As we have been learning about missions these past weeks, and how we might contribute, we are sensitive that there are some of us who cannot go on mission trips or evangelism outreach for many reasons like sickness, jobs that do not allow for timely breaks, family situations and possibly age.
I have a rich relative who loves The Lord. Unfortunately he suffers from motion sickness and finds it very difficult to travel. He is committed to the Great Commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel. He has adopted the strategy of ” if I cannot I must give to those who can.”
.So important is redemption of the sinner, that the return of Christ will not occur until all peoples have the opportunity to turn away from sin and toward God (Matt. 24:14). To none should we deny the message of salvation through faith in Christ and His payment for sin on the cross, because God wants none to perish (2 Pet. 3:9).
God is a missionary. He sent His Son to earth so all can be saved.
Churches are to be missionary communities. The first missionaries were sent by the Holy Spirit at a prayer meeting in Antioch (Acts 13:2).
-Discipleship is important—learning to be like Christ. We will reflect Christ when we get to heaven.
-Fellowship is precious, and we will fellowship in heaven.
-Helping to feed and clothe the poor, finding jobs for the unemployed and working for a more just world are all the work of the church. But in the new heavens and new earth, such issues will vanish.
– Worship and praise are due to God, and Christians will have endless opportunity to perfect praise.
What is uniquely ours to do while time remains is to be agents of reconciliation to God.
Missions encompass more than evangelism, but evangelism is the heart of missions.
Has the church lost its way and been hijacked with Program, plant and ritual losing its sense of purpose and accompanying zeal?
The Spirit came upon Christ at the beginning of His ministry (Luke 4:1; Mark 1:12). The Spirit was breathed upon the Twelve at the start of their commission to go beyond the Jews (John 20:22). The Eleven were commanded to wait until they were filled with the Spirit, so that they could begin turning the world upside down (Acts 1:8; 17:6). A church that is not sending and supporting missionaries is seriously quenching the Spirit of God, who is the Lord of the harvest. A local church without significant outreach, should question whether or not she should continue to exist.
Where does local church income go and does it reflect aninsular mindset, or a global and missionary mindset? Some churches give 50% and more of church income to missions. Giving is not an end in itself, but a means to glorify God.
“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter” (Prov. 24:11, NIV). Do we believe that apart from Christ a person will go to hell, and if so, do we really care, as reflected by our giving?
The Lausanne Covenant, a product of global evangelistic reflection in 1974, and ratified by 2,300 people from 150 nations says in paragraph 9:
The goal should be, by all available means and at the earliest possible time, that every person will have the opportunity to hear, understand, and to receive the good news. We cannot hope to attain this goal without sacrifice. All of us are shocked by the poverty of millions and disturbed by the injustices which cause it. Those of us who live in affluent circumstances accept our duty to develop a simple life-style in order to contribute more generously to both relief and evangelism.”
Generosity must be coupled with discernment, otherwise it can be wasted. Simply giving more isn’t enough. Consider giving to
1. the local church. Christians are to support
a. those who serve them as pastor/teachers (1 Cor. 9:7-14; 1 Tim. 5:17-18; Gal. 6:6).
a. the truly needy among them (James 2:15-17; Gal. 6:10).
b. maintenance of the church property (Haggai 1:7-9).
c. equipping believers for ministry and Christian education will require program funds.
2. to spread the message of salvation locally and globally. Should the church give just a tithe to the world? Is that being “rich in good deeds?” The apostle Paul admonished an entire church to “excel in the grace of giving” (2 Cor. 8:7). A tithe is minimal, not excelling. Money isn’t sufficient—Jesus told us to pray for workers (Luke 10:2). Without funding, missionaries can’t go, or take years longer to reach the field.
We need to give to humble, loving and Spirit-filled persons of excellent character who are contributing to the work of the Kingdom as God has gifted them, and at the place on the line of battle the Lord has directed.
Beware that some mission agencies fix support levels extremely high or take an inordinate amount for administrative overhead .
We are to send missionaries out “in a manner worthy of God” (3 John 1:6), but not at princely support levels, which tend to separate missionaries from the nationals.
If local church leaders lack the faith and commitment to fund local and global missions prayerfully and lack vision, you may reconsider rebalancing your personal giving to include giving to reach those who really are perishing.
We may sacrifice an expensive vacation and the lifestyle we owe to ourselves, for the lifestyle we owe to Christ. He gave us richly all things to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17), and it’s right to enjoy those gifts. But He also commanded that we be “rich in good deeds.” “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion…” (2 Cor 9:11). God, by the Spirit, can teach us the balance point between enjoying and conveying of the blessings of God, and how to make discerning generosity a lifestyle. Let us heed His call to missions.