For the past twelve weeks we have been learning what it means to be a whole church – what it means to live and work together as the family of God. And if you remember at the very beginning of the summer we had a puzzle and we each held a puzzle piece. And that puzzle piece reminded us that we want to “engage”. We want to become connected and interlocked like puzzle pieces, with our God, with each other, with our community, and with our world. And so today we begin the last leg of our journey with a focus on engaging with our world.
Now this morning we are going to be a little interactive. I want to start off with asking you a question. What is a missionary? How would you define a “missionary”? After all, we are affiliated with the “Christian and Missionary Alliance” denomination – so we should have an idea of what a missionary is.
For our purposes today, I would define a missionary as “anyone who shares the Gospel with others”. Very simply stated, that’s a missionary in a nutshell. And that leads me to my second question for you: Who was your missionary? Have you ever thought about that? Who was your missionary? Who was it that shared the Gospel with you? Who told you about Jesus, the Son of God, coming to earth as a human being, living a sinless life, dying on that cross for the sin of the world, and then rising again to life three days later, so that you could have eternal life? Who told you? Who was your missionary?
For me, I had lots of missionaries, but probably the first and most significant missionaries in my life were my parents. From the time that I was very little, they taught me the stories in Bible and how to put my trust in Jesus. So my parents were my missionaries.
This morning I want to hear some of your stories. Who was your missionary?
Everyone of us has had a missionary. Somebody took the time and made the effort to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with us. And are we ever thankful!
Where would you be today if no one had ever shared the Gospel with you? What if no one had ever told you about how much God loves you and how He died on a cross for you so that you could have eternal life?
I can’t even imagine what my life would be like. And yet, in this big ol’ world of ours, there are millions of people – even billions of people – who have no missionary. They have had no one tell them about God. They have had no one to tell them how much He loves them. They have had no one to tell them that they can have eternal life by simply trusting in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. And because they’ve had no one to tell them, they don’t know. Millions of people in this world live and die without ever knowing the way to eternal life.
That’s where we come in.
47For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'” Acts 13:47
God has given us a responsibility. In fact, He lays it out quite clearly for us in Mark 16:15.
15He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” Mark 16:15
We are called to be missionaries. We are called to be the ones who share the Gospel with others. Just like somebody was a missionary for you, you are called to be a missionary to others. Now that may be in your own backyard, but it also may be in a different town, or it may even be in a different country entirely.
We talked this morning with the kids about beautiful feet bringing good news and I want to read the passage where that verse comes from.
11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” 12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
So over these next few weeks I hope that God will lay it upon your heart to develop beautiful feet – feet that bring the good news of Jesus Christ where ever they go – be that in your back yard, in the nearby towns, or perhaps even in an entirely different country.
This week I want to introduce you to some friends of ours. These are folks with beautiful feet. Right now they are down in Mexico – working to start at church in a suburb of Mexico City where there are no churches of any kind.
We met these guys a few years back when Jim Cottrill was a speaker at Camp Little Red. About a year after that, they left for Mexico, but we’ve kept in touch with them through the internet. Over the next few weeks I want you guys to really get to know Jim & Shari so that they’re not just another missionary that you’ve heard of, but I want you to think of them as some good friends – real people that you know that are sharing the Gospel with people in a different country.
Now of course, showing you a picture of them and telling you they work in Mexico probably doesn’t make you feel like you really know them. And since they aren’t slated to come back to Canada for about a year and since I’m not sure if we all have a current passports, we’ve had to get a little creative.
So over the next few Sundays, we are going to have video conversations with the Cottrills. First, they’ll make a video and send it over the internet, and then we’ll make a video and send it to them over the internet. It won’t be quite as good as meeting face to face, but I hope we’ll get to know them and they’ll get to know us in a unique kind of a way.