Summary: How can we accomplish our mission for the Lord? 1. With a strong commitment to spread the Word of God (vs. 5-7). 2. With strong courage to face our opposition (vs. 6-8). 3. With strong confidence in our God (vs. 9-12).
How We Can Accomplish Our Mission for the Lord
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - May 18, 2014
*From 1990-2000, church attendance remained basically the same in churches across America. Unfortunately, during that same time, our population grew by over 30 million people. (1)
*Bob Ashcraft reported a 2001 study which said that every day in the United States 7 new churches are started. That sounded good, but the bad news was that 10 churches also shut down every day. We were losing 3 churches a day in the USA. And I seriously doubt the situation is any better today. (2)
*Shellie Tomlinson expressed the sadness of this situation in her News Star column yesterday. She talked about seeing pictures of abandoned churches on the internet, and Shellie wrote: "With each click my eyes took in images of abandoned church buildings strewn in big cities and small towns, all across our planet. The more I surfed, the more somber I became.
*As sad as it was to see those glorious cathedrals standing tomb silent as plaster cracked and fell from their elaborately carved architecture, the sagging walls of country churches being pulled to their foundations with snaking vines caught in my heart every bit as much or more. Towards the end of my 'research,' I sat studying the broken down pulpit where someone once read holy words and I thought I might cry." (3)
*Church: We are part of the most important work in the world today, and the work gets more urgent every day. How are we going to get the job done? Tonight's Scripture shows us some of the essentials.
1. First: We must have a strong commitment to spread God's Word.
*As Paul and Barnabas began their mission, they remind us how essential the Word of God is to our mission. In vs. 5: "When they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews."
*They were doing everything they could to spread the Word of God, and so must we. The primary focus of our mission must always be the Word of God. We can never fulfill our mission without it. And God's Word will accomplish what He intends it to do.
*Charles Spurgeon was one of the great preachers of the 1800's. One morning, he asked the Lord to direct him in what he should read for his morning devotions, and he was strongly moved to read the book of Joel.
*When Spurgeon came to Joel 3:3, he read: "They have cast lots for My people, have given a boy in exchange for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they may drink." Well, that sounds like a commentary on today. But the Holy Spirit made sure that the word "girl" caught Spurgeon's eye. The preacher was curious about that word, and he checked his concordance to see how many times the word "girl" was found in his KJV Bible. To his great surprise, he found the word only occurred once.
*Later that same day, Spurgeon decided to take a walk. He had gone about a block and a half, when he looked up to see a certain house. Spurgeon knew that a radical atheist lived in that house. This hard-hearted unbeliever was very ugly to anyone who believed the Bible, but Spurgeon went up and knocked on the front door. In a growling voice, the atheist asked, "Well, what do you want?" "I would like to read the Bible to you," Spurgeon replied.
*The atheist began his usual abuse, but then suddenly he stopped and asked, "Will you tell me how often the word 'girl' is in the Bible?" Mr. Spurgeon immediately answered, "Once." Then the surprised atheist said, "Tell me where it is found, and I will let you in." Again, without delay, Spurgeon answered, "Joel 3:3."
*The shocked atheist then said, "Before I let you in, tell me: How did you know it?" And Mr. Spurgeon answered, "I haven't known it two hours. But in my morning devotions I read the book of Joel." The atheist let Spurgeon come in, and in half an hour he was down on his knees asking God to forgive his sins. (4)
*How did that happen? It was the supernatural Hand of God working through the infallible Word of God. And God's Word still works today! It even works on atheists today. But there are many people in our world like the Roman deputy in vs. 7.
*His name was Sergius Paulus, and the Bible tells us that he was a "prudent" man. That means he was a wise and intelligent man. The idea behind that word "prudent" was that his thoughts were put together the right way. Sergius Paulus was a thinker and a seeker.