Justice Anderson writes, “In the early stages of the church, mission was more than a function; it was a fundamental expression of the life of the church.” In other words, the proclamation of the Gospel naturally grew out of early believers’ identity in Christ and their authentic belief in His work. Missions was not a manufactured program, but a sincere outflow of the church’s response to grace. I love this characterization of our missionary efforts because I believe it correctly connects those endeavors with the reality of our own experience today. Indeed, we as Christ-followers are constrained to demonstrate His love in our lives as we carry the good news of salvation to the nations. If we were to fail to do such, we would be abandoning our distinctiveness and responsibility. Or in the words of Emil Brunner, we would forfeit our very existence: “The church exists by mission, just as fire exists by burning. Where there is no mission, there is no Church; and where there is neither Church nor mission, there is no faith.” Similarly, George W. Truett once stated that the church who is not missionary in spirit and practice does not deserve the ground upon which its building stands. I totally agree. For as Truett declared, “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof, and they that dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). Our God has claim over the whole world and its inhabitants. He deserves all peoples’ worship and devotion; indeed, He deserves all glory.
I give thanks continually to be a part of our church that embraces missions and supports it through praying, giving, and going. For example, this month is an opportunity for us to rally around international missionaries in prayer and financial support. I hope that we have specifically committed time to lift up our brothers and sisters in Christ who serve areas overseas. Many are in cultures that are openly hostile to the Gospel, yet we believe that the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to convict and transform rebellious hearts. I say we should pray in faith to that end! And don’t stop there. Pray for God to grant safety, physical strength, wisdom, and spiritual empowerment to those missionaries. In addition, consider how you can give sacrificially to support our international missionaries and their ministries. This coming Sunday morning, we will participate in our annual March for Missions, as we visibly affirm our support by bringing our mission offerings to baskets around the Sanctuary and Gathering Space. Please consider how God is leading you to give and prepare yourselves to “march” this Sunday. And remember, every dollar that we give to this Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goes to assist the field missionaries of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through our selfless giving to the Lottie Moon Offering, we will not only reach our $155,000 church goal, but we will far surpass it. And even greater than meeting a goal, we will advance the Gospel to the nations! Again, I am grateful for you and look forward to joining with you this Sunday as we make a difference for His kingdom! See