Wednesday, September 15, 2010

To the Ends of the Earth 100915
Isaiah 60

Twenty-one years ago I was told that all of Isaiah 60 applied to my ministry and that of this church. The person who told me that was Jack Taylor who was speaking in a conference in New London, CT. Over the years I had come to greatly appreciate Brother Taylor’s ministry so I kept the note he wrote for many years. I am sure it is in one of my old bibles – somewhere. It has always been my desire that this church, and any ministry I am part of, should reflect the message of Acts 1:8. The gospel is not just for a few – it is for all people of all ages. The first disciples were told that they would begin in Jerusalem, go out into Judea, on to Samaria and then to the ends of the earth. Isaiah 60 speaks of people from many nations blessing Israel. Applied to us it speaks of the blessings of many nations coming to us to strengthen the ministry here.

I. It is easy to slip back into a “me only” mentality.
A. When first saved it is pretty much about “ME”.
B. Missions becomes something we give to and others do.
C. Vision is self-centered.

II. Jesus told his disciples they would be empowered - Acts 1:8
A. To witness.
B. Where they were.
C. To whomever they met.

III. The gospel is for all people. Matthew 28:18-20
A. All have sinned.
B. All are condemned.
C. All who receive and believe become children of God.

We must remember that we have been called to reach out with the gospel. Our friends and family need to know Christ. Our neighbors and those we work with need to know Christ. We need to learn what it takes to open the hearts and minds around us to the gospel. We know the gospel is God’s will but we have not got a good grasp of God’s way of sharing the gospel. I will close with a story about a person who came to Christ over a period of time. Let’s learn from it.

By Bob Wood

I first heard Sharon’s name (not her real name) as a prayer request. We were praying for lost persons in our circle of influence. A lady in our Sunday School class who worked with Sharon requested prayer for her. Sharon had no church background and was antagonistic toward Christianity.

Sharon’s first contact with our church was a Sunday School party. She came with her friend who was praying for her. Isn’t it interesting how people who won’t come to church will come to a party? At a simple party with food and board games Sharon’s perception of Christians began to change. Later she told me, “I was surprised. You guys didn’t have two heads and seemed to have fun.”

Sharon’s next contact with our church was months later; she sent her kids to VBS. Sharon’s third contact with was about a year later when she came with her friend to a Sunday morning worship service. After a few months of worship attendance, Sharon began attending our Sunday School class with her friend.

Finally, about two years after we began praying, Sharon’s friend shared the gospel with her and she accepted Jesus. She soon made a public profession of faith and was baptized. By the way, the next summer she was helping to teach VBS and hosted a backyard Bible club at her home.

What was the door to Christ and His church for Sharon? Was it Sunday School? Yes! Was it worship? Yes! Was it VBS? Yes! Most of all, it was a Christian friend who prayed for her, invited her to church events, and shared the good news of Jesus with her. Sunday School and worship can and should be partners in evangelism.