Sunday, January 30, 2011

Missions: The Heartbeat Of God

Temple Baptist Church - 1-30-2011

2 Corinthians 8:1-15

I will spend more than one week dealing with this magnificent subject because of its relevance and importance to the local church.

A. When the Lord ascended back to Heaven in Acts 1, promised his disciples the power of witness when the Holy Ghost came upon them and then commissioned them once again to go into all of the world and preach the gospel. This commission is to both the individual believer and also to the local church. There are almost 6 ½ billion people on planet earth today with the majority of them never having heard a clear presentation of the “good news” of salvation.

B. In the Apostles’ day, they “turned the world upside down” as they preached the gospel, made disciples, and then sent these disciples to preach. Through the ages since, there has been a steady decline in missions outreach. There were, at times, spurts but from the leaving of their first love down to Laodicea, the burden for souls has been in serious decline. The population has increased while soul winning has decreased.

C. Missions should play a vital role in the local church. I often differentiate between a mission minded and a mission hearted church. One thinks missions while the other gets the job done. Missions Hearted churches should be the rule of the day for missions is the heart beat of God. The Lord placed more value on a man’s soul than the wealth of the world.

Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

D. The Lord placed more value on one lost soul than ninety and nine in the fold.

Luke 15:4-5 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? (5) And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

E. What is the “value of one?” If there was only one man who ever lived on earth, God would have sent His only begotten Son to die for ONE! What is the value of a soul if that soul belongs to you or me? If God so loved the world that He gave His Son sacrificially in order to reconcile the world to Himself, what should we give? That brings us back to the message for tonight: missions.

F. Today, churches no longer hear the heartbeat of God! Missionaries wear the phones out calling churches with little or no results. Pastors who will not return calls or be courteous to the missionary are not fit to fill the pulpits of churches. Most denominations have somewhat of a mission’s outreach but fundamental Baptist churches use a more biblical approach. Here are a few things that we need to know about biblical missions.

1. The local church should be personally acquainted with their missionaries.

2. The local church should be praying for each and every individual missionary.

3. The local church should be providing for the support of missionaries.

4. The local church should be providing for the personal needs of missionaries. They come to the local church and need food, a place to stay, fellowship, and knowledge that they are loved and cared for. They are God’s special people.

5. The local church has the responsibility of reaching their Jerusalem and Samaria. The word “both” in Acts 1:8 means to do missionary work both at home and abroad at the same time. Some churches are all for soul winning at home with little or no foreign mission’s outreach. Others are heavy on the foreign mission work with little or no soul winning at home. There is to be a balance so that every creature has a preacher.

6. The missionary is personally responsible to the pastor of his home church, not to a denomination’s mission board.

7. The missionary raises his support through deputation. This is a blessing to both the church and the missionary.

8. The missionary is to establish an indigenous church. The church is to be self-supporting and self-sufficient.

9. The missionary is to establish an autonomous church. They are not under the control of the missionary’s sending church or mission board.

10. The missionary establishes a church and trains a national to take over the work.

11. The mission church then becomes a mission hearted church, soul winning and sending out missionaries.

G. At this point, I want to make a comparison of two contemporary churches of Asia Minor that will give us some insight into the problems that have assailed the local churches in these last days. These two churches, Thessalonica and Laodicea, existed at the same time. One was assailed with persecution and poverty while the other was basking in peace and prosperity. History often repeats, therefore, let us take note and resolve in our hearts to get the work of the Lord done in Laodicean times.
1. Thessalonica Had Persecution – vs. 2 – “in a great trial of affliction”

Laodicea Had Peace – Rev. 3:15 – “neither cold nor hot”

2. Thessalonica Had Peace With God – vs. 2 – “the abundance of their joy”

Laodicea Had Peace With The World – Rev. 3:16 – “spue thee out of my mouth”

3. Thessalonica Had Poverty – vs. 2 – “their deep poverty”

Laodicea Had Prosperity – Rev. 3:17 – “I am rich” (Therefore, it was not a financial problem, but a faith problem)

4. Thessalonica Had Liberality – vs. 2 – “abounded unto the riches of their liberality”

Laodicea Had Lukewarmness – Rev 3:16 – “So then because thou are lukewarm” (Therefore, it was not a Saviour problem, but a saint problem)

5. Thessalonica Had A Servant’s Heart – vs. 3 – “For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves”

Laodicea Had A Selfish Heart – Rev. 3:17 - “(I am) increased with goods”

6. Thessalonica Had A Love For Souls – vs. 4 – “Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints”

Laodicea Had A Lust For Satisfaction – Rev. 3:17 - “(I have) need of nothing”

7. Thessalonica Had Spiritual Blessing – vs. 4 – “the fellowship of the ministering to the saints”

Laodicea Had Spiritual Blindness – Rev. 3:17 – “and knowest not … blind” (Therefore, it was not a partiality problem, but a personal problem)

8. Thessalonica Had A Reward – vs. 5 – “but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God”
Laodicea Had A Rebuke – Rev. 3:19 – “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten”

H. Now, let’s break down these verses and I believe that we will find the blessing of God in the area of missions. Missions are to be a blessing to the local church, not a burden!

1. The Present of Missions - vs 1 - "bestowed"

a. Missions is a Gift Bestowed

b. Missions is a Grace Bestowed

2. The Poverty of Missions - vs 2 - "deep poverty"

a. Trials and Afflictions abounded unto Joy

b. Deep Poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality

3. The Paradox of Missions - vs 2 - "affliction-joy, poverty-riches"

a. They saw Problems and Poverty as Divine Possibilities

4. The Power of Missions - vs 3 - "power ... beyond their power"

a. Here we find their Tithe (cannot give until you tithe)

b. Here we find their Power of giving (gave of what they had)

c. Here we find the their Faith of giving (beyond their power - tapped another Source!)

5. The Prayer of Missions - vs 4 - "praying us ... receive"

a. They begged the Missionary - "prayed...much intreaty" (reversed today)

b. They gave to the Missionary - "we would receive the gift"

c. They fellowshiped with the Missionary - "fellowship of ministering"

6. The Priority of Missions - vs 5 - "first"

a. Gave themselves unto the Lord - " the Lord"

b. Gave themselves unto the Missionary - "unto us"

c. Gave themselves Abundantly - "not as we hoped"

d. Gave themselves Obediently - "will of God"

7. The Proof of Missions - vs 8 - "prove"

a. Their giving was Proof of their love

b. Their giving was Proof of their sincerity

8. The Pattern of Missions - vs 9 - "our Lord Jesus Christ"

a. The Example of His Giving - "rich ... poor"

b. The End Result of His Giving - "ye ... might be rich"

9. The Performance of Missions - vs 10-11 - "expedient"

a. The Planning of Giving - vs 10

b. The Performing of Giving - vs 11

10. The Partnership of Missions - 14 - "equality"

a. You give unto their necessity and

b. When you need it, they will give to you

11. The Promise of Missions - vs 15 - 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

a. God meets the needs of His Children!

b. Let us do more for missions in this coming year of 2011!

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