By Lisa Watkins
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach (making disciples ESV) of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
“Missions” is God’s plan for gospel expansion. Throughout the book of Acts the Holy Spirit is moving on the hearts of men to go to different cities to teach and preach from the Scriptures of the Messiah and how he was crucified at the hands of man thus fulfilling the OT prophesies. Paul said “Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.” Acts 13:26
Where the gospel was preached and people believed they planted a local church. It was from the local church in Antioch that God called Paul and Barnabas to go. “Now there were in church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers…..”Act. 13:1 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Paul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
The local church is the body of Christ. The body in all its parts is essential in the preparation of disciples for the work of the ministry. The elders put over the church are fulfilling the Great Commission by teaching and making these disciples. Then the Holy Spirit moves to call individuals to go out into the regions beyond to continue this gospel expansion. As the people in those cities believe a church is planted and the training begins there.
As missionaries are used by the Holy Spirit and souls are added to the church, it was important that they report back to the sending church. Acts 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. Having missionaries come and report is a great encouragement to the believers who are supporting them through their sacrificial giving. Those visits also give other believers a vision of what God might want them to do.