“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Gen 12:2, 3)
Last week we were challenged by the speaker, Dr Stanley Ling, to be “World Christians” instead of “Worldly Christians”.
When Abraham obeyed God to leave his country and his home, God promised not only to bless him but to make him a blessing; not only to bless him with offspring, but through it to bless ‘all peoples on earth’. The late John Stott said “It is no exaggeration to say that Genesis 12:1-4 is the most unifying text of the whole Bible. For God’s saving purpose is encapsulated in it, namely to bless the whole world through Christ, who was Abraham’s seed. The rest of the Bible is an unfolding of it, and subsequent history has been a fulfillment of it”.
The Lausanne Congress on World Evangelism defines world evangelization in this simple statement “the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world”. The task of world evangelization involves every single member of the church to take all the blessings and the full message of the gospel to each and every single human being.
The Great Commission is a command to go and take the gospel to ends of the earth. ‘Go’ of course is not restricted to travelling overseas. We are to go to where the people are, where non believers can be found. We are reminded that the ‘mission field’ is also at our doorsteps. Here in Singapore, the church is in a unique position to be able to take the gospel to the ‘mission field’ locally as well as blessed with the resources to take the gospel to “the ends of the earth”. The ‘mission field’ can be the people who are close to us (our ‘Jerusalem’) or our acquaintance/ people we like (our ‘Judea’) or our enemies/ people we tend not to associate with (our ‘Samaria’) or to the strangers/ people alien to us (our ‘ends of the earth’).
To be World Christians, we should make use of the opportunity and resources both locally and internationally. There is no one single approach- the people groups are coming to our shores and at the same time travelling aboard with a Singapore passport is made so much more convenient. A large multinational has to depend on us to provide prompt maintenance services to an aircraft grounded in Indonesia, because their staff needs to apply for visa while Singaporeans don’t. Our foreign ministry has done a fantastic job of opening many doors overseas and Singaporeans are generally welcomed in many countries.
The tragedy that befalls the Israelites is that they kept forgetting the universal scope of God’s promise. They forgot that the promise of being Abraham’s descendants was to bless the nations. They became inward looking and harbor the thought that they are the favored ones immune to God’s judgment because they are “Abraham’s children”. (Lk.3:8)
By Deacon Wayne Teo