It's Time to Go

Bible Book: John  20 : 21
Subject: Missions

Introduction

Tonight we come to commission a missionary team from our own fellowship to Romania. Romania was a part of the Soviet Communist bloc until the revolution of 1989 and it was the last of the satellites of the old Stalinist regime that turned to democracy. In 1990 they overthrew the evil leader of their nation and executed he and his wife. The country is made up of about 23 million human souls, most of them very poor. Communism robbed these people of their opportunities and largely cut them off from the rest of the world. Today the doors are open but the nation is far behind much of the world in economic opportunity.

The greatest tragedy for Romania is spiritual. Atheistic Communism ripped the soul out of this great nation. Since the fall of the wall in Berlin, Christians have been seeking to get into the country with the message of the love of Christ and they have been succeeding ever so slowly. The Macedonian Call has come all the way to America and to our very churc. In a few days, over 30 people from our fellowship will make the long journey to Romania to simply and clearly share the love of Jesus Christ withs precious people who need to know Him as Lord and Savior. Tonight we have come to commission those who have felt the leadership of the Lord to make this great missionary journey.

The question is, why should we go to a place so far away to witness? I want to answer that question tonight we three facts.

I. We Should Go Out For God Because We Have Been Called Out By God

In 1 Peter 2:9 we read, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." Yes, Jesus called us out of darkness, and thus we should be willing to go wherever the darkness still reigns that others might be called out.

He called us from a mighty long way.

He called us out of darkness and into light.

He called us out of sin and into His righteousness.

He called us out of the kingdom of the devil and into the Kingdom of God.

He called us out of emptiness and into fullness.

He called us out of conflict and into peace.

He called us out death and into life.

Yes, He has called us from a great distance and we should be willing to aid in the work of calling out others whom He loves. After all, our Lord loves them in the same way that He loves us.

The following incident really happened many years ago in a deacon's meeting. The pastor asked, "Did you notice that the new doctor in town was in the service again Sunday? Let's really go after him. With all his influence, think of what he could do for the cause of Christ and for our church."

Later in the same meeting, the men were talking about brings kids to church on buses from the inner city to the midweek children's program. "What about follow up in the homes," someone asked? "Don't work on it too hard," another answered, "You know how those people are. They'll keep the benevolent fund empty." No decision about follow up was made.

May the Lord help us to know that every soul, rich and poor, noble and ignoble, is equally important in the plan of salvation. Any church that seeks people based on their standing in the community, the size of their bank account or the prestige of their position is a church on the way to ruin. We are to seek the least, the lasts and the lost wherever they are and whoever they are. There are no good sinners and bad sinner - we are all simply sinners! The ground is level at the cross.

Early in my ministry I pastored a church that saw an opportunity to reach some people who very much needed Christ. We decided to use the bus ministry to reach the children and hopefully to also reach their parents. Some of the parents of these children partied on Saturday night and they were hung over and in bed every Sunday morning. Our bus workers would actually go into those homes, get the children up, dress them and put them on the church bus. On the bus they had breakfast for those children. After church, they took the children back home and often got the chance to talk to the parents. It was hard work for those workers. They spent almost all day Saturday preparing for the bus routes. Then they worked rain or shine to get those children to church and back home. One day a church leader spoke to me about his concern regarding those children being in our church. He noted that they ran along the halls, made noise and were ruining some paint onlong the hallways. It was later that very Sunday morning that couple came forward to receive Christ who were parents of a couple of those children. They told how they had lived so far from God and how the workers caring about their children had brought them to leave behind a life of sin and come to Christ. I asked that church member who had complained how many families he had helped bring to Christ and if he thought better paint in the hallways ever saved anyone. It was the last complaint he ever made - at least the last one he made to me.

II. We Should Go Out For God Because We Will Be Taken Out By God

We read in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, "After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever"

One day Jesus is going to return. He is coming in the clouds to get His church out of this sin-cursed world. He will take the church, with its soul winning mission out of this world. Till that happens, we are to be about the business of going into "all the world."

When He comes, we will give an account for our witness. We should be busy completing the work of reaching the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We do not want to face the Lord empty handed!

Also, when He comes those who have been saved will be present in heaven to praise the Son of God. We should lead them to Christ for Christ’s sake.

The English preacher and theologian Andrew Fuller went back to his hometown to collect money for foreign missions. One of his contacts was an old friend. When presented with the need, the man said, "Well, Andrew, seeing it's you, I'll give you five dollars." Now that was in a day when five dollars might be equal to five-hundred dollars or even five thousand dollars today.

"No," said Fuller, I can't take your money for my cause, seeing it is for me," and he handed the money back. The man saw his point. "Andrew, you are right. Here's ten dollars, seeing it is for Jesus Christ." The man doubled his gift when he was reminded that the gift for the Lord.

Someone has said, Let us remember, it is not the amount we give toward helping the Lord's work; it is the motive He looks at."

Thnose of us who cannot go on such a mission trip as we are commissioning tonight can do our part by giving and praying for those who do go. It is costly to send so many so far on a mission for Christ. Much is being spent in time and money by those going - what are we giving who stay behind while they go? Let us do our best and these who go do their best.

Let us give for the glory of Jesus!

III. We Should Go Out For God Because We Have Been Sent Out By God

We are sent by our Lord into a world that needs Him. Several times in John 17 our Lord mentions the fact that we are sent. The Lord made it crystal clear that we are not simply to gather in His name but we are to scatter in His name! We are to go and take His message of love and salvation to this world.

The Lord never told us that this task would be a cake walk; in fact, He assured us that it would be difficult. He made it clear in Luke 10:3 when He said, "Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves." Yet, He promised to be with us. He promised to give His servants the words to say. He promised to bring forth the harvest if the seeds were planted. He promised that His Word would not return unto Him void. He sent us, but He promised us victory!

One way He assures us of victory is through the infilling of His Holy Spirit. This is a motivating power when we go out for Him.

The Spirit of God:

Gives us the words to say (Luke 12:11,12)

Convicts us, and our listeners of sin (John 16:8)

Converts a hard heart (John 6:44)

Sustains us in the difficult times (John 14:26,27)

Gives focus and substance to our prayers (Romans 8:26),

Grants to us the abilities to do what He has called us to do (I Corinthians 12:7)

Provides the Christ-like qualities that demonstrate His grace (Ephesians 5:22-23)

Whatever we need to obey and fulfill His calling is made available through the Holy Spirit. For those of you sitting before me that are going on this long jouney, know that the Holy Spirit is with you and He will enable you to do all that is required. He will work through you in ways you never expect. He will do things through you that you will not even know about until you meet the Lord at the end of life's journey.

Conclusion

I read a story the other day I want to relate to you. I am not sure about the background of the story but it touched me. It seems that young ladies had been told at a certain Baptist college not to walk alone at night because of a possibility of sexual assault. One night a young college girl was late getting to her dorm and decided to take a short cut and walk alone through the designated area of danger. As she walked along the way, a large man stepped out from behind some trees. She stopped in her tracks. Her heart was pounding. She began to say out loud, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!"

The man walked right by her and she hurried to her dorm room. The next day she learned that a woman had been attacked and anyone with information should report to the police. She went to the station, told them what had happened and they asked her to identify the man. She did so, and it was the man who had attacked the other lady. Once the man was arrested for the crime he was why he did not attack the other college girl. He replied, "Are you kidding me, I wasn’t going to get into a fight with that big guy walking with her." The college girl was startled. She had been all alone that night - there was no one with her. The only explanation was that God put an angel with her that night.

Yes, He can give His angels charge over you. He can protect you going and your coming. Tonight as we commission these who are going, we are going to pray for just such a protection upon everyone of them. We are going to pray that God’s hand will rest on them, that they will be used mightily in His service, and that they will return to the loving arms of their families when the journey is over.

I'm going to ask all of those going on this mission trip to join me, the deacons and the staff of our church here at the front. Let's make a commitment to be faithful in this work. Let those of us who remain here make a commitment to pray for these who are going. And, let's make a commitment to trust God to bring forth fruit from the harvest field for His glory and honor!