Summary: Missions--It all started...not with The Great Commission...but in God’s heart. Link included to Formatted Text Version, handout, and PowerPoint Presentation.
For God So Loved…
Usually, when we think of missions we think of the Great Commission. But missions didn’t begin with the Great Commission. Missions began with God. It first beat in His heart before it was ever breathed as the life sustaining force into His church.
Our God is Missions Minded. If He were not, there would be no Christian mission.
The Gospel He has given us is a Missions Message. If it could not save every sinner, there would be no reason to take it to every nation.
And the Great Commission is a Missions Mandate. It identifies the local church as the center for world evangelism.
A strong Missions program rests on these three foundations:
I. A Compassionate God
A. The Description of God’s Love – John 3:16 [quote it with me]
1. It is Extravagant - “God so loved”
a. It is a love so infinite that it is everlasting.
The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
b. It is a love so incomprehensible that it passes knowledge.
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
c. It is a love so indiscriminate that it would be given to the least worthy, sinners.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
2. It is Exhaustive - “the world”
a. God is not willing that any should perish. 2 Peter 3:9
b. He would have all men to be saved. 1 Timothy 2:4
3. It is Expressive – “that He gave”
B. The Demonstration of God’s Love
1. He promised a Savior to deal with the problem of sin.
God said to Satan in Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
a. This verse is often called the “protevangelium,” meaning the first pronouncement of the Gospel.
b. This promise was repeated and amplified throughout the Old Testament. It rested upon the unconditional, sovereign “I will” of God.
c. All the acts of God in the Old Testament were performed with the fulfillment of this promise in mind.
2. He provided a Savior to deal with the problem of sin.
a. When the plan of God was complete, God sent forth His Son to be mankind’s redeemer.
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
b. According to the eternal purpose of God, Christ “died for our sins … was buried … and rose again the third day.” 1 Cor. 15:3-4
c. To the everlasting praise of God, salvation is now offered on the sole condition of faith in the finished work of Christ upon Calvary.
II. A Compelling Message
In Romans 1:14-16, Paul declares that he is indebted to God to give the world the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Having heard the greatest message in the world, He was compelled to share it with whomever he could. So great was this sense of obligation that Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:16, “Yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel!”
A. It is a distinct message.
1. Every major religion relies upon performance for salvation.
a. Hinduism preaches a fourfold path to salvation.
b. Buddhism leads its followers down an eightfold path to salvation.
c. The salvation offered by Islam rests upon Five Pillars.
d. In Catholicism, salvation is gained through fulfilling five sacraments.
2. The Gospel centers upon a Person for salvation.
a. Jesus announced, “I am the Way …no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” John 14:6
b. Peter declared, “There is none other name…whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
c. Paul said, “Through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.” Acts 13:38
The Gospel finds its source, content, and meaning in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Apart from Him, there is no salvation. Other messages tell men what they must DO to be saved; the Gospel tells men what has been DONE to save them.
B. It is a dynamic message. Romans 1:16-17
1. The Gospel is a particular message.
a. There are many messages in the Bible, but only one of them qualifies as THE Gospel.
b. The facts of the Gospel are:
• Christ died for our sins
• He was buried
• He rose again on the third day, having completed by himself all that was necessary to redeem mankind.