Participating in the Mission of God

2020-02-16 – Year A – World Mission Sunday – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas

Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 67; Acts 1:1-8; Matthew 9:35-38

  • God is a missionary. All mission is first and foremost God’s mission. Missio Dei.
    • Matthew 9:35 – Jesus, God himself, goes on mission.

Compassion for the Lost

  • Matthew 9:36 – Jesus has compassion because the people were harassed and helpless.
    • Satan is the great harasser, his name literally means “the accuser.”
    • Helpless because there is nothing we can do to save ourselves.
  • Statistics about the number of unreached. (Refer to handout)
  • People without Jesus in their lives are like sheep without a shepherd, they are harassed and helpless, and they will spend eternity apart from God: the only way, truth, and life.
    • This is a fact that should make our hearts break.
    • God’s heart is broken for the lost and we engage in God’s mission because our hearts are broken for them too.
    • Mission is born out of compassion.
  • So what do we do about it?

Pray

  • Matthew 9:37-38
  • The harvest is plentiful. Do you believe this? Sometimes we get stuck in a false narrative of demise which suggests that the church is dying and the culture has moved beyond Christianity. Nothing could be further from the truth, both at home and abroad.
    • Are there challenges to the spread of the Gospel? Certainly. But don’t let the challenges discourage us from the great opportunities.
    • “Receptivity to church is much higher than we have often thought or been led to expect. One out of every two people say they would accept an invitation from a friend or family member to attend a church, and nearly four out of five are fine with hearing about the faith of their friends if it matters to their friends.” He also says that 1 out of 3 unchurch Americans expect to be regularly attending church in the future.
    • Globally, the places where Evangelical Christianity is growing the fastest are Iran and Afghanistan with 19.6% and 16.7% annual growth respectively.
    • Because people are still receptive to the faith and Christianity is still growing, we can affirm that the harvest is plentiful and that the laborers are few.
  • Jesus specifically asks us to pray for more laborers for the harvest.
    • The Book of Common Prayer has some wonderful written prayers that you can pray, or you can pray in your own words. The point is to pray!
    • Pray for more laborers, pray for the lost, pray for the missionaries in the field, pray for the mission of our own church, pray every day.
  • As you pray, you may hear the call of God as did Isaiah. Isaiah 6:8, “Here I am! Send me.”

Go

  • Acts 1:8 – Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the ends of the Earth
    • These places are like concentric circles.
    • Middleburg, Northeast Florida, places in Northeast Florida where you wouldn’t be caught dead, and the ends of the earth.
    • Some of these places we can reach easily, even right in our own community.
    • Some are out of reach.
    • We need to ask the Lord how he wants us to get involved in all of these levels.
    • Listen carefully, he may call you to go! But he may call you to stay and send.

Send

  • Paul was sent by the churches he served to go into areas where the Gospel had not yet gone. He also called upon the worldwide church to collect money for the relief of the saints in Judea who were in trouble.
    • Romans 10:14–15 “How are they to preach unless they are sent.”
  • William Carey “Each man knew exactly what William meant. If he was to go to India, he would have to be able to count on them 100 percent to support him. The three men gathered around William and made him a promise. ‘I pledge to support you, no matter what happens, until the day I die,’ each one of them repeated in turn. Right then and there, the course of the rest of William Carey’s life was set. He knew there would be no turning back.”
  • So too, in our own day, it is important for us to send missionaries to places where we cannot go ourselves.
    • A few years ago SAMS, formerly the “South American Missionary Society,” changed its name to the “Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders.”
      • This recognized the fact that their work was no longer limited to South America
      • It also recognized the significant role of the sender in the work of mission.
  • The work of senders involves prayer, financial support, and encouragement.
    • Most missionaries send regular updates to help you know what is going on in their lives and ministries. This helps you to pray.
    • You can also encourage be responding to these updates.
    • It is important also to give, even if it is only a small amount.
  • Matthew 9:37-38 – “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few…”

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