A Biblical Foundation for Missions

African Americans make up about 12 percent of the U.S. population, but less than 1 percent of the American missionary force to the world. Why is this? What can be done to change it? Many are saying that African Americans are in a position to become one of the most effective mission forces in the world. The need today is mobilization.

The Manila Manifesto held as its motto, “The Whole Church Taking the Whole Gospel to the Whole World.”1 The African-American church is a part of the whole church, and the African-American church can relate to a whole Gospel. The problem is that the African-American church is not involved in the whole world. Most evangelical African-American churches know little about cross-cultural missions, and even fewer are involved in cross-cultural ministry.

What is Missions?

The word “MISSIONS” or “MISSION” is not found in the Bible. The word “MISSIONARY” is not found in the Bible either. Even though these words are not found in the Bible, they are good words, and we need to understand what they mean. The word “MISSIONS” comes from a Latin word mitto which means “I SEND.” God’s purpose is to MAKE HIMSELF KNOWN, and to achieve this purpose, God sends certain people on a MISSION. Those whom God sends are often called missionaries. This word means “SENT ONES.” Missionaries are people sent by God to be God’s MESSENGERS and God’s WITNESSES and God’s SPOKESMEN.

Although the Bible does not use the word “MISSIONS” or “MISSIONARY,” it does have much to say about God SENDING people into the world. Consider John 17:18—”As Thou (God the Father) hast sent Me (Jesus Christ) into the world, even so have I (Jesus Christ) also send them (His believers) into the world” (compare John 20:21).

Jesus Christ was sent into the world on a mission. God gave His son an assignment, and Christ carried out this assignment perfectly (John 17:4)! In the same way, Jesus Christ has sent His believers into the world on a mission.

Missions -The Heart of God

God’s passion for the nations Unnoticed

  • By the Creeds
  • By the Anglican 39 Articles (As established by the Bishops, the Clergy, and the Laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, in Convention, on the twelfth day of September, in the Year of our Lord, 1801.)
  • By the Westminster Confession
  • By most systematic theology
  • By most doctrinal statements
  • By most churches
  • By most bible-believing Christians

To bring Glory to Himself/Worship: The Vision of God

What is in the heart of God? God”s Mission was to create a universe and mankind to glorify him.

God’s Plan: “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14)

I.                God’s Vision: Worship

  • Chose a nation to be a witness to the other nations.
  • 4‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I brought you to myself and carried you on eagle’s wings. 5Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the nations of the earth; for all the earth belongs to me. 6And you will be to me a kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ (Ex. 19:4-6)
  • When the Ark of the covenant of being brought to Jerusalem David proclaims…”“Let the whole earth sing to the LORD! Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” (1 Chron. 16:23-24)
  • In Solomon’s prayer of dedication  to the temple he sais…”And when foreigners hear of you and your mighty miracles, and they come from distant lands to worship your great name and to pray toward this Temple, 33then hear from heaven where you live, and grant what they ask of you. Then all the people of the earth will come to know and fear you, just as your own people Israel do. (2 Chron. 6:32)

Ps 97:1 The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; Let the many islands be glad. (Let the Nations be Glad-Piper)

67:3-4 Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.
4Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; For You will judge the peoples with uprightness And guide the nations on the earth. Selah.

  • In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul stated three times that God’s eternal plan is for his people to be to the praise of his glory (Eph. 1:6,12,14). Throughout the chapter, God stands as both the originator and the goal of the redemptive process. Scholars agree that the glory of God is the ultimate goal of God’s mission. God receives glory when man fully realizes the purpose of his existence, consciously praises God for his grace, and joyfully demonstrates God’s grace by being filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19).[1]
    • God’s desire from the beginning was to create a people who would worship Him. Gen. 2:7-25
    • Man sinned and fell from grace Gen. 3

And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” (G And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

en. 3:15)

The Entire Purpose of God is reconciliation!

  1. II.                  The Purpose of God: Reconciliation

From Gen. 3:15 through Revelation God has laid out a plan whereby he reconciles mankind back to Himself.

This can be seen in…

  1. 2 Cor. 5:18-19
  2. Heb. 2:17
  3. Eph. 2:11-18

Eph. 2:11-18– (NASB)11Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands–  12remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  13But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  14For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,  16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.  17AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; 18for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.

The Court of the gentiles, Women, Men, Levites, Priest and Holy of Holies.

If we are to be global in our mission endeavors we must be willing to remove barriers:

Breaking the Barrier of Prejudgment

Breaking the Barrier of Historical Separation

Breaking the Barrier of Cultural Differences

Breaking the Barrier of Doctrinal and Style Differences

Breaking the Barrier of the ‘Homogenous Unit Principle’

Breaking the Barrier of Fear in Relationships

Breaking the Barrier of Leadership Distrust

  1. III.                The Strategy of God: Evangelism
  •  “As the Father has sent me I am sending you.” (John 20:21)
  • Therefore go and make disciples of all nations. . . (Jesus)
  • But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;
  • and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
  • On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. (Acts 8:1)
  • Acts 8:4, 4, 5, 26; 11:19,20

Missions originated in the heart of God. It is not something we decide to do for God, but God reveals his purpose to us so that we may have a creative part in his mission..[2]

Matt. 28:19-20

  • However Gen. 3:15 gives us a shadow of God’s plan of redemption.

Between Genesis 3:15, when God promised that the son of Adam would bruise the serpent’s head, and Revelation 20, when Satan is cast into hell, lies the drama of the mission of God.[3]

  • God’s plan of redemption is realized in Abraham. Gen. 12:1-3
  • God’s purpose for the nation of Israel is that they would be a light to the nations of the world. Isa. 42:6; 49:6; 60:3; Mt. 5:14-16

God Implement’s this Strategy in the Old Testament-

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai; ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’”

“But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.” Jonah 1:1-3

Our Response: Jonah 1:3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord

“The Lord said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to a land I will show you.’”(Gen. 12:1-3)

Jesus Implemented this Strategy

Matt. 28:- And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19″Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Acts 1:8-but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

  1. IV.               Ultimate Fulfillment: Worship of God

Rev. 5:9- nd they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

7:9- After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;

15;3-4- And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,”Great and marvelous are Your works,O Lord God, the Almighty;Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations! 4″Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS HAVE BEEN REVEALED.”

Questions for Consideration:

  • God’s passion for the nations Unnoticed
  • Why do Bible believing Christians miss God’s passion for the whole world?
  • If world missions is really God’s highest priority from Genesis to Revelation.
  • What should be the goal of a Bible school or seminary?
  • If world missions is really God’s highest priority from Genesis to Revelation.
  • What should missions look like in a healthy church?
  • What should be your personal goal in life?



[1] Edwin D. Roels, God’s Mission (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1962), p. 80.

[2] Edwin D. Roels, God’s Mission (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1962), p. 80.

[3] Ibid, p.80