, 18 Hindu, 6 Buddhist, 2 Ethnic Religions, 1 non-Religious.
  • 44 of these 50 unreached people groups are in the 10/40 Window, 47 are in sensitive countries.
  • Information from Joshua Project

It is important to note that in the unreached people group statistics doesn’t mean every individual within an unreached people group has never heard of Jesus or the message of salvation.

It is less than 2% Christ-followers in these groups, but the vast majority of the group has minimal, if any, exposure to the person of Jesus Christ and the Good News of God’s free gift of salvation.

You can look at it this way, suppose for every true believer there are ten who have heard of Jesus but not embraced him. That would mean that in an unreached people group 20% had heard of Jesus and 80% had not.

In other words, possibly 4 out of 5 individuals in an unreached group are totally unaware of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

For those who have never heard the name of Jesus, this is why we go. Missionaries go to share who Jesus is.

5). God Chooses To Use Human Vessels

God provides the means, not just the end. Once the Father compels us, and brings us to Jesus, God can use us to please him.

A former missionary and teacher at my Missionary School (Bethany Global University) told a story in class about a Muslim man who had a dream that someone would appear to him on the street corner of a city near him.

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He dreamed that this person would wear a white shirt and have the answers about Jesus who he saw in his dreams.

So he traveled for a day and waited on that street corner. Finally, that missionary arrived and the Muslim was able to get all the answers he needed and came to faith in Jesus.

Sometimes God uses many scenarios, leading someone to him. It is our privilege to see God working in the lives of others and often times get an inside scope of how God is working.

I believe this is part of the reason God calls us to missions – to be able to see him working in the lives of others first hand.

This can even help strengthen our own faith and motivate us to be aware of the spiritual world and what’s going on around us.

6). We Are To Show Compassion As Jesus Showed Compassion For The Lost

Jesus was moved with compassion for the lost, the broken-hearted.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 9:36

Paul uses powerful words for God’s sovereignty as well as powerful words for Jesus’ compassion for the lost.

On the one hand, we have to be aware Christians do have a hard tendency to not show compassion or be involved/engaged in evangelism.

It’s hard, there’s fear, challenges, and difficulty, but Christ calls us to take up our cross daily, follow him, and care for the hurting and in need.

He commands Peter after the resurrection to “feed my sheep, and feed my lambs,” but also before that, Jesus says he’s going to take Peter, a fisherman, and turn him into a “fisher of men.”

We are to multiply those who come to faith, making disciples, so they too can go out showing compassion to a hurting world.

7). Obeying Christ = Loving Christ

As we understand our role to declare the majesty of Christ, declare the gospel, declare his glory and goodness, and see Jesus rescue people from sin, we draw closer to Christ.

There is a tendency to either let the idea of God’s sovereignty take us off the hook. But even John Piper, for example, sees God’s glory as compelling people to obey and in the power of that to go out into the nations.

It is not about what Christ already knows but it is simply about obeying what he calls us to, and we can find so much joy and fulfillment in that.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

John 14:15

God’s greatest commandment is to love him and others and we do this by obeying what He says in Scripture.

8). Jesus Died On The Cross To Secure Salvation

We are bought with a price, to be secure in Christ for all of eternity. Christ is committed to saving those who call on Him, that’s why we go to the nations.

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Nothing can separate us from his love. The enemy has no hold on those who are secure in Christ.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

It’s nothing we do that brings our salvation, there is salvation in none other than by Jesus and through his love and mercy for us.

He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.

Titus 3:5

It is the Father who draws us to Jesus to secure salvation.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

John 6:44

And Jesus promises one day he will return to Earth taking care of those who have called on Him as Lord.

9). Our Actions Will Be Held Accountable

God uses what was done in evil for good. God has intended to use evil for good. But that doesn’t mean all that was done in evil will not be held accountable.

Humans have a will on the basis of their desires, their inclinations, their nature; John 8 says we were born in sin, have a sin nature, and whoever sins is a slave to sin. That’s why we need the gospel to set us free.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

Our actions will be held accountable. We do make free choices as sinners, our free choices are to do more sin. Even our good choices are usually tainted with the motives of sinfulness and idolatry or self.

Scripture teaches when given the opportunity, one picks sin. One has to be free from sin, to be able to choose to be free from sin.

We can’t force a decision on someone to convert them because it’s not on us, but God compelling the person.

At the end of the day, it is about repenting and believing, the main content of the gospel. Humans are in sin, and the only forgiveness of their sin is through Jesus.

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Everyone’s sin will be held accountable one day.

As Christians, our actions now, can either let us join in all God wants to let us receive, or we can go about life not listening to the Father and not receiving all he has to offer.

10). We Are to Use Our Gifts In-Service For Others

The Lord gives every person talents and gifts to use. We are to use our gifts for others.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

1 Peter 4:10

Part of using our gifts is being good stewards of them, and not wasting them for nothing.

On the mission field, we are to work together with each other to serve in unity with one another.

Some may have a different gift or talent than you, and you can use everyone’s unique talents and gifts to our advantage the advantage of others of being many members, with one body in Christ.

11). We Are To Be Living Examples Of Christ For Future Generations

Jesus comes to earth for many reasons and one of them is to be an example showing us how we are to live.

For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.

John 13:15

Christians are to imitate Christ. This is how we are to live.

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

1 Timothy 5:8

We do this because God tells us to be light in the world and when we do missions work, we are being an example for our children in walking out what God calls us to to do, and how Jesus tells us to live.

12). Like Jesus, We Are Called To Serve, Not To Be Served

As missionaries, we are not to be entitled to anything. Instead we are to lay our lives down for one another.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”Mark 10:45

We shouldn’t expect anyone to serve us, but go to serve others.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take care of ourselves. We must take time to rest and rejuvenate so we can better be there for others. Jesus took time to be away from people and rest.

It vital we do that also. This helps us, in the long run, be able to better care for people so we do not burn out.

Serving others does not mean neglecting your own needs. I think it actually means being more intentional with you and your family’s needs, making sure they are met, so when the time comes to help others, you’re able to do so.

13). We Are To Care For Orphans & Widows, The Poor & Hurting

Loving others doesn’t mean just preaching to them. This verse explains that loving others is actually caring for the needs of others.

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If one has a need, if you are able, help fill that need or find someone who can.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Hebrews 11:6

This is why we do missions. Saying you love someone is way different then showing you love them. Christians are to be the hands and feet of Jesus seeing needs, and helping fill those needs.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 1:27

We are to be caring for widows. And if we know of someone in our own family who is a widow, that is first our, the family’s responsibility.

Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.

1 Timothy 5:3-5

We are to remember that our families needs must also be met.

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Timothy 5:8

Then we can help others who have needs.

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We are to get training to not just be Pastors (which some all called to do), but also to be teachers, doctors, social justice workers, business owners (providing jobs for others), work in orphanages, and safe houses, feed the hungry, and offer shelter to those who need it.

14). We Are The Salt Of The Earth

We do missions so that other’s will see our good works to glorify God who is in heaven.

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthews 5:13-14

If we lose our passion or our salt loses its taste, it is no longer good for anything the Bible says.

God calls us to not be lukewarm Christians because they do no good but to let Christ’s fire burn within us to do his work.

15). One Day Every Knee Will Bow & Tounge Confess That Jesus Is Lord

The reality is on Earth many people will not come to faith in Jesus. Many will reject him and his teachings. But one day all will bow and only the ones who know his voice will be there with Jesus for eternity.

Christians usually either get lazy in thinking what will happen will happen no matter what and do little about what God commands us to. Or they will put too much pressure on themselves to see people saved.

When it’s up to humans, believers can often look for ways to best get to people, sometimes using sales tactics to manipulate people to come to the gospel (either out of fear or by sharing what they can get from it). Or missionaries can entice people to repent by whipping their emotions to the alter.

But we have to remember it is in nothing we can do that brings good into the world, only through Jesus in us.

For salvation, it is the Father compelling individuals. And God still calls us to be apart of it – it is like allowing us to be witnesses planting seeds and truth.

We are to stick to the Word, and know that it’s not up to us.

It is not in the flimsiness of our faith, but in God, that root’s our salvation, our faith, and out of that comes this power of evangelism. It is not that our faith is strong, but the power of the Holy Spirit that strengthens us.

Knowing what Jesus says, that his sheep know his voice, and putting God’s sovereignty as the basis will sustain us to go.

Missionaries have the honor and hard job of sharing the Gospel with people around the world for the glory of God.

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