This evening Jack Sara, President of Bethlehem Bible College spoke:
Jesus has died on behalf of humans. The musical plays we saw tonight were a great illustration of what he did. It is honouring to see men and women being sent out as gospel workers to see the world to come to Christ. An answer to a prayer Jesus prayed in John 4, people were saved, and they prayed for workers for the harvest. Setting them apart to share the Good News about Jesus, fulfilling his commission.
Just 3 weeks ago, part of a conference that brought 10,000 people together in Brazil. The highlight was the last night, where about 15 couples came to the stage to be sent to the mission field – to Yemen, to North Korea, to Jordan, to Mozambique. The most dangerous place for them to reach was Brazil itself, travelling through the river of the Amazon, reaching a people group who have never been reached – the untouchables as they are known. It leads to the questions, what if, what about their lives, their income, their children … the simple answer is if God is for them who can be against them.
Ministry of the gospel is not the easiest challenge we can undertake. There is something different, a motivation which leads to this – the love of God – which is wider, deeper, stronger than anything else. 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 – Paul begins this pericope, this text, by saying we do what we do, we go where we go, we minister where we minister, because the love of Christ compels us. It is wider, deeper, higher. The Missio Dei – the mission of God – God was the first missionary to come into the world to bring good news, we need to be faithful in fulfilling this mission.
We need to go deeper, our love needs to go deeper, through prayer. Prayer is pouring your heart in sacrifice to God. We can’t do mission without a strong faith in God, the engine room of faith is prayer. God will not reach the world through a sleeping church, we need to wake from our deep sleep. God wants us to pray for revival, for the fire of God. Many want to have a full church, but instead pray for a church full by you Lord, but please can we have both! A church that lowers down the four walls so people can come in.
We have to go deeper in our involvement of the world, yes Christ said we are part of the world but not part of the world. But his mission was that the Son of Man came to seek the lost. One of the beautiful stories of Jesus, he was accused of hanging around with the sinners, in Mark 7:31-37 it talks about Jesus healing a deaf and mute man. It is a fulfilment of Isaiah 35:5-6. Jesus is willing to get deep into the dirt of human nature, why would Jesus do this, why did he put his fingers in his ears, he could have just said be healed. When you go to serve sometimes it might take you to take home a drunkard, homeless person or prostitute, to sit and chat with them for hours, even with their smell. The church has become so removed from the dirt and needs around us. God will give us the strength that as we go into the world, we can rescue the people, doing things that might look unclean, we will be able to accomplish great things for his name sake.
Why don’t we do it? It can’t be done by distance, incarnational ministry means we have to go deeper with those around us, especially those who don’t know Jesus. We don’t get intimate with people, that’s why so few are coming to us.
In Palestine people were starving, the average rate of unemployment was 70% between 2002-2008. Church decided to go and visit, to deliver food and medical supplies. Slowly, year by year, they have seen people have their ears unplugged and hear the message of Christ. Through continuous endeavours we see them praising God, and coming under his lordship. God is willing to do it, so we should follow too.
We are to go deeper in our compassion of the needs of people. Several times Jesus is mentioned as moving with compassion in Mark, Luke and Matthew. Moving with compassion over creation, so that they come to know him as their Lord and Saviour. Compassion means to suffer with them, the Hebrew word for compassion comes from the word for womb, the deepest thing reaching out to the people. God is even more willing to reach out to the lost, how about us? Jesus’ mission is ours, Jesus came to seek the lost in compassion.
May we move deeper in our relationship with god, in our incarnational relationship with the world, and with compassion for the world. We need to do mission in a wider – reaching out to all levels of society, in a post-modern and post-Christian world. How can we win Europe back for Christ? In Jerusalem and Bethlehem, people are taught to pray for Europe. Whilst we are sending out missionaries, Europe still needs Christ. It is hard to convince goal driven materialistic people that they need Christ – you have a mandate, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to reach out for your nation. The love of God compels us, the word compels means to corner us – you have no other choice to reach out to people in need.
Higher – higher in sacrifice, Jesus gave everything, we are called to give everything in our lives. Many missionaries have died in sharing their faith. People know it is a higher sacrifice we have to give. We need to pray if we want to see people come to Christ, we might need to sacrifice more.
We are shy to talk about giving for missions – we don’t want to offend people. Your money goes so far, to help missionaries go overseas, to build new churches, to use technology to reach places people can’t easily get to. We need to give higher and more.
It takes a brave heart to say here I am use me, a brave ear to hear the Macedonian call – come and help us. May the Lord bless you as you participate and continue in God’s mission for the world.