Location: Believers Fellowship, West Chester PA

INTRODUCTION:

Missionary – the word missionary is not in the Bible.

The closest words we have that would describe a missionary are:

A. Apostolos

B. diakoneo

C. diakonos

A.  0652 apostolos {ap-os’-tol-os} from 649; TDNT – 1:398,67; n m

AV  – apostle (78)

    – messenger (2)

    – he that is sent (1) [81]

1) a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders

2) specifically applied to the twelve apostles of Christ

3) in a broader sense applied to other eminent Christian teachers; as Barnabas (Acts 14:14),

   Timothy and Silvanus, also cp Rom. 16:7

B.  1247 diakoneo {dee-ak-on-eh’-o} from 1249; TDNT – 2:81,152; vb

AV  – minister unto (15)

    – serve (10)

    – minister (7)

    – misc. (5) [37]

I) to be a servant, attendant, domestic,; to serve, wait upon

1) to minister to one; render ministering offices to, to be served, ministered unto

2) to wait at a table and offer food and drink to the guests, used of women preparing food

3) to minister, i.e. supply food and necessities of life; to relieve one’s necessities (e.g. by collecting alms), to provide take care of, distribute, the things necessary to sustain life; to   take care of the poor and the sick, who administer the office of a deacon; in Christian churches to serve as deacons.

4) to minister, i.e. to attend to anything, that may serve another’s interests

C.  1249 diakonos {dee-ak’-on-os} probably from an obsolete diako (to run on errands, compare 1377); TDNT – 2:81,152; n m/f

AV  – minister (20)

    – servant (7)

    – deacon (3) [30]

I) one who executes the commands of another, especially of a master; a servant, attendant,   minister

1) the servant of a king

2) a deacon, one who, by virtue of the office assigned to him by the church, cares for the poor and has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use

3) a waiter, one who serves food and drink

Simply, the missionary is someone who is a delegate or messenger of God sent out of his own culture to run errands for God!

Then there is the call – what does this mean?

The Greek word for call literally means to respond to a command or an appointment.

GENESIS 12:1-4 THE CALL OF ABRAHAM:

1  The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

2  “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

3  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

4  So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.

Abraham called lot followed.

Abraham became the father of our faith.

And believed the blessing and became a blessing Gen 12:1-3

Lot lived in an ungodly society and died ineffective and lost his family

In the call of the missionary is to be taken serious and not sought after for the glory or the “romance”.

It’s a commission form God.

If a man goes on the field following the reports of an Abraham, his life will be ineffective!

I.  READY TO BE CALLED

  1. AVAILABILITY
  1. Have a lifestyle that is flexible. Not afraid of change or inconvenience, not burdened by debt or carnal obligations.
  • Have your heart prepared to do whatever he would call you to do – regardless of the task.
  • Beware of greed and the deceitfulness of sin.

Ask yourself, “If God called me tonight, what would I have to do to get ready to go.” Don’t wait for him to call you -prepare now so that you will be available.

B. ACCOUNTABILITY

1. Have a pastor or a prayer partner etc – someone who can speak into your life correction and counsel without fear of you overreacting and getting upset.

2. Allow to have your life examined without pride or rebellion entering in.

C. ACTIVITY

Be active in ministry now.

If you are waiting to be called to that special place with that special task – you will wait a long time if you are not already ministering everywhere you go.

And not just Church – but your job, your family, your community etc.

You can’t be a church only Christian!

II. REASONS TO WANT TO BE CALLED

How many times have you heard people consider going to the mission field something to avoid.

God may call you to (fill in the blank)

The reaching the lost in all nations is God’s highest priority!

God so loved what?  The world!

MATT 24:14  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

A. JESUS’ IS COMING SOON

B. UNREACHED NEED TO BE REACHED

C.  SPEED THE COMING OF THE LORD

III. REALITY OF THE CALL

  1. THE COST – ALL THAT YOU HAVE!

All that you want to have!

  • THE REWARD – ACCORDING TO WHAT YOU HAVE DONE.

Basically, you have to live out what you normally speak of theoretically in scripture

EXAMPLE:

MATT 16:24-27 24  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

CONCLUDE:

If you a willing to run errands for God away from your own family or homeland – prepare yourself and trim your lifestyle so that you can get up and go when you receive your orders from God!

Amen

5/1992

Location: GKII – Indonesia, HYCC – Thailand

INTRODUCTION:

Contrast Abraham and Lot –

Gen 11-12 1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

10 This is the account of Shem.

Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad. 11 And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.

12 When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah. 13 And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber. 15 And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg. 17 And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters.

18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu. 19 And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters.

20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug. 21 And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters.

22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor. 23 And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.

24 When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah. 25 And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters.

26 After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.

Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. 28 While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. 29 Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah. 30 Now Sarai was barren; she had no children.

31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.

32 Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran.

12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

2     “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

3     I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

4 So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. 9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.

10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that she was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels.

17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.

Abraham called Lot followed.

Abraham became the father of our faith.

And believed the blessing and became a blessing

Gen 12:1-3 The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

Lot lived in an ungodly society and died ineffective and lost his family

I.  REQUIREMENTS TO BE CALLED

A. Availability

B. Accountability

C. Activity

II. REASONS TO WANT TO BE CALLED

A. Jesus’ Is Coming Soon.

B. Unreached Need to be Reached.

C. Speed the Coming of the Lord.

III. REALITY OF THE CALL

A. The Cost

B. The Reward

Taught in various locations from 1996-2001

Romans 15:8-9 says:

8  For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs 9  so that the Gentiles (nations) may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles (nations); I will sing hymns to your name.”

Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church – Worship is. 

Missions exists because worship from all the nations doesn’t!

Therefore, we must take the Gospel to all nations so that they will worship Him!

That is why Jesus said in Matt 24:14 –

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations (ethnic peoples- people groups), and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14 NIV)

And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. (Revelation 5:9)

World evangelization is a big job!  How can we do it?

Some approach the world as 167 countries with their provinces and territories to be reached.

Some approach the world as an assortment of world religions to be challenged.

All of these perspectives are valid, but the task is most easily grasped and accomplished by focusing on sociological groupings.  The way people tend to view and understand themselves.

Therefore, others approach the world as over 25,000 people groups (over 10,000 have not yet been reached).

DEFINING A PEOPLE GROUP

From the viewpoint of evangelization, a people group is the largest group within which the gospel can spread, a church can be planted without encountering barriers of acceptance and understanding (such as language and culture).

On our planet live over 5.7 billion people within about 24,000 of these nations and languages and peoples.  Some of these 24,000 have heard of the Gospel – some haven’t!

Those already reached: – About 14,000 peoples have embraced the Gospel, resulting in strong churches led by national (non-missionary) leaders with a serious commitment to evangelize their people. 

3.7 billion people live among this group of “nations”.

Those who are unreached is an estimated 10,000 peoples who don’t yet have a church in their midst to be a testimony of the Gospel of the Kingdom, and therefore have no access to the Gospel! 

Almost 2.1 billion individuals live within these peoples.  The Word says: “they are without hope and without God.” Eph 2:12

THE UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS MUST BE OUR PRIORITY

Let me illustrate the situation this way:

Divide groups as follows – keep them in this order in the room.

33% – Christians in general.

Includes those who are active committed disciples of Jesus as well as those who would just call themselves Christian because of their family or because they culturally identify with Christians.

31% – “Culturally Near Non Christians”.

The neighbors of Christians.  This Includes non-Christians whom Christians can approach without having to cross major barriers such as language, customs. values etc.  These are categorized as reached or evangelized, but not converted.

36% – Unreached peoples.

These include “Culturally Distant Non-Christians”. Christians can approach only after crossing major cultural barriers such as language, values, customs etc.  These most likely do not have Bibles in their language, churches in their communities or any opportunity to hear about Jesus from the Word of God.

If every Christian were to win his neighbor, these unreached distant non-Christians would never have a chance to hear the Gospel.

Divide the Christian Group

In the 33% Christian Group, only 32% of these are born again.  The rest are Christian in name only.

Show were the Culturally near Non-Christians are and describe the term again.

Show where the Unreached are and describe the term again (use someone to do it). 

Ask them to guess which types of groups would be included among these peoples?

Muslim, Tribal, Buddhist, Chinese, Hindu, Misc. Western Asian and African People.

What are some of the barriers you would have to reach these people?

Divide the Unreached Group as follows (10,000 people groups):

Muslim – 34%       (3,400 groups –     1,000,000,000 individuals)

Tribal – 21%          (2,100 groups –          75,000,000 individuals)

Buddhist – 9%       (900 groups  –          250,000,000 individuals)

Chinese – 9%        (9,000 groups –        125,000,000 individuals)

Hindu – 18%         (1,800 groups –       560,000,000 individuals)

Misc. Western, Asian & Africans – 9% (900 groups – 90,000,000 individuals_

Now we are going to divide the active Christians up as workers (some will remain behind).  How would we divide them?

In reality, only 1 out of 100 Christian Workers work among the Culturally distant and most of them avoid the Muslim populations!

JEANNIE AND DEBBIE’S SKIT . . .

Psalm 23 for the Unreached

Christian:  The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.

Malay: I have no shepherd.  I want and I am in need.

Christian:  He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.

Malay: I have no one to feed me in green pastures.  I find no rest. I have no one to lead me to quiet waters. I have no one to restore my anxious and despairing soul.

Christian:  He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Malay: I find no one to guide me in right ways. I don’t know where to turn.

Christian:  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Malay: As I walk through the valley of death, evil surrounds me. I am terribly afraid, for no one is with me to comfort me.

Christian:  You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows.

Malay: I have no feast prepared for me; I am overwhelemed by my enemies. No one anoints my wounds to heal them. My cup is empty.

Christian:  Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life …

Malay: All the days of my life are filled with uncertainty and disappointments …

Christian:  And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Malay: And I have no home for eternity. Will I dwell in the house of evil forever?

WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

We must be like Caleb!  Numbers 13:30

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

We can take on the giants and not be afraid of them!  For God has given us the Land!

It can be done!

We are in the midst of the greatest harvest the world has ever seen!

IT CAN BE DONE!

IT WILL BE DONE!

When you consider the evidence of God’s Word when He says:

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. (Revelation 7:9 NIV)

This is the future – God will do it – will you be a part?

4/24/1999

HYCC- Thailand

Tell the story of Gideon … (Judges 6 & 7)

  • Midianites attacked Israel and took all the had.
  • Israel cried out to God and God sent a message to a man who was threshing wheat in a wine press – he was afraid that his wheat would be stolen.
  • And God’s messenger called him “Mighty Warrior”, this little man hiding from the Midianites, afraid, is called a Mighty warrior!
  • The messenger tells Gideon that Gideon will deliver Israel out of Midians hand.
  • Gideon needs proof, and receives Gideon’s offering with supernatural fire.
  •  God calls Gideon to go and destroy the idols Midian, then build an alter to the Lord in it’s place.
  • Gideon obeyed.
  • But all the foreign armies aligned themselves against Israel to destroy her.
  • Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon.
  • Gideon was not sure and needed as sign that God was truly going to give them victory and God gave him the sign he needed.
  • But then God said Gideon had too many men … so the number had to be less. 
  • So God told Gideon to send those who are fearful home. 22,000 left and 10,000 remained.
  • God said that there were still too many
  • So God selected a few based upon how they drank water: If they lapped with their hands and not like a dog – meaning: ready for battle, not consumed by desires, water was not their first priority; they were chosen.
  • 300 men were left.
  • This is how they were given victory:
  • Divided into three companies 100 each
  • Gave them trumpets and clay pots to carry, with torches in side the clay pots.
  • At the signal they were to blow the trumpets and break the pots and reveal the torches of fire.
  • The enemy became afraid and Gideon and his army of 300 defeated the mighty army of Midian.

You are mighty warriors.

You are God’s anointed ones.

You are Kings and Priests before Him.

You are His ambassadors.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22  21  Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22  set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

We have been given a treasure in earthen vessels!

2 Corinthians 4:6-7  6  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

We are those clay pots in the hand of the Lord, He is setting his trumpet to His mouth and signaling victory!!!

2 Timothy 1:6-8a  6 ¶ For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  7  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord,

Fan into flame the Gift of God .  .  . 

Break those clay pots!

What is the gift of God?

The Holy Spirit!!!

And the Holy Spirit is a FIRE!

Jesus desires to fill us with His Spirit and Fire!

Matt 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Acts 2:1-4 1 ¶ When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

His fire is in YOU, if the Holy Spirit is in you!

We need to stir up that Fire!

2 Timothy 1:6 6 ¶ For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

How does this fire manifest?

The gifts of the Spirit!

1 Corinthians 12:1-11  1 ¶ Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2  You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3  Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. 4  There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6  There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8  To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10  to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

Romans 12:1-8 1 ¶ Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God– this is your spiritual act of worship.  2  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3  For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4  Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5  so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8  if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Ephesians 4:11-16 11  It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12  to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

1 Peter 4:10-11 10  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11  If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Allowing the Gift that God has given you to work in and through you is the Fire of the Holy Spirit at work in you.

We need that fire!

Not a counterfeit fire that is worked up by the flesh.  Our own fires will burn us!

Isa 50:10-11 10 ¶ Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. 11  But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment.

We need God’s fire, not our own fires.

Isa 66:12-21 12  For this is what the LORD says: “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. 13  As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” 14  When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the LORD will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes. 15 ¶ See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16  For with fire and with his sword the LORD will execute judgment upon all men, and many will be those slain by the LORD. 17  “Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the midst of those who eat the flesh of pigs and rats and other abominable things– they will meet their end together,” declares the LORD. 18  “And I, because of their actions and their imaginations, am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory. 19  “I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations– to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations. 20  And they will bring all your brothers, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the LORD– on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the LORD. “They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the LORD in ceremonially clean vessels. 21  And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites,” says the LORD.

This is God’s fire at work.  He makes us priests before Him, and his fire does the work in us.

Fire is the Power of His Spirit

His Sword is the truth of His Word . . .  we need Both!

He wants us HOT!

Rev 3:15-16 15  I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!So, because you are lukewarm– neither hot nor cold– I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Are you ready to burn for Jesus?

Conclude:

Then allow him to hold you in His hand and break the earthen, clay jar (your flesh – your will) and allow his flame to be seen by the world and His gifting in you become a part of your normal way of life.

You are mighty warriors

You are God’s anointed ones.

You are Kings and Priests before Him.

You are His ambassadors.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 21  Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,22  set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

2 Timothy 1:6 6 ¶ For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

2/8/2003

                              An outline of “A Mind for Missions” by Paul Borthwick[1]

BUILDING BLOCK ONE:

THE SCRIPTURES

THE OLD TESTAMENT WITNESS

CREATION – After the fall God pursues Adam and Eve.  His desire is to restore them.

ABRAHAM – God calls Abraham for the purpose of blessing the nations with redemption.

THE LAW – God set apart a people to be priests to the nations.

THE PROPHETS – God used these servants to remind and provoke the nation of Israel to fulfill their responsibility to the nations.

THE PSALMS – The writers of Psalms reflect God’s purpose that always included the nations.

MISSIONARIES – Both Daniel and Jonah reveals to us the missionary called to a pagan nation.

God is a missionary God!  As William Dyrness writes in his book “Let the Earth Rejoice” – “The Old Testament prepares a universal message for what will become in the New Testament a universal mission.”

THE NEW TESTAMENT WITNESS

THE GOSPELS – Jesus came for the whole world. John 3:16.  And he sent his disciples to do the same:

Matt 28:19 – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Mark 16:15 – And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Luke 24:47 – And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

John 20:21 – Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

ACTS – 10:34-35 Then Peter opened [his] mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

THE EPISTLES – These books were written from missionaries to churches that had been planted by missionaries.

REVELATION – Rev. 7:9-10: After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

DOMINANT THEMES OF SCRIPTURE

•     There is salvation in no one else but Jesus. (Ex 20:3; Is 42:8; 48:11; 43:11; 45:23; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim 2:5; Phil 2:10)

•     The basis of mission is to reveal the glory of God. (Is 55:11; Dan 4:25; Is 66:1-2; Luk 17:10; 2 Cor 4:6.

•     God wants to use us. (1 Cor 15;10; 1 Pet 2:4-10).

BUILD YOUR WORLD VISION WITH SCRIPTURE!

                                                      BUILDING BLOCK TWO:

                                                             CURRENT EVENTS

SKILLS FOR BUILDING A WORLD VISION:

•     First, We need spiritual glasses.  See the world the way God sees it.  Jesus is our example – Matt 9:36-38.

•     Second, We need “bifocal vision”.  We need to both see and care not only here at home (close) but around the world as well (far).

•     Third, We must be open to seeing our own sinfulness and selfishness.

•     Fourth, We need to remember how God works through current events.

HOW TO BUILD VISION THROUGH CURRENT EVENTS:

We start by learning what is happening in the world.

WAYS TO RESPOND TO A WORLD VISION:

•     First, we must respond in prayer.

•     Second, we must keep from growing calloused.

•     Third, we must seek a manageable impact.  Ask – What can I do?

We increase our world vision by learning about what us happening in the world around us.  We put our vision into practice by acting in response to what we have learned.

A CASE STUDY FOR BUILDING A WORLD VISION:

“In 1987, 4.7 billion people inhabited the earth.  By 1990, that number will rise to 5.3 billion; by the middle of the next century, we will have 9 billion inhabitants.  Most of that growth will take place in the less developed world.  Today, 10 out of every 11 babies born are born in the Third World.  With most of the unreached currently in northern Africa and Asia, what will it mean to have 75% of our planet’s population residing there within two decades?[2]

HOW TO RESPOND TO WORLD EVENTS IN ORDER TO BUILD OUR WORLD VISION:

1.   Choose one city as your focus.  Pray for that city; learn all you can about it; start a file on it, collecting any articles you read about that city.

2.   Contact a Christian ministry working in that city (if there is one), and become more familiar with that mission’s work.

3.   If there is no direct work in that city, try to find out which mission agencies broadcast Christian radio programs into that city.

4.   Pray for and seek out an opportunity to meet someone. perhaps and international student, from that city.

5.   Find out the names of political leaders in that country and city and pray for them by name.

6.   Seek to understand more about urbanization and why it is happening.  Read news articles about the trend towards urbanization.

7.   If you can contact a Christian church or ministry in that city (or one that works indirectly to reach that city), find out about one individual for whom you can pray.

8.   Consider financial involvement in a ministry or church related to that city.

9.   Encourage others in your Christian fellowship to pray with you for that city.

10. Pray, plan, and save so that you might be able to visit that city in the future.

God sees our responses to the world, no matter how small they may seem.  He will work through our compassionate responses to the world around us to change it.  When we keep this thought in mind, our world visions will grow!

                                                    BUILDING BLOCK THREE:

                                                                      PRAYER

who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4 NIV)

      The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NIV)

      And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14 NIV)

      “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. (Ezekiel 22:30 NIV)

36  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:36-38 NIV)

WHY IS PRAYER SO IMPORTANT?

•     Prayer reminds us of who is in charge.

            “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalms 46:10 NIV)

Prayer is our first work in the harvest.  And the reason is not hard to find.  It is this: the harvest has a “Lord.”  He oversees the harvest.  Someone supplies the workers.  someone controls the progress.  And that someone is God.  Our first business is not to look at the size of the harvest.  Our first business is to pray to our God.[3]

•     Prayer changes us.

THOSE WHO PRAY CHANGE THE WORLD.

Nehemiah:

4  When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5  Then I said: “O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, (Nehemiah 1:4-5 NIV)

When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God. (Nehemiah 6:16 NIV)

Hudson Taylor:

“Prayer was the only way by which his burdened heart could obtain any relief.”[4]

Jim Elliot:

“After reading, digesting, and recording, Jim set himself to praying.  He had lists of people to pray for, a list for each day of the week, and if time alone in his room was limited, he prayed as he walked up to breakfast on campus, or as he stood in line in the dining hall.”[5]

The People Republic of China:

The spiritual activity taking place in the People’s Republic of China today is a testimony of God’s work through prayer.

They (the missionaries who had to leave China) were not defeated; they simply continued to do battle in one of the toughest arenas of all: intercessory prayer.  They were often maligned for not realizing that this was a “different world we live in, and there is nothing you can do for China.”  Few were (or have been) recognized for their contribution to the building of His Kingdom.  They nevertheless continued hour by hour, day by day, and year by year, remembering by name those they left behind in the villages and communities that spread across China.  Their work was for beyond any job description which man might design.”[6]

LEARNING TO PRAY FOR A WORLD VISION

We can enhance our prayer for missions if we remember to apply the following principles:

1.   Start with worship.  Like Nehemiah, we must recognize that in prayer we come to the Lord of Heaven and earth.

2.   Confess our sins.  God’s purpose is to change us, and confession opens us to hear His voice.

3.   Start small.  If we pray for no one in missions work now, adding just one person to our prayer list is progress.

4.   Pray specifically.  We should choose a people group, a missionary, or a country fro which we can pray rather than offering generic, “Bless the missionaries,” prayers.

5.   Become a “prayer champion”[7] for someone in another land or culture.

6.   Use available resources to direct your prayers such as: Operation World, The Day by Day Guide to Praying for the World by Patrick Johnstone and Frontier Fellowship’s Global Prayer Digest .

7.   If you are praying for a missionary, read his or her newsletters and research the place where that missionary serves so you can pray intelligently.

                                                     BUILDING BLOCK FOUR:

                                                                     READING

READING CAN HELP BUILD A WORLD VISION

If we read from the five general categories listed below, we can achieve a good balance of growth in our missions related vision.

1.   MISSIONS HISTORIES

5  Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, 6  O descendants of Abraham his servant, O sons of Jacob, his chosen ones. (Psalms 105:5-6 NIV)

Start small such as the historical articles written in the book: “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement.”

2.   BIOGRAPHIES

In Hebrews 11:1-12:1 the Lord reminds us of the great men and women of faith.  Missionaries such as William Carey, Adoniram Judson, Hudson Taylor, Cameron Townsend, Jim Elliott, C.T. Studd, Mary Slessor, John and Betty Stam and David Livingstone are missionaries we should read about.  They are certainly “a cloud of witnesses.”

3.   CURRENT ISSUES IN MISSIONS

Although TIME and NEWSWEEK are good resources, you may not discover the what the Lord is doing among certain tribes and Missions organizations.  Therefore read missionary periodicals and as well as newsletters from people on the mission field.

Some good newsletters you should subscribe to are:

AD 2000 Global Monitor. P.O. Box 129 Rockville, VA 32146

Evangelical Missions Quarterly. EMIS P.O. Box 794, Wheaton, IL 60186

International Journal of Frontier Missions. IJFM, P.O. Box 27266, El Paso, TX 79926

Missions Frontiers.  USCWM, 1605 Elizabeth St. Pasadena, CA 91104

World Pulse.  P.O. Box 794, Wheaton, IL 60189

4.   CROSS-CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING

Read books such as Christianity Confronts Culture or Making of a Missionary.

5.   GENERAL MISSIONS RESOURCES

SET REALISTIC GOALS FOR READING

A one year personal goal sheet might look like this:

1.   To read one missions history on the current age of missions 1700 to present.

2.   To read three missions biographies: two of them about people in the past and one about a person who lived in the twentieth century.

3.   To read one book related to the rich-poor struggle and how it effects missionary work.

4.   To read the preparatory information used by a mission that we are familiar with in order to understand what preparation is required of missionaries who work in a new culture.

5.   To read one specific resource book on the biblical basis for missions.

THE RESULTS OF READING TO BUILD OUR WORLD VISION

•     We are inspired.

•     We learn from the mistakes of others.

•     We grow in our vision of God.

•     We see the people God uses.

•     We grow in our ability to influence others for the world evangelization.

•     We will pray for our missionaries more effectively.

•     We will see how God brings good out of adversity.

                                                      BUILDING BLOCK FIVE:

                                                     FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations (ethnic groups), baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19 NIV)

Jesus commands his disciples to go to all ethnic groups and make disciples.

A FEW EASY, CROSS-CULTURAL EXERCISES

•     Next time you eat at a Chinese Restaurant, use chopsticks instead of a fork.

•     Eat international foods thus participating in an exercise that broadens our horizons.  We identify with a different people group or culture.

•     Visit a different area of your city or town.

•     Be involved with internationals who live in your community.

•     Worship with Christians from other ethnic groups or cultures.

MORE SACRIFICIAL CROSS-CULTURAL EXPERIENCES

•     Host an international student in your home.

•     House immigrants as they settle in this country.

•     Learn another language.

•     Travel to another country.

MAKING THE MOST OF CROSS-CULTURAL EXPERIENCE

If we want to make the most of cross-cultural experiences, we must make certain decisions that will allow us to grow.

•     We must be willing to identify our biases.

•     We must become World Christians, not just well traveled Americans.

•     We must ask questions and listen.

•     We must be willing to change.

Take courage!  Step out into the worlds of others.  Stepping out will cause our world vision and our view of our great God to increase!

                                                        BUILDING BLOCK SIX:

                                                                 FELLOWSHIP

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13 NIV)

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24 NIV)

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17 NIV)

BUILDING WORLD VISION IN FELLOWSHIP GROUPS

The following six suggestions can help create a more missions-oriented world vision-building fellowship:

1.   Incorporate the building blocks described here into the fellowship.

2.   Pray about missions together.

3.   Adopt a giving project together.

4.   Work together.

5.   Adopt a project together such as a missionary, country or people group.

6.   Send someone out.

MORE SUGGESTIONS FOR EFFECTIVE VISION-BUILDING

1.   Remember that our goal is to build a greater outward focus, not to ignore each other.

2.   Make learning together fun.

3.   Make our missions world-vision growth manageable.

4.   Building a world vision is a commitment.

5.   We must see ourselves as “infecting” agents.

6.   We will do our best to influence others if we let God direct our steps regarding missions.

                                                     BUILDING BLOCK SEVEN:

                                                                       GIVING

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21 NIV)

THE BIBLICAL MANDATE REGARDING MONEY

1.   GOD WANTS US TO BE GENEROUS.

8  “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9  You are under a curse– the whole nation of you– because you are robbing me. 10  Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (Malachi 3:8-10 NIV)

6  Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7  Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7 NIV)

2.   GOD MEASURES OUR RESPONSIBLE STEWARDSHIP BY OUR RESPONSE TO THE POOR AND NEEDY.

Consider these examples from Scripture:

Genesis 1:26-31    God gives man all good things for the purpose of benefiting the whole world (stewardship).

Psalm 112:1-9       The faithful worshipper of God is richly blessed, and “his righteousness endures forever” because “he has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor.”

Proverbs 31:10      The wise women does very well in business (verses 14,16,18), and she is marked by the fact that she “opens her arms to the poor” (verse 20).

Amos 2:6-8                 The wealthy are condemned because they “trample the heads of the poor … and deny justice to the oppressed.”

Matthew 25:31-46 God’s judgement is seen in direct correlation to an individuals response to the poor, needy, homeless, etc., because that poor person represents Christ himself.

Luke 16:19-31      The rich man is rebuked after his death because of his ill treatment of the poor man, Lazarus.

1 Timothy 6:17-19      Those who are rich in this life are instructed to be “rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” so that they can lay up treasures for themselves in the coming age.

3.   GOD WANTS US TO KEEP THE KINGDOM OF GOD AS OUR PRIORITY.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:21..33 NIV)

FINANCIAL GIVING WITH A WORLD VISION

The seven principles of giving outlined below will help increase effective management of our financial resources.

1.   We need a personal financial strategy.

2.   We need to have some targets for giving.

3.   We need to check on the financial responsibility of the agencies (or people) to which we give.

4.   We need to periodically evaluate where our money is going.

5.   We need to become involved with the ministries we support.

6.   We need to sacrifice.

7.   Pray.

GIVING INCLUDES GIVING OUR TIME WITH A WORLD VISION.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE GIVE?

•     When we give money to ministries in the developing world, we realize just how far our money can go.

•     When we are involved in worldwide giving, we become increasingly aware of the fact that God has blessed us and the United States with an unusual stockpile of resources and money.

•     When we commit ourselves to giving in a way that builds our vision for the world, we will become acutely aware of the need to make world evangelization a priority for ourselves, our churches, and our fellowships.

Oswald J. Smith challenges us to give to missions through these four observations:

1)   If I refuse to give anything to missions this year, I practically cast a ballot in favor of the recall of every missionary.

2)   If I give less than heretofore, I favor the reduction of the missionary forces proportionate to my reduced contribution.

3)   If I gave the same as formerly, I favor holding the ground already won; but I oppose any forward movement.  My song is “Holding the Fort,” forgetting that the Lord never intended His army to take refuge in a fort.

4)   If I increase my offering beyond former years, then I favor an advance movement in the conquest of new territory for Christ.

                                                    BUILDING BLOCK EIGHT:

                                                      MEETING MISSIONARIES

On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. (Acts 14:27 NIV)

MISSIONARIES CAN TELL US ABOUT GOD’S WORK

If we want to grow through our personal relationships with missionaries, we must be willing to go beyond superficial encounters and erroneous assumptions so we can know and learn form these special teachers.

“Reporting back” is a biblical concept.  Biblical examples reveal to us what should we look for in our personal meeting with missionaries?

•     First, they should give their reports to those who sent them in order to encourage the faith of others by detailing what God has done.

•     Second, when they report back, they give the senders vision.

HOW TO GET TO KNOW A MISSIONARY

1.   Start receiving a missionary newsletter.

2.   Write personal letters.

3.   Telephone a missionary.

4.   Be faithful in prayer.

5.   Invite missionaries into your home.

6.   Visit missionaries at their field of work.

DEEPENING OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH MISSIONARIES

Consider these ideas for promoting growth between you and the missionary friends.

1.   Ask them questions related to daily living.

2.   Do not generalize about missions or missionaries.

3.   Ask about financial needs.

4.   Ask for specific prayer requests about their personal lives and families.

5.   Do not forget to ask about the missionaries spiritual life.

6.   Let God speak to you through them.

                                                      BUILDING BLOCK NINE:

                                                          LIFESTYLE CHOICES

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21 NIV)

17  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

(1 John 3:17-18 NIV)

VOLUNTARY LIMITATION: A BASIC CHOICE

In the book, Living More Simply, Howard Claasen offers four goals for simpler living for all world-concerned Christians:

1.   Learn to understand the poor be lessening the large economic gap between us and the them.

2.   Try to avoid materialism, the love of possessions and money.

3.   Reduce the consumption of resources that are scarce and non-renewable.

4.   Reduce the causes of international tensions and wars.

LIFESTYLE CHOICES WE CAN MAKE AS WORLD CHRISTIANS

1.   LANGUAGE.  With a view toward the world, we will find it difficult, if not impossible, to speak of our own needs as “great.”

2.   MONEY.  Rather than focusing on our money as a way to benefit ourselves, we can choose to view our money as a way to benefit others.  With this in mind, we can live according to Jesus’ example.  He gave al that He had for us.

3.   SUCCESS.  One primary reason we become self-centered and strive for personal gain is because we want to be successful in society that determines success by wealth and possessions.

4.   SEPARATION.  Not believing the lies of the this world.

5.   SIMPLICITY.  Our vision should not be cluttered with things, but our eyes should be set on eternal things.

6.   AFFLUENCE.  We need to change our dreams if we are to live lifestyles that are consistent with and complementary to our world vision.

LIFESTYLE CHOICES: SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

David Bryant, missions expert, poses some excellent questions to consider as we evaluate our lifestyles according to world Christian priorities.

•     What most determines my sense of needs?  TV? Career? Status? Peers? Or, Christ’s global cause and the needs of unreached people?

•     Is my lifestyle shaped by a  desire for more – more possessions, more happiness, more power?  Or, is it shaped by a desire for increased personal freedom and availability of resources in order to serve the world’s unreached?

•     What are the excesses in my life?  What do I have too much of right now?  Where do I presently squander, waste, or overindulge?  How will this effect further outreach to the ends of the earth?

•     Should my involvement in the cause right now be from surplus or sacrifice?  How might future involvement in the cause be effected by my approach to this?

•     Out of my 168 hours a week, can I justify the overall allotment of my time in light of Christ’s global cause?  What specific time commitments need to be cut back in order to prepare me for increased future outreach?  Are there places my investments of time should be rechanneled now?

•     Of the decisions I am making right now which ones will have a lasting impact on how I involved I am in worldwide outreach in the future?  Which decisions might increase my effectiveness over what it is now?  How should love for the unreached guide my choices, such as where we live, whom to marry, what profession to pursue, new friendships to seek, our purchases, prayer and Bible reading habits, service on a church committee, magazine subscriptions, or Christian conferences I attend?[8]

                                                       BUILDING BLOCK TEN:

                                                                 OTHER INPUT

19  This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20  and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NIV)

We have choices to make.

SETTING THE WORLD BEFORE US

1.   Making the world your hobby.

2.   Keep the world visible in your home and in your office.

3.   Learn about places of the world.  Play geography games with your family.

4.   Start young.


[1] This outline is for the purpose of academic review only.  The reader should refer to the book for further study.

[2] David Bryant, With Concerts of Prayer (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1984), page 108.

[3] Tom Wells, A Vision for Missions (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1985), page 138.

[4] Dr & Mrs Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret (Philadelphia CIM, 1958), PAGE 78.

[5] Elisabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), page 52.

[6] Carl Lawrence, The Church in China (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1985), page 117.

[7] A pray champion is one who not only prays for him every day, but who requests prayer for him in any Christian prayer gathering and champions the missionaries cause.

[8] David Bryant, In the Gap (Downers Grove, Illinois, InterVarsity Press, 1977), pages 228-229.

January 1986

Believers Fellowship – West Chester, PA

JOHN 3:1-21 (read & comment)….

1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

This is the basis of all that we do!

The purpose of our existence is capsuled here!

A people Born Again – being blown about by the Holy Spirit to do His will A people who put up their sails & follow the Lord.

Who need to be sold out to God!

BORN FROM ABOVE!

GENESIS 1:11-25 11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

All creation was to reproduce after its own kind … God saw that it was good. 

Genesis 1:2626 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

God then creates after His Kind …man, Born from above!

But man fell …

ISAIAH 55:8-9  8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Man becomes contrary to God.

ROMANS 3:23; “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

GALATIANS 3:22; “But the scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin!”

God made the way to restore us back into His likeness.

JOHN 3:16-21 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

Our lives, our purpose MUST change from the things of this world to HIS KINGDOM!

MATTHEW 6:33; “Seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well!”

Choose to serve God!

To the point that all that we are and have belongs to HIM!

Then we become part of that LIGHT …

(See above) JOHN 3:21!

EPHESIANS 5:1-2 & 8-16  Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. ….. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Are we willing to do this?

Are we willing to put all that we are on the line for him?  To Give as he gave – his son?

To be like him?  Imitate him?

We are living in a day that requires sacrifice & obedience in all areas of our lives towards God!  NO COMPROMISE –  NO GAMES!

He has called us out – the disciples – Nicodemus – YOU!

ARE WE SERIOUS ABOUT DOING WHAT HE HAS CALLED US TO DO?

Reaching out to West Chester? …

Reaching out to Chester County? …

REaching out to the Delaware Valley? …

Reaching out to Philly? …

Will we leave it all & follow Him?

The cloud is moving ….  And we need to follow it!     or be left behind in mediocrity!

Be a people of total sacrifice …

ROMANS 12:1,2; “Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – which is your spiritual worship. Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is…”

Jesus said:

MATTHEW 16:25; “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it”

It is time for us as a body to make a difference in this community –

#1 – BY WALKING UPRIGHTLY BEFORE HIM IN ALL OUR WAYS!

#2 – BY BEING SOLD OUT – TOTALLY UNTO THE LORD!

#3 – BY IMITAING JESUS IN ALL THAT WE DO!  TO BE THAT LIGHT!

God is calling us to take hold of what belongs to US His people! 

Who does this town belong to?

Who does this county belong to?

Who does the Delaware Valley belong to?

Who does Philadelphia belong to?

Who does this building the YMCA belong to?

It is time to move on and posses what the Lord had prepared for us

It is time to raise the funds and purchase the facility He has for us here in West Chester!

And it may be right here in the YMCA!

All we need is $325,000.00!

That’s only about $6,500 a piece!

It’s time to invest – not in stocks, not in real estate, not IB bonds or CD’s

But

In the Kingdom of God!

So that this place would be used to send out that light in the midst of darkness!

An investment in the Kingdom!

MATTTHEW 6:19-21 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

IT’S ALL HIS

How can we a congregation of 50 adults come up with 350.000?

We have three sources to draw from (over & above your tithe), depending on where you are financially.

(show transparancy…

 3 POCKETS ILLUS …#1 PANTS POCKET…CHANGE & BILLS

   #2 CHECKBOOK – STASH HIDDEN FUNDS

   #3 SELL OUT – WATCH, TIE CLASP ETC)

1. Out of your day to day living expenses –

  • Curb your standard of living to a place of sacrifice
  • Live in moderation
  • Turn over undesignated “pocket $” to the Lord!
  • Then,   PRAY: “LORD HOW MUCH SHOULD I GIVE THIS WEEK TOWARDS THE KINGDOM INVESTMENT?

2. Out of your savings, investments, reduce them to a point of sacrifice. Cash it in as God directs Then,

PRAY: ‘LORD HOW MUCH SHOULD I GIVE FROM THIS TOWARDS THE KINGDOM INVESTMENT?”

3. Out of resources & Assets, Liquidate them as God directs: Cars, boats, guns, property, luxuries, real estate, attic & garage junk.

Then,

PRAY: “LORD HOW MUCH SHOULD I GIVE FROM THIS TOWARDS THE KINGDOM INVESTMENT?”

Add these three categories together & over a short period of time = $325,000.00! 

DOES GOD WANT US TO BUY THIS FACILLITY?

YES!

“GOD’S WORK DONE GOD’S WAY WILL NEVER LACK FOR FUNDS!”

  – Hudson Taylor

How are we going to respond?

II CORINTHIANS 9:6-15 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

CHEERFULLY?

GENEROUSLY?

Raise 15,000 by December 31, 1987

    To be used to secure a contract on this property & go towards it’s purchase. 

All funds collected into the “Kingdom Investment Fund” will be used for the purpose of securing a place of ministry by buying, renovating, leasing, building, etc. Any properties needed to fulfil the ministry needs of this congregation both ministry oriented as well as administrative.

What should you do?

1. LOOK AT YOUR “THREE POCKETS” AND OBEY GOD CONCERNING THEM

2. FILL OUT ON THE INSIDE OF AN OFFERING ENVELOPE HOW MUCH GOD HAS INSTRUCTED YOU TO GIVE INTO THE “KINGDOM INVESTMENT FUND” AND TURN IT IN NEXT WEEK IF POSSIBLE.

3. PRAY THE PRAYER OF FAITH & INTERCEDE CONCERNING THIS APPEAL SO THAT THE ENEMY’S HAND WILL BE STOPPED IN THIS COMMUNITY!

QUESTIONS?

June 17, 1990

at Believers Fellowship – West Chester, PA

Introduction:

Psalm 144:15 Blessed are the people of whom this is true; blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.

We are a happy and blessed people.

Do you desire to be happy?

Lack of happiness will destroy homes, families, churches, lives etc.

God has made a way for us to be happy.

Matt 5:3-11 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4   Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5   Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6   Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7   Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

8   Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9   Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

10  Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Happy, blessed. This describes the happy-blessed.

Today I want to talk about how to be a happy man

  1. What does blessed mean?

Hebrew = Barak – blessed or word’s of respect and worship, we bless God, praise God

‘Esher – happy

Greek = eulogie – which means words spoken well of as a father speaks a blessing to his

children.

Makarios – which is used to describe the condition of those who are without worry or care – happy.

What we are looking at is the words that are translated – happy

Do not confuse the word blessed, or happy with the word that means a spoken word of promise or covenant over an individual.

Example:

Genesis 12:1-3 The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

2     “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

3     I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

Covenant blessing.

Matt. 5:3-11 (see above)

Description of a persons, Condition – they are happy etc.,

  1. Who are the happy (the blessed)?

Psalm 1:1-3 1  Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2     But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3    He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

Psalm 32:1-2 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.

Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

Psalm 40:4 Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.

Psalm 65:4 Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.

Psalm 84:1-12 1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! 2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. 3 Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Selah

5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. 6As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.7 They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. 8 Hear my prayer, O Lord God Almighty; listen to me, O God of Jacob. Selah

9 Look upon our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one. 10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. 12    O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.

Psalm 94:12-13 12      Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord, the man you teach from your law; 13        you grant him relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked.

Psalm 112:1 Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.

Psalm 127:5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

Psalm 128:1-6 1          Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways. 2  You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. 3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. 4 Thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord. 5          May the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem, 6 and may you live to see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

James 1:25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

Law of love –

James 2: 8-13 8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

John 13:1-17 It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

2 The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10 Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

conclude …

1990

Several Locations over the years

Compiled from U.S. Center for World Mission’s Perspectives Course

A. THE TEXT BOOK OF MISSIONS

The theory of missions begins in the Bible. In the bible is the record of the preparation of the kingdom of Heaven, its principles and its progress.

In the Bible we find :

  • The Missionary Thought In Gods Heart
  • The Missionary Message In Christ’s Atonement
  • The Missionary Duty In Our Lord’s Commands
  • The Missionary Motive In The Nature Of The Redeemed Life
  • The Missionary Task In A “World Ruled By The Evil One”
  • The Missionary Power In “The Holy Spirit Whom God Has Given To Those Who Obey Him”
  • The Missionary Goal In “The Day” Of Jesus Christ.

The Old Testament gives us the grounds by which the Lord gives his plans and commands to conquer the world in his name.

The New Testament missionary is a product of the work of the early Christians.

The book of Acts is an inspired account of the first experiences in executing the commands under the impulse and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

What Jesus began to do in his personal ministry he continues in the person of his disciples under the power of the Holy Spirit.

The book of Acts:

Gives us the first chapter in the history of New Testament missions and its progress.

The book of Matthew:

Records facts about the life of Jesus and compares them with old testament prophecies and proves that Jesus is the Christ of God

The book of Luke:

Gives a universal account of the character and work of the son of man setting up God’s kingdom in men to take possession of the world.

So the Gospels are all missionary tracts setting forth the gospel that its conquests might be extended and its work confirmed.

In the “general epistles”, James:

Is for the instruction of the mission converts in the righteousness of the gospel.

1 and 2 Peter and Jude:

Are to encourage the mission converts under persecutions and to be faithful under adverse circumstances.

Paul’s epistles were written:

1. To follow-up the work of his missionary labors

2.  To maintain the purity of the gospel against corruptions in doctrine and life

3. To defend his own missionary apostleship against the juadizers

4.  To expound the universal principles of the gospel

5.  To reprove, rebuke, and exhort those who had received the gospel

6.  Three of his letters were to younger missionaries: to give the instruction in the work and to “commit to faithful men who should be able to teach others”

The whole New Testament can only be interpreted in the light of missions.

B. GOD IS A MISSIONARY GOD

[adapted from: PERSPECTIVES OF THE WORLD CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT; Study Guide and Reader]

Do you desire to follow the teachings of the Bible? 

But what kind of teachings does the Bible encourage? 

Some would say that Evangelism and Missions lie on the extremity of Biblical concerns.  Missions was almost an afterthought.

Others have an idea that evangelism is simply part of good Christian behavior; it is the right thing to do.

We will discover that missions lies at the center of God’s concern.  He is doing missions.  Evangelism is more than just doing the right activity, it is a partnership and fellowship with a living God, for He is a missionary God!

We will attempt explain how the Bible is the basis for Missions, how missions is the basis for the Bible, how all of scripture focuses on the missions mandate. 

We will look at God’s promise to Abraham as a call to missions, and describe the two fold problem God seeks to solve.

We will state God’s mission purpose and explain the unity of God’s purpose to redeem and God’s purpose to rule.

1. MISSIONS AND THE BIBLE

a. MISSIONS – THE BASIS OF THE BIBLE

No one doubts that missions is in the Bible somewhere.  A superficial reading of scripture readily reveals two things:

1)   Universal themes and passages reveal God’s concern for the whole world.

“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:22 NIV)

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

2)   Isolated mandate verses in which God calls some of his people ot a special ministry.

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. (Psalms 96:3 NIV)

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. (Mark 16:15 NIV)

These passages clearly show that God is interested in Missions, but one might easily guess from just these few texts that God is more concerned about other things than missions.

b.         THE BIBLE – THE BASIS FOR MISSIONS

It is clear that the Bible contains concepts about missions and reaching all peoples.  It is clear that the Bible is the very basis for missions.  But it is also true or clear that the reverse is true – that missions is the basis of the Bible.  So, the Bible is the basis for Missions and Missions is the basis for the Bible.

Consider this:

  • The story of God accomplishing his mission is the plot if the entire Bible.  Therefore, God’s mission is the backbone upon which the whole Bible is built and is best understood.
  • The way God accomplishes his mission is to reveal himself to men by the spoken and Incarnate Word and enlist them as his co-workers to bring the Word to others.  Therefore, God’s mission is the reason there is a Bible!

Thus the Biblical mandate for missions is not limited to a few references.  We do not engage in missions because the Bible says to do so, but rather because God is accomplishing His mission, and has instructed use through the scripture to join him in the work.

1) The Promise of God.

God’s promise to Abraham highlighted his missionary intent: to bless all the nations of the earth.  This promise was partially fulfilled in Abraham’s day, and throughout the period of the Old Testament.  It was most fully portrayed in the life of Jesus.  this promise will be perfectly fulfilled at the end of the age and is being fulfilled as He build His Church.  Through this promise of god we see Him as the God of history, the God of covenant, and the God of mission

2)   The Participation of God’s People

The nations are not blessed automatically.  He has promised to bless the nations “through Abraham’s seed”.  By faith, we are Abraham’s seed!

2. THE PURPOSE OF GOD

a. GOD’S TWO-FOLD PROBLEM

1)   A Satanic counter kingdom arose whose plan was to usurp God’s reign by stealing the allegiance of man.  Satan’s purpose is now to deceive and destroy man who was created in the image of God; the God who is now Satan’s enemy.

2)   Mankind entered into rebellion, he left his place of authority over the earth, and ironically, trying to gain more power, fell to Satan’s Kingdom which now meant slavery of sin and death.

b. GOD’S UNIFIED PURPOSE.

God may have a two-fold problem, but he has one greater purpose.  That purpose is distinctly that of a missionary.  God overcomes both problems with one strategy.  He redeems man in order to rule, and he rules (gains victory) in order to redeem.

1)   To Reconquer his rightful domain and to re-establish his rightful reign.  To gain victory over the satanic counter-kingdom and this way God redeems mankind!

2)   To Reconcile man to himself through the finished work of the cross and resurrection, and through this redemption to reconcile all things to Himself in order to rule over His creation.

We can state His Unified Purpose briefly this way:

To redeem a people from every people, and to rule a kingdom over all kingdoms.

3. THE PLAN OF GOD

We must understand that God has a plan.  God does not react to the circumstances of that mankind finds himself in.  God has a plan, a strategy for all things that happen.  This is seen in history.

a.   God deals with all of humankind in Genesis 1 – 11. This underscores the fact that his abiding purpose has always included all peoples.

DISCUSSION QUESTION – WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS IN WHICH GOD DEALS WITH HUMANITY IN THESE 11 CHAPTERS OF GENESIS?

b.   God dealt with humankind as a whole partly because people were not the first separated during this time into linguistic units. (Although the “Table of Nations” in Genesis 10 comes after Babel chronologically, it is placed before Genesis 11 as part of the overall literary structure of Genesis)  The human race was a single group of people who spoke one language.  The world was literally one nation. Their power was great, and they sought to control all creation through their idolatrous practices.  God saw that no evil would be impossible for them. They could not be reached as one unit.

The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. (Genesis 11:6 NIV)

Why did God scatter them at this point? 

It was an act of judgement, but it was at the same time an act of marvelous mercy and strategy.  They resisted God as a whole, so God would win them bit by bit!

God divided the race for his purpose.  He would reach them family by family, clan by clan, people by people, nation by nation.

An uninterrupted reading of Genesis 10-12 shows God doing exactly that.  He divides mankind into nations, and chooses one nation to bless the others.

c.   God’s choice of Abraham was then a starting point of battle, not a barrier.  It was a beginning, not a closing of his universal purpose.  It was all part of His strategy, and the sin of Babylon proved to be a success for God!

The choosing of Abraham was not a narrowing of God’s intentions, but a strategic breakthrough in order to reach all nations!

C. THE OBLIGATION AND THE OPPORTUNITY

[adapted from: PERSPECTIVES OF THE WORLD CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT; Study Guide and Reader]

Everyone enjoys Old Testament stories.  When all have heard the stories of Abraham, Moses, and David.  We enjoy hearing about Daniel in the lion’s den, or the victory of Gideon.  We see many illustrations about ourselves in these stories.

But are these stories connected?  Is there a larger story?  Is their an underlying plot that runs through the whole Old Testament.  There is a theme that recurs throughout the Old Testament that suggests its plot.  We get a glimpse of the heart and purposes of God.

There is a fourfold theme clearly stated in this simple outline of the Old Testament:

1.   Israel is given an obligation with respect to the nations.

2.   Israel is given an opportunity to fulfill this charge.

3.   Israel, with a few exceptions is disobedient to God.

4.   God is persistent in bringing Israel back to an awareness of her obligation and her opportunity.

This theme applies not only to the entire survey of the Old Testament era, but finds fulfillment in specific lives and generations of God’s people before Christ.

This is not a rigid outline, but it is an interpretive theme.  The limitations of time will not allow us to examine each Old Testament event.  We do not divide the Old Testament into four time periods according to this outline.  But each story, each event recorded can be well understood by this four part theme as one perilous but victorious history, a sobering but thrilling drama, unfolding our lives with theirs, and revealing the heart of God for this world.

We want to explain:

  • How the covenant with Abraham has mandate force. 
  • How the covenant at Sinai has mandate force. 
  • How the name of God encapsulates the Gospel Israel was obligated to share. 
  • The terms sanctify and holy. 
  • How the sanctification of God’s name depended on the holiness of God’s people.
  • The mission and purpose of the triumphal drama of the Exodus and the Conquest.
  • The mission purpose of the temple. 
  • The theme of “antagonism” in the Old Testament. 
  • Two ways that Israel failed its covenant obligation with respect to nations.
  • How the story of Jonah demonstrates Israel’s obligation, opportunity, disobedience, and God’s persistence.
  • Summarize what the prophets said about the Kingdom of God and the Servant of the Lord regarding Israel and he nations.
  • The reason and the result of the Exile of Israel.

1. THE OBLIGATION

a.   The covenant with Abraham promised not only that Abraham would receive blessings, but that he and his seed were to be a blessing to all nations.

2  “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2-3 NIV)

The seed of Abraham was to proclaim God’s plan to bless the nations.

see:

It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. (Romans 4:13 NIV)

The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” (Galatians 3:8 NIV)

If you believe, then you are part of Abraham’s seed.  Heirs to the promise and obligated to fulfill your portion of the covenant – be a blessing!

b.   The covenant of Sinai specified Israel’s role as a people who were able to move about among the nations, set apart to participate with God as priests.

4  `You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5  Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6  you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” (Exodus 19:4-6 NIV)

We see in these verses that Israel was to be a:

  • Treasured Possession, among all peoples
    • Kingdom of Priests
    • and A Holy Nation

These are three ministries God specifies for Abraham’s descendants

We see this further in Psalm 67:

  1. [For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.] May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, Selah

2    that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.

3    May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you.

 4   May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. Selah

5    May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you.

6    Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us.

7    God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him.

Note how similar this Psalm is to Genesis 12:2-3! 

Three times this Psalm refers to the blessing of God. vrs – 1, 6, & 7  Bless us so that all nations might know the Lord!

The Psalmist calls us to prove & test God’s purposes for three reasons:

1.   God has been gracious to us v.1-3

2.   God rules and guides all nations v 4-5

3.   Because of the very goodness of God v. 6-7

When we proclaim this, there will be a great harvest, the land will yield its harvest – the salvation of many!

2. THE OPPORTUNITY

What was Israel specifically supposed to do?  What gospel did she have to proclaim?  to be sure the gospel of the death, resurrection and second coming of Jesus the Son of God was not announces at this time.  But, they did know God as gracious, loving, forgiving and faithful in open covenant relationship.

Abraham had worshipped the true God in “obedience of faith” and walked in a vital, trusting relationship with a living Lord.  This they could, and did announce.

They were to witness to his name.  God not only revealed his character (name) to Israel; he not only exalted his name by mighty deeds before the nations as an attraction to himself; but he also provided Israel ample opportunity to proclaim his name among the nations.

The clearest expression of God’s name if revealed to Moses in Ex 34:6-7:

6  And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7  maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

This is repeated throughout Israel’s history. Note the following scriptures.

`The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.’ (Numbers 14:18 NIV)

But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. (Psalms 86:15 NIV)

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. (Psalms 103:8 NIV)

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. (Joel 2:13 NIV)

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry for ever but delight to show mercy. (Micah 7:18 NIV)

He prayed to the LORD, “O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. (Jonah 4:2 NIV)

Israel recognized God’s name as the focal point of nations knowing God!

1  In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. 2  Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” 3  With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4  In that day you will say: “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. 5  Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. 6  Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” (Isaiah 12:1-6 NIV)

1  Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. 2  Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and for evermore. 3  From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised. 4  The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. 5  Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, 6  who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? 7  He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; 8  he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people. 9  He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD. (Psalms 113:1-9 NIV)

Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness. (Psalms 48:10 NIV)

All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.” Selah (Psalms 66:4 NIV)

8  Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. 9  All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. 10  For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. (Psalms 86:8-10 NIV)

 Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. 2  Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. 3  Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. 4  For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. 5  For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. 6  Splendour and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary. 7  Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 8  Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. 9  Worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. 10  Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. (Psalms 96:1-10 NIV)

Psalm 99:6-9 explains those who called upon his name and knew Him as holy forgiving and just.

6  Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel was among those who called on his name; they called on the LORD and he answered them. 7  He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud; they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them. 8  O LORD our God, you answered them; you were to Israel a forgiving God, though you punished their misdeeds. 9  Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the LORD our God is holy. (Psalms 99:6-9 NIV)

Psalm 145:8-20 Explains God’s name:

8  The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. 9  The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. 10  All you have made will praise you, O LORD; your saints will extol you. 11  They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, 12  so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendour of your kingdom. 13  Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving towards all he has made. 14  The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. 15  The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16  You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. 17  The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving towards all he has made. 18  The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19  He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. 20  The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.

Other verses are:

19  O LORD, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good. 20  Do men make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!” 21  “Therefore I will teach them–this time I will teach them my power and might. Then they will know that my name is the LORD. (Jeremiah 16:19-21 NIV)

8  Therefore wait for me,” declares the LORD, “for the day I will stand up to testify. I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them–all my fierce anger. The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger. 9  “Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder. 10  From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshippers, my scattered people, will bring me offerings. 11  On that day you will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from this city those who rejoice in their pride. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. 12  But I will leave within you the meek and humble, who trust in the name of the LORD. (Zephaniah 3:8-12 NIV)

My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 1:11 NIV)

a.   Israel was separated from the nations to sanctify God’s name.

1)   The terms “holy” and “sanctify” carry two coordinate meanings:

a)   Holiness can mean moral character.  To sanctify then is to purify.

b)   Holiness can also mean consecration. To sanctify then means to set apart.

Israel was to be a holy nation in both senses.  God distinguished Israel from all other nations in order to set his name apart – sanctify it – from the gods of other nations.

2)   The Exodus from Egypt not only set apart Israel from all the other nations, it also exalted God’s name among the nations.

Note the following verses for further reading:

Exodus 9:13-16; Isaiah 63:11-14; Jeremiah 9:9-10; Psalm 106:7-8; Exodus 32:1-14; Numbers 14:1-23; Deuteronomy 7:6-8; 26:16-19, 14:1-21

3)   The conquest of Canaan not only separated Israel from the idolatry of the nations who, lived there, it also exalted God’s name among the nations.

Note the following verses for further study:

Joshua 4:19-24; 7:6-9, 1 Chronicles 17:21; Joshua 9:1-10; Exodus 23:32-33; Deut 7:1-6; Ex 34:9-17

b.   Israel was placed in the midst of the nations to proclaim God’s name.

1)   The geographical location of Israel was a pivotal in the affairs of the ancient world.

2)   God allowed Israel to build a place for his name to dwell — the temple.  The temple was intended to be a focal point for the worship and knowledge of the only true God.  People of distant nations did indeed hear of God’s great name.

Note these verses:

Deut 12;1-11; 1 Kings 8:41-43; 10:1-9; 8:54-61; Isaiah 56:6-8

3. ISRAEL’S DISOBEDIENCE

Israel forgot her obligation and denied her opportunity.

a.   Israel mixed with the nations and so profaned God’s name.

1)   Religious intermingling.  Israel pursued the gods of the surrounding nations in addition to the true God.  In so doing, she assigned God to a position of a national deity — only one god among many gods.

2)   Political intermingling.  Israel abandoned her special relationship with God as her only king in favor of a monarchy like all the other nations. God was thought of as the national god rather than the God of all nations!

Note the following verses:

Judges 8:22-23; 1 Samuel 8:4-22; 12:6-22; 1 Kings 11:1-13; Ezekiel 20:5-44; 36:16-23

b.   Israel isolated herself from the nations and so withheld God’s name.  Jonah serves as the finest example of this provincial mentality.  Carefully note that he had the good new of the name of God which he wished wasn’t true.

He prayed to the LORD, “O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. (Jonah 4:2 NIV)

4. GOD’S PERSISTENCE

a.   THE EXILE

During the events leading up to the demise of the nation of Israel, and during the time of her exile, several prophets brought incisive words challenging Israel’s preconceptions of her privileged position.  God was in effect reminding Israel of her obligation and destiny. 

The people were forced by their defeat to separate the true and living God from any national god.  If Yahweh was but a national deity, then he had failed.  But, if he was the God of the nations, then he must have some larger purpose.

What was that larger purpose?

1)   The word of the prophets and during the exile was that God was Savior not just of Israel, but of the whole world.  But God was king, not only of Israel, but of all nations.

Therefore Israel could not enjoy God’s salvation or kingdom without ultimately including the nations.

Note the following verses:

Daniel 7:13-14; Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 102:12-22; Zechariah 14:1-9; Micah 4:1-8; 5:2-5

2)   Israel could look forward to coming out of exile, but when she did, the restoration would in some way be for the nations as well.  Her role in this was to be the servant of the Lord as a light to the nations.

b.   AFTER THE EXILE

The exile was God’s means of not only reminding Israel of her obligation, but of providing her with grand opportunity.  Like Jonah before, if she would not bring good news willingly to the nations, God would take her involuntarily to the nations. Israel was scattered throughout the Babylonian and Persian Empires.

1)   The resolute allegiance of many of the Jews bore great witness to the one true God (Daniel, Esther).

2)   Synagogues emerged throughout the empire as beacons of light.

3)   Some jews even began to take their obligation seriously enough to begin missionary work to make proselytes.  Those who heard the good news of God’s name throughout the Mediterranean region, both Jewish proselytes and the “God-fearers” who never became Jews, were the first of the Gentiles to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Saul of Tarsus could have been of these Jewish missionaries.  Jesus denounces the missionary effort of the Pharisees only because the message they taught was distorted.  They taught that to be acceptable to God, the Gentiles had to become Jews and abide by the Jewish traditional laws.

E. THE KINGDOM OF GOD STRIKES THE EARTH –

[adapted from: PERSPECTIVES OF THE WORLD CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT; Study Guide and Reader]

We have seen in the unfolding drama of the Old Testament the very heart of God for the nations.  But more is to happen.  Christ came and brought with Him the Kingdom of God.

We shall see in this lesson that Christ’s coming was the decisive act of victory in accomplishing his purpose to rule over all other rival powers earthly and heavenly, and to regain his rightful kingdom.  By doing so he executed a daring but successful rescue operation that was call MISSIONS.

We pick up the story of the people of Israel still not honoring God’s name in a way that glorifies him among the nations.

1.   THE MESSENGERS OF THE KINGDOM

a. God’s Day – The Coming King

Israel lived by a deeply ingrained hope in a future time in which God, the mighty King-Judge would come, judge, rule; acting on his established sovereign authority to set all wrongs right, and reign forever.  This hope was often summarized as “The Day of the Lord”.

1)   A day of POWER, of his COMING in JUDGEMENT.

Note the following verses:

Isaiah 66:15-21;

15  See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16  For with fire and with his sword the LORD will execute judgment upon all men, and many will be those slain by the LORD. 17  “Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the midst of those who eat the flesh of pigs and rats and other abominable things–they will meet their end together,” declares the LORD. 18  “And I, because of their actions and their imaginations, am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory. 19  “I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations–to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations. 20  And they will bring all your brothers, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the LORD–on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the LORD. “They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the LORD in ceremonially clean vessels. 21  And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites,” says the LORD.

Zephaniah 1:14-18;

14  “The great day of the LORD is near–near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of the LORD will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there. 15  That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, 16  a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers. 17  I will bring distress on the people and they will walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like filth. 18  Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the LORD’s wrath. In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth.”

Zephaniah 3:8-13;

8  Therefore wait for me,” declares the LORD, “for the day I will stand up to testify. I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them–all my fierce anger. The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger. 9  “Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder. 10  From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshippers, my scattered people, will bring me offerings. 11  On that day you will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from this city those who rejoice in their pride. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. 12  But I will leave within you the meek and humble, who trust in the name of the LORD. 13  The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will speak no lies, nor will deceit be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no-one will make them afraid.”

Psalm 96:10-13;

10  Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. 11  Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; 12  let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; 13  they will sing before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.

Joel 2:28-32;

28  “And afterwards, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 30  I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31  The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. 32  And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

Joel 3:12-17

12  “Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side. 13  Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow– so great is their wickedness!” 14  Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15  The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. 16  The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel. 17  “Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her.

2).  A day of PEACE, of his KINGDOM for all nations.

Note the following verses:

Zechariah 2:10-11;

10  “Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the LORD. 11  “Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you.

Micah 4:1-7

1  In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. 2  Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3  He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more. 4  Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig-tree, and no-one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken. 5  All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever. 6  “In that day,” declares the LORD, “I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief. 7  I will make the lame a remnant, those driven away a strong nation. The LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and for ever.

3)   A Day of PURIFICATION, of ISRAEL in his JUDGEMENT

The people of Israel looked forward to the Day of the Lord as a time of judgement against their enemies.  The prophets made clear that the Day of the Lord was God’s judgement against his enemies, separating the righteous from the wicked and furthering his purposes with a purified people from all nations.  Israel as a nation would escape this purging judgement.

Note these verses:

Amos 5:18-20

18  Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? That day will be darkness, not light. 19  It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. 20  Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light– pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?

Malachi 3:1-6

1  “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. 2  But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3  He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4  and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years. 5  “So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty. 6  “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.

Isaiah 66:3-6, 14-21

3  But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a man, and whoever offers a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig’s blood, and whoever burns memorial incense, like one who worships an idol. They have chosen their own ways, and their souls delight in their abominations; 4  so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring upon them what they dread. For when I called, no-one answered, when I spoke, no-one listened. They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.” 5  Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word; “Your brothers who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, `Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy!’ Yet they will be put to shame. 6  Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple! It is the sound of the LORD repaying his enemies all they deserve. … 14  When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the LORD will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes. 15  See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16  For with fire and with his sword the LORD will execute judgment upon all men, and many will be those slain by the LORD. 17  “Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the midst of those who eat the flesh of pigs and rats and other abominable things–they will meet their end together,” declares the LORD. 18  “And I, because of their actions and their imaginations, am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory. 19  “I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations–to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations. 20  And they will bring all your brothers, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the LORD–on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the LORD. “They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the LORD in ceremonially clean vessels. 21  And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites,” says the LORD.

b.   John’s Message — The Coming Kingdom

1)   The popular understanding was the Judgement was for the Gentiles, especially those that oppressed the nation of Israel.  Peace would be for all descendants of Abraham – Israel

2)   John’s message rejected Abraham’s ancestry as having value in the Day of the Lord — the Kingdom of God

Matthew 3:1-12

1  In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2  and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” 3  This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the desert, `Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'” 4  John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt round his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5  People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6  Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 7  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9  And do not think you can say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10  The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 11  “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

3)   At the same time, it was a word of good news: The Kingdom of God had come!

Note these verses:

Matthew 4:23; Luke 4:14-30

 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23 NIV)

c.   John’s Question — the Coming One?

Jesus taught and acted as if the Kingdom had already come and that it was not yet come.  John questioned Jesus about what he meant, raising the fundamental question about the nature of the kingdom of God.

2. THE MEANING OF THE KINGDOM

a.   The Meaning of the Kingdom

1)   The term kingdom is used to designate

a)   a realm

b)   people belonging to a realm

or

c)   royal authority, kingship

2)   The Bible uses the term as the right to rule, not as a royal estate.  The Kingdom of God is the exercise of God’s right to rule.

b.   The Mystery of the Kingdom

1)   The Old Testament perspective of the Kingdom saw the Kingdom coming as a single event.

2)   Jesus taught God’s Kingdom comes in two stages.

a)   the Kingdom will come at the end.

  • Crushing all earthly powers
  • Destroying every human attempt to usurp God’s rightful rule.
  • Purging all sin and evil from the earth

b)   But the Kingdom has also now come.

  • we’re to conquer the enemies, substantially and decisively freeing people.

What God will do to perfectly reconcile all things.

The Gospel of the Kingdom is a message of absolute joyous victory and blessing, and at the some time a condemning, convicting sentence of doom for those who refuse to give him allegiance and become his disciples.  he will indeed defeat all his enemies and those allied to them.

c. The Commission of the Kingdom

Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:114 help us understand his purpose and our involvement in the two-stage coming of the Kingdom

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14 NIV)

The present interim period is then an overlapping of the “age to come” and the present evil age.  In this interim period, Christ’s victory must be proclaimed among all nations.  It is for the completing of this proclamation that Christ tarries.  Matthew 24:14 is the only verse of Scripture that give an explicit condition for his return.  The gospel of the Kingdom must be proclaimed in all the world.  Only then will the end come.

This truth gives meaning to history, and gives purpose to the church.  We have been left to continue what Christ began.  He is with us in the completion of the Kingdom proclamation till the end of the age.

This great fact of the purpose of the interim period between two comings of the Messiah gives us the greatest motivation of all:  the final victory awaits the completion of the task of proclaiming the Gospel to all the inhabited earth. and making disciples among the nations.

e.   The Prayer of the Kingdom

The essence of intercessory prayer as taught by Jesus is founded on this truth:  the status quo is not God’s will and plan, but rather he has broken the power of evil, and is bringing his rule to consummation.  Christians are charged to “rebel” against the status quo by intercessory prayer. 

We are to pray that his name be honored, sanctified, and blessed, where it is denied; that his Kingdom rule be known where it is defied; and that his will be done, by those obedient and rebellious. 

We have freedom to pray this way because the Kingdom has come with such force and hidden power that his final triumph and humankind’s redemption is absolutely certain!

f.    The People of the Kingdom

1)   God’s Cosmic Plan

The redemption of persons is the center of God’s plan, but this also includes the rest of creation.  God’s plan is to reconcile all things to himself through Christ and under Christ’s authority.  The conclusion of all things is, in fact, the Kingdom of God.

2)   The Church’s Place

The church is not the Kingdom, and must never be identified as the Kingdom.  But, the church is the agent of God’s Kingdom, carrying out God’s plan.

3)   The Community of God’s People

The church is not the culturally bound institution serving the church in life and mission.  But the church is the community of God’s people, expressing God’s Kingdom rule in all cultures.

g.   The Wideness of the Kingdom

If sin, death, and the devil are defeated, then are all men saved?  It is God’s plan to reconcile all things to himself, then are the lost beyond His rule?  How wide is God’s Kingdom?

1)   Universalism teaches that all men will ultimately be saved because God is good.

2)   The New Universalism teaches that all men will be saved because of Christ’s death.

3)   The Wider Hope Theory teaches that not all will be saved but many will be saved  without hearing the Gospel because God is just.

4)   The Wider Hope Theory teaches that not all will be saved on the merits of Christ through general revelation.

5)   The Narrow Way teaches that not all will be saved. God’s judgement is based on rejection or acceptance of the light of revelation.  Those who respond to light are given enough of the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be saved.

August 18, 1991

At Believers Fellowship Church – West Chester, PA

 INTRODUCTION:

You have just died!

And you now stand in the presence of Jesus.

Your life flashes before your eyes.

Jesus publicly sets the record straight – all the false accusations, lies, and unfair criticisms you received in life are exposed for what they really were.

Jesus then examines all that you have said and though and done in the light of your purposes and motives. 

Why you did this or that. 

The truth is revealed.

The value of all that you have done is exposed.

You stand before him defenseless – Jesus declares what is worthless and sinful.

Your true spiritual maturity in life is examined, and he decrees the kind of welcome you will experience when you enter his glorious kingdom.

You are commended publicly for your faithful service and your public loyalty to Him.

Then you are rewarded with incorruptible symbols of honor that are accompanied with the announcement of your responsibilities in Jesus’ glorious kingdom.

Since Jesus himself is ultimately responsible of all that is good in your life, He is glorified by every honor you receive.

You have been to the bema seat of Christ!

Yes, you will be judged – more accurately -evaluated.

It is an evaluation of your life as a believer – not a judgement of sin.

Jesus already dealt with that on the cross!

At the bema seat – Judgement Seat – we will be judged and rewarded.

This is not a popular topic.

I am not here to prove a doctrine to you – if you need proof that will take more time then we have here this morning.

This topic can be misunderstood, and cause you step out of the realm of grace – that certainly is not my purpose.

But what is my purpose?

There is a great difference between the lifestyle that the church teaches to be Biblical and the lifestyle the church lives!

This is usually compensated by preaching the threat of hell to Christians if they fall into sin.

This would violate the covenant of grace!

We are talking about the judgement at the bema seat of Christ.  Salvation has already been established.

Judgement is held at a number of places:

1. The tribulation – God’s wrath upon the unbeliever.

2. His second coming – nations will be judged.

3. Great white throne judgement – unbelievers eternally judged.

4. Judgement at the cross – Jesus judged for all who will receive him.

5. Judgement at the bema seat – judgement of the believer.

The teaching on the judgement – bema seat of Christ is not to push us into works of salvation, but motivate us to holy living!

There are 3 motivations for the believer to be holy without compromising grace:

  1. We have been regenerated – born again

John 3:1-6 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” 3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

We are the temple of the holy spirit.

1 Cor 6:19  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

We have been made new on the inside and now God lives in us.

Because of his love and mercy for us, we commit to his lordship.

Rom 12:1-3  Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

2. God is our Father, therefore he promises us that he will discipline us who rebel.

Hebrew 12:3-17  3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6        because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. 14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.

  • We will have to give an account of our lives before God

1 Cor. 5:9-10  9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.

  1. WHAT DOES THIS TRUTH DO?

When we are truly aware of the bema seat, our lives will change!

  1. It is an incentive to make our priorities and decisions from a  godly perspective.
  1. If we look at the finish line – our goals will be in the proper perspective.

Phil 3:8-14  8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

  • When we understand the doctrine of rewards, our attitudes towards stewardship of wealth, time and energy will change

Matt 6:1-4 & 19-21  Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. …. 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

  • If we fulfil God’s plan in our lives, lovingly anticipating Christ’s return, we will be greatly rewarded.

2 Timothy 4:6-8 6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

  • If we share Jesus with others and disciple them, we will be greatly rewarded.

1 Thess 2:1-20      You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. 2 We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, 7 but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. 8 We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. 9 Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.

10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe. 14 For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men 16 in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.

17 But, brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan stopped us. 19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

  • It is a motivation for a deeper, more practical spiritual life.
  1. You will be motivated to live a pure life.

1 John 2:28-3:3  28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.   3 1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

  • The bema seat will remind us to keep short accounts with God and confess our sins before Him.

1 John 1:8,9  8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

  • Looking forward to our entrance into his kingdom will keep us on the track towards maturity.

2 Peter 1:5-11  5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  • Our faith walk will be encouraged as we look forward to our rewards and our promised inheritance.

Hebrews 11:6, 39-40  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. ….. 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

  • A persevering faith in the midst of suffering will earn a great reward.

James 1:12  Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Rev 2:10  Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.

  • If we look at the bema seat as a reality, we will desire to walk in the Spirit.

Gal 5:16-6:9  16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

6    1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5 for each one should carry his own load. 6 Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. 7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

  • When we come before the Lord at his bema seat, we will receive encouragement and comfort.

1. In the midst of loss or persecution, we know that Jesus is on our side.

John 14:1-3  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

2 Thess. 1:4-10  4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

  • In the midst of criticism, we will know that Jesus will reveal the facts and declare his evaluation. 

Romans 14:1-13  Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: “ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ ” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.

II. WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS BEMA SEAT JUDGEMENT?

I Corinthians 5:9-10  9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.

Romans 14:10. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

The bema judgement is not a legal judgement, but a time for family evaluation after this life.

Not for condemnation – but for rewards.  Rewards for what we have done in the spirit and power of grace.

  1. What does bema (judgement seat) mean?

It was a raised platform from where awards were given.

Political – Rome

Athletic – Greece (Olympics) – as Olympic competitors are judged.

This seems to be the scenario that Paul gives concerning the bema seat in

1 Cor 9:24-27  24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize

2 Tim. 4:7-8   7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Remember this is not salvation!

This is not whether you entered the race, but how well you ran!

  • Jesus is the judge.

We know his judgement will be pure and just – he lived here!

  • How will we be judged?

1 Cor 3:10-15  10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

Everything must be built on Christ = gold silver precious stones.

Everything built on temporal, this world = wood, hay, stubble will be destroyed.

First, our lives will be revealed – made manifest (means to open up) everything will come out in the open.

Luke 12:2-3; “there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.  What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the housetops.”

Second, the value of its worth will be considered.

What does God consider valuable?

Third, rewards will be received based on what is left after the “fire”.

Rewards received:  public commendation, an honored entrance into the Kingdom, crowns and wreaths, appointments to rule in his Kingdom.

  • What will be judged?

“Lord teach us to number our days” Psalm 90:12

How do we set our priorities?

Knowing how Jesus will judge will help us to make the right decisions and have the right motives.

  1. Jesus will judge:

Our deeds –

Romans 2:5-6  5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”

2 Cor 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Our words –

James 3  Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Matt 12:36-37  36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Our thoughts and motives –

Luke 12:3  What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

Hebrews 4:12-13  12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Remember, motive has nothing to do with enjoyment – “If I don’t enjoy it if I do it my motive will be wrong.”

What about a mother who changes her baby’s diaper?

Does she enjoy it, does she wait until her attitude is right about stinky diapers?

Her motive is obedience, love, care, duty.

The Bible tells us what motives are sinful: Envy, selfish ambition, greed, hatred, immoral desires, anger.

It is not evil to serve God for rewards.

  • Only what Christ through the Holy Spirit produces in our lives has any value at the bema. 

John 15:5  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Gal 2:20  For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

  • Jesus will reward us according to our persevering faith in god and his Promises. 

Hebrews 3:7-4:11, 7 So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, 9 where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. 10 That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ 11  So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” 12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15 As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” 16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

4 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” 6 It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7 Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

Hebrews 6:12-15, 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. 13 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

Hebrews 11:6-9, 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. 7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. 8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

Hebrews 12:2,17  2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ….. 17 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

  • Jesus will reward us in proportion to our faithful and wise stewardship.

Parable of the talents –

Matt 25:14-30  14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22 “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24 “Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28 “ ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

You are responsible for what you have received – to invest it wisely, not to hid it.

  • At the bema seat, Jesus will take into account how we responded to the Word of God.

Psalm 19 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2     Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

3     There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

4     Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

5     which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

6     It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.

7     The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

8     The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

9     The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.

10   They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.

11   By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

12   Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.

13   Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

14   May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

  • At the Bema, Jesus will be concerned with the purity of our lives

I Cor 9:27, No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

2 Tim 2:15-23, 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21 If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.

1 John 2:27-3;3  27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. 28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.  

3    How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

  • At the Bema Jesus will not take into account how long we have been saved.

Matt 20:1-6  “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. 3 “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went. “He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6 About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

  • Jesus will reward us according to our secondary involvement in the ministry of others.  (supporting and receiving others who minister)

Matt 10:40-4240 “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”

  • If we judge others, Jesus will apply our standards when he judges us.

Matt 7:1-2  “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

  1. Jesus will reward us for the results of our ministry in the lives of  others.  –

1 Thess 2:19  For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?

  1. Teachers will receive the stricter judgement. –

James 3;1  Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

  1. Not only production but contribution to production will receive reward.

1 Cor 3:6-8 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.

– 1 plants, 1 waters – God gives increase

  • What about works?

Do we receive salvation by grace and our rewards by works?

We begin by faith, we should live by faith!

But, our rewards are earned!

This is a paradox!

The solution?

It has to do with your inner man.

You are either:

1. Try to produce good deeds in your life on your own.

or

2. Live your life walking with God and what you do is an outward evidence of the inward condition.

CONCLUSION:

Walk with Jesus – and your rewards will be great at the Bema seat!

April 15, 1992

Believers Fellowship Church West Chester, PA and GKII – Indonesia

INTRODUCTION:

GENESIS 18:16‑19:29

16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?”

“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”

He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”

30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”

He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”

He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”

He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

19  The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”

“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

9 “Get out of our way,” they replied. And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.

12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”

14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”

16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! 19 Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. 20 Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”

21 He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 22 But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)

23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

27 Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.

29 So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.

God reveals to Abraham that he will destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.

Abraham negotiates with the Lord to spare the city if there are 50 righteous people in the city. The Lord says yes.

Then Abraham says 45, the Lord says yes

Then 40 – yes

30 – yes

All the way to 10 – yes

God know if there were just 10 righteous in the city that there was hope for the city!

But ten was not enough!

Only Lot and his family.

Lot had been in Sodom for 20 years – he had a high position in the government of Sodom.

Surely, he would have affected more than just his family with the truth of God.

But he did not, instead he offers his daughters as a substitute to satisfy the perverted appetites of the men of Sodom.

His morals had been corrupted.

He had to escape Sodom – but his wife was lost.

His daughters had no morality and become pregnant by their own father!

This story is a tragedy!

Lot was a failure.

Therefore Sodom was destroyed because of lot’s ineffectiveness in an ungodly city

God wants you to be effective!

If you were Lot, would you have had better?

Success?  I hope so!

PRAY ….

Seven characteristics of an effective congregation of God:

(there are many others ‑ these are what I believe are pertinent for us.)

Be effective, these must be a part of your lives individually

1.  A balanced life – carrying the great commandment and the great commission equally.

2.  Centered in God’s word ‑ meaning: using the Word of God to solve life’s problems.

3.  Be a people of faith therefore pleasing      God.

4.  Strong family life.

5.  Confession of sin one to another.

6.  Know that you are blessed.

7.  Pray ‑specifically in the spirit ‑ in tongues.

8.  Team ministry.

  1. A BALANCED LIFE – CARRYING THE GREAT COMMANDMENT AND THE GREAT COMMISSION EQUALLY

Illustration of carrying something with one hand or carrying two with two hands. . .

On the farm, carry 1 bucket of water at a time versus two buckets.

One bucket spills and is difficult to carry, whereas when you carry both together you spill less and it is easier.

It is much easier to carry what needs to be carried with both hands.

Instead of carrying one load with one hand and returning and carrying the other load with one hand.

Jesus gave us to commands to carry, and it is easier to carry them both at the same time than one at a time.

There are two great scriptures that Jesus gave us as commands the hold the full message of all that we are to be and do as his people.

They are:

Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus replied: “‘love the lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  this is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’  all the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”

And

Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

These two statements made by our Lord sum up the total of our calling, purpose and goals as his Church.

  1.  USE GOD’S WORD TO SOLVE LIFE’S PROBLEMS.

Where do you go for the solutions to your problems?  Friends, family, Counselors that don’t know God? 

Go to his Word!

The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. (Psalms 19:8 NIV)

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for

my path.  (Psalms 119:105 NIV)

The unfolding of your words gives light; it

gives understanding to the simple. (Psalms 119:130 NIV)

For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life, (Proverbs 6:23 NIV)

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (2 Peter 1:19 NIV)

  1.  BE A PEOPLE OF FAITH – PLEASING TO GOD

Lack of faith is the greatest hinderance to seeing God fulfill his will in our midst.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 NIV)

Have you ever tried to please God by your actions rather than your faith?

By your knowledge rather than your faith?

By your discipline rather than your faith?

By your religion rather than your faith?

These are all good – but faith is what pleases God!

The nation of Israel in the Old Testament heard God, saw God, followed his pillar of fire by night and his cloud during the day. But, they still did not believe the promise.

Therefore, they did not enter into the promised land!

They did not mix what they had heard with faith.

Hebrews 11:6 says “anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists.”

Why are you here?

To hear form God?

You come to him!

The word “comes” in the original language means to come with all your attention and desire – not being distracted by anything.

It means to draw near or approach and come boldly towards.

You believe he exists – demons believe God exists, but they do no please God!

You are to believe in him to the point that you will come to him – knowing that nothing else will help you!

This is faith!

Look at Hebrews 11:5

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

Enoch didn’t just believe God was up there somewhere –

But, he fellowshipped with God, and this pleased God so much that God took Enoch home to his house to live!

If you come after God, believing that he exists, you seek him earnestly and God will reward you!

  1. A STRONG FAMILY LIFE:

Divine order in our homes must be the highest priority.

Or we will soon be grasping for strength and find ourselves very alone and confused!

God wants our homes to be in order.

Our lives at home are a reflection of where we really are in our growth and walk with God.

Many have a lot of ideas and plans for how the church should be, but their homes are not in order.

Many may have criticism concerning how things are done – but their homes are out of order.

If you want to fix something, fix your home first – then you will understand the way the church works better!

What is an ordered home?

What is our standard?

Is it what is acceptable by the world?

Traditional religion? 

Your family?

Your friends? 

Even other Christians?

What do we use to measure our home?

God’s word!

The character of Jesus Christ must be evident in our home ‑

Godliness at all times ‑ at all costs!

But most Christian homes fall short of the

Biblical standards.

  • Children dishonor their parents and rule the home.
  • The philosophy of the world is the standard of what is allowed within your home.
  • Ungodly characteristics are revealed as husband, wife and children speak and respond to one another.

If Jesus was married to your spouse would he speak to her/him the way you speak to her/him?

If Jesus had your mom and dad, would he speak to them, treat them the way you do?

If Jesus was the parent of your children, would he treat them the way you do?

Jesus is our standard!!!

What makes your home different from the unbelievers next door?

What shall we do to make our homes a place of honor for God?

  1. We must recognize the sin problem within our homes.
  1. We do fail and must admit to our failure to one another within our homes.
  2. We must do something about our failures ‑ repentance and forgiveness
  3. There must be a willingness to grow out of the natural sin patterns that are in our homes.
  • We must learn to communicate.

Ephesians 4:25‑32 ‑ guidelines for communication:

25  Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26  “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been  stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

As these traits are developed in our homes, our homes will become a place of honor a place of refuge, a sanctuary and not a battle ground, or a place of contention.

Families suffer greatly from the effects of words spoken in anger or deeds done in anger.

  •   CONFESSION OF SIN ONE TO ANOTHER

Yes we are to confess your sins to God ‑ but it is healthy to confess your sins to one another!

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (Proverbs 28:13 NIV)

Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16 NIV)

Public and personal confession is lacking in the body of Christ ‑

When one suffers we all suffer. 

When you sin, you not only sin against God, but his body as well. 

This causes the church to be ineffective and powerless against the enemy!

  • KNOW THAT YOU ARE BLESSED

2  “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through    you.” (Genesis 12 NIV)

1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. 3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.  For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life for evermore.  (Psalms 133 NIV)

In the beatitudes, Jesus was describing a Christian, a believer when he said:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  (Matthew 5 NIV)

You need to pray for his blessing!

I CHRONICLES 4:9‑10 ‑

9  Jabez was more honourable than his brothers.     His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!  Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. (1 Chronicles 4 NIV)

We need to walk in the power and the assurance of his blessing and reward!

  • PRAY ‑ SPECIFICALLY IN THE SPIRIT – IN TONGUES.

For personal edification and strength.

2  For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no‑one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. 3  But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. 4  He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5  I would like every one of you to speak in tongues,  (1 Corinthians 14 NIV)

But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, (Jude 1:20)

14  For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15  So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.  (1 Corinthians 14 NIV)

When you pray in tongues, you are praying mysteries in the spirit, your spirit and the Holy Spirit are speaking things that your mind does not understand.

  • So pray that you may interpret
  • Yes
  • Then pray the interpretation so your mind will be fruitful and if you are in the assembly, pray the interpretation so others will be edified.

The reason there is a lack of the gifts expressed in our midst is because many are not praying in the spirit!

Paul said:

I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. (1 Corinthians 14:18 NIV)

Who was he speaking to?

A group of people who spoke in tongues too much?

No, he was speaking to a group of people who didn’t know what they were doing!

Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. (1 Corinthians 14:39 NIV)

  • TEAM MINISTRY

You need to view yourselves as a team, each one of you has a part.

Be submitted one to another!

Be submitted to your pastor starting with Jesus.

Many are and will be raised up into leadership, they are your team leaders.

Such as:

Sunday School Workers, Evangelists, Children’s Ministry, Visitation, Helpers, Deacons, Elders, Prophets, Teachers, Apostles

All working together as a team with Jesus as the head.

The whole congregation working together as one man to fulfill God’s purposes!

What part do you have?

CONCLUSION:

The 20 years that lot lived in Sodom most likely passed by very quickly.

Lot did not see the urgency of the matter and share with others about his God.

Therefore, many died in their sin.

Soon judgement will reach our world.

There is no greater time to move out into what the Lord has called you to do than now.

Therefore, you must be:

1.  A balanced life – carrying the great commandment and the great commission equally.

2.  Centered in God’s word ‑ meaning: using the Word of God to solve life’s problems.

3.  Be a people of faith therefore pleasing      God.

4.  Strong family life.

5.  Confession of sin one to another.

6.  Know that you are blessed.

7.  Pray ‑specifically in the spirit ‑ in tongues.

8.  Team ministry.

AMEN