“The Spirit which impels to missionary labor is the Spirit of Christ. All missionary desire and effort proceed from the presence of Christ in the souls of His people. He is the only source; He is also the end. From Him proceeds the impulse; in Him it finds its fulfillment; to Him it moves. The Hope set before us in the manifestation of Christ, the unfolding of His nature, the demonstration of His power, the revelation of His glory. Our Hope is Jesus Christ.” (1)
That is a very packed paragraph! I will try to take this statement, break it into several pieces, and relate each part to the Scriptures. The “Spirit of Christ” simply means that the attitude Christ had toward preaching the gospel to every people group is the same attitude that has been carried on by the Spirit. Let’s look at the comparison:
· Jesus sent out the disciples as missionaries with instructions to “proclaim the kingdom of God/heaven (Matthew 10:5-15; Luke 9:1-6; Acts 1:8).
· Jesus reminded the disciples that there was a divine continuity between the way the Father sent Jesus and how Jesus was sending the disciples (John 20:21); “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
· How did the Father send Jesus into His ministry? “The Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form, like a dove” (Luke 3:21-22).
· In the same way, the disciples were sent out at Pentecost with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:1-41; 13:1-4).
These references help us understand that as obedience to Christ moved the disciples to proclaim the gospel as Jesus sent them out, so the Spirit impels us to spread the gospel because He is the missionary Spirit of Jesus.
(1) Roland Allen, Missionary Principles, William B. Eerdmans, 1964, page 67.
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