Call to missions

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4. Church
The organized church includes all those who claim to be Christians, and who meet together to worship with other Christians. Within the organized church there are both believers and nonbelievers. The true church includes those who truly believe in Christ, and have received the Holy Spirit. God speaks through those in the true church. Some in the church have the spiritual gift of prophecy—they proclaim the word of God. See Ephesians 4:11. God gives them a message relevant to their hearers. So we listen to pastors, to Bible teachers, to Christian counselors, and to gifted elders in order to hear a word from the Lord. We should test prophecy to see if it agrees with Scripture. See Acts 17:11. We know Scripture is inspired, but there are many false prophets in the world. So Scripture takes precedence over current prophecy. One way to identify false prophets is to observe their lifestyle and works—if their fruit is bad, they are false prophets. See Matthew 7:15-20. It is good to seek the advice of mature Christians in the church. It is helpful to have such Christians as mentors. Such advisors can walk along
Page 4 of THE CALL TO MISSIONS - Guidance of the Lord

beside us as we follow Christ, providing an example and encouraging us. We also should mentor others less spiritually mature than ourselves. We seek the advice of mature Christians, but we shouldn’t ignore the words of anyone that God may send to us. God may speak through little children. Indeed, the kingdom of heaven belongs to such innocent children. See Matthew 19:14. Sometimes parents are amazed by the spiritual insight of their children. The advice of Christians is valuable, but ultimately each of us must listen to God for guidance. The Holy Spirit may lead us to mission work that is not advised by our friends in the church. Typically missionaries seek the blessing of the church as they prepare for missions. See Acts 13:2. But God may calla missionary to service before others in the church know about such guidance. Later, the church may confirm this calling. It is incumbent upon a missionary to examine the Scriptures and listen to the Holy Spirit. Each Christian is unique and each Christian has a unique calling. The work of various missionaries maybe similar, but not exactly the same. Each Christian servant has a different set of gifts, talents, resources, life situation, culture, and mission field. So God uses people indifferent ways to expand his kingdom. Therefore it is important to avoid merely copying other ministers and ministries. Certainly we can learn from other Christians, and we should apply some of their successful techniques in our work. But we seek God’s guidance, not just the guidance of people. God is against those preachers who steal the words of other prophets. See

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