The war was beginning to wind down. Advances by the Allied forces were being made deep into enemy territory. Victory was assured.
A young lieutenant received orders from his commanding officer to go and take his unit to liberate a prisoner of war camp located a few miles down the road. It wasn’t going to be easy. There still remained pockets of enemy resistance. It would take an offensive maneuver to overcome the last remnants of a power that were holding these prisoners captive.
Large fences and barbed wire greeted the advancing troops containing hundreds of soldiers and civilians. Imprisoned because of their beliefs, nationalities, or simply being a soldier on the losing side of a battle, they waited longingly for that day of freedom.
And when freedom finally came…
Tears of sheer thankfulness replaced what words could not adequately express. The prisoners recognized the sacrifice that was involved in their liberation. People on the outside had risked their lives, lost their buddies, and left their homes to travel thousands of miles to fight in a war they didn’t completely understand.
The young lieutenant eventually became a world missionary. He noted the strong parallel between the orders he received from a commanding officer to liberate a prisoner of war camp and the commission from Christ to go and make disciples from all nations. For example,
1. They both required an offensive maneuver. A missionary is not commissioned to defend the gospel, but to go and proclaim it. And that commission requires a rescue.
2. It would be foolish to assume that the enemy is going to allow a missionary to invade his territory and free his captives without resistance.
3. To overcome the enemy requires manpower and weapons. A missionary requires a team of support and must rely on powerful weapons only the Holy Spirit can provide.
4. Souls can be easily imprisoned by a world of sin. Something outside of themselves are the only means of rescue.
5. True freedom is often only cognizant once a captive is set free. To many imprisoned by sin never recognize their state.
The call to make disciples of all nations casts an air of importance when we look outside of ourselves. It’s a commission to rescue. It means entering into a spiritual realm, and engaging in a spiritual battle where victory has already been assured in order to rescue those who are being held prisoner.
No wonder it’s not easy to be a missionary.
Whether a soul who has placed their entire trust in the finished work of Christ likes it or not, they are being asked by God to share their faith. Every obedient believer is a missionary and commissioned to take the offensive in a spiritual warfare. By doing so, they become a target, a light upon a hill that everybody can see — including the enemy.
But that is not something we need to fear. For not only do we receive a commission from the Commanding Officer to go and make disciples, He also gives the promise that He will be with us. He trains us. He disciplines us. He gives us weapons that are powerful and effective. More importantly, He gives us His authority.
Be that soul whom God can use to liberate those imprisoned by sin.
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