Tag Archives: Missions

Follow Me: A Commissioning Service

Title: Follow Me – A Commissioning Service

Text: Acts 13.1-12

Introduction: Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re at T-minus and counting! There is excitement in the air. I’m pumped. If you’re not, we need to pray for you. This small congregation has surrendered itself to the Lord in the area of missions and God is doing mighty things! What, you say? Some of you don’t know what I’m talking about? Let ‘splain!

In Early August of 2011, I saw that the Executive Director of the SBTC was planning on issuing a challenge to Texas Baptist. Here’s what the Article read: Grapevine, August 9, 2011.

GRAPEVINE: The Executive Board of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention granted $1 million from reserve funds to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and encouraged churches in Texas to “embrace” 1,000 of the 3,800 unengaged people groups identified by Southern Baptist’s International Mission Board.

With over half of the world’s 7 billion people having little or no access to the gospel and the 3,800 unengaged, unreached people groups having no one telling them about Jesus, the IMB encourages local churches to begin with church-wide focused prayer.

This challenge would be for churches in Texas to embrace 1000 UUPG: Unreached, Unengaged People Groups. I had no idea what this was. So I had to do a little research. I called the convention headquarters in Dallas and ask them what this challenge was all about. I found it interesting that the folks there new very little of what the challenge was going to be. They could only tell me that we would hear more about this in the coming days.

Here’s what I eventually found out: A UUPG is an unreached, unengaged people group. There were at that time over 3800 UUPG’s in the world. The Classification of a PG or A people group: is a group of people bound together by a common Language and culture. What makes them common is that the gospel can move within this group unhindered. However, when the gospel encounters boundaries and barriers that hinder its transmission – then evangelism stops. The people within the boundaries would be called a people group. Now, when less than 2% of a population within a specific people group are Christians, then they are considered unreached. As of yesterday, according to the Joshua Project, there are 6564 unreached people groups. They may have churches, pastors, missionaries, Bible studies–but there is less than 2% of that population is considered Christian–then these people are unreached.

A population is considered unengaged when within that people group there is no pastor, there are no churches, there is no Bible study, they have no missionaries working among them. So A UUPG is a people group that has no missionaries – no Bible studies – no pastor and less than 2% of the population is considered Christian. The latest number I could find on Unreached, Unengaged People Groups is that the # has dropped over the last 4 years from 3800 UUPG’s to 1,568 people groups.

Well, a presentation was made to the church–and it appeared to me that the church embraced this challenge. We set our sights on keeping this before the Lord in prayer. Where would he have us go? Who would he have us Focus on? We began by looking at three areas of the world where our current missionaries were serving: Africa, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. One by one we were able too narrow the field down to a focus on East Asia. Then, we looked at three UUPG’s located near some missionaries we know. After nearly a year of prayer, we found our people.

In October 2013 we sent a vision team to look for this UUPG. It was a long journey, but very rewarding. After three days of travel as we pulled into a local village in the mountains, we saw with our own eyes the people you are looking at in pictures on the screen.

This vision team came back and reported to the church that it just isn’t practical to send teams each year. What we need is “boots on the ground” there, to coordinate our efforts – to be there to receive our people on short-term mission trips. Let me show you something cool.

What you are looking at is inside a brochure entitled The Top 31 UUPG’s ***** ***** *****. Go down a few pages to our UUPG. That picture and that information is accurate with what we found and saw.

Today that brochure becomes inaccurate! Because, listed in this group is our people. The people group we’ve chosen. Today we are going to commission two of our very own people to go as missionaries to this UUPG. Indeed, they are no longer called an un-reached, Unengaged people group. Today they’ve become a UPG – simply an unreached people group. And with the blessing and favor of our God, in the coming months and years, we will remove that final U. They’ll simply become another People Group of the world.

Transition: And this brings me to why we’re here today – to commission this couple that we’ve asked to serve on the mission field to help us engage and reach our UUPG. Let’s open our Bibles to Acts and take a look at what a commission service is all about.

In Acts 13, we see a church being successful – we see a church doing and being what a church is supposed to be doing and being. We see it from the inside and we see it from the outside. How do I know it was successful? How can that be measured?

We find these people were so Christ-like in their deportment that the community around them called them Christians, or Little Christs. I’m sure they heard: they’re just like their Lord.

Then, in our passage, we see them doing the work that a church has been called to do.

Observe the church at Antioch. You’ll find two areas of work:

  1. The Work of the Church in obedience to the Great Commission.
  2. The Work of the Holy Spirit in light of the Great Commission.

Transition: Let’s look first at the Work of the Church. Allow me to put it in the form of a question:

What precedes going on mission?

  1. The Work of the Church in obedience to the Great Commission.

Let’s look at their Spiritual Leadership: rd v. 1; note: names; Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, Saul (Paul); What are they doing? We find 4 actions on the part of the Leadership: Worshipping & Fasting, then, Laying on of hands and sending them out.

  • Worshipping – there are 4 words in the NT translated worship
    • προσκυνέω: to kiss the hand; meaning to bow;
    • σέβω: this deals more with attitude toward someone; As in to ‘revere’ someone or something; This is something that happens to me when I hear a testimony. I’m moved inside, at the greatness and kindness of God. He amazes me.
    • θρῆσκος: Thray-skos; It’s like three in spanish w/ kos on the end; Col 2.18; every other time this word is used, it is translated It has the connatation of ceremonies;
    • λατρεύω: Eng.: liturgy or liturgical; it mean service and is used to describe the work of the priest in the Temple. In other words, worship is an action – it’s not passive. I could lead you in a responsive reading time. Give thanks to the Lord our God and King. His love endures forever. For he is good he is above all things. His love endures forever. This is the word being used here. These men were leading their congregation to Worship the Lord.

app.: we often think of worship in the 1st two manners: bowing, reverence; but we don’t think of our worship in terms of our service. These leaders were worshipping the Lord in their service to him; Cont. reading v 2-3;

  • Fasting & Prayer: I have asked the elders to join with me in fasting and praying for you today. I think most people consider our work to be done in the office or in meetings and in planning things, etc. Acts 6.1-4: But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” This should be our priority.
    • According to A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and Hebrew Bible, the word ‘prayer’ in Acts 6 can also be translated ‘worship’. It is a picture of someone bowing on their face before God and offering supplication. That same word is used in our passage in v 3;
    • Ministry of the Word is preaching and teaching. Paul warns Timothy time and again to keep a close eye on his doctrine, making sure his preaching and teaching is sound and healthy.

I have two reason for placing an emphasis on this today.

  1. It is a reminder to the church of what the elders are called to do.
  2. It is a lesson of what you’ll be doing.

exp.: your basic function is to serve as a church planter – the Bible calls this an Apostle. We’re commissioning you today to go to our UUPG and ultimately, plant a church. Our hopes and dreams are that you’ll share the gospel; people will be saved under the gospel; they will be discipled under the gospel and they’ll be obedient to the gospel and serve faithfully the gospel; leading many to Christ. Wah-Lah, that’s a church! You’re doing the work of Paul. You’re being sent out to plant churches in the midst of our UUPG. And on the Great Day as we’re gathered around the throne, we will see members of our UUPG there next to us worshipping God. Many of them your friends – people you’ve prayed with and taught.

Look back at v3; here’s a third action

  • Laying on of hands: BTW: this is a participle also. Lit.: fasting and praying and laying their hands on them. According to Hebrews 6.2, this was an elementary doctrine in the early church; it basically conveys the idea of blessing and commission. It was seen in Scripture when Jesus was healing people and when people were receiving the Holy Spirit. Paul experienced both when Ananias laid his hands on Paul – his sight returned and he was saved. Not only that, but he received his commission at the same moment. He was told he would be Christ’s witness to the Gentiles and kings and to the children of Israel.

Transition: Leadership is seen in their worship, or service, their fasting and prayer, their laying on of hands and then sending them off.

  • They sent them off. Breaking this down grammatically, this is the verb. The work this leadership group did was they sent them off on a mission. They way they did this is described in their worshipping and praying and laying on of hands. The word here in the Gk isn’t your typical word for sent them on their way. You see that in v 4. The Holy Spirit is actually doing the sending in this passage. The literal translation, the literal wording for what they did is they released them or they set them free.

App.: Mom and Dad, in your position as leaders, this is what you’re supposed to do: set them free. Like doves in your hands, throw them up to the Lord and let Him send them.

– Now, we’ve seen the work of the church, mainly through the leadership at Antioch. I’m sure others were there participating, worship, praying. But now, I want to focus in on the most important part of what is being done. And in doing so, I’m going to turn my attention to this young couple. I’ve asked the question: What precedes going? The answer is the work of the church through its leadership. 2nd, question…

What involves going? The Work of the Holy Spirit in light of your calling. You experienced this in His calling you to this service. In this section I’ve outline three actions on the part of the Holy Spirit. Rd v 2; #1…

  1. The Holy Spirit Calls – here’s a tip: Don’t go if you’re not called. Because if you do, you’ll go alone. (Those who went up to Ai in Joshua ) v. 2
    1. The Calling is the only thing that sustains you when:
      1. The Journey is long; v. 6; 1st they traveled by boat. Then they crossed the whole island (which is 100 miles long and some 60 miles wide).
      2. Facing opposition v. 8; you’re headed to a place you’re not wanted by some people; You’re sure to face opposition. Without the Holy Spirit’s call, you won’t make it.
  • Some will abandon you; v. 13; you know the story… this damaged the relationship John Mark had with Paul for many years.

Ill.: My prayer chair: I’ve have felt the struggle of those who hate me even from within the church. I’ve been asked to consider leaving: You sing well, you lead worship well and you’re a great preacher, so why don’t you grab your guitar and hit the road. The funny part of that story is that woman became one of my biggest supporters and loved me like a mom loves her son. At the end of my ministry there I would drive out to her house and drink coffee with her, while watching the sun come up.

App.: at those times, when people abandon you, when they insult you – even from within the church – you’ve got to go back to your call. I suggest you get a prayer chair – or something that takes you back to that calling. When you feel unsuccessful, that’s ok – you weren’t called to be ‘successful’ – go back to your calling. I could go on and on; however, let’s move on… #2

  1. The Holy Spirit Commissions – v. 4; the word here is accurate; whereas the church released them or set them free, here the Holy Spirit does the sending. A couple of notes:
    1. I think its interesting that they went to Cyprus because that is where Barnabas was from (Acts 4.36). I’m sure he had a desire to see his people saved. He was also familiar with the Island and the people.

I’m glad you served here first. Your ministries at Calvary and the ***** ***** has demonstrated your passion for ministry. Many people just want to go, but don’t serve where they are first.

  1. Sent w/ a mission; a task to do on behalf of the Holy Spirit. This is vitally important: you cannot go where the Holy Spirit doesn’t lead; you must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Acts 16.6-10

He will protect you. He will open doors for you. He will close doors for you. He will go before you. This is a 3rd time we see the Holy Spirit in this passage; look at verse 9

  1. The Holy Spirit Empowers – v. 9; understand that your work, what you do – must be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Look at a couple of different areas:
    1. For Preaching – v. 5; proclaiming the Word of God – taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to these lost people. You need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. No matter how smart you are, no matter how eloquent you become in their language, no matter how gifted and talented – if the Holy Spirit doesn’t empower you then you’re just bring them your best dog and pony show. You might as well take your unicycle and bowling pins to juggle. But, if the Holy Spirit of God empowers you, then the powers of darkness will be defeated.
    2. For Teaching – v. 12; people will get saved as you teach in the power of the Holy Spirit. You must pray that God will take your limited human teaching and exalt it to a place that can be used by you. Don’t worry so much about being creative. Do worry so much about being witty and cute. Concern yourself with the written word of God.
      1. 1 Timothy 3.16 – 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
      2. Once you’ve led some people to Christ, they must be discipled. Dallas Willard, author of the Divine Conspiracy and Hearing God has said that success in ministry is having a vital relationship with God and the capacity to pass it on to others. That capacity comes from the Holy Spirit.

Church – give me your attention for a moment. Pay careful attention to what I’m about to declare, because I’m going to ask you to affirm it with your voices and with your bodies when I’m done.

Commissioning Service for Our missionaries

Minister:  Beloved, today we recognize the ministries of this couple and consecrate them to a special task in the service of Jesus Christ. Hear the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit shall abide; so that whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” (John 15:16)

“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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20)

Missionaries, please stand.

Minister: In humble reliance upon divine grace, do you make it the supreme purpose of your lives to give of yourselves unreservedly over the course of the next two years to the work of Christ in your appointed field among this People Group?

Missionaries: We do.

Minister: Missionaries, in the name of this congregation, Calvary Baptist Church of Tyler, TX, I commend you to this work and pledge to you our prayers, our encouragement, and our support. May the Holy Spirit guide and strengthen you, that in this and in all things you may do God’s will in the service of Jesus Christ.

****Bring up two chairs: have the couple stand and face the congregation.****

Minister: Beloved, I commend to you this couple whom we this day have commissioned to be God’s servants as a part of the continual sharing of Christ’s great commission on Earth. If you agree with what I’ve said – if you promise to regularly pray for this couple, to encourage through letters, emails, gifts at times of birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, to continue to support them through giving and even going to be with them when possible – will you signify your pledge by standing to your feet.

Missionaries,  Look at that support for you.

Church, you may be seated.

Minister:            Prayer of commissioning (Elders, other missionaries, the church)

**the names and the places and the people of our UUPG has been removed for security reasons.**

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Filed under Acts, Commissioning Service, missions

2 Corinthians 9.6-15

Title: Divine Principles of Generous Giving

Text: 2 Corinthians 9.6-15

CIT: And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

CIS: The goal of this message is to challenge the congregation to give above and beyond their normal tithes to give sacrificially toward the Mission we’ve accepted to our UUPG.

Caveat: Because of the nature of this message, I’m going to ask you to record; however, toward the end, I’m going to ask you to stop the recording so that I can speak freely. Ok?

Introduction:

We concluded last week with a challenge to give sacrificially to our UUPG. Some of you may be caught off guard this morning. Maybe you didn’t make it last week and aren’t sure even of what I’m talking about. Let me catch you up.

I’m in the midst of a sermon series on giving. Don’t panic, this isn’t about tithing. Indeed, this passage is all about giving above and beyond the normal tithe. From what Robyn tells me, our church is a giving church. The only way we can really improve our giving – that is through the normal tithe – is to grow as a body. Few members of Calvary don’t give. So, if you’re sitting here today and know that you don’t tithe, you’re in the minority.

Now as a practice I have no idea who gives and who doesn’t. I’ve instructed Robyn and the girls in the office that I don’t want to know. It’s just easier that way. I’m not fond of certain people because they give a lot and I don’t hold grudges against those who don’t give. And that’s because I’m ignorant of both. Intentionally!

But again, that’s not what this message is about. The context in 2 Corinthians concerns the offering Paul had challenged the Corinthians to give toward in relief of the poor believers in Jerusalem. In our opening sermon to this series, I gave a detailed outline of Paul’s passion to bring relief to the poor. It was something that was always on his mind and always in his heart. The Corinthians had committed to this special offering; however, their passion had subsided over time. That’s the context.

Now Paul moves to a positive stance in encouraging the Corinthians to finish what they’ve started – to fulfill their commitment. He does this by telling them 4 principles to generous giving. And, not only does he give us 4 principles for Generous Giving, but he also gives us 6 benefits for generous giving. That’s 10 points! Let me tell you how I’ll present this, so you don’t get lost.

1st, I’ll go verse by verse. I won’t skip and I won’t go backward. That should help. I’ll start in 9.6;

2nd, I’ll present three of the four principles.

3rd, then, I’ll present all 6 benefits.

4th, Finally I’ll present the 4th and final principle. Ok? So, let’s get started. These principles are already written out in your text. Let me quote them:

1.     Principles for becoming a generous giver:

  1. Principle # 1: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (6)

exp.: According to Paul, that’s the point – he wants to clarify what he’s getting at. So, Paul uses A Farming Analogy; But what exactly does he mean? It sounds like – you reap what you sow: a little seed, a little harvest; A lot of seed, a bigger harvest. I think he’s saying that no farmer worries about putting out too much seed when he’s sowing. He doesn’t hold back because he’s wants to make sure that he has seed left in his barns. The seed is a necessity to his crop. He wants an abundant harvest, not a bunch of seeds. No farmer considers sowing a loss of seeds.

ill.: Paul is only teaching what was common to Jewish thought; Prov 11.24f: 24One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. 25Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. And most of you are aware of Malachi 3.10: 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

app.: The farmer willing sows every seed he can with what land he has available with the faith that God will bless and grant an abundant harvest. What sane farmer will hold back seed to cheat himself? An abundant harvest will result in more seed next year.

t.s.: Principle #1: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

  1. Principle # 2: God loves a cheerful giver. (7)

exp.: rd v 7; I don’t think Paul is being negative here by trying to make them feel guilty and spurred into giving for all the wrong reasons. Philip Hughes (NICNT): the true measure of the gift isn’t its external weight but the internal state of the giver’s heart. Which matches Jewish thought and teaching; Deu. 15.10: 10 You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.

ill.: The Gk word here is: ἱλαρός; Do you remember Zacchaeus? A wee-little man; he was a changed man; he said in Lk 19.8: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold. I picture this happening at Zach’s house, actually giving away as he’s talking. It must have been authentic as Jesus said: Today salvation has come to this house.

app.: Listen to Philip Hughes again: Genuine, free, unremorseful giving is, however, as Paul reminds his readers here, distinguished by the mark of cheerfulness.

t.s.: Principle #3…

  1. Principle #3: God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (8)

exp.: David Garland, from the NAC says: Paul refers to God’s readiness to provide all that is necessary for generosity. Here’s his point: God is ready, willing and able, which is what he’s called them to be. And, added to this is granted all access to his power. That’s the way grace works! God is lavishly generous and abundantly supplies us with everything necessary to have enough for our needs and to be generous with others. V 9 clarifies for us that He freely distributes to us in order that we might have an abundance to distribute to others in need.

app.: So in review, here are our three principles:

  • Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
  • God loves a cheerful giver.
  • God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

t.s.: There is a 4th principle, but I’d like to wait until we get there in Scripture to share it you. Let’s look now at the benefits a generous giver experiences, as Paul outlines them in the text.

2.     Benefits of Being Generous Giver:

  1. Benefit #1: It will cause you to abound in what others need for the purpose of supplying their need. (9-10)

 

exp.: Paul first quotes Scripture in v 9; and then clarifies in v 10; look at v 9; As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He’s quoting from ps 112; Rd Psalm 112 – this is the habit, practice of the righteous and in so doing, God will cause you to abound, so that you can bless those in need. If you are blessed with financial blessing, it just might be so that you’ll be a blessing to others.

  1. Benefit #2: It will make you spiritually rich (11)

exp.: Don’t gloss by this like you’ve heard it before. Is that important to you? Really? Would you trade the riches of this world for spiritual riches? Do just glibly say yes. Think about this for a moment. Would you trade all of your earthly, material riches for the riches of God?

ill.: Balaam and Balak; Numbers 22.31f: 31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face. 32 And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverse before me.

app.: You and I can stand here today and claim that we want and act like we want, but our hearts are known to the Lord. Picture this, you standing now to declare you desire – and an Angel of the Lord is standing before you with a sword in his hand to strike you down if you heart doesn’t match your words. Would you still stand?

t.s.: I know, I’m so dramatic! However, it causes you to do an internal search, doesn’t it? #3

  1. Benefit #3: It will result in an outpouring of Thanksgiving to God (rd 11b-12)

exp.: which is the goal, isn’t it? We’re grateful for your gifts; however, we understand we’re dependent on God and he’s the one who is ultimately supplying our need. I think of this often times from a recipient’s point of view. After all, I’m called of God and depend on his grace for my supplies. So, I can and do identify with the missionaries. But, let me change this for a moment, because my wife and I are considering committing to this. We have already, actually. So, and I say this now, not for your benefit, not so that you’ll be impressed with me, but rather to identify with you. I don’t want your thanks. It’s nice, but ultimately, my hearts desire is to bow with you and pour out my gratitude to God – as we pour into a bank account the amount needed to send these missionaries.

  1. Benefit #4: It will bring glory to God (rd v 13a)

Exp.: that’s really the ultimate goal here anyway, right? – to glorify God and enjoy him forever?

 

  1. Benefit #5: It will increase your witness to the World. (13b)

exp.: Your contributing to a missionary – above and beyond your tithe – is a witness to those who will be receiving our missionaries.

ill.: Our missionaries will be somewhere with someone or a group of someones represented by our UUPG. A question will be asked: How are you guys able to do this? You name will not be mentioned, but your witness will be. Your submission (here today – that) comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ (that’s the witness), and the generosity of your contribution for them (our missionaries) and for all others (in our UUPG) that’s a witness to them.

 

  1. Benefit #6: The recipients will respond with prayers for you (14); God’s surpassing Grace upon you. That’s why you’ve been blessed. That’s why that Grace abounds to you.

3 Principles and 6 Benefits; however, v 15 offers us one last Principle – Principle #4

3.     One Last Principle for becoming a generous giver:

  1. Principle # 4: God has given us an example to follow. (15)

exp.: rd v 15; God isn’t asking us to do something unlike him. As I was preparing for this message, I thought about how God has set this example. We’re like our Father when we give sacrificially. Just recording this thought made me think I’ve heard this before. Sure enough, John MacArthur said: We are never more like God then when we forgive; A little different but really, very much the same. God’s indescribable gift has brought us forgiveness.

  • For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
  • In Galatians Paul says of Jesus: 4who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…
  • And, later in that same letter: 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
  • And to the Ephesians he said: Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
  • To the Thessalonians he said: 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. That applies to us here!
  • To Timothy he said: For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
  • And to Titus he said: 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

app.: We are called to be like God – to be holy as he is holy – to give sacrificially, as he gave. For when we, for the Gospel’s sake, give – we are like our Father in heaven.

Conclusion:

Challenge for Giving to Missions

 

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2 Thessalonians 2.16-3.5

Title: Praying for Your Vision Team

Text: 2 Thessalonians 3.1-2

Introduction: 2 Thessalonians 2.16-17: 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

How will he do this? Answer: Through prayer! Gk: Τὸ λοιπὸν προσεύχεσθε, ἀδελφοί, περὶ ἡμῶν; Finally, pray, brothers, for us;

·      Pray is a command; An imperative;

·      Specifically, for us. The word for is περὶ; Which means around – what a great picture! Surround us in and with your prayers!

Transition: But some may be asking just what to pray for? I’ve outlined 10 ways you can pray for your missionaries:

Pray:

1.     For God’s Word to make Tracks (1)

exp.: rd v 1; speed – τρέχω; to run or run ahead; Acts 19.28f; 28 When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s companions in travel. i.e.: as to rush into battle; Rev 9.9: they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. Let me give you our itinerary so that you can pray for God’s Word to run ahead of us!

a.     Our Travel: flights – connection

b.     Our Wanderings

c.     Our flexibility

i.     We’ve been told that we won’t make reservations for hotels because we won’t know where we’re staying. Sometimes, the local police have asked our leader to leave the town. He also said that sometimes someone will invite the group to stay the night.

Transition: But, in all of our travels, pray that God will go before us as if he’s rushing into battle, preparing the way… The 2nd way you can pray for your missionaries is to Pray…

2.     For God’s Word to be Glorified (Honored) (1)

exp.: rd 1b: pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you; pres. pass.; God would glorify His Word;

a.     We must do our best, but only God can accomplish this task!

b.     Pray that if we get the chance to share, God would glorify His Word!

Transition: That God’s Word would speed before us; be glorified and continuing on; 3rd,

3.     For God’s Word to break down barriers (1c)

exp.: rd 1c; Someone shared Christ with you! Someone cared enough to share with you.

a.    Language barriers;

b.    Cultural barriers;

c.    Physical barriers (local police asked him to move on); we’ll be tired (different time zone; not sleeping well; not eating well vs. too well);

d.    Social barriers; ladies knocking on the door;

ill.: look at us, God’s Word has broken through everyone of these barriers that you and I might be saved today!

Transition: May he do the same in the midst of the ********! 4th,

4.     For Protection (2a)

exp.: Your missionaries are going into an area where the gospel is not welcomed by the ******* Govt.; More than likely, if we’re ‘discovered’ we’ll be deported back to the US. It’s possible that I might be detained. We could blow the cover of the missionary helping us. He and his family are then at risk; rd v 2a; wicked and evil men; Now we know that our battle isn’t against flesh and blood; but that is just who Satan uses: People! Within and without the Church!

exp.: one more note about protection; Americans aren’t as popular as they once were. They’re hated by many people in the world. Not just because we Christians, but also because we’re Americans. My understanding is that Koreans are having more success as missionaries than Americans.

app.: we need to pray for protection and deliverance from evil men within and without the church!

Transition: A 5th way to pray is to pray for…

5.     For the ******* to come to Faith (2)

exp.: rd v 2c – For not all have faith.; as of today, http://www.peoplegroups.org says there are 11,289 PG; 6,603 UPG; 3.9 Billion people; 2,971 (dropped by 2 this week) or 189 million people; How do you pray for 4 Billion people; Or 189 Million for that matter? Let’s focus on this group!

1.    A Person of Peace – someone who is search for God; God’s been at work in their life.

2.    A Home from which to begin reaching out

3.    We would see a ministry opportunity

a.    Nursing homes

b.    Orphanages

c.    Medical facilities

d.    Import/Export business

4.    We would see an open door to live in ******** (i.e.: boots on the ground)

a.    College students

b.    Business opportunities

Transition: God is at work, pray we’ll see Him at work and join him there… 6th, pray…

6.     For your VT to Trust God more (3)

exp.: rd 3a; Pray that our faith would be strong; the Lord is faithful; sometimes we forget or we think we know better; or we begin to doubt. Psalm 37.25 says: I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. Remember: The Lord is faithful; we may be unfaithful, but the Lord is always faithful. He cannot be otherwise. We must watch against:

a.     Playing the Holy Spirit; we don’t see our expectations being met, so we run the risk of manufacturing some result.

b.    Trying to make the ********* like Americans. This was something that bothered Hudson Taylor. Book given to me by the Stout’s; many words in the ******** language already present the gospel! Pray that we’ll bring Christ to their Culture, not to bring our culture to theirs.

ill.: I remember when my dad died. The Korean Church came over, I was grateful, but I was also surprised when they sang 18th Century English hymns in the Korean Language. Yes, we can teach them how to worship, but just because it is a certain way in England or America, doesn’t mean that is what should happen there. Our goal is to win them to Christ, not to the American Culture!

c.     Trusting in made-made gimmicks or methods. We must Trust God for results! The Lord is faithful: we may be unfaithful, but the Lord is always faithful. He cannot be otherwise. We must trust Him and not our own devices, programs, methods.

Transition: 7th, Pray…

7.     For God to Establish His work through us (3)

exp.: rd v 3b; Luke 9.51 – He set his face toward Jerusalem; He was headed to the Cross, to accomplish the work His Father had set for him to do. He would not be deterred! Pray that God would move in our hearts in a similar fashion, that we would find out his purpose there and establish it.

Transition: Pray for God to Establish His work through us and pray, #8, …

8.     For the Body to Trust God (4)

a.     Sometimes, the church struggles in the pastor’s absence. Rd v 4;

i.     Attendance drops; please, don’t stop coming; be faithful, support those who carry the burden; encourage our youth who will be leading worship; our guests – I’ve lined up a couple of outstanding preachers.

1.     Richard Taylor – Director of Church Planting in the East Texas Area.

2.     Andrew O’Kelly – and Courtney are bringing their brand new baby! And he has a special message on missions for you.

ii.     Giving drops; maybe you feel ‘done’; but the work must continue here;

ill.: Govt shutdown – the church is at risk of the same; budget struggles;

iii.     Morale takes a dip; keep the faith, trust God is at work; keep praying; Satan would love to see you drop out for the time we’re over there.

b.     Sometimes, Satan wants to cause a stir; dissention; contention;

i.     Don’t let that happen; Don’t let Satan have the victory;

Transition: Pray for the Body to Trust God. 9th, …

9.     For God’s Direction (5)

exp.: rd v 5a;

a.     Into God’s Love – this is what drives ministry; for God so loved the world, how did he demonstrate that? He gave His one and only son. Pray that God would direct our hearts to his love. That’s where our motive comes from…that’s where our drive comes from…that’s where our passion comes from…direct our heats into His love and…rd 5b

b.     Into the Steadfastness of Christ (patient endurance)

exp.: Don’t you want to remain strong, firm, faithful – like Christ!

Transition: back to the beginning… rd 2.16-17 Finally, pray

10.  For God to Comfort and Establish our hearts.

a.     Comforted

b.     Established

i.     In every good work

ii.     In every good word

Observations & Implications:

1.     There is a sign up on line @ www.calvarytyler.org; for someone to pray every hour! Will you sign up for multiple slots? Will you sign up for one hour every, single day?

2.     Invitation to Prayer on the 9th; 6:15 pm Wednesday night

3.     Invitation to Bon Voyage; 6.30 pm Thursday night

4.     Pray in the night – that’s when we’ll be awake over there.

a.     At bed, we’re getting up

b.     In the dark hours – that’s when we’ll be ministering

c.     In the day hours – that’s when we’ll be tossing and turning in a weird place; Pray that we’re getting the sleep and rest we need.

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