A Missionary Congregation
A Missionary Congregation
Perhaps some of YOU, upon reading the title “A Missionary Congregation,” think to themselves, “Oh, I know what that is. That is a congregation that sends out a missionary, such as the church at Surrey, British Columbia, or the church at Hamilton, Ontario. Perhaps others think, “A missionary congregation? Oh, that is a congregation that has been planted by a missionary, such as, the ones in Sad Jose or Maragogi in Brazil.”
Should you be thinking in either direction, then I have to grant you that, strictly speaking, you are not wrong. The expression “a missionary congregation” could indeed be interpreted the way you have. And yet, neither of the two interpretations is what I mean with the expression. For with the expression “a missionary congregation” I mean every faithful congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every such congregation is a missionary congregation in the sense that it has the high calling and privilege to share the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ with all those who do not know and believe this gospel, which means that all of the churches in our federation, including the one you are a member of, are missionary congregations.
A Look at the New Testament Scriptures⤒🔗
This designation of our churches should not really surprise us, for that is the way the New Testament Scriptures speak about them. Not that they actually use the term, but the concept is most certainly there. I think, for instance, of what the apostle Paul writes about the armour of God that members of the church are to put on. Besides girding their loins with truth and putting on the breastplate of righteousness, taking the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, members of the church are also to shoe or fit their feet with the readiness of the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). One of the meanings of this expression is that every member of the church is to be ready to bring the gospel of peace to those who are in need of it.
I think also of what we read in Philippians 1:27. There the apostle encourages the members of the church to let their manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether he comes and sees them or is absent, he may hear that they stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel. This expression “striving side by side” or “striving together” the apostle also uses to describe Euodia and Syntyche who have laboured side by side with him in the gospel (Philippians 4:3ff.). In other words, we can say what Euodia and Syntyche and Paul did, is something the whole congregation is required to do, namely, actively preach the gospel of Christ.
More texts could be mentioned, such as, Colossians 4:5ff., 1 Peter 3:15, 1 Peter 4:16, and Acts 8:4, but let what we have said suffice for the moment. The New Testament clearly shows us that the church of God is a missionary congregation.
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