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February 28, 2022 11:50 am
What I think are missionaries for sharing with us their testimonies this morning. I look forward to more as the week goes past again apologize for not being a cut and tied it had a little thumb procedure and I can't get a code on over my splint. So that's a good excuse anyway for not being a coat and tie, but I'm grateful to serve a church where not being in a coat and tie is not going to close someone's ears to the gospel in other some pellet places that are that way. So I'm grateful to serve at a church that that understands those things as our missionaries share their testimonies this morning. They reminded me that missions is an individual effort one person communicating the gospel with another I think so many times in the West. We think that we all need to be in a Billy Graham's but is only one Billy Graham. We are called to share the gospel in the places where he has placed us in for most of us that's an hour homes in our neighborhoods are workplace in our social settings all the different places where God calls us 101. That's how we shared the good news. I want to thank our missionaries for reminding me of that this morning. Turn in your Bibles if you would to our theme passage for this year's missions conference is found in Philippians the first chapter, verses 12 through 18. Philippians 1 verses 12 through 18 and as you turn there. Let me share with you what an honor it is to serve the church whose heartbeat is the word of God and missions. I am grateful for a senior pastor and elders who prioritize missions and allow us to have a week long missions conference to celebrate what God is doing through missions around the world and I'm grateful that each year we are allowed to bring in about 1/3 as Dr. Monroe mentioned of our missionaries to come and share stories about how God is using them to do his work through your mission support.
So thank you very much Calvary for being a mission minded church now. Philippians 1 verses 12 through 18.
I want you to know, brothers, what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel so that it has become known throughout the whole Imperial guard and to the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ this is Paul talking or writing verse 14 and most of the brothers have become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill, the latter do it out of love knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel, the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then only that in every way, whether in pretense or truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.
So Paul here is talking about the unstoppable gospel, even in prison. The gospel is not stopped. So Paul begins this passage by saying I want you to know what has happened to me. So what exactly has happened to Paul first. It was Paul's desire to share the gospel note was Paul's calling to share the gospel with the Gentile world. His call was to make sure that every Gentile in every nation and every people group would hear and know that God had sent them a savior in Jesus Christ. So that's the first thing when Paul said I want you to know what is happened to me. He wants you to know that he had a calling to carry the gospel to the Gentile nations second Paul was writing this letter to the church in Philippi from imprisonment in Rome. This letter and other are a few other letters that are called the prison epistles or letters. These were letters that Paul wrote from a prison cell. When he was in Rome now had a Paul get to it in himself in the prison.
So let me give you the Reader's Digest version of help all got into prison and I realize that for probably half of our congregation. You don't know what the Reader's Digest version is dry, I teach a group of young couples, young adults is the best adult life group in the church and if you're a newlywed or nearly wet or a young couple we want to invite you after worship to room 232 for the best adult life group in the church and everyone in that class does not know what the Reader's Digest version is that that's a summary that's the Reader's Digest convince version of a condensed version so here's the summary is found in acts 21 and this summary will but will better describe what happened to Paul. Some people started rumors that Paul had taken a Gentile into the holy part of the temple in Jerusalem was up in arms causing Paul to be beaten and almost killed now. The authorities stepped in and arrested Paul and this really saved Paul's life and he was taken to Caesarea, where he was held in prison for two years. There he was awaiting trial for those two years.
He appeared before Governors Festus and Felix and eventually before King Agrippa and in every setting. Paul gave mesmerizing testimony about his faith in Jesus Christ because Paul being a Roman citizen, he appealed.
Finally, to have his case brought before Caesar.
He was then sent to Rome, he was sent by ship and all along the way. Paul had problems.
Probably the worst was whatever he was in a terrible shipwreck and finally brought into chains to Rome, where he was kept under house arrest for two years as he waited his trial before Caesar. Paul's desire is call was to share the gospel with the Gentile world, but how in the world could that ever happened. If he was going to be held in a prison cell. Now I think that for many of us there been times in our lives where we felt God's call in our lives but we have been placed in our own prison cell.
We have been confined ourselves of you ever had a time in your life or you are discouraged. I think most of us have seen times in our lives where we've been discouraged. I know that there been times in my life where there's been loss where there's been conflict where there's been discouragement in the ministry there's been discouragement.
The place I'm serving.
There may have been times of discouragement and many times during the discouragements in our lives are times when we question God, and we ask him how could you do this to me. How can this happen to me.
I have served you faithfully.
Now here's Paul sitting in a Roman prison cell. He'd been shipwrecked in prison years before that. I'm sure that there were times in Paul's life where he was discouraged where he felt like he was imprisoned.
Now what does one do when he's in prison let's get to that adjustment because in so many ways I feel like the last two years have been kind of an imprisonment, don't you, we would been imprisoned with masks we been told what we can do and cannot do for like for two years we've just been stuck with restrictions and is been a kind of prison for us and our missionaries have felt that way any of our missionaries have been stuck for two years. In countries where it is not the country where they been called to serve.
They couldn't return to the countries where they were serving some of our missionaries that are gathered with us here for the last two years. They could only leave their apartments for two hours a week and that was by permit to go and purchase food.
Their children have been impacted language development. Trying to learn the culture has been made to be even more difficult because of what is taken place with Cove. There's been uncertainty and laws of our missionaries even lives here as we waited to see when all this would come down because of Cove window Calvary church God has blessed us richly at Calvary church.
These last two years, but you know it times there seems like some things are still missing the Calvary culture just hasn't been the same. Does anybody miss Wednesday nights miss the fellowship sitting with brothers and sisters sharing a meal together – I pray that's going to come very quickly.
Just that social interaction that we been able to have and that we need is a people that that that that we are called to to to to to live as a church as a community as a family of faith and those things have been missing even in missions. Our culture has changed some. Did you know we've not had a go trip for two years.
That's hard to believe for Calvary church we not been able to serve and our jails are prisons we not been able to have as many good news clubs. As we were having two years ago just limiting to maybe one that we been able to work in a recently RR ministry to the homeless or street ministry has been impacted our work with the Charlotte rescue mission where we were able to serve in the to lead Bible studies because of coded that's not been available to us RB allied emphasis where we promote neighborhood evangelism where it where we still have some success. We been training people to evangelize in their neighborhood is been difficult to do so because you can't be with people.
So even though we seeing someone you and some creative opportunities to do missions. Our regular missions outreaches have been hindered at Calvary church. So where does that put us as a church as individuals is a church community as missionaries. Now that were on the other side of coded it's time to start over is time for us to begin to reclaim our missions culture personally in our lives in a Calvary church now. I doubt Paul ever thought of prison cell to be a platform to carry the gospel from Rome, the center of the judgment of the Gentile world. But Paul gives us the key to reclaiming our missions culture individually and here Calvary church verses 12 and 13.
He said I want to know brothers that what is happened to me has really served to advance the gospel so that it has become known throughout the whole Imperial guard and to all the rest of my imprisonment is for Christ and most of the brothers having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment are much more bold to speak the word without fear. So what did Paul do that made him so effective in this type of a culture. He remembered his call. And as we are reclaiming our call here at Calvary church. We got to remember our call in our call is the great commission is found in Matthew 28 verses 19 to 20. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. That's our call as individuals and as a church is to go and to make disciples. Paul use the word he says what is happened to me has really served to advance the gospel and a love that word advance. What is happiness calls Paul to advance the gospel because Paul saw every opportunity is an opportunity to tell people about Jesus. Paul lived a life where the gospel was unstoppable or that he was being and defending himself about Temple and bring a Gentile, and where they was before Agrippa or Festus or Felix everyplace. Paul use those as opportunities to advance the gospel and proclaim the truth.
Paul, in every circumstance remembered that his call is to share Jesus and that's our call to as individuals were supposed to engage our culture with the gospel share the good sharing the good news should be a part of our everyday focus. It should be our focus at home, at work in our social settings here at Calvary. Even on our social media everything that we do should be used. To share the good news that Jesus saves. Paul share the gospel in prison and he had the Imperial guard assigned to care for him guards who were chained to him each and every moment of every day, and it's amazing that Paul turned this discouraging situation into an opportunity to share the gospel. Paul knew that his call was to share Jesus. So much so that all the Imperial guard you his testimony. They knew of Jesus's saving faith in his life. You know I'm so grateful here Calvary church. The Cove's past and were able to move forward with the gospel and we need to do so in unity. Look at verse 14, Paul said, and most of the brothers having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Sounds like unity doesn't. I can think of no more divisive thing that is happened to the church, not our church.
We been pretty good, but to the church in general and covert, but is time for us to forget coded in all of its consequences to leave it behind, and for us to join together in unity to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world desperately needs Jesus just look overseas. That's what's happening in the world today.
Let me tell you a few things that are upcoming at Calvary church to help us reclaim our missions culture and to share the gospel. First off you have a renewed focus on praying for missions and missionaries at Calvary church. Beginning in April. Lord willing, our missionary prayer newsletter will change instead of having a list of all of our missionaries.
It'll be a calendar where each day, you'll be praying for space just specific to her three missionaries and the needs that they have so each day you'll have a mission focus for your family and ways to pray for our missionary.
Missions that are taking place at Calvary church.
We are also in her began our go trips again Sunday next Sunday will be commissioning our first go trip in two years. It will be our go to Monterey to name the be going to Monterey, Mexico night the week after next to share the gospel and to care for orphans who are there.
You're also going to hear of additional go trip opportunities will be a go trip information meeting next Sunday afternoon and will be talking about a go trip to Kenya will go and continue our work with the super people and the people that are on fungi, no island will also hear about a mission opportunity a go trip that will take place in central Asia will travel to the countries of Kazakhstan is Pakistan, Tajikistan, sharing the gospel training churches and serving refugees from Afghanistan, and most likely now through the Ukraine as well to restore our mission culture Calvary church. We got some some special mission opportunities for our senior high student will have three weeks of Johnny and friends disability camps where students from Calvary church can go and serve as short-term missionaries, caring for families who have been affected by disabilities do know that less than 10% of those families, five affected by disability, no Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior were providing opportunities for our students to go in and to care for those those families affected by disability and tell them about Jesus. Another exciting opportunity for senior high students is called the F notice 360 jungle camp. They also call it what you me and this campus held in Pennsylvania in July and as I mentioned, it's a jungle camp in a jungle setting, led by missionaries who have served in that context, and the senior high students will be able to see what it's like to serve in missions and we pray that God will perhaps call our next generation. Out of these mission experiences for senior high school students. I'm excited to share with you that our pastor and elders have set funds aside for the senior high missions opportunities so that every Calvary senior high student can go for free is not amazing. This is part of Calvary's investment in the next generation. So what else are we doing to reclaim the missions culture Calvary church and on the Natomas you noted in past weeks information about the new Queen city pregnancy resource Center and we have many who have volunteered for that will have volunteers from that organization with us next Sunday to share how perhaps you can volunteer to help us in the fight for lives saving the lives of those who are not yet born good news clubs are returning schools are starting to open back up as a mass then mandates have been dropped and were going to be able to see ministry back in our local schools again and for us.
That's ministry in a closed access country. These are Charlotte Mecklenburg schools are be a light campaign. Thank goodness that covert restrictions are gone because it allow us to communicate with our neighbors face-to-face to hosting mineral homes and to encourage them to share the gospel and you'll see more and more more more opportunities to reclaim the missions culture here at Calvary church. I'm so thankful that Calvary church is committed to missions that my goal this morning was to share God's word and a few opportunities that he has for us here at Calvary church to invite the Holy Spirit to begin speaking to your heart about responding to the call of the great commission. Personally, as a church. You'll hear from his pastor subdued and I more opportunities how you can engage in local mission you hear from Dr. from our missionaries through the week about other ways that you can be engaged in missions here in three Calvary church and then next Sunday.Mariah will give our our final service or were going to be looking for commitments commitments from you and from me to take backup the great commission to help us to restore to reclaim the wonderful missions culture that we have a Calvary church. I've been saying that the only thing that will stop the gospel is a lack of response from you and for me that's not true. The gospel is unstoppable, with or without us, the gospel will not be stopped. But it's God's plan for you and for me to be with him in this to join arm and arms as a church to answer God's call to serve him.
Communicating the gospel truth to our community into our world. Paul concludes in verse 18 by saying what then only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that our in in that I rejoice. Let that be our mission as individuals and as a church to proclaim the gospel to proclaim the good news.
The truth join me as we pray together following. Thank you so much for this time that we shared in worship today we thank you for your word father for how it encourages us and reminds us that the task of missions is not left just a missionaries but father, you've tasked it to us that it's our call and it's our responsibility to take up that call. No matter the circumstances, and proclaim your truth. Probably thank you for missionaries that are gathered this week. We pray for them. We realize that some are coming exhausted just from the conditions of the world and we pray father that this might be a time of refreshment and encouragement for them and follow. We pray for our church.
We pray that as we focus on not ourselves, but outward this week.
Father that we will hear your call and renew our commitment to that call and seek to serve you. Father is your missionaries right here in Charlotte for us in Jesus name we pray. Amen