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Missions: the Reasons We Are Still on Earth
by Joel Comiskey
Heaven will be fun. The worship will be excellent and the fellowship intimate. No divisions. No tears. Perfection.
Then why aren't we there yet? I believe because we still have a mission to accomplish here on earth. Christ's great commission to make disciples of all nations is still not completed (Matthew 28:18-20). Speaking of the second coming, Peter says, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 peter 3:9). God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). If Jesus had come 38 years ago, I would be in hell right now. I'm glad He waited. And He continues to wait for people like my neighbors to come to know Him and join the heavenly company.
The Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination, of which I am a part, was founded by A.B. Simpson in 1887 to bring back the King. The early Alliance missionaries were motivated to go to the ends of the earth to preach the gospel, so that the last soul might be saved and Jesus could return. The rallying theme was "bring back the King," based on Matthew 24:14, which says, "And this gospel will be preached to all nations, and then the end will come."
People still need to be saved and the gospel preached before the end comes. It has been estimated that as much as one-third of the world's population of six billion people are still not within reach of a local church able to effectively communicate the gospel to them. Missions is still the motivating force of the church until Jesus comes again.
Last month I spoke to pastors at the Latin American Cell Church Mission Network conference in San Salvador. I told them that missions is not another program but the very air of the church. Missions and prayer go beyond church programs and are like the church's oxygen.