Missions involves a mission. A mission is “a specific task with which a person or a group is charged”. So, a mission involves three things: the person who gives the charge, the task that he wants done, and the person or group to carry out the task.
The person who gave the charge is in Matt 28:18.
“Jesus came, and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”. He has the God-given authority to give the charge.
The task of the mission is in Matt 28:19-20 and Mk 16:15.
Matt 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations”. Mk 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”.
The group who carries out the task is in Matt 28:19; Acts 1:8.
Matt 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations”. Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”.
And this is exactly what the apostles did in Jerusalem. Look at Acts 4:31-33; 5:29-32.
However, notice something about the mission. The mission exceeds the ability and the lifetime of the apostles to complete it. In other words, the mission task includes people other than those to whom Jesus initially gave the charge.
The mission is to all nations, all the world, every creature, and the uttermost part of the earth. The apostles were not able to reach the uttermost part of the earth.
Matt 28:20, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world”. The time given to complete the mission is to the end of the world. The apostles all died nearly 2,000 years ago.
The group who carries out the task, therefore, includes witnesses who weren’t there the day Jesus gave the charge. Let’s see how this progresses in scripture.
When the original disciples began fulfilling the mission, they were persecuted. Notice, the apostles, whom Jesus charged with the mission, stayed in Jerusalem, and the church scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, Acts 8:1. And they continued into Phenice, Cyprus, and Antioch, Acts 11:19.
In Antioch, there was a church where certain prophets and teachers ministered, Acts 13:1. Two of these men were Saul (Paul, 13:9) and Barnabas.
Paul and Barnabas are two men who continued carrying out the charge but who weren’t there the day Jesus gave the charge.
Acts 13:2, “… the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them”. In Acts 9:15, “for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel”. Acts 13:4, “So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia…”.
Notice that the one continuing to give the charge is the Holy Spirit, since Jesus had ascended into heaven.
As it turns out, Paul made three missionary journeys, Acts 13:4-14:26; Acts 15:40-18:22; Acts 18:23-21:15.
During Paul’s ministry and beyond, many men, like Timothy, carried on the task, 2 Tim 2:2, and prepared others for the task. And the charge has continued to this day.
Someone told someone who told you about Jesus. (My testimony) By the time of the Rapture, notice in Rev 5:9, the saved are from every nation. The witnesses finally complete the mission by the time Jesus returns to take his church to heaven with him.
So, the mission expanded from a charge given by Jesus to the apostles to a charge given by the Holy Ghost to the church. And we are here to carry out this charge today. The Holy Spirit has charged us to continue the work started by the apostles in Acts.
There are four ways we can continue the task of the mission. We can witness, we can pray, we can give, and we can go. Today, we will discuss the first one. We are to witness. The easiest way for you to start witnessing is to invite someone to come to church with you.
Likewise, you can hand out tracts to people you meet and give a New Testament to someone you know. You can tell them that Jesus saved you and changed your life. And you can encourage them to trust Jesus as their Savior.
If you decide today to be a witness for Jesus, the Holy Spirit will give you the same power to witness that he gave the apostles. You must simply decide that you are going to be his witness from now on. By God’s grace, the Holy Spirit will help you do this.