On this, the second Sunday in our Missions Awareness Month, I would like to continue on the theme of missions; this week asking the questions, Why missions? And Why should it be supported? The first example came from the apostolic church. Before his ascension to heaven, Jesus told his early disciples to gather in Jerusalem to wait for the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit. After the filling of the Spirit, they were commanded to spread out around the world carrying the Gospel to those who had not heard.
The early churches were obedient. The good news was carried to other places by missionaries and many churches were founded in the region. One of the chief missionaries of that time was of course the apostle Paul himself.
The apostle spoke often about the church praying for missionaries. In 2 Thess. 3, Paul says that the church should pray for the missionaries so that God’s Word would be effective and glorified in the lives of the believers. He also said that the missionaries needed protection from the world and from wicked men. Paul implied that without the prayers of the churches he and his missionary team could not do the work God called them to do.
Paul also taught us that missionaries are working on behalf of their supporters. He wrote to the Christians in Philippi to thank them for their part in the ministry. He said that he knew that God took care of him, providing the means through the people in Philippi. Paul said that God would put the fruit of his own ministry to the account of the church in Philippi.
The simplest and most compelling reason for missions and why it should be supported is the fact that people need to hear the Gospel. God is not willing that any should perish. An individual can only do so much for spreading the Gospel in the world. Yet, through a church mission program we are privileged to pool our resources to help fund the spread of the Gospel throughout the world.
God wants the world to know about Christ. He has chosen us as individuals and as churches to share that Gospel with others. Jesus himself exhorts us to pray for “laborers” to carry the Gospel to the harvest field. The harvest is plenteous. The work to be done is tremendously large. What is necessary are the people to go out and do the work. Jesus said that we should pray that the laborers would step up to the task and accept the challenge of carrying the Gospel to the people.
What is your part? Even if you are not called to be a missionary on a foreign field, you should all be sharing the Gospel with those around you. You can also help the cause of missions by supporting missions in and through the church. This support can come by way of prayer, finances, or time and labor for the work of the ministry.
Pastor Robert Chew