Summary: This sermon's three main points: Missions is 1) the heart of Christ, 2) the hope of the lost and 3) the health of the church.
Three Fundamental Truths about Missions
March 10, 2013
Adapted from a skeletal outline by Jimmy Chapman titled “Three Simple Truths about Missions” found on SermonCentral.com.
TEXT: 2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Today I want to talk to you about “Three Simple Truths about Missions.” OPENING JOKE: But before I do, I want to tell you a story about a missionary. Dr. Jim Kennard tells of a missionary in Japan who came by one evening before the evening service and said, “Jim, I’ve been studying Japanese for 6 months and I still can’t witness in Japanese. Can you just tell me how to say ‘Will you please read this?’ and at least I can go on the street and pass out tracts and feel like I’m actually doing missionary work rather than sitting around learning Japanese 8 hours a day.”
So Dr. Kennard told him to say in Japanese, “Dozo yonde kudasai.” So the missionary kept repeating that phrase all the way to the street, but by the time he got there, he had unknowingly changed one single word. He saw a Japanese man come by and so he said what he THOUGHT was “Please read this,” but got a curious reaction. The man asked in Japanese, “What?” and the missionary repeated the phrase, to which the Japanese man broke out in a fit of laughter. Next, he tried it on a young lady, who turned red, politely covered her mouth to stifle a chuckle, took the tract and ran off giggling.
He got the same reaction at least 10 times, so finally he went back to Dr. Kennard and asked, “Why is everybody laughing at me?” Dr. Kennard said, “Well, what are you saying?” When he told him, Dr. Kennard broke out in leg-slapping laughter and said, “John, what you’re really saying, ‘Would you please MARRY ME?’
Well, every missionary has a story like that to tell, and it’s all very funny years later. But believe me, if you’re the missionary who made the mistake, it’s not very funny at the time!
And neither is our subject this morning. Today, as we try to lay the groundwork for a great missions conference THIS Thursday through Sunday, I want us to understand the importance of missions.
• Why would sane people leave the comforts of America to go to a foreign land, sometimes in primitive conditions to tell people about Jesus Christ?
• Why expend the time and the energy to have a missions conference four days in a row?
• Why should WE sacrifice our money, and our time in prayers for worldwide missions?
Let me give you three simple truths about missions that will answer those questions and provide the underpinnings of everything that will be said about missions this week.
I. TRUTH NUMBER 1: MISSIONS IS THE HEART OF CHRIST.
There’s a telling phrase in John 4:4, before Jesus went to meet the woman at the well. That verse says, “And he must needs go through Samaria.” In modern English that means this: “Jesus HAD to go through Samaria.” There were two highways from Judea to the northern territory of Galilee. One is shorter than the other. Devout Jews avoided the route through Samaria and preferred the longer route than to journey among people they detested as half-breeds Jews and Gentiles.
The MUST of our text was not a necessity imposed by geographical restrictions. The route through Samaria was necessary because there was a needy woman who needed to hear that Jesus was the living water and that “…whoever drinks of the water I give him will never thirst; but the water that I’ll give him will be in him a well of water springing up to everlasting life.” Jesus’s heart was so filled with love for the lost, He went the route other Jews would not dare take in order to reach one woman of a different ethnic group.
You see, God had only one Son, and He made Him a missionary. In Mark 1:38 Jesus said, “…Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth [i.e., “that’s why I’ve come”].”
Jesus came to die for sinners; and all His life He proclaimed to others that He was the living water. Reaching people—saving people from sin—that was the HEARTBEAT of Jesus. Even his name, Jesus, meant “Savior.”
In Matthew 18:11, Jesus made clear His mission when He said, “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.”
If a missionary is someone sent to rescue the lost from sin, Jesus was the first missionary.