Temple Baptist Church - 10-24-2012
A. What do you do when you can’t do what you want to do? That is the question that I want to field tonight and then find the biblical answer in our text.
1. The Apostle Paul was a very special missionary! I do not know if there has even been one of his equal. This man turned the gentile nations upside down for Christ in just a few short years and did so on foot! No telephone, no internet, no airplane, no automobile, not even a moped to travel on. Paul was attacked often, shipwrecked several times, and faced adversity from his own people almost everywhere he went.
2. The Philippian Church was a very special church! It sprang out of a “Riverside Prayer Meeting” coupled with a “Jailhouse Revival.” These Philippian believers were born in the fire and could not stand living in the smoke. They loved Paul and greatly aided him financially in his mission work.
B. Now, let us look at the text for tonight and see what made the Philippian Church such a pleasing one to God.
1. The Heart of Missions. “wherein ye were also careful” Churches are known for a diversity of things.
a. I have known churches that had great preachers. There have been many “giants” in the pulpits of America. I could stand here and name them and you would easily recognize their names. I sat under Dr. Harold B. Sightler! He was just a man but he was a man greatly used of God and those years spent sitting under his ministry and pulpit were a blessing to my family. Not every church has a Harold B. Sightler in the pulpit but every church is as great in the sight of God if the truth is preached.
b. I have known churches that had great music programs. Their services were characterized by special from individuals, groups, and a great choir. Not all churches are thusly blessed. Don’t get me wrong, great singing does not make a great church and churches with lesser talent are just as great churches. Every church is just as great as the churches with musical talent.
c. I have known churches that had great missions programs. Temple Baptist Church has been and still is one of them. We have not had the greatest preacher in the world but the truth has been and is still preached here. We have not had the greatest singing program here but we have people with talent who live what they sing. But, we have done wonders is the area of missions over the past 25+ years. Millions of dollars have gone out of this church and to the mission fields of this world. Temple Baptist has been a church with a “heart” for missions. We need to keep it that way. The Philippian Church was “careful” in the matter of missions. “Careful” can be defined as “care full!” They were hurt when they could not perform as they wanted in the area of missions.
2. The Hindrance of Missions. “but ye lacked opportunity.” Missions can be hindered in more than one way.
a. The Hindrance of Finances. The Philippian Church wanted to help Paul but, for a season, they were not able for one reason or another. It could have been because of poverty but, Paul commended the Thessalonican Church who, out of their great trial of affliction and poverty, abounded in the riches of their liberality. The economy of today has affected the monetary power of our people. Many have lost their jobs or had hours cut because of poor fiscal policies of the government. These people would love to give but their giving is hindered beyond their control.
b. The Hindrance of Fickleness. Today’s churches are hindered in missions giving by people who are easily offended, always want a “change of scenery,” or desire a lack of accountability. Laodicea means “the rights of the people” and we live in that day: a day of low spiritual priorities. This generation will give an account for the souls of men as missions’ giving is constantly affected by fickleness.
c. The Hindrance of Faithfulness. Missions’ giving is to be regular because missionaries depend upon it. Some people just never “get it” when it comes to faithful giving. “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him!” I understand that people get paid in different ways and at irregular times. Some are on fixed income and are paid once a month, others are paid on a bi-weekly basis, while many of us are paid each week. When God’s people are unfaithful to give on a regular basis, missions output changes from month to month in many churches.
3. The Help of Missions. “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again.”
a. It brings joy to the missionary. Missionaries are God’s “special people” who have left family, homes, jobs, friends, and home churches to go to the world and preach the gospel. Their supporting churches are a blessing to them as they communicate with these churches while the churches pray for them. These churches are a “haven of rest” to the missionary and his family while on the road. Missionaries are “friends for life!”
b. It affords care for the missionary. I understand that missionaries depend upon the Lord, but the missionary’s livelihood depends upon the faithful support of his supporting churches.
c. It works with others to bring about the desired results. While we may be “careful” and not able to do all that we once did, others may flourish to make up the difference and then vice versa.
Conclusion: Here is the key to successful missions: do what you can when you can and pray for the missionaries as well as other churches when you cannot do. Always be “care full!”