The Pastor as Missionary

Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 in Missions, Sermons

I ran across my notes from this sermon by Conrad Mbewe at our youth conference some years ago. I was again encouraged and exhorted as I read it this morning.

Philippians 1:1-6
Pastor Conrad Mbewe
SBFYC 2007 Session 1 – Tuesday AM

We make choices in life – our place of education, our life partner, where to attend church, whether to come to this camp, etc. What makes us decide one thing over another? Surely, it is because we put weight upon the importance of certain things that inform our choice. Why have you decided that to be here this week is the best for you? Why was it a better choice for me to cross the globe to be here rather than be with my family at home? What makes this week so important? It is in answering this question that we see the importance of being “partners in the gospel.” It is because of this that we will shed any number of perceived responsibilities. It is because of this that Paul wrote this epistle, this letter written from prison. Yet, we do not get the impression that Paul thought his imprisonment unfair. In fact, it is a joyful letter, so joyful that we forget that he was in prison. Why the joy? Because of his joy in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what excited him. But on this occasion he was further excited by the partnership he had with the Philippians in the gospel (v. 5).

Why should Paul be excited about it?

1. Because of the fact of the Fall. We need to realize as we live our lives that human beings are not as they were when God first created Adam and Eve. Something terrible happened sometime. The historic event of the Fall is found in Genesis 3:1-7. Eve, making her way around the Garden, was engaged in conversation with a serpent used by Satan. They took and they ate of the fruit.

The result can be described as being blinded. That is true today. We will blindly accept any teaching today just so that we can explain away the reality that God is and that He holds us accountable.

The Fall can also be described by the term totally depraved. We are polluted, always going in the opposite direction rather than the way that God wants us to go. Because of this, we deserve His wrath and His anger. Because He is a just and holy God, He must, He must, He must punish sin.

Evidence of the Fall is all around us. We read it in the papers and see it on the news daily. Why is this? Because some people are better than others? No, that is not it at all. It is because we are fallen creatures. The darkness and death that surrounds us in our communities lies within our hearts. We still want to passionately pursue that which is destructive. Why? Because we are born a fallen creature. God cannot accept us into heaven with that kind of heart because we would immediately want to dethrone Him. That describes our fallenness.

2. God’s rescue mission. Thankfully, God has dealt with it! He has come into the situation with good news – the gospel. Genesis 3 does not end without God bringing in this good news (Gen. 3:15). In the midst of cursing the serpent, He announces the Messiah. At the time this came, they could not appreciate fully what God was saying. But by the time of the New Testament it is clear. God said that He was going to send His Son to destroy the serpent. He would do whatever it takes, including the Cross. Satan would fight against Him, but Satan would be crushed. This is the good news, the gospel, of John 3:16. Stand back for a moment and recognize this. In this dark and hopeless world, God has not sat back but He has acted with the gospel. He brought this news. He has given us the Bible. He has spoken in the Bible. If He had not spoken, we could worship the birds in the sky or beautiful flowers but we could never have known and understood His forgiveness. But when we read His Word we understand the truth and the way of His forgiveness. He has given us His Son, His Word, and also His Spirit to enlighten our darkened minds. Any time a person turns from sin in true repentance to Christ by faith it is an act of God Himself. Thus, we abandon sin and cling to the Cross.

3. The need to get this good news to the world. Paul was excited about this partnership with the Philippians because of the need to get the gospel to every human being. He was imprisoned and persecuted for doing this very thing, for proclaiming that in the midst of this darkness, God has sent His Son to rescue you from the darkness. Some did not want to hear this and threw him into prison.

Our greatest joy is to get this good news to every human being. You cannot do it by yourself. You cannot go it alone. That is why God has called His Church to partner together in this endeavor. This is accomplished primarily through the preaching of the gospel. Paul did not simply volunteer for this. Paul in his spiritual being sensed God’s call to go and tell others of the good news, to go and rescue them from darkness and deliver them to light. And the apostle Paul said, “Send me.”

This is the way that God has always worked. In the Old Testament, He called and sent His prophets. He told them to go and proclaim His message to the people. In the New Testament, He called and sent His apostles to proclaim His Son to the nations. Today, others know this calling and with both hands they hold the plow and throw all of their weight into the work of the gospel. Some stay home, some go abroad, but all follow God’s calling to proclaim His message of saving sinners through His Son Jesus Christ.

Has God been speaking to you about being His primary spokesman to let others hear and know this good news? Then do not let the pull of the world lead you to be a disobedient Christian. Cry out, “Here I am, Send me.” Make this conference the decisive moment when you say like Paul, “Lord, what would you have me to do?”

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