Summary: A message presented at a mission trip report. The challenge is how will we get involved in God’s worldwide mission
The Trip is over - What now?
Gladstone Baptist Church – 22/1/06 am
Well, I hope that you have enjoyed your whirl wind tour around Thailand with us. We had an amazing time as you can see and I don’t think any single member of the team came back the same.
Today, I want to wrap up by asking the question “What now?”
For the 11 who went to Thailand, the trip is over and the memories will begin to fade. But What now?
For the other 200 odd people here this morning – you didn’t go to Thailand the trip and you’ve only got a glimpse of a few of the things we learnt this morning. But for you the question is the same - What now? 2006 has started at a flat out pace. This week school starts and everything else won’t be too far behind it. But what now? Does any of this have any bearing on you for the rest of 2006?
This morning, I want to put before you the challenge of your involvement in God’s mission.
If I had to pick the most important of the 5 purposes we have on this earth, I think I could make a fairly strong argument for picking evangelism. Why? Because it is the only one which has a limited lifespan. You will worship, become like Christ, minister and enjoy fellowship for all heaven’s eternity. But once you die, your chance to evangelise is finished. That means we have eternity to do 4 of these things, but we’ll most likely have less than 80 years to share our faith with non-believers.
You ask the question – What Now? My answer is to tell others about Christ in season and out.
When Jesus came back from the dead, Luke records what he did in Acts 1:3.
“After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”
The disciples had many questions (vs 6) So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” The disciples wanted to know when he was going to overthrow the Romans and seize power. But Jesus said, “Don’t you worry about that. What I do want you to worry about is being my witnesses.” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Here is the commissioning of the disciples to be His witnesses locally and globally, in Jerusalem and to the ends of the earth. This was his mission statement and the single most important thing he wanted his followers to achieve. Why? Because their time was limited. It is still the highest priority for us because it’s deadline is closest. Unfortunately we often see witness or mission as an optional extra. It is not and I want you to remind you this morning about 3 things you’ve all heard before…
1. YOU ARE CALLED TO BE WITNESSES TO HIS KINGDOM
“..and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8
“go and make disciples of all nations,” Matthew 28:18,19
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Cor 5:18-20
Being Witnesses is the core mission of the church – not to have a nice building, or to have some wonderful fellowship, or to educate people, or to have the best programs around that entertain kids. As C.S.Lewis says.. “The church exists for nothing else than drawing men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose."(Mere Christianity Fontana p 167)
What now? We need to recapture the centrality of our witness. This year we are going to have several evangelistic outreaches. The first is the Narnia Sermon Series. The next will be a family and marriage focus in June / July centred around a family fun day. The last will be a Christmas outreach. We are not running these just to entertain or educate, but to evangelise. I want you to start to get on your knees from today onwards and ask God to show you who you are to invite along to these events. I want you to begin to pray every week for those people that God would soften their heart and prepare the ground for the gospel. I want you to stand up against Satan and the fear he is placing in your heart and invite those friends to these outreaches – believing that God will speak to him. God is calling us to be his witnesses for him in 2006. What now – be his witnesses.