Posts Tagged ‘missions’

Go!

November 23, 2015

The Great Commission is a classic portion of scripture that gives the Christian church the mandate to evangelize the world.

Matthew 28:18-20

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

I.  Go!

Verse 29 begins with the simple word ‘Go’.  As Christians we are called to an active response, not a passive existence.  In the book of Acts Jesus tells His disciple that they will be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the end of the earth.  (Acts 1:8)   We too, are called to testify of the hope that is within us.  We are not to keep the Good News to ourselves, but to share it with others.

II.  Make Disciples

Sometimes in evangelical circles it seems as though the end goal is getting someone to say the sinners prayer.  We count up the number of people who say this prayer and keep a record to include on our annual report.  However, we are called to make disciples.  Conversion is only the first step.  We want people to be life-long followers of Jesus.  We teach them, and encourage them to follow all of the commandments of Jesus.  Baptism is a public declaration that a person is a disciple of Jesus.  Salvation may be private.  Baptism should be public.

III.  We Are Not Alone

In my philosophy class at the college one of the philosophers we study is an atheist named Jean Paul Satre.  He acknowledges that the consequence of his atheism is a belief that we are forlorn and in anguish.  Forlorn because we are alone in the world and in anguish because there is no God to provide direction.

I am glad to say that we are not alone.  God is with us always.  God is a spirit and as such is not limited by physical restraints.  It is a great comfort to acknowledge the presence of God.  God also provides direction for us by His Word and His Spirit.

IV.  The Good Shepherd:  Psalms 23

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

Jesus referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd.  We recognize that Jesus will guide our steps, that He will provide for us, and that He will protect us.  He has called us to a mission, but He has not left us alone.  He is with us always and will guide, provide and protect.

These are the sermon notes from 11/1/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

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Joyful Giving

January 6, 2015

Deciding what to give your friends and family for Christmas can be a difficult decision.  Knowing that the greatest Christmas gift is the one that God gave us in Christ is relatively simple.  Recognizing that we should give something back to God should be natural, just like we exchange gifts on earth with our friends and family.  God gives to us.  We give back to God.  Of course, we cannot literally give to God, but we are able to give to God by giving to the local church, missionaries, and various humanitarian organizations.

I.  Sow Bountifully:  II Corinthians 9:6-7

 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

A.  Be generous.  This does not mean that we give the rent money to the church, but we should establish our budgets in such a way that we are living well within our means so that we are able to give, and we should give generously.

B.  II Corinthians 8:12-13

 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened;

I believe that Christians should tithe on their income to their local church.  A tithe is ten percent.  I believe that when we are faithful to give God the tithe, He will enable us to live on the rest.  What we give beyond the tithe is our offerings.  Our offerings are given according to our ability.

C.  We should pray about what we give in offerings.  God will direct us if we have an open mind and heart.

D.  Be happy that you are able to give.  Do not worry if the amount is small.  If each person does what they are able to do the need will be met.  If we give only a small amount, we are still participating in the effort.  We should do what we can, not what we cannot.

II.  God is Able to Supply:  II Corinthians 9:8-9

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:

“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”

The grace of God abounds towards us.  My wife and I plan our offerings into our budget.  We have a set amount of money that we set aside each month so that we have money available to give in both tithes and offerings.  We give the full tithe each month and the offerings we give as the Lord leads.  When Gloria left her secular job we did not reduce the amount we give as offerings and God has enabled us to continue to live within our budget.

III.  The Greatest Gift:  II Corinthians 9:10-15

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

    A.  God supplies in ways that we do not always understand.

    B.  There is much giving of thanks.  Both those who give and those who receive, give thanks to God.

    C.  To God be the glory!

    D.  It is natural to give God both thanks and praise.  It is also natural to offer prayers for the people who have generously met the need.  Prayers are powerful and we should never underestimate their value.

    E.  All of this talk of giving reminds us of the greatest gift which is, of course, the salvation offered to us through Jesus Christ.

Even as God has given to us so richly and generously, in so many ways, so we should look for ways to generously and joyfully. give back to God.

These are the sermon notes from 12/7/14.  Any advertisements that may appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

The Great Commission

April 8, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 4/7/13.

Today I am preaching from a passage of scripture well-known as the Great Commission.   Missionaries commonly use these verses in encouraging missions support.  This text is excellent for that purpose, and for much more.

Matthew 28:18-20

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

All Authority:  Jesus lived during the reign of the Roman Empire.  The Romans were polytheistic, believing in many gods.   The Jewish people were a part of a monotheistic religion; believing that only Jehovah; their God, was real.  It was common for nations to have their own god that they claimed as their own.  When Jesus proclaims that all authority has been given to Him it says that He is Lord over all; all kingdoms, nations and people.

Go:  This is an active pursuit, not passive.  It is like the difference between stalking deer or sitting in a deer stand waiting for them to come to you.  We are not to sit in our churches waiting for people to come to us, we are to go to them with the gospel message, to share the hope that is within us.

Make Disciples:  We are asked to record the number of new conversions that take place each year in our ministry.  Conversions are important, but they are only the beginning.  A new convert must become a disciple, and a disciple is a life-long servant and student.

All Nations:  We are sent into all the world with the hope of the gospel.  We should all share the message in our particular circumstances; watching for the ‘divine appointments’ that God may bring our way.  We should also be open to hear God’s call to further missions involvement.  We may be called to the mission field as full-time missionaries, or short-term assignments, or whenever the opportunity arises.  We also should support those who do go around the world with our prayers and our offerings.

Baptizing Them:  Christians throughout the centuries have argued over the form, timing and meaning of baptism.  We all recognize that if you are Christian, then you should be baptized.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit:  This statement of Christ continues the progressive revelation of the triune God.  The nature of the trinity is hinted at in the Old Testament, more fully revealed in the New Testament, and hammered out through time by the reflection of God’s people upon God’s Word.

Teaching Them:  As I have already said, a disciple is a life-long student.  If we think that we already know everything, then we really understand very little.  We should continue to both learn more, and teach others what we have learned.

To Observe:  We are not simply to know, we are to do.  For someone to say I know I should but… is wrong to accept.  If we know we should, then we should do.

Always With You:  The comfort of the knowledge that Christ is with us always is immeasurable.  It is one of my favorite portions of scripture.  He will never leave us or forsake us.  We do not face the challenges of life alone.  Christ is with us always.

The Great Commission

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

 

 

Out of the Darkness

October 14, 2010

The whole world has watched as the thirty-three miners in Chile have waited for rescue.  The waiting is over, and the celebration has begun, as all thirty-three have safely been extracted from the mine.  Now they will have to reenter society and somehow adjust to their new lives.  They will never be the same.

I see parallels to the Christian mission.  There are many people who are trapped in the darkness.  There is only one way out.  That way is straight and narrow.  That way is Jesus.  When people do come out of the darkness, all the angels in heaven rejoice.  We should rejoice with them.  Their lives will never be the same.  They will need encouragement and support as they begin their new lives.

They have come out of darkness, into the light.

Martyrs in India

October 7, 2008

I have read recently, (I can’t remember the source.   I think it was AG News. ) about recent killings in N.E. India.  Apparantly a local Hindu leader was killed.  There was an organization that claimed responsibility for the death, but locals blamed the Christians for the death anyway.  There was massive retaliatory violence, with many churches burned, and hundreds of Christians killed.   

I write about this because in America we sometimes forget that simply being Christian can, at times, still get you killed.  We need to remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who may not live in areas that are sympathetic to Christianity.  It is a big world, and not always friendly.  Yet we must remember that “God so loved the world…” and that we are commanded to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.”  Let us remember to pray for those who are bringing the good news to people around the world, some of whom do not want to hear it.