Summary: And not only is the world in our backyard, the world is each in of our backyards. No longer do we have to go out into all of the world. The world has come to us. And it tears at the heart of God when Christians and Churches race to relocate simply becau
The World In Our Backyard
Movement #1: THE WORLD IS OUR MISSION FIELD
Isn’t that exciting, to see people seal their commitment to Christ by being baptized makes all the effort of witness worthwhile. It speaks powerfully that there is indescribable truth to Jesus statement, which brings the book of Matthew to a close.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19)
Jumping off of our theme verse of the past, few weeks, …
“But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
… we have considered the principles for fishing in our own pond, reaching our own Jerusalem … that it begins with prayer, extends by loving the church family, expands by serving those outside of the church, demonstrates a transformed life, and finally speaks the truth.
Last week, we discussed how we can partner with the Church body in reaching Judea and Samaria, strengthening the impact of our personal witness.
Today, we want to focus on the last field of witness … the ends of the earth … reaching the rest of the world, For you see, the world is our mission field.
In Acts 1, the role of being a witness to the world is set in geographical terms as someplace far removed from where we are. We reach out to those who are immediately around us. We extend ourselves to those who are outside our present circle of relationships. We move closer to those who are different than us. And finally, we move out to reach those who are removed from us.
This last element, the moving out to reach those who are removed from us, is what we picture as the young pioneer blazing a trail through the virgin jungle in search of the next tribe who needs to hear about Christ. It is the life and death struggle to serve the cause of Christ in a foreign and often hostile land. It is packing up and moving to the heart of Africa, like Dave and Suzie Snyder, or Steve and Pat Zimmerman, or the thousands of others who have left house and home to build a new one in a new land.
Throughout the last five hundred years, moving out to reach those who are removed from us has served as the model for missions. Beginning in the 1500’s, and energized in the 1800’s with the fresh movement of modern missions, the church expanded from a declining European institution to a faith found flourishing on every continent of the world (save Antarctica).
Yet, most of us can’t even consider moving to a far off place to fulfill our mission. However, God has not given us an exemption from being involved in what God is doing in the world.
For starters, we can contribute to missions through the annual Faith-Promise campaign. These mission need our financial support in order to sustain themselves, however, we can do much more than simple send cash.
We can become involved. This morning I have asked a couple who are spending time in England over the next year to share with us how they are getting involved in what God is doing there. Geoff and Lois.
Movement #2: THE WORLD IS CHANGING
Now some of you might be thinking, “That’s fine for Geoff and Lois. It’s great that Pepsi could send him to England, and he could be involved there. But I don’t have a job that will send me overseas. If I did I might be involved in missions too.”
Yet the world is changing. Things are not the same as they used to be. Many of you have made that same observation yourself. And the shifts that we have experienced in this changing world have resulted in a change in opportunities.
Just think through some of the world changes that are relevant to what God is doing in our world.
The world population at the time of Christ was about 300 million. One thousand years later, the world population had barely changed.
Today the population is more than six billion. Of those people, more than one and a half billion have never even heard the name of Jesus.
In the year 1000, the world’s five largest cities were Cordova, Spain; Kaifeng, China; Constantinople, Turkey; Angkor, Cambodia; and Kyoto, Japan. The average Christian back then had never heard of most of these global centers, and could do little to influence them for Christ.