Today, it's my honor to introduce Brother Lewis McClendon. I've gotten to know him over the last few years and a great friend in the ministry joining in the gospel message, and we appreciate his heart and faithfulness. He served in ministries out in California for years. He was the executive director of the Ponderosa Pines Christian camp for 14 years.
He was a founder of that camp as well. And then he served for 19 years at the Ventura Baptist Church there in California. And when he became the pastor there, he he had a burden for missions.
And he saw that the church did not have a strong missions program at the time. So he began to develop that missions program. They began to have missions conferences and they continued to grow in their missions budget. They by the time he was in of his ministry at that church, they had a missions budget over 300,000 a year, which is a pretty good number.
About 23,000 a month and missions giving, which was just awesome. They also began to support a lot of missionaries, obviously around the world. He is as he began to invite these missionaries, and he also noticed that they needed some help with their speaking skills. And so he began to he founded a ministry called Abound Missions, and they they help with a communication workshop.
And he's done this with also churches and folks as well. Ministering in churches, but he's helped them to develop the ability to get up and share their message clear, because when you're raising support, you need to be able to share what you're doing clearly. He's also a Dave Ramsey Solutions certified master financial coach. So he's been a great blessing to a lot of these missionaries throughout the last several years and decades, I should say, and helping them in their communication as well as in their financial area. And so he spent a year working with John Connor up with the Baptist Church. His Bible Fellowship missions office.
He was the first vice president of the BBFI missions as well. And so we're so blessed to have him. You're going to be encouraged by his message day and challenge. So if you would make brother Lewis McClendon feel welcome as he comes and brings the word to us this morning. We're going to be dealing at a second Corinthians chapter number nine today. So as you find that if you stand as we get ready to read God's word, we're going to be reading second Corinthians nine verses six through 15. But this I say, he would so as sparingly shall reap also sparingly and he would so as bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Every man according as he purpose within his heart. So let him give not grudgingly or necessity for God love with the cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you that ye always having all sufficiency in all things may abound to every good work as it is written he hath dispersed abroad. He had given to the poor. His righteousness remaineth forever. Now he that ministered seed to the soul or both minister bread for your food and multiply your seats own and increase the fruit fruits of your righteousness being enriched in everything to all bountifulness which causes those through us thanksgiving to God for the administration of the service. Not only supply it they want of the saints, but it's abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God whilst by the experiment of this ministration, they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ and for your liberal distribution unto them and unto all men and by their prayer for you and long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
Let's pray. Father, we do thank you for your unspeakable gift. Thank you for just loving us. Thank you for dying on the cross for us. Thank you that we have heaven as our hope. Thank you for giving us the word of God. You've blessed us so much. And I pray you'll bless us this morning as we go over these verses as it pertains to missions in Jesus name. Amen.
Thank you may be seated. I'm always glad to be in a church that is that takes the time to focus on missions. Really? Really? Protesting protesting 123 protesting protesting.
Sorry about that guys back there. I always being in a church that is focusing on missions. Heaven is very glad to see a church that takes the time out Sunday through Wednesday at extra nights Monday and Tuesday night to really focus on missions because missions is God's plan to reach the world. Satan hates it when a church does this.
He wants nothing. He he doesn't want you to have anything to do with this because he knows that your hearts are going to be with God's heart and saying we want to reach the world with the gospel. So, Satan will do everything he can to cause you to miss meetings to have your schedules out of wax or not able to attend.
He works hard to put as many roadblocks as he can in your path for this. So, I'm glad that you're here today and I pray that you will come as often as you can to this missions conference. So, we're going to be talking a lot about different aspects of missions. Each message will focus on a different aspect of missions so that by the time we get done, you'll know more about missions than you ever knew about missions before and hopefully you'll be more inspired to be involved in God's plan to reach the world. It has been said that evangelism is a church growing where it is and missions is a church growing where it isn't and that's what we're going to be talking about is where the church is growing where it isn't especially with these missionaries that you're going to be seeing. You get to know people who are going to be missionary supported from your church and I want to really encourage you to make sure that whatever missionaries are here, make sure you take the time to get to know them. I know some of the missionaries will be on the screen and you won't be able to talk with them, but the Wilchers are here today. They have a table out front. Make sure you stop by and talk to them.
Here's why. Used to always bug me when I was pastoring a church and we'd have a mission conference and we'd have our tables out there in the lobby so they could come by and see the missionaries and they want to tell missionaries their story. They want to come up to a missionary and say, you know, I had five operations last year.
Let me tell you about all five of them. You know, that's not why you want to go by the table so you have somebody new to share all your problems with. You go by the missions table so you get to know the missionary. You know why it's important for you to get to know the missionary? Because you pray more for and more passionately for people that you know than people that you don't know. Now, if the pastor had got up this morning and he said, you know, as I was driving in, I had the news on and I heard that a little girl was struck by a car and killed in Arizona, you'd feel bad for a little while. I mean, maybe 30, 40 seconds, you'd feel bad for the family, that kind of stuff. But if the pastor got up here today and said, I'm sorry to have to announce that so-and-so, it's a little girl in this church that you know from a family that you know was killed this morning, was run over by a car.
That would change his service just like that, wouldn't it? Why? Because you know them. You know that family. Some of you would start immediately weeping.
You'd be saying, what can we do to help? I mean, it would change everything because you knew that little girl. And that's what happens when you know missionaries. It changes everything when you know them. Because once you know them, then you want to read their letters because you know that person and they were here and you talked with them and they've sent a letter and they're telling you about the progress.
But because you know them, you want to read it. When they ask you to pray for something, you pray for it. If they've got some kind of event coming up or they're going through some issue, some problem and they say, please pray for us, you'll say, I remember meeting them in the lobby and I want to pray for that missionary. If there's a natural disaster, you want to pray for that too. You know that every time there's a disaster in this world, it involves some of the missionaries that you support.
And when you support a missionary, something happens, you care more about that, want to pray about that. Pastor told you I ran a camp. The camp that I ran was in the Southern California mountains. We were 6400 feet high, so we got snow. Well, last week they didn't get snow. They got snow. They got six feet of snow in that area.
Six feet. And it's a disaster. Houses are blowing up because the heavy snow has broken some gas lines and the gas gets in the house and the houses are blowing up. There are people that have been in their house for almost two weeks now and cannot get out of their house because it snows and then it freezes and it blocks the doors. They are having helicopters come around and they're distributing food.
They're shoving food out the door of the helicopter so that people living in that area that can get out of their house can get to their house. Now a lot of you don't know about that. I do. You know why I know about it? Because I live there. I have friends there. The guy that's running the camp now where I ran the camp, I know what he's going through with having all that snow that's there.
So when you know something, it makes a difference when something happens. You support Dalton Walker. Dalton Walker is in Fox Bay. And they just had a cyclone come through and dumped tons of rain on the area. Do you know that Dalton Walker has not been able to have church for three weeks? Because the roads are impassable.
Bridges are washed out. They can't even get together for church. I mean, it's a disaster in that area. But when you go by and read a letter about that, you say, hey, we support him or he was here. I know him.
It makes a difference. In Turkey, do you remember the earthquake in Turkey? The earthquake in Turkey is causing refugees to need help. And some of the missionaries we have in five different countries, I'll just name one of them, but Cyprus, in Cyprus, they're getting a half a million Turkish refugees because of the earthquake in Turkey. And so the missionaries are helping to feed them, but they're using that as an opportunity to preach the gospel to them. I'm just saying whatever happens in the world, there's some missionary somewhere that's attached to that. And when you know that missionary, it's going to cause you to pray for that missionary. So today you have a chance to really get to know the Wilchers.
And I really want to encourage you to do that. Get to know them so that you can really pray for them. You can pray with something good is happening.
You can pray with something not so good has happened because you've met them and you know them in the services. Like I said, we're going to talk about every aspect about missions, every aspect about missions. Every sermon will be a little bit different focus. But this morning we're going to focus on God's plan to reach the world through our giving. The pastor mentioned that this morning.
You have a faith promise card that he wants you to pray about and start turning in on Wednesday night. And I want to talk a little bit about giving to missions. In the book of 2 Corinthians, Paul is motivating the church members in Corinth to get involved in giving to the poor saints in the Church of Jerusalem. And we see this in 2 Corinthians chapter 9 and verse 1.
For I was touching them, ministering to the saints is superfluous for me to write to you. The ministering to the saints is the offering that they're giving to the church in Jerusalem. We see in the Bible that God knows what's going on in the world and is motivating people to help some people in a different part of the world with a need they have. So you've got the town of Corinth. You've got the town of Jerusalem.
The town of Jerusalem, some poor saints are suffering. And God used Paul to motivate the church at Corinth to give money to the saints in Jerusalem. Isn't it good to know that God is working around the world all the time? And here's a need and God is motivating people to help with that need. God works around the world.
Let me tell you about one of the places where we got to be a part of God seeing work around the world. And that was in the country of Nicaragua. We had a missionary in Managua, Nicaragua.
And he had an interesting story to tell. When the Sandinistas were getting powerful in Nicaragua, the Sandinistas went into the outlying areas in the country to set up covert operations to attack Managua. And one of the places they went to was a little town called La Esmerada, which was up in the mountains, and was a coffee plantation. And they went to this coffee plantation owner and they said, hey, will you let us use your coffee plantation as a covert operation base to attack Managua?
And he said, sure. And his reward was they sent him to Moscow to get an agricultural education and they also indoctrinated him in the communist atheistic worldview. So he came back and he was part of that covert operation there to try to overthrow the government.
Well, when that didn't work and it kind of fizzled out, I mean, they still have troubles in Nicaragua. But when that kind of fizzled out and they left, the communists left that area, a man came by to this coffee plantation owner and gave him a Bible and told him about the Lord. He didn't get saved then, but he left him that Bible and he started reading his Bible. He and his wife read the Bible over and over and over. And as a result, they trusted Jesus Christ as their savior and Lord. And it just totally changed him because before he was pushing communism and an advocate for communism and they said, you know, we pushed atheism and atheism is wrong.
We've got to push the gospel. So they started going to all the neighbors and telling them about Christ. And he opened up his home for a Bible study and people came to his house for a Bible study. Well, his oldest daughter got ready to go to college and she went to college in Managua, Nicaragua. And she went there, she looked for a church. She found a Baptist church pastor by the American missionary that we supported. And he said, would you come help my dad?
And she told the whole story to him. Would you come help my dad? All he has is a Bible.
He doesn't really know much about anything. Can you help him? And he said, I've already got three churches I've got going right now.
I don't have time to do that. But she didn't stop begging him and begging him to help him. Well, he finally says, OK, I'll go. And he got on the bus to take the three hour bus ride up the mountain. And here he found this man that had a hundred people meeting on his porch for a Bible study. And he said, I've got to help this man. And so he discipled him. He worked with him. He got a pastor up there to have a church up there. And we got to meet him when we took a group with us up to that town in Los Marada.
And we dug the footings for the building and poured the concrete. But isn't it good to know right now God is working throughout the entire world? So we talk about missions giving. We're talking about God's actively doing something to change the world.
You can't take a step back and you say, OK, here's a story. This guy was in Los Marada, went to Moscow, got educated. He was an avid communist. The communists leave. He gets a Bible. He gets saved. What all takes?
What all has to happen to take place for that to happen? Well, first of all, you had to have a guy who took his time to go up that mountain. We don't know much about the guy that did that. But take his time and money to take a Bible to somebody. Somebody had to buy a Bible.
Somebody had to print a Bible. And then some American had to surrender their life to the Lord and become a missionary and raise their support and go to Managua and then to be willing to go help him. And then it was all the churches.
We built the foundation. Another church put up the walls. Another church put the roof on. Another church did this and did that.
So you had all those groups up there. And then you had all the people praying for him and all the people that were giving faithfully. God was doing so much. But what did it take for all this to happen? What it took was God has a plan to reach the world.
That's the bottom line. And God, when God says I have a plan to reach the world, he is working in the lives of people to make it happen. It wasn't just he had this plan and it didn't involve us.
It involves us in a big way. Somebody had to print a Bible. Somebody had to take the Bible to him.
Somebody had to do something. Just like God used many people with differing skills and abilities to build a tabernacle, God is using people with differing gifts and differing abilities to take the gospel to the world. And just like when Israel built a tabernacle and they took that offering for the tabernacle to build all that, God used the giving of those people to build that building. And God is using people to give today to take the gospel around the world. Now, when it comes to giving, the good news is God has a plan to provide the funds for missionaries' needs. God has a plan for that. And we are that plan. And just like Paul motivated the church in Corinth to give to a need in Jerusalem, I want to motivate you today to be a bigger part in the financial aspect of God's plan to reach the world. Now, God has a three-part plan.
And I'm going to show you what that three-part plan is. And hopefully, it will motivate you to say, I want to take a bigger role in giving. The first part of his plan is God blesses givers. Now, let me read to you 2 Corinthians 9, 6 through 8 again. But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart shall let him give, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye always having all sufficiency in all things may abound to every good work. Now, when it comes to giving, I want you to know something about God. It is not God's goal to make you live in the poor house. God is not out to take your money so that you are going to be poor and not have anything. Because for a lot of people, giving is a very scary thing. Very scary.
You want me to do what? Now, think back. Some of you have been saved a while. Do you remember the first time you heard about tithing?
And 10% sounds like, what are you thinking? But it's never been God's plan to make us broke by giving. If that were true, if the people that sacrificially gave lost their houses and their cars and couldn't eat, giving would have died out a long time ago, wouldn't it have?
I mean, it wouldn't have made it. Now, if I stopped this message and came out and started talking to some of you, which I am not going to do, so don't get nervous. But if I came out and talked to you and I said, have you given? And you'd say, yes. And it says, God blessed you.
You'd say, yes. And there'd be so many testimonies in this room right now about you've given and God has blessed you. So it's not just a concept that's in the Bible.
There are people in this room. There are people sitting next to you that are saying, we have given and God has blessed us. And that's what God says here. If we give the way God wants us to give with the right attitude, he said, I don't want you to give grudgingly.
That's with sadness. I don't want you to give of necessity. That's coerced. They made me give this money.
I don't want to give this, but if I don't give it, there's all this kind of peer pressure out there. Now, God doesn't want you giving that way. He wants you to give cheerfully, happily committed to generous giving. I mean, how much do you like a birthday present that somebody felt like they had to give you?
Not exciting, is it? But God says, I want you to cheerfully give because, first of all, in this first point, we can cheerfully give because God says he's going to provide our needs. Verse 8 says, we'll have all sufficiency in all things. So God says, I'm going to take care of the needs that you have. 2 Corinthians chapter 9, verse 10 and 11. Now, he that ministered seed to the sower both minister bread for your food and multiply your seed and increase the fruits of your righteousness, being rich in everything to all bountifulness, which causes through us thanksgiving to God. So here's what God says. I'm going to provide bread for your food.
You are scared to death. You think you're going to go broke if you give to me, but I'm going to provide bread for your food. Not only that, I'm going to multiply this seed to sow.
I'm going to give you more seed so you can have a bigger crop. And then it says God rewards givers in heaven. He says increases the fruit of your righteousness.
Whatever you give, that equals people being saved and that equals rewards in heaven for you. And then it says God enriches us in everything. So when God gives to us, he gives us some of the things he gives to us for our enjoyment. It's what it says in 1 Timothy 6 17.
Charge them that are rich in the world, that they not be high-minded nor trust in uncertain riches, but of the living God who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. And don't we all have some things that we just really enjoy that God has given to us? And we say thank you, Lord.
I don't know about you, but I love air conditioning and I love heating. Both of those things are wonderful things that God has given us that previous generations have not had. But we do enjoy a lot of good things God gives us.
So that's the first part. The second part is God's purpose for blessing givers. I want to take this a little deeper than just the fact that when we give, God says, I'm going to take care of you. This is God's plan. God could have done anything he wanted to do. God doesn't need our money.
God has everything he needs. But he says, this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to tell my people to give and to give generously.
And if they do, I'm going to promise that I'm going to bless them. So we know that part of God's blessing is that he'll take care of us. But I want you to go a little bit deeper and see what he's really saying here. God gives to givers so they can give to every good work. Look at 2 Corinthians chapter 9 and verse 8. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, now look at the very last phrase in this verse, may abound to every good work. So what he's saying is, when you give, I'm going to make sure I take care of your needs. But I'm going to give you above your needs so that you can give to everything I'm doing around the world. You see, God has a goal for every person that becomes a Christian.
He has many goals. But we're just talking about giving today. Like how it's stated in Ephesians chapter 4 verse 28, let him that stole steal no more, for rather let him labor, working with his hands, the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
Now, what is this verse talking about? This verse is taking a taker. I kind of classify people in two categories, takers and givers. People that are out there just get, I want to take everything I can. It's all for me. I just want it all for me. And the thief is the worst of all because he's actually going to steal to do it.
But we have a person that's a taker. And God says, OK, that's got to stop. You're a Christian now, it's got to stop. You can't steal anymore. But you need to start laboring. You need to work.
My plan for you is to work to earn money to take care of your needs. But the verse doesn't stop there because then the verse says that he may have to give to him that needeth. So you see, he's taking this taker and he's just not making him a person who is no longer steals. He's taking a taker and causing him to work and to become a generous giver. Now he's not looking to take from people.
He's looking for somebody in need that he can help people. And that's what God wants us to see. When we're talking in Corinthians about giving, he's not just saying, if you give, I'm going to take care of your needs.
It's not stopping there. He's saying so that you will have to give to everything that I'm doing. Again, there's nothing wrong with having a decent car or going out to eat or going on vacation. But what we need to learn is just to ask why God has blessed us with something. Because he said, I'm going to make it so you can abound to every good work. So God has a purpose behind giving you more than you need. 2 Chronicles chapter 16 and verse number 9 says, for the eyes of the Lord went to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him. So God is looking for people who will ask him, why did you bless me?
He is searching the earth for people that he can bless, especially people who will ask, why did God give this to us? Allow me to tell you a story of how this really came to full focus for my wife and I. When my wife was turning 50, my daughter called me. And she said, Dad, you know that Mom's been in a lot of states. And she moved around a lot when she was a kid.
And when I was at the camp, we traveled some because of the camp. And she said, Mom has always had a goal to be in 50 states. And she's turning 50 this year. So it's your job to get her in the 50th state this year.
And I said, OK. And who knew? But the state she hadn't seen was North Dakota. One of the tourist spots of the world is North Dakota. And somehow she had made it there. We did. We flew in there.
We went to Fargo to see the hot spot of North Dakota. It's a mall, more of a strip mall, that advertised they have a Roger Maris Hall of Fame. And the Hall of Fame is a window.
And there's a bat inside there that you get to look at. That's it. That's North Dakota. So if it's something on your to-do list, you might want to take it off your to-do list. But she hadn't been to North Dakota. So I said, OK, I'll take her to North Dakota.
So we were going to fly from LA to Minneapolis, rent a car, go over to Fargo, so she said she'd been in 50 states in 50 years. When we got to the airport, got to the gate, I said, Karen, there's something going on here. This is far too many people at this gate.
There's more people here that should be here. But we didn't know why, what was going on. And so we got on the plane. We got on the plane, and they got on the loudspeaker. And at the plane, they said, now this flight is overbooked. And if you'll get off of this plane and wait for two hours, we'll give you a $500 voucher.
I said, we're on vacation. Let's take the voucher. So we got off, and we got our voucher. Then while we're waiting for the next plane, they got on the loudspeaker, and they said, OK, this plane is overbooked. Now what had happened was this was Northwest Airlines, and they were getting ready to go on strike. And the pilots wanted to tell the owners, we really are going to go on strike. So they found a reason to cancel every first flight out of every airport so that all the planes were overbooked.
That's what had happened. But anyway, so they said, OK, if you will not get on this plane and you'll wait six hours and let us drive you from LAX to the John Wayne Airport, we'll give you $1,000 in vouchers. And I said, I'll wait six hours for that. I'll go up and get that. And my wife says, no, they're not going to give you two vouchers. You only qualify for one.
I said, you don't know that. I'm going to get up there and get that. So I went up there, and the lady right ahead of me got the last voucher.
So I came back, and I lovingly told my wife, hold this against you the rest of our life. So we're getting on that plane with $500 in vouchers. And just as I give my boarding pass to get on the plane, they said, but Lewis and Karen McClendon, please come to Gate 16.
Took it back, went to Gate 16, and they said, OK, we need two more people. But the bus has already left, but we do have a flight in two hours that you can get on, and you'll still get the voucher. So we flew out of that airport with $1,500 in vouchers each. We were flying to Minneapolis where their headquarters was in the Mall of America.
We went there and said, what are these vouchers good for? And they said, anything Northwest does. It was Northwest Airlines.
Anything Northwest does, flying, tourist packages, whatever. I said, your birthday, Karen, what do you want to do? And she said, I've always wanted to go to London. And so we went to London. The airfare was taken care of. The hotel was taken care of, which we got breakfast. All the tours, we took a tour every single day, and it was paid for, which included lunch. So we were in London for eight days, and all it cost us was eight dinners. And we had a great time.
It was fun. A couple years later, my birthday, and my birthday evolves a flight. So we get to LAX, and we get on the plane, and we're sitting on the plane, and they say, this plane is overbooked. If you'll get off this plane, and in the middle of a spiel, I mean, from that point on, my boarding passes were always in my hand, and I was ready to go. And as soon as they said, this flight is overbooked, I was up and headed towards the front of the plane, because whatever the vouchers were, we're going to get them. I had to knock two old ladies down, but we got the vouchers. So we got $700 in vouchers. We got our vouchers. We went to the gate they said to go to, and they started loading the flight, and we don't have our boarding passes. So I went up there and said, we got off of this flight. They said we'd be on this flight.
Here's our $700 in vouchers. And the guy said, oh, no. And he got on the microphone and said, I need two more people that will volunteer to get off this plane and wait for two hours for $500. I said, well, I'll take them. He said, oh, good.
So we flew out of that airport with $1,200 in vouchers each. So Karen said, your birthday, what do you want to do? And I said, you know, we've got to slow down. We've got to figure out what is God doing here.
Does God have a plan that he's working, and we're just saying this is just all for us? So we prayed about it. We prayed about what to do. And we decided that we would go see a missionary that this $1,500 would allow us to go to. So we got online with an American, and we found out we could go see one of our friends who was a missionary in Perth, Australia. And so we said, we're going to go to Perth, Australia for this one. So emailed him and said, hey, we'd like to come see you. And he said, yeah, that'd be fine. You can come see us.
And you can go to Sydney over here and preach in the Bible college and then come over here to Perth, and you can preach at my church and my friend's church and all that. I said, Bill, I'm glad to do that. But we are coming to see you.
The purpose of the trip is to come see you. So we got there. Once we got there, he told us, you know, we've already sent. We've already written our letter of resignation.
Things just aren't going well, and we were resigning. And we stayed with them for a week. And at the end of that week, they tore up that letter. And this was in the year 2000, and they are still missionaries in Australia for this day. They are still missionaries. You see, God knew that those missionaries needed somebody to come encourage them. They had been missionaries.
No pastor had ever visited them. Nobody had ever done anything special for them, and they just felt all alone. Nobody cares about us, and it just got to them. But the fact that we would fly just to see them, and we spent a week going over some of the issues they were having, and they're still in the mission field to this day. God was doing something. First time, we didn't get it.
That's all for us. They would say, God, you're at work. What are you doing? And I came back to our church, and I told our missions committee about that. And they said, are there discouraged missionaries out there?
I said, yeah, there's a lot of them. And they said, from this point on, you're going to take two missions trips a year. And to date, my wife and I have been to 47 countries. 37 of those countries was to work with missionaries.
God totally changed the trajectory of our life. From that point on, I became more and more interested, as the pastor talked about, to help missionaries. I started a missionary communication workshop, which we do for absolutely free for missionaries.
We'll have to find out how good it is, because Corey's been, so when he talks, listen to see how Corey does. But we founded that, and my heart just became more and more passionate about training missionaries. And that's what I do all the time now. I spend my whole life working with missionaries, helping them get to the field, helping them stay on the field. I just took a trip to a country where there was a real problem between the church and the missionary. We were able to solve so that things can progress like they should progress. God is letting us do so many things for missionaries. But it all started with one question. Why did you give us this blessing? It all started with that. You see, God cares about the whole world. And God said he would give to us so that we would have to give to every good work.
That's what he said. But we missed it. First time, we didn't care about why God blessed us. We didn't care about what God was doing around the world.
We just said, we're going to London. So God had to do it again. And somebody said, why did you learn it the second time?
Why wasn't it the fifth or the sixth time? You know, you could have seen the world. I'm not sure God would have given us those other opportunities if we hadn't learned it. It's important to know that God is working. We had no clue why we were going.
All we said was, let's go see the farthest missionary we can see. But God knew. God had it worked out when he gave us those vouchers. All we had to do is say, God, why did you do this? Now, I don't know what God will do in your life and what God will do with you as you begin to ask him more and more and more, God, why are you doing this? I really challenge you to begin asking that question, Lord, why did you bless us? The third part is God receives glory because of obedient givers. 2 Corinthians chapter 9 and verse 12. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgiving unto God. Whilst by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ and for your liberal distribution unto them and to all men, and by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. These verses say that God is glorified because the people's needs were met. These people's needs were met and God was glorified when those needs were met and God is glorified when the spiritual needs of people are met as when missionaries go around the world. And then it says the recipients thank God for you.
And boy, I have seen this on the mission field so many times where the recipients, the people that the missionary is reaching in tears thank God for what the missionary has done and for the people who sent them. One time I was in a restricted access nation getting ready to go into a more restricted access nation. But before I went into the more restricted access nation, I went with a missionary to an underground church he had started in the restricted access nation.
It's one of those churches where people come over a period of time. There was a 45-minute slot that they were to come just one or two at a time and they knew the time they had to come through so that people wouldn't think there was a large group that was meeting there. But when they got there, everybody whispered.
Nobody made any noise because they didn't want anybody around them to know that they were there. I was told not to say anything until he told me I could say something because he had to make sure there was nobody there that was there as a spy that could cause them problems. So once he felt confident that there was nobody there that was going to cause problems, he told me, so go ahead and preach. And so I preached in English and it was interpreted. And then after we were done there, one of the ladies through the missionary came up to me with tears in her eyes thanking me and all the supporters I represented for sending that missionary so she could hear the gospel. She was in tears thanking, thanking, thanking. And here's what she said.
I want to thank you for risking everything to get the gospel to us. Now, she was the wife of a high government official and she knew full well what would happen if that service was raided. She knew if that service was raided that she would be arrested and she would be imprisoned which would include beatings. The missionary would be arrested which would not include beatings and I would be detained. I would be fined $40,000 and I would be expelled from the country. And I just felt so humbled because I said, I didn't risk anything compared to what you're risking.
They're just going to kick me out of this country. But she was just in tears thanking us. And I'm telling you, around the world, people are right now thanking God for you and the support that you have given. And then the recipients glorify God for their liberal gift to the givers. But verse 13 said, Romans 11 36 says, for of Him and through Him and to Him are all things to whom be glory forever. This verse says for of Him, God is the author of all things and through Him, He is the sustainer of all things and to Him, He is the object of all things because He receives the glory for it all. I don't know about you but that excites me to know that God is receiving glory because I have given the missions to some missionaries who have gone and want people to Christ and they are glorifying God. Isn't that what it's really all about, having people glorify God? And so they're glorifying God and I get to be a part of all that.
What an exciting thought to think. Revelation 7 9 through 10 says, in this I'll be held in law a great multitude which no man can number, of all nations and kindreds and people and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands and cried with a loud voice saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne unto the Lamb. Just glorifying God. That's the heart of God is for people to glorify Him and when you give the missions, you're part of God's plan for people to glorify Him. You've been given a card and the pastor asks you to pray about that card and my challenge to you today is pray about that card. He's asked that you not turn any cards until Wednesday because he does want you to pray about it and as you pray about it this time, don't just look at your budget, just don't look at what's safe to do, but say, God, why have you blessed me and what do you want to do with what you blessed me with?
What's your plan? Because God wants to use you and your giving to have the same things happening around the world that we have seen happen around the world. You may never see it because you don't travel to missions like I do, but it's happening. But it starts with people who say, God, why, why? We want you to pray because there's some of you that God may be calling to be a missionary. We want you to pray because we want you to pray for missionaries too and we want you to pray because God will lead you to a bigger involvement in the missions team and what this church does in missions as right here. So pray and just say, God, I'm a part of what you're doing worldwide.
Show me what it is you want me doing and then do it. I've been talking about missions and reaching people for Christ, but just before I close, I want to say this. There may be somebody here today and you don't know Christ. We do all this from missions to take the gospel around the world, but don't forget about the part where evangelism right here. If you're here this morning and you don't know 100% sure that you were on your way to heaven, we don't want you to leave this building without knowing that. In a moment, we're going to give something we call an invitation. That's where we invite you to leave your seat and walk down this aisle. Somebody will meet you right here and they'll take the Bible and they'll show you how you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you're on your way to heaven.
Evangelism, salvation is available to the whole world, even the people right here. Let's bow our heads and close our eyes for just a moment. I ask you to bow your head and close your eyes so that you can kind of process and think through what we just talked about.
The biggest point I was making today is ask why. Why is God blessing me? Why is God giving me more than I need?
I'm here to honestly tell you that the first time I got those vouchers, Karen and I never even thought of that, never even entered our minds. But the second time it did and it changed our lives and it changed the lives of a lot of missionaries around the world. And the same thing will happen with you when you start saying, I'm going to start asking why. Will you this year really pray and say, Lord, what is it you want me to do for missions? Why have you given me what you've given me and commit whatever God has given you to Him if He leads you to give it? Mother in Heaven, thank you for the promises of 2 Corinthians. Thank you for the challenge of 2 Corinthians. You are such a good God. You have given us so much. And help us from this point on. You've given us more than we need. We say, Lord, why? And do whatever it is you want us to do. I pray if anybody here is not saved, doesn't know for sure they're on their way to Heaven, they'll come on this invitation as well. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-12 04:15:12 / 2023-03-12 04:33:57 / 19