A Biblical Foundation for Service: Introduction

What is the proper foundation for any degree of involvement in missions?

The first question for us to consider is: What is the proper foundation for any degree of involvement in missions?  The answer to this question is critical because it is much broader than just the foundation for cross cultural church planting?  This question is focused on the proper foundation for any involvement in missions.  Really, it goes even further than the foundation for any degree of involvement in missions, but it is actually the only proper foundation for any genuine Christian labor.  The content of this subject is the only proper foundation for New Testament giving whether for the operations of the church and sustaining of the pastor and staff, local church evangelism and discipleship, cross-cultural church planting, Christian charity, Christian ethics in the home, and Christian ethics in the work force.  Every aspect of Christian labor hinges on this issue.  The issue is that of whole hearted surrender to God; however, this surrender must be understood within the context of Romans 12.

Apostolic Pattern

First, please notice the pattern of the apostle Paul in the way that he addressed the churches at Rome, Ephesus, and Colossae.  In each of these three epistles Paul begins with doctrinal teaching.  These doctrinal teachings become the foundation for the command that is given later in the book.  In each of these books the command of the book that follows the doctrinal section is followed by a series of commands that flow from the initial command.  These commands are directly addressing issues that were found in the church at that time, and were not unique to that church alone, but may have also been going on in other churches.  Please notice what Paul says in Romans 12, Ephesians 5, and Colossians 3.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service…

Ephesians 5:17-18 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit…

Colossians 3:16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom…

In each of these passages there are several overlapping and common concepts to notice: In all three there is a command to submit to God.  Romans 12 calls the believer to submit his body unreservedly to the Lord’s use, Ephesians 5 calls the believer to submit to the indwelling Holy Spirit’s influence and rule, and in Colossians 3 the believer is called to submit to the indwelling word of God.  All three are immediately followed by a list of actions and commands that flow from this command.  All three come after a substantial doctrinal section, though Romans 12 is the most prominent since the entire book to this point has been doctrinally focused.  Two out of the three passages use the terms wherefore and therefore to link this command to doctrines previously addressed.  And lastly two out of the three passages say clearly that it is the will of God that we submit ourselves to His rule in our lives as the passage specifically states.  The point that I am trying to emphasize is that in these passages before Paul commanded these believers to obey God in certain aspects of practical living, there was a command of absolute submission to god in light of doctrinal teaching that applied to these believers.  For a more thorough study of this principle of teaching, we are going to look at Romans 12.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: