The church, as we have seen, is inextricably tied to the Word of God. So long as the Word remains, the church will remain. And so long as the church is incomplete, the work of missions will remain. And the fruits of that work will endure forever.
A Surprising Testimony
A Chinese brother studying at RPTS told us the story of his conversion. He was raised in an atheistic family. Before he was 40 years old, he had never heard of Jesus. He worshipped money, power, and idols. But, while reading a secular book, the author happened to quote Matthew 9:37-38, probably out of context: “Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest’” (NKJV).
These two sentences touched him deeply, and he began weeping and shedding tears. He was overcome by a desire to find more about these living words. Out of hundreds of pages of beautiful prose, as well as perhaps hundreds of other books he had read in his lifetime, those words of Scripture had a power that eloquence and human wisdom did not have.
Those words were not even the content of the Gospel. They were peripheral. They made no sense apart from the Gospel. But every word of Scripture, however plain, and every sentence, however obscure, is inspired and endued with power. And history is full of people who have been converted by the obscurest verses.
When history runs its course, and the full number of the elect are gathered into the kingdom, we will see that no verse of Scripture was wasted in bringing many sons and daughters to glory. All have accomplished the work that the Lord intended – not just when they were written, but down through the centuries, and not just for conversion, but also for the edification and encouragement of the saints.
Application to Missions
That surprising conversion testimony only confirms what we already know of Scripture (from Scripture itself – which, after all, is our only ultimate authority). According to Hebrews 4:12, “the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The LORD affirms the same truth from the pen of Isaiah:
10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower…