May 2007


4.   The concept of monotheism. The Greco-Roman world was honeycombed with polytheism. The Greeks were reputed to have 30,000 gods, most of them gods of lust. In fact, the gods were more immoral than the men who worshiped them. By the time of Plato the idea of one supreme God was discussed by the philosophers, but the common people continued with their idolatry. Many a seeking Greek, fed up with the immorality of the Olympian gods and disillusioned with the speculations of the pagan philosophers, turned with a sigh of relief to the ethical monotheism of Judaism, which preached the doctrine of one true God, Creator of heaven and earth, immanent and yet transcendent, mighty and yet merciful, who punishes sin and rewards virtue. No other religion had such an exalted doctrine. This was an immense stimulus toward attracting converts.

 

5.      The practice of morality. Immorality ranked with idolatry as the two great sins of the pagan world. Its large cities were cesspools of iniquity. Divorce was widespread; infanticide was common. Paul’s description of pagan society in Romans 1 is an accurate picture of the moral decadence of the Roman Empire. Tenney describes it graphically:

Paganism was devoid of any power to lift it above itself, and the growing consciousness of its own impotence brought upon it a pessimism and a depression that it could not escape. Corruption in politics, debauchery in pleasure, fraud in business, deceit and superstition in religion made life in Rome depressing for the many and unendurable for the few.

In contrast to this corruption was the wholesome domestic life of the Jewish people. Divorce was a rare occurrence. Children were regarded as a gift from God; consequently family life was sacred. Fathers taught the Law to their families, and every boy became a Son of the Law at thirteen years of age. Fathers also taught their sons a trade. Immorality was frowned on, with adultery punishable by death. Heathen families desirous of escaping the moral pollution of pagan society found a warm and welcome change in the high moral standards of Judaism. This too was a great drawing card.

 

6.      The promise of a coming Savior. In the closing centuries of the pre-Christian era there was in the Greco-Roman world an almost universal longing for a deliverer. The Greeks gave the world its greatest philosophers and Rome provided its greatest statesmen; but neither the lucubrations of the one nor the machinations of the other could solve the problems of society. Plato had suggested in The Republic that philosophers should be kings and kings should be philosophers; but there were few takers for his recipe, because as a rule philosophers don’t make good kings and kings don’t make good philosophers. Confucius tried it and failed. And even the philosophers were unable to live up to their own high standards. Consequently the man in the street, far removed from both philosopher and statesman, looked in vain for someone who could promise-and provide-the abundant life both here and hereafter.

Into this vacuum stepped the Jews with their centuries-old expectation of a coming Messiah. There was nothing vain or vague about this Figure. Both His person and His program were clearly outlined in the Hebrew Scriptures. He would be Prophet, Priest, and King, all in one. He would succeed where others had failed. Possessed of divine power and knowledge, He would establish a kingdom of universal peace based on absolute justice-something the world had dreamed of but never seen.

The Greco-Roman world listened, and liked what it heard. Thus Judaism became a missionary religion and helped prepare the way for Christianity.

By J. Herbert Kane
Christian Missions in Biblical Perspective, pp. 30-33

Six characteristics of Jewish religious life in the Diaspora contributed directly to the making of converts and indirectly to the spread of Christianity later on

1. The institution of the synagogue. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of the synagogue in the religious life of the Diaspora. Only a handful of Jews could attend the Temple services in Jerusalem, and then only on festive occasions. Without the synagogue it is doubtful if the Jews of the Diaspora could have long retained their religious heritage. Wherever ten male leaders could be found, the Jewish community built a synagogue, which became the religious and social center of the Jewish life. The main service of the week fell on the Sabbath, at which time there was the recitation of the Shema (Deut 6:4-5), prayer, and the reading of Scripture, followed by an exhortation and a benediction.
The synagogue could never be a substitute for the Temple. It was primarily a teaching institution; hence its leader was a rabbi, not a priest. No sacrifices were ever offered in the synagogue. For that the Jews had to make the pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. While the Gentiles were excluded from the Temple (Acts 21:29), they had free access to the synagogue. It was there that they received instruction in the Jewish faith. So the synagogue became the chief means of making converts.

2.    The observance of the Sabbath. The institution of the Sabbath goes back beyond Moses and Abraham to the very beginning, when God rested on the seventh day of creation and hallowed it. The keeping of the Sabbath was reinforced by its inclusion in the Decalogue. The Jews attached enormous importance to this fourth commandment in the law. Circumcision was the only kind of “work” permitted on the Sabbath (Jn 7:22-23). The Jews would sooner be slaughtered by the thousands than engage in battle on the Sabbath. Such strict adherence to a public rite must have made a deep and lasting impression on outsiders, for nearly everyone respects a person who takes his religion seriously and is not afraid to practice it in public.

3. The translation of the Scriptures into Greek. After centuries of exile the Jews forgot their Hebrew, in which the Old Testament was written. Instead they spoke Greek, the lingua franca of the Mediterranean world. It was necessary that the Scriptures be translated into Greek for the benefit of the Jews of the Diaspora. This was done sometime in the third century B. C. in Alexandria. The translation came to be known as the Septuagint (LXX) because it was supposed to have been the work of seventy scholars. The LXX soon became a very potent missionary tool in the hands of the Jews of the Diaspora. It was the Bible of Jesus and the apostles, and was read every Sabbath in the synagogues throughout the Greco-Roman world (Acts 15:21). It is doubtful if the Greeks in any large numbers would have frequented the synagogues had the Scriptures and the services been in Hebrew instead of Greek. The LXX and the Wisdom of Solomon and other noncanonical literature, all in the Greek language, were of immense help to Philo of Alexandria and others who took it on themselves to make the Jewish religion intellectually respectable to the philosophical Greeks.

IV. Biblical basis for the strategy that we have
∑ Ephesians 4:11-16
∑ II Timothy 2:2
∑ Matthew 28:19-20
∑ Acts 19:9-10
V. Begin praying for a man to take the work from day one.

VI. Count down the days you have left
a. Win souls
b. Train all you get as far and deep as you can
c. Watch for those who want to know and go further

VII. Be sure you can cast your vision
a. You must know when you arrive what you want to have at the end of this term
b. Attendance or number of souls saved is not the goal
c. The goal is to find and train those who will carry on the ministry
d. Follow the example of Jesus, he went about his ministry but looked for men to be with him and learn from him, to catch his vision, he tested those men

VIII. Refrain from ministries that produce numbers but not leaders.
a. Sunday School, children’s ministries, showing films, etc.
b. Numbers are not the goal but the result of an effective ministry.
c. Do not do radio, TV, Children’s ministries, children’s homes, etc.

IX. Get the right goal—training leaders
a. Get the right attitude, they must be trained, there is no good material to start with
b. This type of training will require that you spend a great deal of time with them.
c. You will have to teach character, how to live and be

X. Every ministry you do should only be done as a training ground for your men

XI. Learn to make others a success

XII. Think of yourself as the coach and not a player
a. Recruit the team
b. Train and equip the team
c. Let them play
d. Look for young men 15 to 25 years of age primarily so that you can train them.
e. Remember you can never do it alone
f. Jesus trained men
g. Paul trained men
h. Moses divided his work
i. God made folks with differing abilities

XIII. Pyramid of ministries
a. Priority is to be a leader trainer
b. Public is Church planter
c. Personal is to be a soul winner
d. Private is Devotions, personal separation family etc

III.    Choose the right city!
A. It should be a strategic City, a crossroads of the region or the country
A. It should be a large city, people center
A. Paul developed his ministry around principal cities
A. People are moving into large cities and visiting them
A. Yes the smaller cities need to be reached but can be reached by training and sending nationals out.
A. It is far more intelligent to go to a central city and train men to go out.  I can’t be everywhere, all the time.

III.    Choose the right part of the city
a. Middle Class people
a. First class church reaching all the classes
a. Don’t go to the poorest people or garbage dumps etc.

Frequently Asked Questions for those preparing to go to Peru as Missionaries

1. What things should I take with me to Peru?
2. What do I wait to buy in Peru?
3. What are the pros and cons of taking a container of my personal items to Peru?
4. What about my visa and paper work?
5. What kind of house can I expect to live in?
6. What is shipping my goods to Peru going to cost?
7. What kind of electric current will we have?
8. Should I take a survey trip to Peru?
9. Should I take a vehicle from the states or purchase one in Peru?
10. What will it cost me to set up my house in Peru?
11. How long will it be before I learn the language?
12. What kind of grocery stores do they have or how do you buy your groceries?
13. How do we prepare the food that we get at the market?
14. What kind of food will we be eating?
15. What is the weather like?
16. How safe is it?
17. Will my children be safe?
18. Can we have a pet for our children?
19. Can we take our dog with us?
20. How long before I can start my own ministry?
21. What kind of vehicle will we be able to buy in Peru?
22. How will we be able to communicate with home?
23. Who will my children play with?
24. What activities will my children be able to participate in?
25. How will we get our mail?
26. What preparations can we make before leaving for the field?
27. How are the medical facilities and medical care?
28. What if I have to take medicine on a regular basis (i.e. insulin, etc.)?
29. How will I get my money, banking, etc.?
30. Where will my small children be while I am in language school
31. Will we get sick?
32. How do we send our books (personal library) to Peru?
33. What are the pros and cons of having a baby in Peru?
34. Why do I need a will?
35. What kind of services are available should as internet, cell phones, radios, etc.
∑ Sources of information
o Get in touch with missionaries on that field
o http://www.worldatlas.com/geoquiz/thelist.htm
o http://bubl.ac.uk/link/countries.html
o http://www.proteacher.com/090029.shtml
o http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html
o http://www.missionaries.org/
o http://www.infoplease.com
o http://world-evangelism.com/missionaries-countries.htm
o http://www.geographic.org/countries/countries.html
o http://www.countryreports.org/
o http://www.atlapedia.com/
o http://education.yahoo.com/reference/factbook/countrylist/index.html

Be sure and check out the post on the power of the Holy Spirit and the need of his power in the post by clicking here.

II. Spy out the Land

Step one on your journey to reach a country with the gospel is to learn all you can about the country.  Many missionaries fail not for a lack of ability or knowledge but for lack of a strategy.  They do not know what they are going to do.  They have a good heart.  They want to do right but since they do not what to do, how to do it, or what they are facing they go to the field and do not accomplish what they really wanted to accomplish.

Before you go as a missionary you must know something about the country where you are going.    The idea of spying out the land is not something that we at Macedonia World Baptist Missions, Inc.  developed but comes straight from God.

In Numbers 13:1-3 we see that God told Moses to spy out the land.  “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.  And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel.”  In Numbers 13:18-20 we see:  “And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many; And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds; And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes.”

1. They were to search out the land.
2. The spies were men, rulers, heads of the children of Israel, leaders
3. There were to check out the people.
4. They were to develop a strategy to conquer the land.

You will be completely unable to develop a strategy and know how to go about reaching your country without knowing all you can about the area.  We need to have the attitude that a general would have or a man of war.  You don’t go where you do not know what is there and how it is happening.  Before you leave for the field you need to investigate your country and know at least the following things about your country.

∑ The geography of the country.
o Climate
o Crops that are produced
o Type of roads
∑ The politics and history of the country
o Type of government
o Social development
o Conflicts
o Constitutions
o Attitude towards the government
o Attitude towards North Americans
o Communism, socialism, democracy
o Respect for the law
o History of unrest
o How the country functions
o How the country got to where it is
∑ The economics and development of the country
o Salary of the people
o Menu that the people have
o Type of housing
o Health, hospitals etc
o Banking, how will you get money,
o How stable is the economy
o Main source of income
∑ The demographics
o Where do the people live
o How are the classes divided
o How many have cars, telephones, TVs, cell phones, etc
∑ The psychology
o What they are like
o Are they organized
o Open or closed
o Warm or cold
o Trusting or distrusting
o Family situation
o Attitude towards missionaries.
o What have missionaries done that has caused hard feelings and problems
∑ The spiritual condition
o How many fundamental independent Baptist Churches are there in the city
o What missionaries are working in the city, from what boards, what type of ministry do they have
o What national missionaries are working in the city
o Christian bookstores?
o Christian radio or television?
o Other types of churches and ministries in the city or area
o History of missions in the country
o Church history in the country
∑ What you will need to know to live there as comfortably as possible

David Gardner has started a new blog and it actually looks like he plans on using it and keeping it updated. Go look it over. Sign up for it and get it via email. Make a comment on his blog and let him know that you are reading it. Click here to go to his blog http://everyknee.blogspot.com

I. Change your way of thinking!
A. Think like a general in a war. How would he go about taking the city
B. Think like a business man (the Coca Cola Company, McDonalds). How will you reach all corners of the world, expanding your business and money
C. Don’t go as a pastor or evangelist. Go as a Church planting missionary!
D. Do not do things that the nationals will not be able to reproduce!
E. Decide now to train nationals!
F. Do not do the work yourself!
G. Do not have a defeatist attitude! That will not work here. It has to work because it is the Bible way. Ephesians 4:11 and following.
H. Do not be a one church, one term missionary!

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