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A Church On Mission: Our Jerusalem and Judea Print E-mail
Sharing the Gospel

I.  Introduction:

 In our labors to be faithfully taking the gospel to the world, we must begin at home.  Just as much as we need to be supporting and doing missions in China and Africa, we need to be supporting and doing missions in Sikeston and Missouri.  Seemingly, Sikeston could be considered our Jerusalem, while the state of Missouri could be considered our Judea.  I do not think that these are necessarily exact parallels, but they are helpful distinctions for us as we try to faithfully apply and obey Acts 1:8.  Thus, tonight I want to look at how we can be on mission in the city of Sikeston and the state of Missouri.  Because we can be more hands-on in our missions effort to these areas, I want to begin by considering the biblical categories for service.

II.  How can we serve? (Biblical categories)

 A.  Praying for the lost and for boldness:  Look at Philemon 1:4-6 (also Romans 10:1, 1 Timothy 2:1-4).  Paul tells Philemon that he is praying that the sharing of your faith may become effective.  Paul is praying that as Philemon shares the gospel people will repent and believe.  One thing that struck me as I looked at different passages on praying this week is that most often the prayer is for the one sharing.  In other words, praying and sharing go together.  Praying for the lost means praying for boldness to share with them.  Look at Colossians 4:2-4 (also Ephesians 6:19-20).  Paul is asking them to pray that he will have boldness and will speak as he should.  As we pray for the lost in our community, we need to pray for each other that we and other believers will have boldness to speak the gospel and that the sharing of the faith may be effective.  We do not just pray for the lost, we also pray that we will have boldness to share the gospel with them, which leads to the next category.

 B.  Speaking the gospel:  Look at Romans 10:13-17.  Paul is talking about the importance of people coming to believe in Christ.  A person cannot be saved apart from faith in Christ.  Yet, this raises the question: how are they to have faith in Christ?  In other words, what is the appointed means for people coming to faith in Christ?  Paul tells us: So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.  Paul is telling us that people must hear the gospel if they are going to be saved.  Could God use other means?  Sure, but the means that He has identified are prayer and sharing the gospel.  The people in Sikeston and Missouri who are going to be followers of Christ must hear the gospel.  I want to say more about this as we continue this series, but let be frank at this point: if you going to be on mission and fulfill the call of Acts 1:8, then you must speak the gospel.  No believer is exempt from this call.  I fear that many use the excuse, ‘Well, I live obediently in front of people, so I do not have to share the gospel.’  I fear this because I have used this as an excuse in my own life.  God may use our faithful living to validate the gospel (see below), but that is never an excuse not to speak the gospel.  Paul tells us that faith comes by hearing.  Faithfully following after Jesus means telling others the good news.  Thus, we must be intentionally speaking the gospel to those around us.

 C.  Serving the needy:  Look at Matthew 25:31-46.  We often try to decide between this command of Jesus and His command later on in Matthew 28:18-20.  The problem with that is that they are both commands of Jesus.  Yes we are commanded to make disciples, to preach the gospel, but we are also commanded to serve the needy.  The option of neglecting either of these commands for the sake of the other is not biblical.  We need to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison, and keep the gospel ever on our lips.  In fact, serving the needy and speaking the gospel go hand in hand.  Our service validates our message and our message explains our service.  Of course, neither of these tasks are easy, they were never meant to be.  Nevertheless, as we think about being on mission in Sikeston and in Missouri (and everywhere else as well), we need to realize the importance of both speaking the gospel and serving the needy.  I should also note that serving the needy refers to loving each other as well.  The call to love and serve each other could be a separate category of biblical missions (John 13:31-35), but I think we can fit it under serving the needy for our purposes.

III.  Opportunities for being on Mission in our Jerusalem and Judea:

 A.  Supporting the Charleston Baptist Association and the Missouri Baptist Convention:  As Southern Baptists, we have the unique opportunity to be on mission through these organizations.  Both our local Association and the state Convention are committed to providing opportunities for service.  Brother Dick, our local Director of Missions, will hopefully tell us more about how we can be involved with what is going on in these organizations.  Let me encourage you to visit their websites (CBA: www.charlestonbaptistassociation.org, MBC: www.mobaptist.org).  One way that we can be involved through these organizations is by supporting the Rheubin L. South Missouri Missions Offering, which is going on right now.

 B.  Serving at Shining Light Baptist Mission:  Ed and Judy Wood, who work at this Church, will be telling us how we can serve them and be involved in the work that they are doing in Charleston.  This is a great opportunity to serve and speak the gospel

 C.  Participating in ‘Church in the Park’:  After our last picnic over at the Complex, I think it would be good for us to have our services out in the open more often.  My thought at this point is that we plan to have our Sunday night services at a different park in the community for maybe a month in the Spring.  We could provide hamburgers and hotdogs as a way of serving folks and then just have a simple service of singing and sharing the gospel.  It seems like a great way of serving the community and speaking the gospel with the lost.  It would also be a good opportunity for you to invite your friends, neighbors, and coworkers to come and hear the gospel.  ‘Church in the Park’ is still in the planning stages, but I would love to see it become a way that we reach out in our Jerusalem.

 D.  Handing out our panhandlers packet:  We have numerous packets put together to give to the homeless and those that we see on street corners.  These packets give us the opportunity to serve and share the gospel with the needy.

 E.  Knocking on doors with the men:  We have been doing this off and on for the past year and I encourage you to get involved.  We try to go out on every third Sunday and just look for opportunities to share the gospel and invite people to Church.

 F.  Sharing the gospel with and serving your neighbors:  Again, if we want to be a Church on mission, then we have to be willing to share the gospel with our neighbors and others that we know in the community.  We have to be intentional.  Look for ways that you could help a neighbor out or develop a relationship with them and act on it.  If you are a student, then be intentional about sharing the gospel with your classmates and friends.  We should not pray for boldness if we have no intention of actually being bold.  Rather, we should pray for it and act upon it.  This is Paul’s program for Church growth and Kingdom growth.  Yes we are called to take the gospel to the nations, but it begins with our neighbors.  May we be faithful in this area of service.

IV.  Conclusion:

 Our obedience to Acts 1:8 begins in Jerusalem and Judea.  There are many opportunities to get involved (many more than I listed tonight), so find one and do not hesitate.  If we are going to be an Acts 1:8 Church, a Church that is serious about following Christ and being obedient to His command to make disciples, then we must begin right here.  We must be passionate about seeing the lost in Sikeston and in Missouri come to know the Lord.  Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 May 2010 )

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