We Are Sent (Romans 15)

AUDIO: 

 

MOTIVATE

When is the best day to plant a tree?[1]

–        20 years ago.

When is the second best day to plant a tree?

–        Today.

Today’s message is for Christians who know in their heart they should share their faith, but for some reason get stuck or static in actually following through. While we may have regret from past years of not sharing our faith, that shouldn’t exclude us from starting today. vital signs logo

–        #VitalSignsSP

o   God: God is glorious

o   Others We are family

o   Spiritual Growth: We are thermostats

o   Prayer: We are spiritual warriors

o   Evangelism: We are sent

o   Leading Generations: We are leaving a legacy

 

–        These vital signs are for every member, not just the few.

o   Ministry Fair on October 29

o   Especially today’s topic on evangelism… A Christian is either an influencer for Jesus or an impostor. There is no time to waste in sharing faith with others when their eternal destiny is on the line while we live in a fleeting world of natural disasters, violent crime, and unexpected tragedies can change a life within minutes and seconds.

 

EXAMINE       Rom 15     Evangelism / we are sent

Paul wrote Romans for both Christian doctrine/instruction and development/inspiration; in other words our theology informs mission application. As we near the end of Romans we have some very personal insight in Paul’s relationships.

Romans 10:15 “How beautiful are the [sent] feet of those who preach the good news!”  

–        Beautiful (ὡραῖος) means timely or seasonally developed (mature).

–        Feet are never really beautiful… but an exception is when they bring blessing from God. In God’s kingdom, beautiful feet are not soft with shiny pedicures but those that are soiled with the dirt of traveling, stained with the blood of persecution, worn out and wrinkled from perseverance in taking the gospel from neighborhoods to nations, communities and cities.

–        Sent by God from a compelling command with the resurrection of Jesus. Either we trust and tell the story, if we’re not telling then we’re likely not trusting.

–        Preach good news: Tellers of the good news. We share our stories and testimonies of God’s grace.

While Paul gives this description about the church at Rome and other Christians, he is also profiling himself. Paul is the missionary, sent by God (Acts 9:15-16) with beautiful feet traveling across cultures and continents to speak the gospel. The end chapters of Romans provide us personal insight into Paul’s relationship with Roman Christians and his hopes for future missionary endeavors.

Romans 15:20-28

Church needs courageous pioneers (Rom 15:20).

Paul was a pioneer. His ambition was to preach the gospel in places and among people who had never heard of Jesus. Previously, Paul had preached from Jerusalem and all the way around Illyricum [Macedonia/Albania/Greece] (Rom 15:19). His three missionary travels were aided by the “Pax Romana”. New Testament archaeologist W.M. Ramsay comments, “The Roman roads were probably at their best during the first century after Augustus had put an end to war and disorder.… Thus St. Paul traveled in the best and safest period.”[2]

Yet, we also know Paul’s missions required risk and resolve because people didn’t accept his message of a crucified Christ. Paul proclaimed the gospel in places that had never heard and were often hostile to Christianity. His aim was to plant gospel seeds and start churches, for new disciples to continue the work of the ministry.

There was/is nothing wrong with ministry and missions where a gospel foundation exists or is accessible. These people and places need continued construction on the gospel foundation for discipleship and disciplemaking for more people to grow and enter the kingdom of God. Some plant, some water, and some establish roots (cf 1Cor 3:6-9), but Paul’s example was to pioneer

–        6,994 unreached people groups.[3]

–        Unreached and unengaged peoples have no-little access to gospel or Scriptures.

–        Some Christians debate: What happens to those who never hear of Jesus? Yet our primary concern and role isn’t to resolve the theological problem but remove the missionary problem. How can Christians not evangelize or missionize? A Christian/church that doesn’t evangelize will fossilize. We should pray and participate in equipping more evangelists.

A holy ambition (φιλοτιμέομαι = love & honor) was a passionate priority and dominating desire of Paul’s life. Just as an unhealthy ambition controls and consumes a person, so too does a holy ambition.

è What are your interests, passions, and priorities – based on your present calendar schedule? How can you redeem these for eternal value?

o   Me:

  • Growing up: GI Joe, Baseball/Basketball; Michael Jackson; Friends
  • Later: Christ, Scripture, Young people; Families
  • Love for army figures, sports, music and friends have been redeemed into serving in a Kingdom Army that competes with culture to capture them with the vision of Christ and His glory and grace.

o   You & Your Kids

  • Jobs, Writing, Cooking, Sewing, Serving…
  • Legos, Princesses, Music, Sports…
  • One day love for legos may turn into building business
  • One day love for princess into rescuing people deemed dirty & worthless
  • One day love for cooking & sewing into feeding & clothing impoverished.
  • One day love for sports into mentoring youth and building bridges across cultures.

 

è What is your ambition? What do you want on your epithet and legacy?

And what is the source of Paul’s ambition? Is it an emotional feeling or a vague experience? No, it’s God’s word (Isaiah 52:15).  Parents, the best way to instill a holy ambition in your children is to immerse them in Scripture. Can you do that at home? Yes and amen! If you need assistance, that’s what we’re talking about in our Ready To Launch parenting group. And we are seeking more ways to equip and partner with parents –ask us more! But, parents your children are growing up not just in the garden of your home and their school, but the third leg of a stool that is their faith and church family.

è Marketplace as mission.[4] Our culture is made up of tribal professions: art, business, education, engineering, entertainment, finance, medical, science/technology, and more. These tribes have their own language, uniform dress, education & training, qualifications, etc. Pastors don’t typically have a path into these tribes, but many Christians already live and operate in among these peoples, traveling locally and even internationally. Their placement is not accidental; like Nehemiah, Esther, Daniel, and others, God has positioned you strategically for the mission of God. The next great move of God in our culture is coming through Christians who have a vision for their vocation for gospel mission in the marketplace.

è Men for missions. Women have outnumbered men in traveling the world to spread the gospel. The world needs men to step-up… young men in the LDS are required to participate in a two-year mission experience, why is Christianity soft in this area? [5]

 

Church needs generous senders (Rom 15:23-29)

Paul’s Great Commission seeks to go beyond his previous travels, onward to Rome and Spain. He tells the Romans that the previous churches of his mission has aided him financially and spiritually to share the gospel and spread God’s love among those in need. The Gentile churches fulfilled their calling to be generous senders, and Paul was likewise calling Christians in Rome to do the same.

There is no such thing as an un-sent Christian. We must, like Isaiah the prophet, surrender to God and say “Here am I, Lord, send me!”. Send me across the globe to an unreached people group. Send me across the street to my neighbor. Send me across the office cubicles. Send me across hallways, classrooms and locker rooms.  Send me to text or phone a friend. Above all, send me to pray.

à       “I remember one who spoke on the missionary question one day saying, ‘The great question is not, ‘Will not the heathen be saved if we do not send them the gospel?’ but ‘Are we saved ourselves if we do not send them the gospel?’” – Charles Spurgeon

APPLY/THINK

à       “You see today on planet earth King Jesus has a body that the Bible calls the Church. It has eyes that see the needs of this world. It has ears that hear the cries of the nations. It has a mouth that can proclaim the gospel. It has legs that can walk, arms that can serve, feet that can be blistered and backs that can be whipped all for the sake of Christ and the gospel. This body makes Christ real to this world. Our goal is not to build buildings, grow budgets, merely acquire knowledge or be captivated by political or social agendas. Our goal is to build men of God and women of God. Our aim is to fill this world with Christ and His gospel. Our gospel strategies should reflect this. Our church life should reflect this. It is this and this alone that sets the agenda for the Church. Any other agenda will fall short. Any other agenda is not worth having.” – Daniel Akin

 

Ways to begin taking steps…

v  SPBC Ministry Fair (October 29 after church)… get your phone and put in your calendar now!

v  SPBC Gospel Cards in each WC

v  9Arts

o   Noticing

o   Praying

o   Listening

o   Asking Questions

o   Loving

o   Welcoming

o   Facilitating

o   Serving

o   Sharing

v  OCC Shoebox… pickup today.

v  OCC drop-off center Nov 13-20 for boxes that will go around the world.

 

– – – – – – – – – –

[1] Illustration from Alvin Reid, Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out, p.117

[2] http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/issues/issue-47/on-road-with-paul.html

[3] https://joshuaproject.net/

[4] For articles and more insights on this topic see: https://growinggodlygenerations.com/2016/09/05/work-and-labor/

[5] More on perspective see: http://sbcplodder.blogspot.com/2012/12/young-male-restless-conservative-sbcers.html?showComment=1415066815633#c4701978572102533792

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s