Summary: This message is a challenge to a missionary couple and to the church supporting them.
November 4, 2001
Commissioning Service For the Twinems
As I was looking for what I might share today, someone said to me that in all their years in church, they had never been to a commissioning service. This just isn’t an everyday occurrence. It is especially rare to have a pastor who has served a church for eleven years be commissioned as a missionary of the church. That is why this has been an incredibly hard sermon for me to prepare. What do you say on such an occasion? I have struggled with this for weeks now, and I am going to ask your forbearance today if this doesn"t come across as a typical sounding sermon.
This morning I first want to speak to Steve and Lisa for a few minutes. The rest of you are welcome to listen in.
Then I want to speak to the church family of Harrow Baptist Church about our responsibilities to this family.
Address to Steve and Lisa
Steve and Lisa, as I thought about what I wanted to say to you today, I remembered the kind of people that you are. During our five year association here, you have both show a consistently godly character. I have no doubts that you will continue to walk close with the Lord as you head now to the mission field. I am confident that as you have been faithful here, you will continue to be faithful there.
With that in mind, I want to give you some words of encouragement as you go. The passage I have chosen is perhaps a strange one. The rich young ruler. . . Mark 10:17-31
I know that you will not water down the gospel.
1. When discouragements come, remember that God will accomplish his work. Mark 10:23-27
Today you are on a high - your dream of service in Peru is coming true. No doubt the next weeks and months, though tiring, will be exciting ones for you. But, sometime you are going to be overwhelmed by it all. (Steve I suspect it will be in language study for you.)
The task you are going to do is humanly impossible. But It is God who is going to do a work through you.
Acts 13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honoured the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
Acts 16:14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.
Acts 18:9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.
10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city."
2. Christ offers you more than all you have given up for him. Mark 10:28-30
We have agonized with you these last few months over the packing. Ten suitcases - the girls giving up their toys and stuffed animals - the yard sales.
Christ gives so much more. We are never in a losing proposition with Christ. We are always ahead on the ledger.
Address to the congregation
3 John 5-8 John speaks to Gaius
1. Let me commend your faithfulness 5
2. Let us send them on their way in a manner worthy of God 6-8
When William Carey went as the father of modern missions, his friend and fellow pastor Andrew Fuller agreed to stay behind and rally support for the effort.
Here are Fuller’s own words as he described what happened:
"We saw that there was a gold mine in India, but it seemed almost as deep as the centre of the earth. Who will venture to explore it? "I will go down," said Mr. Carey to his brethren, "but remember that you must hold the ropes." We solemnly engaged to do so; nor while we live, shall we desert him."
There is our challenge. Steve and Lisa have agreed to go down into the mine. We commit ourselves to hold the ropes. This morning we make the commitment that "while we live, we shall not desert them."