What does all this mean to us?
In other words, considering what we've just read, what is our mission? Should we rush out and find someone sick to pray over for healing? Should we look around trying to find a demon to cast out? Well, no and yes. Confused? Let me explain what I mean.
While there will be people whose calling will be to do those things I mentioned above, the primary mission of the church as a whole is to spread the gospel throughout the world. The Great Commission. You won't find a single passage in the Bible where Jesus is sending the apostles and disciples out that He doesn't mention preaching the gospel or spreading the good news about the kingdom of heaven and salvation. There are passages about spreading the gospel that don't mention casting out demons or healing the sick, but never the other way around. Our mission, first and foremost, is to spread the good news to every nation, and people, and tongue.
Of course, very few of us will be able to travel throughout the world preaching the gospel, but what about your own world? What about that circle of family, friends, and acquaintances you interact with on a regular basis? Have you spread the gospel throughout your own small part of the world yet? Sometimes this can be more difficult than sharing the message of Christ with total strangers! But this is our commission. This is our calling. No one ever said it would be easy. One thing that will help is to remember that witnessing can take different forms. While directly speaking about Christ and what He has done for us is the best, some people (myself included) may find it difficult to know how to broach the subject of salvation. Until we get past this hurdle (and this is something we do need to deal with in order to be the most effective), some other ways we can witness might be through our actions (sympathy, forgiveness, compassion), wearing clothing with a Christian message on it (there are many Christian T-shirts around), or maybe even humming or singing Christian songs while we're around other people. Any one of these might cause someone to ask us about it, and thus open the door to a witnessing opportunity. I'm sure there are other ways as well, just be creative! Anything that will get someone to ask that first question can provide the opportunity we need.
Now having said that, let me say this: If we are effectively spreading the gospel message, through word and deed, then we will become engaged in spiritual conflicts. There is no doubt about it. Satan will send his forces to try to prevent us from fulfilling our commission. We will be confronted with demonic influences. And if we are really doing our job, people who are under the sway of Satan's forces may seek us out for help, perhaps without even knowing why. People who are suffering from illnesses may ask us to pray over them. So even though our primary mission is the spreading of the gospel message, if we are effective in that, we will eventually, and inevitably, find ourselves in situations involving spiritual warfare of one kind or another. For this reason, if no other, we should always be prepared to engage in spiritual conflicts, or to respond to spiritual attacks.
The next section will deal with the resources we have at our disposal, in other words, our defense and weaponry. (section coming soon)
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