The Supremacy of God in Going and SendingThere is a wonderful passage in the often neglected epistle of 3 John that sums up the burden of this book beautifully. We want to leave you with its truth ringing in our mind and heart. There are only two ways for us to respond to the truth we have been considering about the supremacy of God in missions. We must either go out for the sake of his name, or we must send and support such people who do, and do so in a manner worthy of God. Listen to the words of the apostle John, who heard the heartbeat of Jesus as he leaned on his breast and who listened with his own ears to the giving of the Great Commission."The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. For I was very glad when brethren came and for witness to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers; and they bear witness to your love before the church; and you will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the pagans. Therefore we ought to support such men, that we may be fellow-workers with the truth." 3 John 1:1-8
What evidence compels this old apostle to be convinced that Gaius's soul is prospering? What is the truth in which Gaius is walking? Apparently some missionaries, whom John knew, had visited Gaius and were loved by him in a special way. They returned to the church of which John was a part and testified that Gaius treated them well, even though they were strangers to him. This so moved John that he wrote Gaius a letter to encourage him for walking in the truth and for acting faithfully. He wanted to urge Gaius to continue all the more. "You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worth of God." Gaius was admonished by the apostle to be a sender. This phrase, "to send on one's way," occurs nine times in the New Testament, and each one occurs in a missionary context.
The most descriptive verse is found in Titus 3:13. In this verse, Paul writes to Titus, "Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them"(NASB). From this verse we can learn that sending is something to be done diligently and is all inclusive - "so that nothing is lacking for them."
In 3 John, this diligence and thoroughness is captured in the phrase "in a manner worth of God" (vs6). This elevates the importance of sending as high as can be imagined. It is a commandment of God (notice the "ought" of verse 8). The reason we must send them in a manner worth of God is that they go out for the sake of the name. The name of God is at stake in how we treat our missionaries. God is glorified when we support them substantially with our prayers, our money, our time, and myriad other practical ways (notice the "whatever" in verse 5). God is not glorified when our missionaries are simply a name on the back of a bulletin or a line item in the budget.
It is not of secondary importance to be engaged in this ministry of sending. It is a very high calling. It is walking in the truth. It is the manifestation of a healthy and prospering soul. Senders are fellow workers with the truth. To send in a manner worth of God is a call to excellence in the support of missionaries. It is a direct participation in God's purpose. The cruciality of sending cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, it must not be done in a shoddy manner but in "a manner worthy of God." There is a world of difference between a church "having" a missionary and a church "sending" a missionary. When we send missionaries in a manner worthy of God, God is glorified, our souls prosper, and we are fellow workers with the truth. We are in sync with God's heartbeat and his purpose to be glorified among all the peoples.
-"Let the Nations be Glad!"by John Piper