10. They had a missionary program (Matt. 10:1 —
And so did Israel. As a matter of fact, since the gospel has always been the same, and the Lord has always used men to preach the gospel to men, missions have always been a fact of life for those in service to the Lord. Howsoever:
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. (Romans 10:15-18)
Or course, the cited passage comes from Isaiah, which states it thus:
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! (Isaiah 52:7)
Now, consider what is stated above:
- “their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”
- What are “good tidings of good”?
- What is meant by the phrase “publisheth salvation”?
I really think the Lord gave Israel a missions program, and they were missionaries to the entire world. After all, that is what the Scripture states in both the New and Old Testaments. However, simply having a missionary program doesn’t make anyone in the Old Testament a member of a New Testament church, and it is not proof that at the time referenced in Matthew 10 they were a church either. Moreover, lots of organizations today have missionary programs, and they bear no resemblance to the church described in the New Testament.