Summary: How to change the world by delivering the message of Christ.
A CHURCH TO EVANGELIZE THE WORLD
I still believe Thomas Road Baptist Church can do more to evangelize the world than any other church. If you were living in the early 70s, there was no church reaching the lost like Thomas Road Baptist Church. We did it through the Old Time Gospel Hour, radio, records and later cassettes and through the beginnings of Liberty University. A book I wrote called Church Aflame ignited interest in evangelism
When we go to the Mountain, Thomas Road Baptist Church will not be a church to change the world because we have the biggest auditorium, or because we have a TV ministry, or because I am the pastor. No! We can only change the world if we have a heart for the world and deliver the message for the world. We can only change the world if we evangelize the world.
1. The Basis for World Evangelization is the Great Commission.
a. All persons
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
b. All the earth
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
c. All power
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).
2. Last summer I preached a sermon, i.e., A Church To Change The World. That sermon focused on our humanitarian ministries, such as the Godparent Home, Elim Home and the “feeding” projects we have done in Haiti, Thailand, etc.
That sermon said Thomas Road could change the world because of my “Mars Hill ministry,” witnessing to the world.
3. This sermon is focused on preaching the Gospel to the world.
a. Our church can preach the Gospel to everyone in the entire world. I remember twenty years ago raising money to preach the Gospel on Trans World Radio in HJCA (Heralding Jesus Christ Abroad) so Thomas Road could preach the Gospel to every person in the world from this pulpit right here. We did that once; I’ve not lost that passion. We can do it every week. We can do it every day.
b. The Gospel can crush hardened hearts, it can make the spiritually blinded see. I know of men who have broken their alcoholic addiction with Jesus, I know of drug addicts who have been freed by the Gospel, and I know of homosexuals who have gone straight because of the power of regeneration. I want to preach the Gospel to the world because it’s the only message that transforms the world.
4. Every church and every Christian has the obligation to be a soul-winner. George Barna said only 4 out of 10 Baptists shared their faith with someone in 2001. He said the percentage is much lower with other denominations.
B. FIVE OF THE GREATEST CHALLENGES FACING 2002 A.D.
1. FIRST CHALLENGE: ISLAM: PEOPLE WHO NEED JESUS CHRIST
The tragedy of the Twin Towers on 9-11 changed the face of American life and I don’t know if we can ever be a trusting, open society as we have known in the past. There will be more security in industry, airlines, government buildings, and as much as any of us don’t like it, the government will be prying into everyone’s business more than ever before.
While 9-11 made us aware of terrorists, it also made the world aware of Islam: both the normal Islamic faith and radical Islamic cults. I have heard statistics that there are between 1 billion to 1,200,000,000 Islamic followers in the world.
Media have told us more about what Muslims believe than ever before. Islam worships one God, Allah, but that God is not our Heavenly Father. Not one of them will go to Heaven apart from faith in Jesus Christ. That’s not a mean vindictive statement, nor is it an elitist statement to exclude anyone; nor is it an arrogant statement that we are the only “right ones.” Just as God is broken hearted over every lost Islamic person--the fanatics included--so we the Church ought to be broken hearted over lost Muslims. “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
How do I know that God loves all Islamics? Because I believe the Bible and what it says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Too often we stop at that verse, but look at the very next verse: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).