What Is A Missionary?           

Acts 13:1-3


     The word "missionary" is not used in the Word of God. But that fact does not mean that it is either antibiblical, or unbiblical. The word "trinity" is not used in the Bible either. But the doctrine of the trinity is taught explicitly (I John 5:7). A missionary is one who is sent, particularly one who is sent on a mission.And that is what Luke describes in Acts 13:1-3. Paul and Barnabas were missionaries from the Church at Antioch, sent out to preach the gospel to the Gentiles.

     The precise, biblical term for missionary is "evangelist." An evangelist is a herald of the gospel, a preacher of good news. But he is not a pastor, or elder. And he certainly is not a roving, free-lance preacher! An evangelist is a missionary. Philip, the evangelist, was a missionary (Acts 21:8). All pastors are to do the work of an evangelist (II Tim. 4:5). But our Lord has given some to his church who are specifically called to be evangelists, or missionaries (Eph. 4:11), who are to be supported and maintained in their work by the churches. What is a missionary?

     First, A MISSIONARY IS A MAN. No woman can serve as a missionary, anymore than a woman can serve as a pastor! God does not call women to preach the gospel, ever (I Cor. 14:35; I Tim.2:11-12). And being a missionary's wife no more makes a woman a missionary than being a pastor's wife makes a woman a pastor. God calls men to do his work and directs their wives to follow.Second,A MISSIONARY IS A MAN WITH GOD'S MESSAGE. Missionaries are preachers. If a man is not gifted of God to preach the gospel, no matter how sincere he is, he cannot serve as a missionary. And the message he preaches is, and must be, the gospel of God's free and sovereign grace in Christ, the sinner's Substitute. Third, A MISSIONARY IS A MAN WITH GOD'S MISSION. He is a man called and gifted of God to establish churches, train pastors, and help to establish those pastors and churches in the gospel of the grace of God,so that they might carry on the work of the gospel for generations to come. "Medical missionaries", "educational missionaries","cultural missionaries",and "construction missionaries" are not missionaries! Missionaries are men sent forth into the world to preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, to gather in the harvest of God's elect scattered throughout the world.


Don Fortner