Bringing the Gospel to the Uttermost Parts
From: Sowing by Grace, Fall 2011
When a team of dental and medical missionaries conducts evangelistic clinics in distant lands we often hear this question from those to whom we minister: “Why do you come here and do this for us?”
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 Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8
This foundational verse for world missions helps explain who we are, our important message, and our field of service. It spotlights why our missionaries travel the globe to reach people in distant lands with the Gospel.
Who We Are: Witnesses
GDMMissions dental and medical evangelism teams are often asked why we conduct clinics because most people in underdeveloped countries or remote communities find it difficult to understand what motivates comparatively “rich” people to come to their poor neighborhoods or villages. A Spirit-led desire to demonstrate the love and compassion of Christ is our first answer. That is certainly accurate and appropriate. But realistically, couldn’t the time, money, and energy spent traveling to the opposite side of the planet be used to achieve the same purpose in our own hometown or country?
The more complete answer to the oft-asked question is that there is more than the love and compassion of Christ motivating missionary evangelism. God has called each believer to be a witness – literally someone who knows and repeats the truth – to every human being on the planet. Each believer is a first-hand witness to God’s grace saving sinners and giving us eternal life. We are called to tell others that God can save them and give them eternal life also. (II Corinthians 5:17-20)
Our Message: Jesus Christ
John the Baptist was a divinely motivated witness for God whose message was unwavering. He repeatedly deflected attention away from himself when men praised him for his zeal and devotion. The public made him the most sought-after celebrity in the land despite his denials.
Jesus Christ – the Lamb of God and Savior of the world – was the entire focus of John’s ministry. He unhesitatingly proclaimed of Christ: “He must increase but I must decrease.” Two definitions of a witness illustrate that our message is not about ourselves but about God:
A witness is…one who has a personal knowledge of God, one who strengthens and
confirms God’s testimony of Himself, and who draws attention to the Lord… (George Zeller)
A witness is a person who lives in such a way that those about him are forced to think about God. (Carlton Helgerson)
Our message is not about ourselves but about Jesus Christ. The core of the Gospel is the Person of Jesus Christ and what He did for the whole world through His death, burial, and resurrection. (I Corinthians 15:1-4)
Our Field: The World
As witnesses with a powerful message about our Savior, we look outside ourselves and see a vast humanity that seems, at least to us sometimes, irretrievable. But from the billions of souls in our world today, and from all ages past, God assures us He will gather in heaven,
…a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues…before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. Revelation 7:9
Can you envision that some of these saints, “from the uttermost part of the earth,” will come from nations, cities, towns, and villages that did not exist two generations ago? Yet some might think that our civilization has advanced so much that the Gospel has finally penetrated every corner of the globe. GDMMissions team members can personally attest that this is not the case!
Because of advances in medicine, technology, and transportation, world demographics are shifting at a rapid pace. Due to rising birth rates and declining death rates, the total number of people on the planet is accelerating; most of the world is “in touch” electronically; people and packages can reach any point on Earth in a day and a half. Political and economic change forms an invisible, worldwide undercurrent that impacts remote villages. It is in this dynamic, diverse, and sometimes dangerous world system that GDMMissions helps take the Good News of Jesus Christ. Yes, we could (and should) witness in our own
neighborhoods, towns, and cities. But some respond to the Holy Spirit’s leading and provision to be witnesses in places that are costly and uncomfortable to reach. We are witnesses to the wonderful message of Jesus Christ. We are privileged and blessed to carry it across the globe to reach other continents.