Summary: Explores the most challenging missions fields in the world today, and proposes that the media/Hollywood, is among the most important fields we can pray for.
The Media Mission Field
April 24, 2005
I want to read two passages of scripture this morning, and then ask you some questions.
Mark 16:15 - He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
Ephes. 6:12 - For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Now, this morning’s message will be a little bit different than usual. We’re not going to spend a lot of time looking at the nuances of these passages, examining them word by word. What we are going to do is examine some very practical implications of these two verses, in the context of a very specific mission field.
When we think of the phrase in the Mark passage “all the world,” what do we think of? What does that mean? We think of anyplace, right? Anyplace in the world. Any people group. In this church, we’ve seen missionaries, people who’ve sat in these chairs with us on Sunday mornings, go to almost every continent.
We’ve seen missionaries in traditional, as well as non-traditional mission fields. Doing traditional missions work as well as non-traditional missions work. We’ve seen members of this church family, who’ve gone to very hard places, places where God’s light was very dim, places where there was a real risk in sharing their faith.
We’ve seen our missionaries go to nations, to people groups, where very small percentages of the population were Christian. We’ve seen them go to do all different kinds of work, too. Some directly related to preaching the gospel, but many more indirectly related to sharing their faith, much like our work here, in our jobs, in our neighborhoods, in our schools, places we can, and should, see as our mission work, too.
For example, Chris Place, among the other work that he does, serves casino workers with medical services, in Macau, China, and trusts God that in building relationships with those people, and serving them with the love of Christ he’ll have real, genuine opportunities, to share the love of Christ.
Martha (not her real name) teaches Afghan children. She builds relationships through this, and trusts God that in building those relationships, she, too, will have real, genuine opportunities, to introduce people to Jesus. So, all the world means not just all the nations, but all kinds of people, all kinds of cultures, and cultures within cultures, sometimes including those whose behavior we don’t necessarily endorse, like the casino workers Chris Place ministers to.
We’re able to do that partly because of what it says in Ephesians 6. We recognize that these people we’re trying to reach, these people involved in what scripture might clearly condemn as sinful, are not our enemy.
Our enemy is THE enemy – the spiritual forces of darkness, those forces that entice and entrap people into sinful lifestyles. So, we love them, don’t we? We serve them. We reach out to them, knowing that by revealing Christ in our actions, and through our prayers, God can use us to reach them with the gospel.
So, in that way, these two passages of scripture go together. We go into all the world, including those parts of the world that are spiritually dark, perhaps especially those parts of the world that are spiritually dark, realizing that the people living in this darkness, are not our enemy.
Rather, they are loved by God, though they are still in that state of sin, and in need of redemption. If you think about it, it’s the same state we were in...after all, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. There’s not a one of us that does not apply to.
Now, if you think about the phrase all the world, and ponder the hardest, perhaps most important, mission fields these days, several come to mind. But if I had to number them, perhaps by degree of difficulty, I might do it like this:
1. Islam and Arabic nations
2. Asian nations and Asian religions
They’re at least among, if not actually the hardest and most important mission fields for several reasons. The sheer numbers of people involved is a significant reason. Then, too, all you have to do is open a newspaper, or turn on the television news, and it’s easy to understand why Islam is a tremendous missions challenge, why Arab nations, or other largely Muslim nations, are a dangerous place to be.
When we see the repression in a place like North Korea, we recognize it as a very challenging mission field. Many missionaries literally risk their lives in some of these nations. Most Islamic nations are hostile to Christianity, as are many Asian nations.