Global Missions Emphasis - Part 1
Series: Global Missions Emphasis
November 08, 2020
Today is week two of our first ever global missions emphasis. I shared last week how it’s time to put our energy into making missions a cornerstone ministry in our church. Missions is actively supporting the telling of others about Jesus because we can’t help but speak of what we’ve seen and heard.
Our global missions emphasis is based on what Jesus said to the disciples just before he ascended back to heaven…
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (ESV)
That’s a divine outline of the gospel’s movement you can follow throughout Acts. It’s also a promise for Christians when it comes to missions, to spreading the gospel. Jesus says we will be (not can be!) his witnesses if we’ll surrender to the power of God’s Spirit. And it’s a model for missions every believer and church can dedicate themselves to
That’s what I want to flesh out a little more today. Acts 1:8 is a model, a strategy for living out what I very cleverly like to call God’s Witness Projection Program.
It’s simple but genius. The Acts 1:8 missions strategy is about first …
Starting where you are
And when I say where you are, I mean right where you are. Dr. Oswald J. Smith used to say, “The light that shines the farthest will shine the brightest at home.” If missions is actively supporting the telling of others about Jesus because we can’t help but speak of what we’ve seen and heard, then we must be about sharing our faith with those in our immediate circle of influence: our family, our friends, our coworkers, the teller at the bank, the lady who cuts our hair, and so on.
And that’s not just doing a presentation. Not necessarily leaving a tract. It’s more a weaving of witnessing into your every day life. Like the guy Timothy Johnson, pastor of Church of the Redeemer in Bowie, Maryland, encountered. He writes…
Earlier this summer I took a few days to reread the book of Acts and was amazed at the boldness of the disciples as they shared their faith. The settings in which they did this were not quiet and serene, where they would wait for the right opportunity to speak about the resurrected Christ. They were often in crowds and in places that were bubbling over with hostility against them. Yet they spoke up.
I encountered this very situation at Baltimore Washington International (BWI) airport as I was leaving for our denomination's annual meeting in June. Along with everyone else moving toward a gate in order to catch a plane, I went through security screening. And along with so many other people, I was asked to stop so that a security screener could look carefully at every inch of my carry-on bag. The screener politely asked me to step back and to resist my urge to reach out and "help" him. As he poked, unloaded things, unzipped pockets, and felt the linings of my bag, I noticed the ring on his right hand—a silver ring with a cross on it. I mentioned it. He looked briefly at me.
Then, as he continued searching my bag, he said something like this: "Yeah, the ring. It means I'm a follower of Jesus. You know, in my job, one of the things we worry about is dynamite. But do you know where that word comes from? It's from the Greek word dunamis, which means 'power.' As a Christian, I know that all of the power belongs to God. That's why he sent Jesus. So while I'm doing my job, I know that he is doing his job. That's where I put all of my trust. It all belongs to him, and he's here with us.
"Well, Mr. Johnson, have a great trip," he said before moving on to the next person.
I walked away with a smile, thinking about how this man had so naturally risen to the opportunity to share his faith. It certainly wasn't the place for an extended conversation. There was a long line of people behind me, and he had plenty of work to do. But in less than 30 seconds, he spoke about his faith to a total stranger—calmly, confidently, and without hesitation.
That is classic. I love it. Did you know starting were you are with God’s Witness Projection Program can be as basic as inviting someone to church. That’s being missional starting where you are. Now you might be thinking, “You haven’t talked much about personal evangelism like that, pastor.” You are right.
Remember how we’ve been working with a plan? We are ready to start emphasizing that also. Look for more on that soon.
The beauty of our Global missions emphasis is that we can actively support missions in our Jerusalem by giving to the ONE FUND and hopefully actually supporting the local missions opportunities that go with that. We talked about that last week.
So the strategy is about starting where you are and then…
Looking to where you are not
One time I had a deacon come up after a service and express his dismay at my attempts to emphasize missions in the church. He felt that what happened within a 1-mile radius of the church was more important than what happened overseas.
Acts 1:8 doesn’t allow for this kind of thinking. And neither does the GREAT COMMISSION…
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19–20 (ESV)
The words of Jesus in Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:19-20 go hand-in-hand.
Unfortunately, people and churches tend to gravitate towards one end of the spectrum or the other when it comes to missions. Some, like this man are all about what’s going on in their neighborhood, but never think about all the people that need Jesus in this world that won’t hear about him unless we take Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:19-20 to heart. And then others are so focused on what’s happening across the ocean, they miss opportunities to share Jesus next door.
Makes me think of a church I talked to one time about being their pastor. Everything in that church — and I do mean EVERYTHING — revolved around their partnership with a ministry overseas. They did a lot of good for that ministry. They took dozens of trips and scores of people over there. They took up money and sent supplies. But they weren’t very aware of or involved in missions at home.
We don’t want to be a church that majors only on missions beyond its Jerusalem or a church that majors only on missions at home. It’s not one or the other, it’s both.You see, if you don’t care about dark-skinned people in Africa going going hungry and dying without Jesus, you won’t really care about those living within a stone’s throw of the church! And vice versa.
Looking to where we are not is our Samaria, the North American continent (that focus is next week) and the ends of the earth, the week after that. Again, the beauty of our Global missions emphasis is that we can actively support missions all the way to the ends of the earth by giving to the ONE FUND and hopefully getting involved in missions opportunities one day.
Conclusion: I want to close by talking about three ways we can support our global missions emphasis here at PV FBC, three ways we can live out the Acts 1:8 strategy, three ways we can participate in God’s Witness Projection Plan…
The first is get involved…
Personally. This means we come out of our comfort zones and give ourselves to speaking of what we’ve seen and heard in our Jerusalem, our Judea, our Samaria, and even to the remote parts of the earth.
The second is get involved…
Prayerfully – we must pray for the lost not only in our Jerusalem but also further out. Spiritual battles take place every day as missionaries attempt to tell Jesus’ story to unreached people groups, sometimes in very hostile situations.
You’ll get access to some things that help with this by going to our one fund page.
Finally, get involved…
Financially – give to our ONE FUND. Remember we’re combining the Golden Missions Offering, LMCO, AAEO, and more into one big fund with exponential impact. We are asking you to pray right now about giving sacrificially above and beyond your regular tithes and offerings and then bring your offering (or go online) November 22. We’ll add all that up and celebrate your generosity on Sunday, November 29. Pray that we reach and maybe exceed our goal of $10,000.
Our Jerusalem is our city and county. Our Judea is our wonderful state of Tennessee (Alabama isn’t the Holy Land anymore!). Kathy is going to talk about the needs of our state and how giving to the ONE FUND helps support the Golden Offering for Tennessee missions in just a minute.
But before she does, let me ask you a question. Have you ever had your life transformed by the good news that Jesus lived the life you should have lived and died the death you should have died? You can’t speak of what you haven’t seen and haven’t heard. Today I’m asking you to take God up on his offer to save all those who call on his name. That’s a promise in
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13 (ESV)
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