Tonight we’ll be looking at “Why missions?”
There are two areas I want to consider this evening concerning missions. First of all we’ll be looking at God’s command concerning missions, and then secondly we will be looking at our response to God’s command. So let’s start first by looking at God’s command. Throughout the Word of God, we are instructed of our duty to carry the news of the Lord Jesus Christ to the entire earth. Actually, from the beginning of time from the time that God created man, man’s instruction was to glorify God on this earth. It is what God wanted Adam to do. It is why God became angry at the Tower of Babel because the people were not going into all the earth as He commanded them. Never did God create you and me for our own benefit; He created us to glorify Him. Christ came here on earth and just before He ascended into heaven, he left some specific instructions concerning our responsibility to carry his word into all the earth just before he ascended into heaven He left some instructions. We refer to these instructions as the Great Commission. In Matthew 28:18-20 the Bible says, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” The Lord instructed the apostles before He ascended; He said here is the responsibility that I’m leaving with you. He said go and teach all nations to tell the world about the salvation that is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We find another record of this commission in Mark chapter number 16 and verse number 15. The Bible says, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Here again we see that He said our responsibility is to go and to preach to all people, but these are not the only two places that we find that Christ had instructed us that we’re to carry the good news to every person. In the book of Luke we find another account of Christ instructing us of our duty to take the Gospel to every creature. In Luke chapter number 24 verses 46 and 47 the Bible says, “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
Here again He is making it clear that His desire is that the Gospel be preached to all nations. Then we see in Acts 1 we see that we are again instructed to carry the Gospel to the entire earth. The Bible says 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.” In Acts 13 apostle Paul was being questioned. Apostle Paul had been preaching to the Gentiles, and he was being questioned: “Paul why are you preaching to the Gentiles? Why are you not preaching the Jews? Why are you taking the Gospel to Gentiles?” And in verse 47 Paul answered the accusers with this statement: “For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” Over and over and over again the Bible makes it clear that it is our duty to take the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ into every corner of the world. It is our purpose; it is our responsibility; it is a command. it is something that God expects us to respond to. He says you as Christians are to take the Gospel into every corner of the earth. Now whenever we think about that and we begin to think about it in realistic terms (the massive task of taking the Gospel to every creature), it becomes very apparent that there’s no way I can do this by myself. There is no way possible that I by myself can take the Gospel into every corner of the world. This is a massive task that I can’t accomplish on my own, and so you wonder how is it that God intends for us to accomplish this job that He’s given us. How does God intend for us to take the Gospel to every creature? How does He make it possible that we could be everywhere at once? And when you think about it, we need to go. We need to tellj; we need to preach, but these ministries at home need to stay alive as well.
In Acts 1:8 He said that we were to preach in Jerusalem and in Judea and in Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth, so if we were all to just pack up our bags and decide that we were going to another country to preach the Gospel, then this life would no longer be here. So how does it work? How is it possible that we take the Gospel into the entire world? How is it that these ministries can stay alive and yet we can obey God’s command to take the Gospel to every creature? Thankfully the Word of God doesn’t leave us hanging. Thankfully God tells us how this is supposed to work. I want to take a couple of minutes this evening and look at what the Bible says concerning our response to God’s command. There’s no question that God has commanded that our duty is to take the Gospel to every creature, and in Romans 10 we find pretty clear instruction concerning a proper biblical response to God’s command to take the Gospel to every creature. We’ll begin our reading in verse number 11. The Bible says “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Here in this passage of Scripture I see three needs in relation to fulfilling our responsibility to spread the Gospel, and as we look at these things, it will reveal to us how you and I are to respond to God’s command concerning missions. And then we’ll see how our missions program is designed around these principles.
The first thing that I see in this passage is something that we’ve already covered to some degree and that is in verse number 14 I see a need to hear. Verse 13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I love verse number 13! It makes it clear that if you call on the name of the Lord He will bring you salvation. But in verse number 14 it says, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?” This is the reason for the command; this is the reason that we are given the Great Commission. This is the drive behind the Commission; this is why every church ought to have a missions program. The only hope for this lost world is that they believe in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other hope; there is no other way of salvation. There is no other way of escape, but we are condemned to die. We are condemned to a devil’s hell. We are condemned to an eternal punishment, and the only way of escape is through believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other answer. There is no other opportunity, but the Bible says, “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?” How is it possible for people to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ if they have never ever heard of the Lord Jesus Christ?
We see here that there is a need to hear. I believe that the Bible teaches us that God reveals himself to mankind through many different ways. I believe that whenever we look at the creation, God reveals Himself to man through the creation. I believe when we look at the universe that God reveals Himself to man through the universe. I believe that whenever I look at myself and my human body and how God put this human body together and all that it is capable of, I see that God is revealing Himself to man. Whenever I look at the very intricate details of creation, God is revealing Himself to me, and God throughout all of creation reveals Himself to man. But man cannot accept or believe on the Lord Jesus Christ until he has heard of Lord Jesus Christ.
Now people raise the question, “Well what about those in the jungles who have never heard? I truly believe that God puts a desire in the heart of every man. I truly believe that God reveals himself in the creation, and I believe that there are people who recognize that they need to know more about God. I have read plenty of missionary biographies, and as you read these biographies you read story after story of someone in a jungle away from civilization who recognized that that there had to be something bigger, there had to be somebody higher. And this native with no understanding of God, no understanding of the Creator, no understanding the Lord Jesus Christ, would begin to pray and cry out that somehow some way God would reveal to him who it was. And then somewhere in the United States or in England or somewhere else there would be a Christian in a church, and God would burden the heart of that person to go to a certain mission field. That person would go, and when they’d arrive at the mission field they would meet this person who’d been begging God to send somebody to tell them what it’s really all about.
I believe there are people all over this world that, whenever they realize that there’s got to be something more to life than what I see here, that God then burdens the hearts of Christians to take the Gospel. Now right here is where I believe it gets a little scary: I believe that there’s been times that there have been people who wanted to know, and there have been Christians who have been burdened to go who turned their back on God’s call. And I believe there’s coming a day in judgment when there are Christians who are going to have the blood of people they never met on their hands because they rejected the call to go. There is a need to hear and because there’s a need to hear, we come to the next need that we see here in this passage. and there we see in verse number 14 we see a need to go. There is a need to go because there is a need to hear. This world is filled with people who haven’t heard. Mrs. Jo was sharing a testimony this morning in Sunday school of someone in her elementary school class who didn’t know who God was. It doesn’t matter where you go; this world is filled with people who need to hear; they are people who do not know.
It is of utmost importance that somebody share the good news. The last part of verse 14 says, “and how shall they hear without a preacher?” It is most necessary that somebody go. If the world needs to hear (and they do) somebody needs to get off the couch. Somebody needs to get out of the house. Somebody needs to arm themselves with the Word of God. Somebody needs to arm themselves with some tools, and they need to take these things and they need to go and carry the Gospel. The world needs to hear and somebody has got to be willing to take the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ and go tell it to every creature, take it to the ends of the earth, take it up the deepest hollers, take it to the darkest jungles, take it to the biggest cities. Somebody needs to go because there is a world filled with people that need to hear, so somebody has to go. Somebody must be willing to go if those who are without Christ are ever going to hear the Gospel. I do not believe at all that God has slacked off on calling people to the mission field; I believe that God is busy calling. Now I do believe that we may see a trend in slacking off and surrendering to go but I don’t believe for one minute that God has slowed down on calling people to go. Matter of fact, the whole message of this book is to go and tell the world, I believe that the minute we accept Christ, a part of accepting Christ is that we accept the responsibility to share what He did with me to those who have never heard of Him. He instructs us that we as Christians are responsible to take the Gospel to every creature, and although there are quite a few who aren’t surrendering to the call there are many who do surrender the call. Myself and Bro. Andrew was talking this afternoon, and I said every week Mrs. Lila answers several calls from missionaries wanting to raise support, missionaries wanting to go to the field. Every week as she answers calls people say, “Hey can we schedule a meeting? Hey God’s called us to this country. Hey can we go? Can we come show our work so that we can go to the field?” Many people see the need; many are burdened with responsibility to go and tell and reach this lost world with the Gospel.
There are many people who want to take the Gospel and go, but in Romans 10 we see yet another need. In the first part of verse number 15 we see a need: He said And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” Here I believe is the third requirement of fulfilling the Great Commission. First we find those that need to hear; second we see someone surrenders to carry the Gospel to the needy people; and thirdly somebody has to make it possible for them to go. Somebody has to provide a way that those who have answered the call are able to take the Gospel and go. There is a need to send those who have surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ. We see three different people here in this passage of Scripture: We see people who need to hear; we see people who are willing to go; and we see people who are able to send. This is the Bible picture of how missions works. There are those that need to hear, those that are willing to go, and those that are able to send. I believe that in order for God’s people to fulfill his command take the Gospel to every creature, in order for us to fulfill that command every Christian needs to be involved in either going or sending. I don’t believe there’s any other alternative. I don’t see any way that I can answer God’s command to take the Gospel to every creature unless I’m doing one of two things: going or sending, and I believe furthermore that every healthy church is a church that is both going and sending. And I believe that is fulfilling what God has intended through His command to carry His Word to every creature, and it’s upon this belief that we established our missions program here at MBC. That is what God has called us as a church to do. It is what we desire to do, and we have put in place a missions program. And through that program, it is our desire to send the Gospel into the entire world. And we hope to accomplish that in two different ways. First way we accomplish this is by supporting missionaries. Now we have here at Marlbrook Baptist Church a tenth of the entire church’s budget every dollar that comes into the church 10% of that dollar goes into our missions program, and that money goes towards helping in our mission program. And then we also support missionaries through those who by faith as we spoke about this morning give above and beyond their tithe to the missions program. The money that comes in enables us to be able to support missionaries financially.
Andrew and I were talking this afternoon. We talked a bit about missions this afternoon, and we were talking about how that you know you can’t go without the finances. Now a lot of times you know missionaries come and missionaries hate to say the reason I’m here is because I need money to go to the mission field, but the truth of the matter is of money is the grease that keeps the wheels rolling. It is something in our society that you’ve got to have. There may have been a time when you can get by without it, but in our day and in our time it is a necessity that you have money in order to go, and many times when missionaries go into foreign fields it’s not like they can get a job to support themselves. And those who think that they should, I’ve been wondering if they even understand why they’re there because they need to dedicate their time to reaching the lost, not working a job and supporting themselves. And so it’s difficult for them to make money, so they need somebody to provide the finances so they can go, and so the Lord has allowed us through our missions program here. At this point we have a part of 40 other mission ministries, so here at Marlbrook Baptist Church we have a part in 40 other ministries that are reaching into different parts of the world spreading the Gospel. And by supporting these people financially I believe that we have a part in those ministries, and we are fulfilling the Great Commission and enabling these people to go to places that we are unable to go. We’re able to help spread the Gospel I believe as the Lord moves people to give by faith. As people understand the command of God to support missions, people are moved of God to give to the missions program, and we are able to take on more and more missionaries. Something that bothers me is each week Mrs. Lila will lay letters on my desk that have been emailed to us of missionaries wanting to come present their work, and I’ll say well here let me put that in my file. But there’s no need for me to have them come now because we don’t have enough money in our missions budget to be taking any more on, and here I see men who are wanting to go, men who are wanting to tell me who are answering the call, and I’m saying I’m sorry we can’t help you. As God works in our heart to give to the cause of missions and more money comes into the missions program, we are able to help more people and are able to reach into more parts of the world. You go out there and look at the map on the wall. Everywhere there’s a pin, that’s a ministry that we have a part of, and boy I look at that map and I’m like boy we don’t have anybody here; we don’t have anybody there; we don’t have anybody there. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could go look at that map and look and say this church has a part in ministries in every continent across the globe?
But then secondly we endeavor to fulfill what God has commanded us to do first by supporting missionaries but secondly by endeavoring to do what God has taught us to do by going to the mission field. By going to the mission field we endeavor to accomplish this part of our ministry through missions trips. Why we do missions trips? Hopefully we can explain that to you. It is our prayer that we accomplish several things with our missions trips. First of all, missions trips gives me an opportunity to fulfill God’s command to go into all the world. God has said I command you to go into all the world, and through missions trips every person here has an opportunity to get on a plane and go to another part of the country or to another part of the world and share the Gospel with people that they would never ever be able to encounter any other way, and God blesses missions trips. Sometimes it just confuses me how God blesses mission trips, but boy every time we go on missions trips God rewards the workers by giving us souls for our labor. I don’t believe that there’s been a missions trip that we went on that God did not reward us with souls for our labor. He always rewards our work, and so it’s an opportunity that we can go to different parts of the world and share the Gospel with different people group different nationalities. We can come home and we can look at a map, but we say :God has allowed me to share the Gospel here and here and here.” I am able to say that I am doing what God has commanded me to do because I’m taking the opportunity to go and to share. We look at these places and we remember the people whose lives we touched in those places where we went on the first construction trip to PNG, and boy I’m telling you what, we still have friendships with natives that we met there in Papua New Guinea and still communicate with them. I have several of them that I’m friends with on Facebook and communicate back and forth, and they’ll send me pictures of different things still holding relationships. We get a closer feel for the missionaries there. We get a greater burden for the missionaries who are laboring in the field because we’ve been there; we’ve seen the need. We’ve seen what really goes on, and we have a greater sense of the need. I don’t know how many of you heard but Brother Matt Allen just a few days ago fell off a ladder, landed on his back, hit his head, and had to be rushed to the hospital. They checked his back and thought that he was okay, sent him back home and realized that they didn’t think to check his head. And actually his head was what was hurt the worst. They had to go back to the hospital, and Brother Matt has been battling quite a bit. I read a post just a little bit ago where he said he was able to go to church, but that they put a recliner in the back of the church. And he laid in the recliner and slept the whole service because he’s just unable to get his brain back where it’s supposed to be. He struggles with double vision and quite a few things. You know what, because I’ve been there whenever I read the post and he said they put a recliner in the back of the church, I didn’t have to draw an imaginary picture. I knew exactly what the church looked like. I could picture pretty much exactly where they put the recline. I could picture Brother Matt Allen laying there sleeping. I could picture the people in the service who were most likely leading the service because he was unable to preach, and boy I’m telling you what I can pray so much better when I’ve been there. He said that he got out yesterday and was able to take a walk and walked around the property, and as I read that I pictured in my mind Brother Matt Allen’s property. I knew the fence line. I knew where he most likely walked, and I was able to pray so much better for him because I’ve been there. Missions trips gives us an opportunity to see the missionaries, to see the need and to share the Gospel in another part of the world. Not only do missions trips allow us to see the need firsthand; God can use missions trips to create in us a heart for the need. How many times have you heard somebody (you don’t have to raise your hand because it’s embarrassing but I’ve been guilty of it) you hear somebody stand up here and share their heart for their mission field and all you can think about is your nachos and cheese when you get back home? You just aren’t moved. You don’t know; you didn’t see them. I mean sure they mean something. How many times have you read a prayer letter and the missionary says pray for Brother Sam who’s in our church; he’s just recently accepted the Lord? You don’t know who Sam is. You don’t have to admit it, but it didn’t move you at all. But whenever you’ve been there and you know! God can use missions trips to create a heart for the need, and by creating a heart for the need, God can give put inside of you a willingness to give that others can go to the field. Pastor Wright told me after we made a couple trips to PNG, he said I’ve got to get us into some other countries. He said because next thing I know all the missionaries that we support will be to PNG because we are falling in love with PNG! And boy we were! And it’s a good thing! Ut’s a wonderful thing! We were there; we saw the need. We were willing to send anybody that wanted to go because we’ve seen what was going on in PNG. Missions trips give us a heart for the need, and it creates in us a willingness to give and to send others. Not only that, I believe that missions trips can be used by the Lord to call people to go to the field. Missions trips can open your eyes to the fact that God could use me here; God could use me to do this work. John Allen is Brother Matt’s father. Brother John was a pastor here in the states; he went over to visit with his son on the mission field, and he said to his wife we can do this. He went home and prayed about it, and through the Lord’s leadership, he resigned the church and went back to PNG. He’s there still today because he went to the mission field and he said this: “God can use me here.” You know what, oftentimes we sit here in the states and we think about missions. We think about missions fields, but we think, “That’s too far away. That’s too hard to do. That’s too big of a job. There’s no way I can accomplish that.” we here at Marlbrook Baptist Church have missions trips so that you can see it’s not that big. It’s not that far away. It’s just an airplane ride. We can get you there, and God can use missions trips to create in the hearts of people a desire to go and to tell. It is my desire, my prayer that God will use our missions trip program, and we will begin seeing people from Marlbrook Baptist Church called to go to the mission field. And we’ll go back there and look on our board and we’ll see people who are out of Marlbrook Baptist church who have gone to the mission field. Now we claim Brother Andrew and Mrs. Anna, but they kind of slid in, and they’re trying to slide back out. But we claim them. Brotherk Andrew, ’m not trying to make light of your ministry, but I want to see people who’ve grown up in Marlbrook who say I want to go. And we go walk down the wall, and we’re like, “There’s our brother so-and-so’s boy: he’s in Brazil. Or Bro. so-and-so’s daughter: she’s in Africa. And they are people from here who are going and taking the Gospel. That is why we have mission trips. We want to give you an opportunity to go. We want to let you see the need so that you’re willing to give. We want God to be able to create in your heart a desire to go and to tell, and then I believe at that point we will be a church that is fulfilling what God has taught us to do because it will be both going and sending missionaries to take the Gospel into all the world.
So why do we have a missions program? Why missions? I believe we have a missions program because the world is filled with people who need to hear the Gospel. I don’t believe we can argue the fact the world is filled with people that need to hear the Gospel, and we as a church and as Christians are commanded to take the Gospel into the entire world. In Romans chapter number 10 we see that there are two ways that we can do that. We can do that by going, and we can do that by sending. So I believe that with the Lord’s help and the faithful giving of God’s people that we as a church will be able to fulfill the Great Commission, and we can meet here on a Sunday morning and we can preach and we can instruct and we can grow and we can reach our local community. And at the same time we can be reaching into all the other parts of the world just as God has commanded it. So I hope that this helps explain why we have a missions program, why we raise money to help missionaries. Why? Because God’s commanded us to, and I believe it is what God will have.