Summary: The What, Why, and How of Missions.

What’s going on?

---->When Hurricane Katrina left the Gold Coast in shatters, thousands of volunteers went to New Orleans and the outlying regions to help, and millions sent financial help to assist those displaced from their homes. The Red Cross set up and served hot meals to thousands, including in the cities where families were flown or bused to. Eighty percent of the volunteers who prepared and served those meals were Southern Baptists, working alongside and giving assistance to the Red Cross.

---->When the coal mine collapsed in Utah earlier this year, again it was Southern Baptists working with the Red Cross (Randal and Barbara Smith of our own church were two of those who traveled up there and helped) who responded in supplying meals and tangible help for the families awaiting word on their loved one who had been trapped in the mine.

---->This year alone, the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention has watched over and provided care for over 100 “orphaned” children, assisted many young women carry their babies to full term and then assisted them in being matched up with couples and helped work out the details for adopting those babies, assisted numerous couples and individuals in crisis counseling, disbursed clothing and food assistance to thousands.

Why would they do such things?

---->Well, part of it is that human beings are capable of “philos” love, caring for and showing compassion toward fellow human beings, even if those showing compassion are not followers of Jesus. There are agencies and movements all over the world who run races to raise funds for breast cancer, host concerts to benefit poor farmers, assemble blankets to make people aware of the tragedy of A.I.D.S., employers encourage their employees to participate in charitable donations to United Way, etc.

---->But, as Christians, it goes beyond just being “charitable.”

<>It’s part of our purpose as believers and as a church.

I invite you to open a Bible and once again turn to Matthew, chapter 25.

------ILL>A folktale tells of a king who had twin sons. There was confusion as to which son was born first, so as the two young men grew toward manhood, the king sought a fair way to designate one of them as crown prince. Calling them together into his council chamber one day, he told them, “My sons, the day will come when one of you must succeed me as king. The burdens of sovereignty are very heavy. To find out which of you is better able to bear them, I’m sending you together to a far corner of the kingdom. There, one of my advisors will place equal burdens on your shoulders. My crown will one day go to the first one who returns bearing his burden like a king should.” So they set out and received their burden from the king’s advisor, then began to return to their father. Soon they came upon a frail, elderly woman struggling under a heavy weight. One of the sons suggested they stop to help her, but the other declined, explaining that he was going to let nothing deter him from his mission of returning home to their a king should demonstrate singleness of purpose. The son who stayed and helped soon came upon many others who needed help: a sightless man for whom he provided needed assistance home; a lost child whom he carried back to her worried parents; a farmer whose wagon needed a strong shoulder to push it out of the mud. Eventually he did arrive back at the palace, and was met by his brother, who had a large frown on his face. His father’s advisor who had given the two boys their “burdens” came out of the palace then, just ahead of the king. The returning son asked his frowning brother, “What’s wrong, brother? You got here first, why are you so sad?” Before his brother could answer, his father the king spoke. “Son, you handled your burden in the way that is most fitting of a laid yours down in order to help others with theirs.”

Today is our fourth message in the series, “The Pursuit of Purpose.”

----We have examined our purposes of worship (“Reaching Up”), evangelism (“Reaching Out”), and discipleship (“Growing Up”).

Today, in “Reaching Across,” we’re going to examine our fourth purpose: MISSIONS...Helping those who are in need.

---->We know the WHEN of missions...we’re to help whenever someone is in need.

---->We know the WHO of missions...we’re to help everyone we come across who has a need.

Today we’re going to examine the WHAT, WHY, and HOW of missions.

1) WHAT?

-----What are we talking about when we talk about missions as being a purpose of the church?

<>When you hear Christians speak of missions, it can be confusing if you don’t understand that they may be talking about either one of TWO ASPECTS of missions:

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