Summary: Keys to being a church that causes God to smile
Over the last few weeks we have worked together on a series entitled Crossroads: A church in transition. We have talked one the peace of God, the intersection of listening to and obeying God of which we could have camped for a whole year. This morning though I want to focus upon another pivotal intersection. The intersection of being missionary.- It is here at this crossroad where we will camp this morning.
Turn with me again to Numbers Chapter 13 beginning in verse 1 The Israelites are at the brink of the Promised Land. -A land that was beyond their wildest dreams. Entering that land would de as dramatic as Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz black and white to Color… But there at the edge, at the brink a choice was needed to be made- would they settle for less than the best or would they seize the day.
Listen as the passage is read
There is not a sadder passage in all of the Bible, the people at the verge of the promised land looked within instead heavenward and proclaimed it is an incredible land beyond our wildest hopes and dreams, but there is no way we can possess it. We are as tiny as grasshoppers in their eyes. We CAN’T DO IT.
This scene is played out everyday in churches throughout our land. Churches who are given opportunities and tasks by God. Promises to be claimed, but we look around and we proclaim It is too much. We are too small. We can’t do it. And in the midst of it all miss the blessing.
In this series I shared with you that the way we do church has limited the work of God and is very unbiblical. Expecting the pastor to do the work of God in the community instead of empowering the pastor to disciple, and commission the members to be missionaries in their communities in their homes, schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces. I shared that in HIS church we are all members and thus we are all missionaries. No matter who or what we are-- we are missionaries we are ministers of the Grace of Jesus of Christ to our world.
So when I ask the question that will dominate the remainder of this sermon, to answer NO to this question is not a choice, option, or preference. It is flat out sin. So are you ready for the question.
Are you a missionary? Are you actively serving your community for Jesus Christ? Are you like Joshua and Caleb or are you like the other 10. Are You a Missionary? Looking at this passage as we compare Joshua and Caleb with the other 10 we can see some characteristics that can help you determine the answer to this question.
Before we examine some basic characteristics we must go back to an overarching theme that weaves its way in and through everything a missionary does. A missionary actively listen to God, and trusts his promises, and readily obeys Him. From this obedience flow certain characteristics.
First, A missionary sees his field his community through the eyes of God.
The lord did not send them into the land to determine whether they could possess the land. He brought them into the land to unveil his gift. Joshua and Caleb saw the same wonderful things the other 10 saw but with different eyes. Because they saw with the eyes that believed what God said and that he would do what he said. The eyes that saw the greater wonderful gift that lay before them.
Acts 1:8 says that each of you are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be his witnesses… Romans Chapter 8 says that we are more than conquerors through him who gave himself for us…Philippians 4:13 says we can do all things through him who gives us strength.
With the promises of God firmly in place for us as God calls our vision should change.
A missionary has eyes of promise and sees their mission fields with the eyes of God.
Second, A missionary is often in the minority and not the majority and should expect opposition
12 spies went into the same land, 10 agreed 2 did not. Listen to Caleb’s lone voice when the other 10 spies bring the bad report. Listen to his words again:
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.
Later when the people rebelled, Joshua and Caleb pleaded with the people in this way. The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because WE will swallow them up. THEIR protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them