Summary: The church must have a mission and a vision in order to grow and survive. This message examines what John says in 3 John.
THE CHURCH’S MISSION CHALLENGE
INTRO: The finest days of any congregation come when there is a clear vision of the church’s mission and a clear understanding of and commitment to that vision.
John wrote to a fellowship of believers who struggled to determine the priority of the church’s mission in the world. Three key thoughts capture his message.
I. THE MISSION PURPOSE (v. 7).
Armed with the good news, these early believers ventured forth into a hostile world as the representatives of Jesus Christ.
The mission of the church centers in the declaration of God’s love in Christ for all persons. We are to go to all people in His name sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
How tragic it is to see a church which has no better reason for existing than continuing the routine of service, maintaining organizations, or gaining prestige! God has made us His people that we might declare at home and to the ends of the earth His salvation through Jesus Christ.
II. THE MISSION PARTICIPANTS (v. 8).
John referred to those involved in a traveling mission. He identified the church as "fellow-helpers to the truth." Even though they couldn’t go themselves, they supported the mission through financial giving.
God calls some to give their lives in vocational service as missionaries. Others God calls to express faithful support. All are needed.
A tragic imbalance exists in the world, as about 90 percent of Christian leadership works with 10 percent of the world’s population. We are told that if all Christian communities would reach effectively their own communities, less than 20 percent of the world would be reached. Most non-Christians in the world have no Christian neighbors.
The church needs to be mission minded in order to obey Christ and reach people with the gospel. But the church also needs to be mission minded for its own spiritual health. Unless a church is concretely expressing its concern for the world, it turns inward and eventually dies.
III. THE MISSION PROVISIONS (vv. 5-6).
Because the traveling missionaries did not seek financial support from un-believers, the church’s support was crucial. Financial assistance, encouragement, and prayer support were essential.
Giving to undergird mission ministries is both an opportunity and a responsibility. It is vital to the fulfillment of what God expects the church to be and do in the world.
Great giving is the key to great living. Knowing this is essential to the new mind-set needed about giving. The believer should never see giving as an imposition. Christ’s idea on giving is maximum giving, never minimum giving.
CONC: The New Testament is full of the testimonies of those who were saying to others, "This is what God has done for me." This is something each one of us can do. It doesn’t matter what else we do—if somehow we do not become sharers of the gospel, we will not be fulfilling Christ’s command.