Summary: WHEN ANY CHURCH LOSES THE SPIRIT OF THE GREAT COMMISSION, IT SURRENDERS THE VERY REASON FOR ITS EXISTENCE.
The Mission Of The Church Is MissionsThe Mission Of The Church Is Missions
What is the main business of the church? Some would say that it is to care of its members. The church is here to visit the sick and pray with them, to take care of people at important transitions in life, such as marriage, childbirth, and death. Some would say it is here to provide guidance and comfort for people at important times. No doubt, these are all functions of the church. However, I would argue that these functions are not the main business of the church.
We are always in danger of slipping into a maintenance mentality in the church, where we focus on maintaining what we have, and we forget about the lost.
We oftentimes think that the Church is here for us; we forget that we are the Church, and we’re here for the lost world.
Several years ago the city of Pittsburgh constructed a large, new post office at the cost of several million dollars. On the day of it’s opening, the Governor made a speech, the bands played and the people cheered. It was quite a celebration.
However, when the first man entered to mail a letter, to the embarrassment of the engineers, it was discovered that in the rush to meet the deadline, they had omitted the usual letter drop. Here was a costly new post office, but no place to mail a letter! It was a slight omission, but it negated the very reason for its existence.
That brings me to the very point of this message: WHEN ANY CHURCH LOSES THE SPIRIT OF THE GREAT COMMISSION, IT SURRENDERS THE VERY REASON FOR ITS EXISTENCE.
God is a missionary God. The Bible is a missionary book. The gospel is a missionary message. The Church is a missionary institution. When the Church ceases to be missionary minded, it has betrayed its trust.
Essentially, the Church has many responsibilities but only one mission, and that is the evangelization of all nations.
A church that is not focused on the world is a
church that is not founded on the word.
I. The Church is the INCUBATOR FOR MISSIONS
The local church is the place where missionaries are born. It was the incubator for missions.
This mission’s movement was done out of a local church. It was based from a local church. I get nervous about ministries that are not driven out of and sponsored by a local church. When God was about to launch the first great missionary movement through one of His apostles, in fact, through the man who would be the greatest of the Apostles, He did so based out of a local church. A local church was God’s starting point and it should be our starting point.
If any church is going to be an incubator for missionaries and missions, they must recognize the pleasure of God in saving people from every tribe, tongue, people and nation.
A. In this church there was diversity in composition
Here was that true, mission spirit of "whosoever will" in their own ranks.
1. Barnabas - a well to do Levite from Cyprus
2. Simeon called Niger - name means black, so most scholars presume he was black
There was certainly no race distinction here.
3. Lucius of Cyrene - an ancient city in North Africa
4. Manaen - brought up with the Herod who stole Herodias from her husband, which murdered John the Baptist
5. Saul - Tarsus
Here was a diversity to be sure of. Here were Jews and Gentiles and wealthy and common, and all chosen and all controlled by the Spirit of God.
Now what struck me about verse 1 is how God can work through all different types of people You’ve got different backgrounds, cultures, and identities and God is working through these guys.
May the Lord increase our diversity!
B. In this church there was unity in character
Look at verse 2 at what these five guys were doing.
They were all ministered to the Lord, fasting and praying.
1. They were spiritual
2. They were sincere
II. The Holy Spirit is the INITIATOR OF MISSIONS (2,4)
The Holy Sprit issued the call for these missionaries.
The Holy Spirit speaks! In other words, He is not some impersonal force, but rather, a Person…fully God, and One who, as God, is the divine initiator.
A. A selective calling
“Barnabas and Paul”
It was a distinctive call. It was not for everyone.
It is worth our attention to note that the call came while they were ministering. It’s always the way, as they were ministering. When God looks for a man for ministry, He looks for men who are servants. The word ministering means that they were serving. Humble servants are the kind of men that God wants to use. God does not dust off the people who haven’t been doing anything. He uses the ones that are in the middle of it. He takes the best.