The communion service gives us an illustration and a motivation for mission. Jesus Christ came into the world with this mission – to save sinners. It was a mission motivated by love. Of course, after his death and resurrection Jesus said as the father has sent me even so send I you. He has communicated to us the mission he began. Christ has provided the gospel, that we might run to proclaim it.
The cross provides us with
A Call to mission.
It was at the cross that God demonstrated his great love for sinful humanity. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. Paul knew that he owed his salvation to the fact that God so loved the world. If God never loved the world, he’d never love me. Which is why he describes his mission in terms of a debt. To the Romans he wrote that he wanted to come and preach the gospel among them because he was a debtor to all men. (Rom 1:13-14). A debtor because the love that had reached out to him and saved his would was for all men. He owed it to God and to men, to pass on the good news of free salvation for all.
It is a debt which we repay by our giving
Some may say I was never called to preach or to go on a mission trip. But may I say very clearly that love motivated giving is an expression of the gospel of Christ. God so loved the world, and he gave. Our giving to mission work, is an expression of God’s love, and confirmation of the gospel of Christ at work in our lives. You may wish to call it a sermon without words, but its a sermon that speaks very loud. Our missionaries have often told us how thankful the people are for the financial help we send and the help they receive from these saints being there with them. And when believers are helped by other believers, they return thanks to God.
Paul was always eager to remember the poor, and was taking up a collection for the poor saints in Judea at the time of the world-wide famine in the first century. Of this giving, and of your giving, we can say the same thing:
For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:12-15
Paul links the sacrifice and gift of Christ with the sacrificial giving of his church. This is true when Calvary love motivates our giving.
But Calvary love also motivates our going.
Paul said the love of Christ compels us, he means compels us to preach the gospel.
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
Since Christ died for them, he died for all men, and so we have a debt to pay to all men, that they might hear the good news of eternal salvation.
Thank God that we have such a wonderful gospel to proclaim. Salvation is obtained by Christ, salvation and pardon for sin is free to you on the basis of what he has done on the cross. We preach Christ crucified, says Paul, yes we do, yeas we must. The gospel is for the whosoever.
Since Jesus died for all men, William FP Burton pioneer Pentecostal missionary in Central Africa said “We couldn’t go to the wrong place -we had to preach it to them all.”
Our partner pastors go from village to village to proclaim Christ, often in the face of opposition. The love of Christ has to constrain us to go, because it is only Calvary love that reaches out to all men. When we proclaim the gospel, if you hand out a tract in town or witness to a friend at college or university, that is the hand of God stretched out all day long to those who are lost. Your hand is the hand of God, let him love the lost through you. And I don’t mean in a soppy or emotional way. God deliver us from mere sentimentalism and emotionalism, and send us to go with the gospel.
We have the call to mission.
Then we have received the commission of our Saviour.
Go into all the world and preach the gospel . GO and teach all nations.
If we go because the love of Christ compels us to go. then the word of Christ commands us to go. In his name, and for his love we go. The call of Christ for believers to preach the gospel has never been more urgent.
Our Lord said: Go into the highways and byways and compel them to come in.
Thank God that we can labour for the master in his harvest field. It is difficult work, but the word of God assures us that those who sow will also reap in due time. Those who go forth bearing precious seed will doubtless come again rejoicing bringing their sheaves with them. Don’t be discouraged by lack of results – keep going. Dr. Livingstone preached all over central Africa without a convert, but wrote in his journal. One day will see converts for every sermon, for the seed has been sown.
Finally, in response to the call and commission of the Saviour, but we also must yield our commitment to the Saviour. This commitment to mission is two fold.
We must surrender our lives. The call is to mission. Will you respond to the call. The call is to go, will you go? Christ is still calling men and women to go. His word has never changed “You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem , Judea, Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth.” That’s a phrase that’s been on my mind a lot lately. To the uttermost parts of the earth.
But whether its to the other side of the globe or the other most side of the street, there are men women and children who need a Saviour. Men women and children for whom Christ died. Will you surrender your life? Christ doesn’t want anything spectacular from you, he wants your commitment. It may be a commitment to teach in Sunday school ,it may be commitment to support and pray for mission, but it has to be full commitment to the Lord.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2
Lay your life on the altar for God, he’s calling for you today. You have only one life to invest. Will you invest it in a good job, in making money or a name for yourself, or fulfilling your ambition to be a top manager or a happy housewife? Or will you invest it in Christ’s lowly service? Only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s done for Jesus will last.
Young people, you have a life to give. make sure you lay it on Christ’s altar. Older people, he still wants all your life. Have you laid it afresh on the altar of his will lately and said Lord, I’m still here, still send me.
But if we must be surrendered to mission then we must be empowered for mission.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
The Holy Spirit was given to the church that we might be empowered for mission, that we might be witnesses to Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth. We must remember as we sit in our Pentecostal churches, that it was as they went forth and preached everywhere that the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word with signs following. This is no easy life, but it is an empowered life. Who can minister in the name of the Lord? Who can win a soul for Christ. Who is sufficient for such things, not you or I. But he has made us able ministers. He has set his anointing on us all. Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit says the Lord your God.
On receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit the disciples were empowered and emboldened to speak for Christ and to even rejoice as the faced suffering and persecution for his name. Have you received the Holy Spirit.? If we are to receive the Holy Spirit’s fulness then we must accept the necessity of our full surrender to the Lord, and our full commitment to his mission.
William Burton whom I have already mentioned wrote about missionary Rosalin Heggie. A little woman. Nothing extraordinary about her. But she’d been called, and she responded. She accepted the commission of the Saviour, she went forth, fully surrendered and empowered by the spirit and planted over a thousand churches along the shores of lake Tanganyika in Congo.
Have you heard the call. have you accepted the commission. Will you give and will you go? Is your life on the altar for God, surrendered and empowered for his service, to work for his kingdom until he comes?
Sovereign Lord, you know all our hearts. Help us to hear your call, to accept our service and to yield to your voice. In Jesus name Amen.