On the night of September 19th, Rev. Dr. James Hudson Taylor III, great-grandson of Hudson Taylor (Founder of China Inland Mission), deeply spoke about God's calling on world missions, including problems that Chinese churches and mission ministries face, and brought up different suggestions at a retreat held by Worldwide Christian Church Ministry(WCCM) in Hong Kong. He believes that today's Chinese Christians and churches have lost the kingdom concept and beyond that they have lost the responsibility and burden towards world mission. He called upon Chinese churches to newly carry the Great Commission that the Lord has given, and once again show greater concern towards the work of world mission. The following is what was spoken by Rev. Dr. James Hudson Taylor III:
Vision of Missions
Thinking about mission ministries, I often use the word "vision", because vision of mission has a very clear biblical basis. This is not only a matter that only concerns a group of passionate brothers and sisters, but it is something that all churches should do. From Genesis till Malachi, almost every book has teachings on missions.
In Genesis 12:3, when God chose Abraham, "Those who blesses you, I will bless; those who curses you, I will curse. All people on earth will be blessed through you." Because God called Abraham, there was a command and a promise, he said, I will bless you, and all people will be bless through you. What kind of blessing is this? This blessing is proclaiming the gospel through the mission ministry, allowing all people, all nations to have the opportunities to hear the gospel of the Lord. In Genesis, we can see the message of missions.
In 1 Samuel, when David was going to battle Goliath, the courage that David displayed is respectable, he said, "Today on the battle field, I will let you know that there is a God!" This saying is really precious. He knows the battle is not to exalt himself nor is it to let his country and people gain glory but it is to let all people know that there is a God." In Psalms, "May the Lord have mercy on us, give blessings to us, shine sunlight on us, so that the world can know your way, all nation may know your saving grace." David prays to God, "God! You will bless me. It is not so we can enjoy, but it is to allow all people to receive blessings -- allow all nations to know your saving grace."
In Isaiah 49:6, "He says: It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you into a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." Isaiah tells the Israelites, you will become the light for the gentiles, allowing us to perform the saving grace of God, until the ends of the earth; unfortunately, the Israelites did not understand the role that God wants them to play.
Malachi 1:11, "My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations." This the way of salvation of prophet Malachi: Not only allowing the citizens to return to land of Judah, but the gospel will be proclaimed from where the sun rises to where the sun sets, till the ends of the earth, allowing God's name to be great in the gentile lands.
The resurrected Lord appeared before the disciples, and the four books of gospel all recorded that Jesus giving us the Great Commission. The gospel of Matthew records, "Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations." The gospel of Mark writes, "Preach the good news to all people."
However, the gospel of Luke says, the Lord has opened the disciples' eyes, allowing them to understand the bible. I emphasize again how important it is to understand the bible. If we do not understand the word of God, then we can't even talk about God's vision on missions; the gospel of John tells us how the gospel will be proclaimed. John recorded Jesus saying, "How my father has sent, I will sent you in the same way." Thank you Lord.
How I wish the brothers and sisters in the Chinese churches can understand: we are all witnesses for the Lord.
Many churches do not understand, mission is the duty of a believer. Today, we seem to have fallen into the path of the Israelites, not understanding the plan that God has for this history, igniting the light in his eternal will, proclaim the light. The Israelites did not understand. They are often times arrogant, thinking that God love them more, not concern about others. These are all wrong. The purpose that God chose them and justified them is so that they can proclaim the light; today, God chose us because he wants us to proclaim the light.
There is one thing that we should realize: the work of mission is based upon the God of trinity; Father God loves all people in this world; Jesus Christ was a sent missionary, word becoming flesh, living in us, His word became flesh, living among us, He is the most beautiful and perfect example of a missionary. His acceptance is "complete acceptance."
Regarding the Holy Spirit, just about Jesus was going to leave his disciples, He said I will not abandon you as orphans, you have to wait for the Holy Spirit, He will give you abilities. What kind of abilities? The first ability is living a victorious life. We are conceived through the Holy Spirit. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, our body is called the temple of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, "Holy Spirit will give you ability to be my witness." The ability of life is proclaiming with our body, our mouth, and this is Holy Spirit's ability with us.
Mission ministry is based upon the God of trinity. How I wish that the brothers and sisters in Chinese churches can understand that when we become today's Christian, then we are the Lord's witnesses.
The Field is Ripe for Harvest, But the Workers are Few
If we want a clear vision, we must understand the needs of the field. Jesus told his disciples, "Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest, but the reapers are few."
Dear brothers and sisters, why did Hudson Taylor come to China? Of course, he was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Besides this, when Hudson was young, his parents kept giving him books relating to China, which are not necessarily related to church. After Hudson became interested in China, he came to have a greater burden for China. When he went to China, he discovered that there are millions of people in inland China, who have never heard of the gospel. After returning to England, he began to prepare some materials in order to introduce the needs of Ningpo province and Zhejiang province and introduced it in England. A magazine publication was very interested in this matter. They asked Hudson to describe the situation of every province in China. To him, this was a very big challenge. He needed to find out how many people there are in each province, if there are any missionaries, churches, believers, local pastors, etc,. It was not easy to gather all these information, but he went and did it. In conclusion, he was the most inspired till the point that he can't even sleep, because he realized that there are over 1 million who would pass away before realizing the gospel. He also realized that after he left China, the number of missionaries in China decreased, therefore, he called upon the British to show concern for China.
Asia is such a big place with over 3.3 billion people. How many people know Lord Jesus? In Hong Kong, China, Burma, Nepal....3.3 billion people, how many people would die before hearing the gospel in a month? Why is it that we don't care about them? They have never heard of the name of Jesus Christ. We hope that David's prayer can become our prayers: All nations will be blessed. How I wish that everyone here can have the faith of Abraham, hearing the God's voice, "Come follow me." I hope that we can obey God, God said, "You come, I will bless you, and all nations will be blessed through you!"
(to be continued...)