Summary: Most Christians believe in Jesus but are not possessed by Jesus and therein lies the reason for the lack of people being Christian missionaries in the world. Missionaries are possessed by the presence of Jesus make themselves available for God’s purposes.
The Psalmist prays, “Lord, teach me to number my days that I may gain a heart of wisdom.” Jesus had the key to numbering our days when he said just keep seeking the kingdom of God. Throughout this series, we’ve learned that missionaries are spirit filled people. In other words, they are possessed by Jesus. When you are possessed by the presence of Jesus in your life, Jesus is in control of your life. Most Christians believe in Jesus but are not possessed by Jesus and therein lies the reason for the lack of people being Christian missionaries in the world. Missionaries are possessed by the presence of Jesus make themselves available for God’s purposes.
Today, we meet a missionary named Philip. God’s plan is not to get the world into the church but to get the church into the world and that’s every day ordinary, non-professional Christians scattered throughout the world. 97% of the people around you believe in God, pray to God and ask for God’s favor. That means most of the people who are not in church believe in God. Now the Ethiopian was a person who believed in God but couldn’t find his way to God. Have you ever noticed that religious institutions make it hard sometimes to find their way to God. They often become places of judgment against people rather than places to experience the love of God. Now a eunach was not accepted in the community of faith because he had been sexually altered. In Deteronomy, it says that people who are sexually incomplete were not accepted in the house of God. Now we know today that there are churches which exclude because of the sexual situation of people’s lives, like homosexuality. God’s purpose isn’t to bring people into these misguided bodies of faith but to take Christians and scatter them in the world so they can get involved in the day to day lives of people searching for God.
Mark is a young businessman who does business in China. Each time he has gone to China, he has asked God to reveal to him whom he might speak to on behalf of Jesus. What might happen if every one of you went to work praying for God to reveal to him whom he might speak to on behalf of Jesus. You’re a missionary and that’s what missionaries do. Mark was there in China for 3 weeks and kept praying this prayer. And finally on the last day, there was a Chinese engineer and Mark was able to share how Jesus had changed his life. And as a result they developed a relationship. On his next trip, Mark went to church in China even though he didn’t understand anything because it was in Mandarin. When it came time to make his offering, he went forward with everyone else, put his offering in and then they handed him two tickets. The tickets were for a seat on Christmas Eve and they do this because so many Chinese flood to the churches that you can’t get a seat. Mark gave his tickets to the Chinese engineer which covered two families. He took his family and his mother in law’s family. He then emailed Mark to tell them that night they all made a commitment of their life to Jesus Christ. This Chinese engineer has now been hired by the company that Mark works for as their full time rep in China and so now Mark and he have this day to day relationship. Now here’s the thing: I as a minister can’t get into China but business people can.
God plan is not to use professional ministers to try to win the world but to take non-professional Christians and spread them throughout the world. Look at the opportunities you have, everyday, ordinary people who go to work. What might happen if every one of you prayed about how you can be available to God’s purpose at work. God’s plan to reach the world is through non-professional, ordinary people just like you! The reason the church is losing its influence in America is because so many people are protective of their time. We think it’s our time: here’s my work time, here’s my God time, here’s my play time and the three shall never meet. I give my Sunday mornings to God. What more does he want? And so the question is raised: whose time is it anyway? Who gave you this day? Who allowed you to have another day to live? It’s God and he wants 24/7/365 availability.
This is why we no longer use the word ‘volunteer’. A volunteer’ says I’ll help God out and give him some of my time. The Bible doesn’t use the word volunteer’, it uses the word servant. A servant serves at the directive of the one who is in charge. Verse 26 says, “an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." Notice that God doesn’t ask if Philip wanted to go or if he think it’s a good idea to go, he just says, “Go!” Philip is a servant and so he gets up and goes. That’s why we refer to Jesus as Lord. Too many people look at Jesus as teacher but with a teacher we take the best things that will affect our life and leave the rest on our side. Jesus on the last night of his life was washing the disciple’s feet teaching them that they weren’t to be students but servants. “You call me teacher and Lord for you are right, so I am.” But then he reversed the two words when he said, “But, I, your Lord and teacher, do this for you and you must do this for one another” What he was telling them is that he is their Lord, which means absolute owner. So the servant realizes that we serve at the discretion of Lord Jesus who has absolute authority over our lives.