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					                                 The World on Our Hearts
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Last week we looked at one familiar verse from the gospel of John that reminds us of how
God sees the world: JOHN 3:16

       The word whoever in that verse reminds us that God looks at the world individually.
       Every person in the world … each of the 7 billion is important to God.

       The word perish reminds us that when God looks at each individual, He sees lots of
       them as lost people. God sees a lot of people who are harassed and helpless like
       sheep without a shepherd wandering around aimlessly on their way to destruction.

       But then there’s the word loved. God so loved the world. As the Lord looks on all
       of those lost people, God sees loved ones. God loves every person in the world…
       and God wants us to love them too.

That’s why Jesus gave the mission to His church to go and make disciples of all nations.

Now, like we talked about last week, fulfilling that mission requires the Church to reach
beyond where it is already established. Obviously, if the church only reaches the culture
where it already exists, then we’ll never make disciples of all nations. That’s why the first
word of Jesus’ mission is GO.

Now, in order for the church to GO make disciples we need two types of people.

       Turn in your Bibles to Romans chapter 10. In Romans 10:12-15, Paul mentions two
       categories of people who are necessary to go make disciples of all nations.

               ROMANS 10:12-13

               … By the way, that applies to all of us. Everyone means us. Like I
               mentioned last week, we all have the same problem. We’ve all inherited a
               moral disease called sin … and sin impacts the way we live, and sin also
               impacts the way we die.

               But “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son” … The Father
               sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross … to pay the penalty for our sin … so
               that “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal live.”

               If you don’t know for sure that you are personally saved from sin, verse 13
               says that all you need to do is to call on the name of the Lord. In other
               words, all you need to do is to say to God, “Lord, please save me.”



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Back to Romans 10:13 …

       ROMANS 10:13-15

As I said a minute ago, these verses remind us of two categories of people who are
necessary to take the gospel to all nations.

       The first category is mentioned in verse 14. If anyone is going to believe, he first
       needs to hear the good news about Jesus. But, in order to hear the good news,
       people need what? [a preacher]

               The word “preacher” here doesn’t necessarily mean someone who does what
               I do. Instead it’s talking about anybody who will tell the good news about
               Jesus.

       So, the first category is preachers or speakers. The second category of people is in
       verse 15. What does it take for preachers or speakers to be able to go to places
       where people have not yet heard the gospel? [senders – people to send those who
       will tell others]

So, to get the gospel to the ends of the earth we need both speakers and senders.

Now, when it comes to taking the good news about Jesus to the whole world, every
Christian should fall into one of those two categories.

       In other words, in order to get the gospel to the whole world, God has either called
       you to be one who goes somewhere else to speak the good news, or God has called
       you to help send other people who will go somewhere else.

By the way, which of those two categories of people do you think is the greatest need today
– speakers or senders?

       How many think the greatest need is for more speakers – more people who will go
       to other cultures with the gospel? How many think the greatest need is for more
       senders?

Obviously, we need more of both, but we often think that the greatest need is for more
people who are willing to go to another culture to tell people the good news about Jesus.

       But actually, the need is greater for committed senders. One reason for that is
       because it usually takes anywhere from fifty to a hundred senders to support one
       missionary or missionary family.




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Believe it or not, over the last 40 years in the United States, there have been more people
who are willing to take the gospel around the world than there have been people to send
them.

       For example, every three years, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship sponsors a World
       Missions conference on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana. The last
       one was this past December and the next will be in December of 2012. Typically
       between 15,000 and 20,000 young adults attend that conference every time it’s held.

       Each time that conference is held, several hundred young men and women make a
       commitment to leave their homes here in the United States to take the gospel to
       other cultures around the world.

       But, do you know the greatest obstacle these people face to actually doing that?

               Their greatest obstacle is getting enough Christians here who will support
               them to go there.

                       And then for those who actually do make it to another part of the
                       world, one of their greatest challenges is maintaining a support team
                       that will keep them there.

       So, the weakest link in world evangelization today is not speakers. A weaker link is
       committed senders.

So, this morning I want to talk about some of what we can do to be a team of committed
senders.

       As you read through the New Testament, you see that the early churches supported
       those who were taking the gospel to the world in four key ways.

PRAYER

The first way those churches supported missionaries like the apostle Paul was through
prayer.

Turn to Acts chapter 13. In Acts 13, we see one of the first examples of a church
intentionally sending some of its own members to take the good news about Jesus far
beyond its natural sphere of influence.

       ACTS 13:1-4

       There are a number of interesting things in these verses, but the main thing I want
       you to see this morning is that this idea to send these guys out was birthed in what
       was probably a prayer meeting, and then they sent them out with prayer.

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So, right from the beginning, Saul and Barnabas were committed to God in prayer.

What do you think these folks might have prayed about? [ get their thoughts]

      God’s guidance
      Opportunities to share the good news about Jesus
      Safety
      Empowered by the Holy Spirit
      People responding

We don’t know for sure, but my guess is that these are the kinds of things people prayed for
Saul and Barnabas as they sent them out.

Let’s read on and see what happened:

       ACTS 13:4-12

                So, what do we see here? I’ll bet that one thing we see here is the answer to
                a lot of prayers for Barnabas and Paul.

The book of Acts doesn’t tell us that the people back in Antioch continued to pray for Paul
and Barnabas. My guess is that they did. But whether they did or not, we do know that
others prayed for Paul as he ministered around the Mediterranean region.

For example, as Paul begins his second letter to the Corinthian church, he mentions the fact
that he and his companions faced some life threatening situations while they were
ministering, and yet the Lord delivered them. Then Paul goes on to say that he was
confident that God would continue to deliver them. … Here’s why Paul had that
confidence?

       “And He will deliver us again, you also joining in helping us by prayer, so that many will give
       thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” 2 Corinthians 1:10-
       11

You see the same thing in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. When Paul wrote that letter, he
was in prison for preaching the gospel. But even though that was the case, Paul was
confident that everything would turn out OK.

        “ … for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of
       the Spirit of Jesus Christ …” Philippians 1:19

So, Paul was confident that the Lord would continue to take care of him because people
were praying for him.

Now, every missionary or ministry today needs prayer just like Paul did. In fact, the most
significant investment a committed sender can make is to pray for those whom we send.
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J. O. Fraser was a missionary leader of several generations back. He once wrote this:

        “Many of us cannot reach the mission fields on our feet, but we can reach them on our knees. Solid,
       lasting missionary work is accomplished by prayer, whether offered in China, India, or the United
       States.”

       In other words, you can have an impact anywhere in the world through prayer.

So, that’s the first job of a committed sender – to pray for the people we send.

Now, remember last week I highlighted the people and ministries we are currently
partnering with. These are the folks we are helping to send.

       Where we are: CareNet, Camp Berea, Rumney Bible Conference,
       Elsewhere in our nation: Julie Savage – Camp Redcloud
       Nearby cross-culture: Eric & Sarah Lovejoy - Chi Alpha at PSU
       Far cross-cultural: Short-term (Rachel Bandi, Kristina Green, Josh Ingram), Compassion
       International, Samaritan’s Purse – Operation Christmas Child

Next Sunday morning we are going to take the time to pray for each of these people and
ministries. In order to do that, I would like someone to volunteer to contact each person or
ministry prior to next Sunday to let them know that we will be praying specifically for them
next week and also to ask for one or two things that are important for us to pray at this time.
I have a paper for each ministry with their contact information. So, let me go down the list
and get a volunteer for each one. [Get volunteers.]

So, the first job of a committed sender is to pray for the people we send.

GIVING

A second way the people of the early churches supported those they sent out was through
sacrificial financial giving.

As Paul begins his letter to the Philippian church, he thanks God because these people
participated with him in the spread of the gospel (Philippians 1:3-5). Now, how did the
people of Philippi participate in Paul’s ministry?

       Well, as you read the fourth chapter of Paul’s letter, you see that one of the main
       ways these people participated in Paul’s ministry was through their financial giving.

                “And you yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel,
                after I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and
                receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my
                needs.” Philippians 4:15-16


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So, a committed sender also invests financially to help support people who are taking the
gospel around the world.

Last year New Hope Fellowship invested over $9,000 in the ministries that we listed on the
screen a minute ago, and we hope to grow that investment in the years ahead.

Now, obviously, that’s a lot of money to give to other ministries … a lot of money that we
could probably find a use for around here . So, why do we do that? Turn in your Bibles to 2
Corinthians chapter 9. In chapter 8 of this letter, Paul encouraged the Corinthian church to
be involved in a project to raise money for other churches who were struggling financially.
As Paul continues that discussion, he says this in chapter 9:

       2 CORINTHIANS 9:1-15

               So, Paul encourages these folks to give. And what does Paul say will happen
               if they do? [Get their thoughts.]

               There are two main reasons that the elders want to make sure that we keep
               sending out some of what comes in to New Hope Fellowship through our
               giving:

                   1. God will be blessed by the people we give to. (9:11-13)
                   2. God will bless New Hope Fellowship so we can give more. (9:-11)

Those are two reasons why a committed sender invests financially to help support people
who are taking the gospel around the world.

ENCOURAGING

Then, a third way the early church supported their missionaries was through an ongoing
ministry of encouragement.

       For example, in Philippians chapter 2 you can read about a man named
       Epaphroditus. Epaphroditus was from Philippi. In addition to supporting Paul
       financially, the church in Philippi also sent one of their own to help Paul for a period
       of time. That was one of the ways that the churches encouraged Paul. They sent
       people to help him.

There are a number of ways that we can encourage the people we send as well. Like what?
In addition to prayer and financial support, what might we do to encourage the people and
ministries we support? [get responses]

          Volunteer help for local ministries
          Write personal letters or emails

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          Help them with communications to the rest of their support team (i.e. do the
           work of sending out prayer letters)
          Collect and send needed supplies
          Visit them to help

So, the third responsibility of a committed sender is to do practical things to encourage the
people we send.

STAY INFORMED

There’s one other thing a committed sender should do in order to effectively do the three
things we’ve looked at so far … and that is to stay informed. It’s tough to pray, give, and
encourage if we don’t know what’s going on.

When you read the New Testament, you see that the apostle Paul did a pretty good job
keeping people informed about what was going on in his ministry. Acts chapter 14 tells us
that when Paul and Barnabas returned from their first ministry trip, they gathered the church
that sent them out … gathered the church together and told them all the things that God had
done and how God had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles (Acts 14:27). As you read
Paul’s letters, you also see that this was one of the reasons for Paul’s letters. Paul wrote so
that folks would know what was going on in order to pray for him and help out in other
ways.

       Now, Paul wrote letters to inform these people of what was going on with him, but
       they still needed to read them and respond to what Paul wrote.

And the same is true for us. Typically, the people who are involved in the ministries we
support do a pretty good job putting out the same kind of information for us. The challenge
for us is to read and focus on the information they give us.

A NEXT STEP

So, I have a suggestion to help us with that challenge.

Look again at the individuals and ministries we support.
       Where we are: CareNet, Camp Berea, Rumney Bible Conference,
       Elsewhere in our nation: Julie Savage – Camp Redcloud
       Nearby cross-culture: Eric & Sarah Lovejoy - Chi Alpha at PSU
       Far cross-cultural: Short-term (Rachel Bandi, Kristina Green, Josh Ingram), Compassion
       International, Samaritan’s Purse – Operation Christmas Child

There are ten individuals or ministries on our list. … but none of us can stay informed of
what’s going on with ten different ministries. But you could keep up with one.



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So, I encourage each of us to do this:

      Choose one of the missionaries or ministries on this list and adopt them as your
       missionary for the next year. So, for the next year, you’re going to be part of the
       team from New Hope Fellowship that helps send the person or ministry you choose.

      Stay informed of what’s going on with this ministry. To help you do that, I’ve
       copied the contact information for all of these people and ministries and put them on
       the back table. If you contact that ministry and ask them to keep you updated, they
       will do that.

      Commit to pray for your missionary or ministry regularly. Put these folks on your
       prayer list if you have one. Pray for these folks when we have our prayer times on
       Sunday mornings.

      Give what you can to help support your missionary financially. As I mentioned
       earlier, some of what we all give to New Hope Fellowship goes toward supporting
       these ministries. So, all of us are giving something toward these ministries. But you
       may also want to give directly to the ministry you adopt in addition to what we give
       as a church.

      Then finally, look for ways to practically encourage your missionaries like we
       talked about a few minutes ago.

So, I encourage you to adopt one of our missionaries as your own. That’s one way we can
turn up the intensity of our radar screen like I talked about last week to see more clearly
some of what God is doing out there, beyond our natural circle of contact.

A man named Tom Steller wrote this in a book entitled Let the Nations be Glad:

       “We must either go out for the sake of his name, or we must send and support such people who
       do, and do so in a manner worthy of God. . . . The name of God is at stake in how we treat our
       missionaries. God is glorified when we support them substantially with our prayers, our money,
       our time, and in myriad other practical ways. God is not glorified when our missionaries are
       simply a name on the back of the church bulletin or a line item in the budget.”

I think the Lord will be honored through New Hope Fellowship even more if we increase
our focus on the people and places where the Lord has led us to invest.




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