We know the Bible’s most familiar verse: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The “world” is not just the sphere of our affluent culture of golf courses and manicured lawns. It includes the remote villages of Africa where people are in bondage to satanic practices and where more than 6,000 die of AIDS daily. The world also includes more than a billion people in India, most of whom bow before lifeless Hindu idols or listen to Muhammad and his fatalistic false faith. It is a world of no hope and forgiveness.
A research database known as ROPAL (Registry of Peoples and Languages) identifies 6,809 distinct languages, with only 2,322 having a portion of scripture and fewer than a 1,000 having the full Bible in their language. Researchers estimate 1.65 billion people who have no access to the gospel 2,000 years after Jesus commissioned us. We pray for the fulfillment of Psalm 22:27, 28: “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You, for the Kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations.”
Jesus’ Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20 challenged us to “go and make disciples of all the nations.” “All the nations” literally means “all the peoples.” That may not seem to be grammatically correct. The expression that Jesus used was a Greek word from which we get “ethnic,” those distinct cultural and racial characteristics that distinguish people groups. Our Kingdom Missions thrust is to “make disciples,” that is, those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and are baptized and following His teachings and being conformed to His life.
There is only one active, transitive verb in this command; the verb forms of “going, baptizing, teaching” are participles. The imperative verb, “make disciples,” is one word in the original language, an imperative verb with the object of “all peoples.” We go with the gospel to: “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). You are a missionary to your neighbors with whom you share similarities, but we also send missionaries cross-culturally, plant churches, and serve in other ways.
During this Kingdom Missions weekend, we are asking you to read the special brochure and pray for our partners. Pray about a pledge to give to this fund above and beyond your normal budget giving. We are close to meeting last year’s goal, which is completed in February. You will note that many of the folks come out of our church, and most have personal ties to our congregation. We also urge you to pray about going on a mission trip - it will change your life!