Summary: A sermon with some arresting object lessons illustrating the need for supporting missions.
Why I Want to Have a Big Part in Missions
Missions Emphasis Series
February 26, 2012
NOTE: You will much better understand the various PowerPoint object lessons if you request the PowerPoint presentation from me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEXT: Mark 16:15 – “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Henry Van Dyke’s said, “The missionary enterprise is not the church’s afterthought; it is Christ’s forethought.” My prayer is that missions does not become just an afterthought in our church program.
Our text is known as “the Great Commission,” which is found in different forms five times in the New Testament. Each of the four Gospels and the book of Acts record the Great Commission, and each instance is worded so differently, that it suggests that they are not different remembrances of a single time Jesus uttered the Great Commission. Rather, Jesus must have commanded—not once, but at least five times—that we are to go out into all the world and reach the lost for Christ, each time with a slightly different emphasis or focus.
Now, if our Lord says something ONCE, we ought to take it seriously. But when He says something FIVE times, it’s obvious He’s trying to get an important point across and we had better sit up and really pay attention.
If we would follow the HEART of God and obey the COMMAND of Christ, we will have a heart for evangelism and missions—both here and abroad.
Oswald Chambers said, “When the Spirit of God comes into a man, He gives Him a world-wide view.” John Wesley said, “All the world is my parish.” Brethren, all the world is OUR field of service and we too must have a world-wide view.
Jesus said in Acts 1:8 – “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” We’re called to reach our Jerusalem for Christ—Grafenwoehr post and the town of Grafenwoehr.
• We have not yet done all we ought to do to reach our Jerusalem. May we reach out to our friends and neighbors and co-workers with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
• Second, we’re called to reach out beyond our Jerusalem to our Judea and Samaria. – That’s why we support missionaries to Germany and nearby countries.
• We’re also called to reach “the uttermost part of the earth.” Put together, this is the task of worldwide missions.
I’m thankful for the missionaries we already support, but I want our church to do much more. I want our church to have a BIG part in missions, and I want each of you here individually to have a big part in missions too.
Let me tell you why:
I. FIRST, BECAUSE OF THE UNFAIR DISTRIBUTION OF GOSPEL WITNESS IN THE WORLD.
OBJECT LESSON IN POWERPOINT:
• We’re told that the world’s population is presently about 7 billion people. You see here 100 stick figures, each representing 70 million people. 100 X 70 million = 7 billion, so each stick figure represents 1% of the world’s population.
• Of the world’s population, only 6% are natively English speaking and 94% are natively non-English speaking, so this next slide separates these two groups out.
• Now here’s a startling fact!—Fully 90% of the ordained preachers in the world minister to the 6%. That means that only 10% of ordained preachers minister to the remaining world’s non-English speaking 90%.
Let me ask you—Is that fair? Someone has said, “It’s not fair for anyone to hear the Gospel twice until everyone has had the opportunity to hear it once.” Tragically, vast numbers of people around the world will go through their entire lives and never hear even once a clear presentation of the Gospel and a loving invitation to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation.
To understand the unfairness of the distribution of Gospel witness in the world, consider this: Our furlough in 2000 we lived in Greenville, South Carolina. In the Greater Greenville-Spartanburg area, the population was about 200,000—roughly 15-20 times the population of Grafenwoehr and its satellite villages. I looked in the Yellow Pages in Greenville and counted 506 Baptist churches in the metropolitan area of Greenville-Spartanburg. (And that’s just BAPTIST churches.) I’ve seen several places in the Greeenville-Spartenburg area which there were Baptist churches across the street from one another and two more within a quarter mile of those two.
In comparison, I could take you to cities in Brazil with 200,000 people with perhaps no more than ONE Baptist church, and some cities in the interior are larger than that with NO Baptist churches, although, praise God, there may be some other groups or denominations preaching the Gospel, but still, the numbers are nothing even remotely comparable to what you have in the U.S. You will find something similar in many other parts of the world.