By E. Scott Martin
Scott is the Global Student Mission Representative for Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, USA.
When we think of missions today, we often think of people out in exotic places preaching the gospel. If I asked Christian students today what missions is, most would reply that, “missions is spreading the gospel around the world”.
Both of these perceptions are correct. With a radically changing world, however, missions looks different than it did just a few years ago.
Yet the definition of missions has not changed. Missions is the loving work of God to bring mankind to Himself as the Church. Second, missions is the overall ministry of the Church toward global proclamation.
There are three easily identifiable components of missions that Christian college students must be a part of. The first is that we must send people and have people willing to go. This is probably the most difficult of the three components I will discuss in that it seems to require in general, the greatest level of sacrifice.
As the great apostle Paul said,
“How will they hear without a preacher? And how will they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14, 15).
We must have students willing to go to the inconvenient lost to share the gospel with them.
Every student should consider going on a cross-cultural missions experience at least once during their collegiate career and each student should consider and take up before the Lord the issue of serving long-term following graduation as well.
The second identifiable component of missions is the need for every student to give to God’s global cause of redeeming the lost. We can have people willing to go, but if we don’t have the funds to send them out, they will stay. Missions costs money and time.
Oswald J. Smith, the great missions pastor said,
“You must go or send a substitute.”
What he is basically saying is that if we are not going, we need to put the bucks up front to support those who are. How much money is a soul worth?
Missions budgets today are a lot, but very necessary. Missionaries cannot go to the field until all their budget is raised, and the longer they are home trying to raise the budget the less time they have sharing Christ with the lost. If we don’t support missionaries, who will? Every student must give to missions.
The third identifiable component of missions is prayer. We first need to pray for a great harvest of souls around the world, lifting up nations, people groups, and religions by name. Consistent prayer can move governments and principalities.
We know that diligent and righteous prayer has great effect (James 5:16). Pray for message bearers who are going on the field that they would have favor and funding.
Pray for message bearers who are on the field that they would walk in power, anointing, and safety, and that they would have favor amongst the people.
Pray that God would call more laborers into His global harvest field, especially from the student population around the world. Every student needs to be praying for current message bearers, lost souls, and new laborers.
We are biblical Christians, so here are some biblical incentives for missions. First, we find scripturally that Jesus came to do 2 primary things: to seek and save that which is lost (Luke 19:10) and to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:6).
We need to be seekers of the lost as well as those who participate in breaking down the gates of hell.
Secondly, the gospels record Jesus’ final and compelling challenge to His disciples,
“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.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.” (Matthew 28: 18-20).
These were the last instructions Jesus gave to His Church, therefore they carry a very heavy weight. The Nations will come to Christ because there are people, His Church, who are willing to go to them. Jesus commissioned His Church with a great task; to go and teach all nations.
Thirdly, hell is for real. Jesus spoke vividly about the realities of hell and gave grave warnings regarding it’s eternal nature. Here are just a few of Jesus’ descriptions of hell:
* a place where their worm does not die (personal possessive pronoun) Mark 9: 44, 46, 48
* a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth Matt. 8:12, 22:13; 24:51; 25:30
* everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels Matt 25:41
* fire that shall never be quenched Mark 9: 44
unquenchable fire Luke 3: 17
Hell is eternal separation from God and eternal life in agony and pain. It should pain every truly believing student to think of anyone going to such a terrible place for all eternity.
Fourth, there is only one way to heaven. Jesus said,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6).
In today’s society, where tolerance is the mandated mantra, Jesus’ statement is not at all popular. Even though it is not popular, it is true, and our obligation is to the truth. There is only ONE way to heaven, and that is by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
If this is not clearly shared with all nations, they will perish. There is no purgatory; there is no middle ground.
Because the tolerance “message” is pushed so much on our campuses today some actually believe Jesus is going to be tolerant at the day of judgment. He is being tolerant now; He won’t be on the judgment day.