Pratt encourages Christ-centered, focused ministry to begin Global Missions Week
Be involved in ministry that is Christ-centered and engages in evangelism wherever God leads preached Zane Pratt, vice president for global training at the International Mission Board, during his Sept. 5 chapel message at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Texas Baptist College.
Pratt’s chapel sermon began Global Missions Week, hosted by the institution’s World Missions Center. The week includes welcoming International Mission Board missionaries from all eight affinity groups across the world to engage the campus community with the need to take the Gospel to the nations.
Pratt preached from Revelation 5 and mentioned that “this chapter indissolubly links the work of Jesus on the cross with the destiny of human history and with global missions.”
As he referred to the passage of Scripture, Pratt explained that “we have an essential element of the doctrine of the Trinity. We’re going to see that Jesus is the focus. It is Jesus who is the Lion, Jesus who is the Lamb that was slain, and Jesus who is the redeemer of a global people.”
Pratt said in Revelation 5 a scroll comes into view in the right hand of God. “It’s a scroll that we will learn in succeeding chapters that contains the decrees of God, which are decrees of judgment against a rebellious world,” he explained.
“It is a clear sign that God is in control of human history, and God will take His vengeance on those who will rebel against Him. But this scroll is sealed,” he said.
Pratt explained that the seal was there to conceal what was going on and that “this is a future only known only to God. It is off limits to all but the most worthy,” which caused John, the author of Revelation who had such an “awe-filled love for God,” to weep passionately with a desire to know the things of God.
Pratt said that is when Jesus comes on the scene.
“What we’re about to see that He has gone through was not a defeat in the slightest,” Pratt stated. “It was not a tragedy. It was a triumph. He is no hapless, helpless victim. But a powerful, triumphant victor. He is the Lion, the root of David.”
Pratt said John then looks for a lion but sees a lamb that had been offered as a sacrifice.
“The Lion of the tribe of Judah has voluntarily made Himself a sacrificial lamb for a purpose that will become clear in the verses to come,” Pratt explained.
Pratt expressed that Revelation ties the Old and New Testament together to the center of the universe, Jesus, and the fulfillment of all promises. He said there are reasons why Jesus deserves all the glory and praise.
“There was a purpose to His death, and that purpose was our salvation,” Pratt explained. “This is the very heart of the Gospel. Any other understanding of the Gospel is inadequate. Penal substitution is what Jesus came to do. He came to die in the place of those who deserved the wrath of God and His death saved the unsavable.”
Pratt stated that Jesus was slain for men and women from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation, and that was part of the design from the start.
Pratt said an individual’s salvation through Christ was part of a global plan.
“Remember that the point of unsealing the scroll was to reveal the decrees of God for where history is going,” Pratt recalled. “It includes certainly incredible judgments for sin. But here from the start, we discover that at the heart of that, though, that it includes this plan of God that His saving work would reach to the ends of the earth. That is what’s happening in the cross, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Pratt recollected that when he served as a missionary with the IMB in Central Asia, people doubted the missionary work there due to the potential resistance the Gospel.
“I could take the Gospel to people that by human standards were resistant and unreachable because no one is beyond the saving purposes of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Pratt said. “No one is beyond the power of the cross to save including the people we think the least likely.”
He said the Gospel has the power to save people that is equal in any place any for any people groups.
“Yes, it takes a resurrection from the dead,” Pratt said. “It happens to be one of God’s specialties. He raises dead sinners to life in Christ, and He can do that anywhere. The design of the atonement was to save sinners from all people groups including all the ones we think know there’s no hope for them.”
Pratt asserted “the issue is not their resistance, the issue has simply been our disobedience; that we have not gone in obedience to the command of Christ because He will honor His Word and save people when it is shared.”
In closing, Pratt challenged the members of the Southwestern community to ask themselves the question of not “Am I called to global missions,” but “How are you called to fulfill that.”
“I would simply urge you this, make your default that you go where you’re needed most before you go where others are already laboring,” Pratt advised. “Whatever form of ministry that you are headed toward, it must include at its very heart, the exaltation of the Lord Jesus and the proclamation of the Gospel.”
Pratt began serving with the IMB in the early 1990s as a missionary in Central Asia. Before serving in his current role with the mission board, Pratt served as dean of the Billy Graham School of Evangelism and Missions at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary from 2011 to 2013. Pratt has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University and a Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Pratt’s entire message can be viewed here.
Chapel is held every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 10 a.m. (CT) in MacGorman Chapel on the campus of Southwestern Seminary and TBC. Chapel may be viewed live at swbts.live.