What's Your Mission?
(excerpt from the sermon)
Sermon Series: Unfortunate
Christians do not know the Great Commission. If I asked, how many people here know the Great Commission, I wonder how many people would raise their hands. In fact, Barna says this, “Half of people say they've never heard of the Great Commission and can't correctly identify the scripture associated with this command from Jesus. They also don't view missions as a mandate for the entire church, but rather are most likely to believe missions is a calling for some.” That is very sad. So, is Global Missions a calling for a few or can the work of missions be embraced by the whole church regardless of how it is expressed? The last two weekends we have been in a series called Unfortunate and Pastor Jeff has asked several important questions. What are you doing with your life? What's next? Are you living a life that's bigger than yours? The attitude of the Christian life should never be about self-survival or self-absorption, but it should be missional.
Jesus said this in Matthew 28:18-20, “I have been given authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore go and make disciples of all 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 that I have given you and be sure of this. I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” And He repeats this verse, or this command, in Acts 1:8. He says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be My witnesses telling people about Me everywhere in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” Do you know, church? Do you know that you've been given divine power to live a missional life?
Do you know that you have been given power to live a missional life? What is “mission”? Mission is the sending activity of God. It started out in Genesis chapter one when God says, “Go fill the earth and multiply.” And so what, what have we done? Pastor Rory, Pastor Jenae. Yeah, they've multiplied, four kids, including me, right? Our families have quite a few kids. It's just a joke. But we see that repeated with Abraham. God tells Abraham, “Go to the land I will show you.” He talks to Isaiah and He says, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for Us?” Nik Ripken says this, “Scripture is very clear in helping us understand that . . . EVERY BELIEVER IS A SENT ONE. The command to be on mission is for every follower of Jesus. It is impossible to read scripture and miss the command to be people on mission.” So is it possible that if you are not living a missional life, you are living in disobedience?
Well, how can you live a missional life? How can you live out the great commission? How can you be obedient to Jesus' command to go? Well, I am so glad that you asked that question. I'm going to make it easy for you. The Bible offers three primary ways to be missional, and this is modeled after Paul's life. The first one is this: How can you be engaged personally in missions? Praying for global missions is a very important aspect. God has called all believers to pray for missions. Barna actually says 33% of practicing Christians pray weekly or monthly for missions. That is a really sad number if you think about it. 33% of us pray for global missions.
Let's see what Paul says in Ephesians 6:19-20, “Pray for me too. Ask God to give me the right words so that I can boldly explain God's mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now still preaching this message as God's ambassador. So keep on praying that I'll keep on speaking boldly as I should.” Paul was a missionary and wherever he went, he shared Jesus. And he asks the Ephesian church to pray for him.
The mission field can be very, very difficult. And I want to tell you a story. Some of you know this, but our missionary in India, Ajai Lall, right now is currently being persecuted. He has been interrogated, he has been abused emotionally. He's been abused psychologically. He's been charged right now with forceful conversion. India wants a fully Hindu nation and they're doing everything they can to stop Christians. And if you remember a few, probably a couple of months ago, I shared with you a picture of Brother Ajai Lall receiving an award for humanitarian work in India. After that picture, after that event, the Hindu extremists were not happy at all with him. And what did they do? They started making threats. He had to go into hiding. They had an all-out war for him. The court gave him protection. But right now, the state is using every method that they can to stop him from preaching. And they're trying to suffocate him. He's emotionally and psychologically drained because of this. Listen to this church, in spite of this, last week he went out preaching to 7,000 people in New Delhi. Isn't that crazy? That is absolutely insane. Now that is the power of the Holy Spirit. He is not afraid to preach. No matter what happens to him – and we don't know what's going to happen.
We don't know if he's going to go to jail, but we've got to pray for him. So this is the call on you. To pray for missionaries to be bold in the work that God has called them to do. Everyone at ONE&ALL should be able to do this. So, one thing we can do is pray. How else can you be involved in missions? Support. You can go, pray, and now support. Your tithe and offering help support the work that ONE&ALL does in India, Zimbabwe, Mexico, the South Pacific, and around the world. Paul says this in Philippians 4:15 and 16, “As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent help more than once.” Do you see that? Supporting missions needs to be a consistent thing that we do.
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