The Missionary Journey

Do you consider yourself to be a missionary?

What is a missionary?

What exactly qualifies as a missionary journey?

Do you have to be “called”? If so, how does that happen?

Different people have differing opinions on this. My thoughts on this topic have definitely changed over the years. This has happened mainly because the more I study God’s Word, the more He changes my thinking and perspective. Honestly, we can each share what we think but ultimately, God is the final authority with the answer to our questions. After all, He is Creator of all things.

Throughout this past year our church has been reading through the Bible together, focusing on 365 key chapters that take you through the story of of God and His people. We are now in the New Testament epistles, the letters Paul wrote to the the various churches. Most, if not all of these churches were planted by Paul and the men who he traveled and did life with. If you have ever heard a sermon, a Sunday school lesson, or done a Bible study on the book of Acts, you have probably heard the phrase “Paul’s missionary journey”. If fact, Paul had several of these ‘missionary journeys’. In the next few weeks, I want us to dig deeper into these journeys, examine what happened, and discover the “how and why” behind them. When we finish, I pray God will clarify and answer those opening questions and show us each the journey He has for us.

Today, let’s begin by learning about this man, Saul of Tarsus, better known as the apostle Paul.

The first time we find him mentioned in the Bible, he is standing holding the coats of the men who are stoning Stephen to death. We need to ask why was Saul there and what did Stephen do that deserved death by stoning?

If you begin reading the story in Acts 6, you”ll find Stephen being chosen as one the deacons to minister to the widows and less fortunate within the church. Look how he is described.

And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit,

And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. 

Stephen was a godly man who had the power of the Holy Spirit, so why would they want to kill him?

Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. 11 Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council. 

When Stephen was brought before the council, he began to preach, starting with Abraham and Moses and they listened intently until he began to preach Jesus. (Read the whole sermon here Acts 7)

57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

The beginning verses of chapter 8 tells us a bit more.

1 Now Saul was consenting to his death.

At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.

Saul was, like those who killed Stephen, determined to rid the world of those who preached, taught, or even believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God.

That was until he actually met Him.

The next time we see Saul, he is on his way to Damascus with orders to arrest any believers and bring them to justice, most likely the same type of ‘justice’ Stephen received. (Acts 9:1-31)

Saul was a determined man on a journey and he had a mission, but Jesus had another plan for him. Saul sincerely thought he was doing the will of God by eliminating people of the Way. God had to literally blind him to make him truly see the Light.

I encourage you to read through these passages in full and as you do, ask yourself some questions.

What journey are you on?

Are you sure this journey is truly God’s will for you?

In the coming weeks we will dig deeper into the life and missionary journey of the apostle Paul. Prayerfully, as we do, we find the direction for our own missionary journey.

One response to “The Missionary Journey”

  1. […] In my last post, we began looking at the life of the apostle Paul. We saw who he was before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus and he was definitely on a mission but as we’ll begin to explore today, God had another mission for him and he will one day realize that everything, his background, education, and training will come in handy on this new journey. If you missed that post, you can read it here. […]


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