Summary: A brief challenge about supporting missionaries through the Faith Promise Plan, explaining why to give to missions, what faith promise giving is and the blessings that attend giving to missions.
Spotlight on Missions
March 23, 2014
TEXT: Mark 16:15 – “And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
When someone leaves this earth, their last words take on added import. You gather around the bedside and bend your head low to listen carefully to that person’s last words and wishes.
Before Jesus left this earth, His last words were the church’s marching orders, which are often referred to as the “Great Commission.” Christ recorded His Great Commission five times between His resurrection and His ascension—once in each Gospel and once in Acts, and each time it’s phrased so differently that it must have been a command repeated on five separate occasions. Jesus wanted to put a spotlight on the mission of the church—which is to take the Gospel to the whole world and reach the lost for Christ.
That’s what I would like to do this morning.
Here at Grace Baptist Church we support our own missionaries. If you want to know who they are and what they’re doing, you can go upstairs and on the wall outside the Fellowship Hall are the prayer letters of the missionaries we support. Having our missionary display board was a good idea, but it illustrates a problem I see. We just couldn’t find a proper place on this floor in our building, so the next best place to put the missions board was upstairs in the hallway.
I wonder sometimes if that’s also how we view missions in general. I wonder if it’s like we know missions is important, but we’re just so busy and well… let’s just put it out of the way in our lives and in our thinking and in our focus.
So today I want to spotlight missions and explain Faith Promise missions giving, which is what we call the way we support missionaries at here Grace Baptist Church. Consider three simple points with me today:
I. FIRST I WANT YOU TO SEE MISSIONS’ MANDATE
I want us to examine WHY we as a church should even have a missions program and ask people to sacrifice three nights out of their busy lives, emphasize missions and exhort you and me to give to missions?
As I said a moment ago, after Jesus died and rose from the dead, FIVE SEPARATE TIMES He repeated some form of what we call, “The Great Commission.”
Our text, Mark 16:15, is the shortest one of the five instances, where Jesus commanded, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Let’s dissect this verse and see just what God’s idea is here for missions:
• First we see “The PERSONNEL.”
Who are the personnel of missions? Who is Jesus talking to? Who is responsible here to carry out this task?
The scripture says “Go YE.” This is real simple: WE are the “YE”—that’s you and me! I feel like Dr. Suess, but let me repeat that: WE are the “YE”—that’s you and me! In other words, it’s OUR responsibility to take the Gospel to the world.
• Second, we see “The PLACE.”
WHERE are we to “go?” – Jesus says: “go ye into all the world.” We’ve been given the task to take the Gospel “into all the world.”
• Third, we see “The PLAN.”
Now you don’t need a theologian to understand this. It’s very clear: the plan is to “preach the gospel to every creature.” To “preach” means to “proclaim.”
This is really basic: Jesus says we’re to proclaim the Gospel to every person. Somehow, some way, God says that your job and my job as believers is to proclaim the Gospel—the message of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus for our sins—to every person, everywhere in the world.
That’s the mandate of the church: to preach the Gospel to EVERYONE in the world.
When you look at the early church in the book of Acts, you see how this is to be done. It’s done through witnessing by everyday believers like each of you where you live and work, and by preachers preaching the Gospel in local churches in local communities and by churches sending missionaries to the rest of the world.
And that’s how they did it in the New Testament—Christians first witnessed in Jerusalem, the cradle of Christianity; then to the outlying regions when the first persecution dispersed believers to Judea and Samaria; then to the larger Middle East; and then it radiated throughout the rest of the world when the first missionaries, Paul and Barnabas were sent in out Acts 13.
There are 26 chapters in the Acts, and the first half is about evangelism at home and in nearby areas and the other half are devoted to the missionary endeavors of Paul.