I would like to continue on the topic of missions.
Rick Warren wrote in his book Purpose-Driven Life
, "Your ministry is your service to believers, and your mission is your service to unbelievers." (p.281) I do not agree with this statement. When one searches the Bible for the word "ministry," we would come across verses such as these:
- “I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry” (Romans 11:13)
- “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
- “For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.” (Galatians 2:8)
The Apostle Paul made no distinction between his God-assigned ministry and his missions to the Gentiles. To him, his ministry and missions are one and the same.
Anyway, here is a song by Casting Crowns
called If We Are The Body
, which exhorts the Body of Christ to minister to believers and unbelievers alike.
The first and second verse did not indicate whether the girl or the traveler is a Christian or not. The song seems to imply that they are strangers to the church. From the lyrics, we can tell they are sorely lacking in ministry from the church. While I view the current seeker-sensitive movement occuring in churches with distaste, it is quite another thing to totally ignore the ministry of reaching unbelievers who walk into churches.
If We Are The Body
It's crowded in worship today
As she slips in trying to fade into the faces
The girls teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know
But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way
A traveler is far away from home
He sheds his coat and quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgmental glances
Tells him that his chances are better out on the road
Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ
Jesus is the way
Casting Crowns uses the body analogy found in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 to spur us to reach out to people in need of the Word of God. For it is written, "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17) The song is spot-on in saying, "Jesus paid much too high a price for us to pick and choose who should come." We do not know who God has chosen to be His elect, and therefore we should not discriminate against anyone at all.
Everyone needs to hear the gospel, be it Muslims, Buddhists, Roman Catholics, or Protestants etc. Should I assume just because one is attending church that one is saved? The rich and poor alike needs to hear the gospel. Our foreign domestic workers and construction workers need to hear the gospel.
I was thinking to myself: do we really need to travel to some rural villages in a faraway country for a mission trip in order to preach the gospel when we could immediately preach to the foreigners in our midst, who came from the countries we are trying to go to? We can actually start right here and right now.
In the light of the recent controversy on racism among Singapore bloggers, if one truly obeys the word of Christ, we cannot adopt a racist mindset in picking and choosing the people we want to reach. Our Malay Muslims need to hear the gospel. Our Indian Hindus need to hear the gospel. President Nathan needs Jesus Christ. Our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong needs Jesus Christ to be saved. We must pray for the salvation of everyone; that God would turn the hearts of those who do not believe to the saving knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'" (Romans 10:14-15) Listen
to a 30 sec. MP3 sample of "If We Are The Body" by Casting Crowns. File size: 120 KB.