Doing the work of the Kingdom, supporting missionaries, helping people have a better quality of life, assisting people who hit hard times, investing in positive things in our community and around the world—this is all part of coming together on mission. Tonight we will come together on mission to serve our community. Yes, we want you to come and have a bowl of chili. I may even bounce in the inflatable bounce house a time or two, but tonight’s event isn’t for us. It is for our community. It is our opportunity to serve and let people know what God is up to through the ministry of Teays Valley Church of God.
If you can come tonight, wear a TVCOG T-shirt. If you need one, we happen to have a blue light special going on. We will sell you a T-shirt from our remaining collection for just $5.00. You all will get a new t-shirt on October 9th that will be free to you, but for tonight, if you have one you can wear, wear it and talk to people who come to the event. Tell them about the property that is theirs to use and tell them about our new facility. Those who want to serve by setting up meet here at 2:30. Those who can stay to clean up, we need you. Bring corn hole sets and lawn chairs for yourselves so that our chairs can be used by those who are coming to the event.
I wanted to share with you some of the mission/Kingdom Work that we are currently supporting through your faithful giving.
Church of God Ministries of Anderson, IN
WV Ministries of the Church of God/Rippling Waters Campground
The Church Health and Growth Board-Restarting a Church of God in Kenova
Tim and Kim Wardell, Church of God Missionaries to the Lakota Indians
Terrence and Christy VanDam, Church of God Missionaries to Japan
Heartbeat of the Valley
The Rock in Buffalo
Jim and Cathy Schrader to Honduras
PJ Elkins to Latvia
Crises Pregnancy Centers, Young Life, Sister Churches, Flood Relief and More
Luke 10:1-9 (NIV) 1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. 8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’
As we come together on mission I want to make sure we understand that the mission isn’t about building a building. Yes, we are building a building and we are asking that you give to make that possible, but it isn’t about the building. It is about souls. It is about people. It is about families. It is about obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ as His disciples to go into all the world to preach the Gospel. From our text this morning I want to highlight four things about our common mission.
It is a Massive Mission-Revisit verse 2: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Do you understand what this is saying? The mission is bigger than we are. The mission is huge, and the people called to pull it off are smaller in number than the size and scope of the mission.
You and I have been called to something bigger than we are. We are part of something gigantic. We have an incredible opportunity. The harvest is plentiful. There are many people to evangelize. There are lots of souls that can be converted. There are massive amounts of people who need saved.
I would venture to say there are far more lost people than there are saved people in Putnam and the surrounding counties and that if every church in our three-county area had every seat filled, there would still be a need for more room if every person gave their life to Christ and started going to church. The number of people without Jesus is staggering.
The harvest is plentiful. We can’t have too big of a vision when it comes to the harvest because the need for people to know Jesus is massive. It will take all of us, working together in the name of Jesus and with the Holy Spirit’s power to accomplish the mission God is calling us to. And let’s be real. It will take more than Teays Valley Church of God. We need our Baptist brothers and sisters, our Nazarene partners, our Methodist friends, and all who call Jesus Savior and Lord and believe in His Word to each do our part in order to see our community transformed. We aren’t in a competition with any other church. There are plenty of unsaved people to go around, and we need to work together to witness about the cross and the empty tomb. It’s bigger than we are here at TVCOG. It is bigger than the Church of God movement out of Anderson, IN. It is huge.
God is calling you as an individual to become a harvester for the Kingdom of God. Are you sharing the Gospel? Are you praying for people? Are you inviting people to church? Are you testifying to others about the difference Jesus makes in your life? Coming together on mission means you will take a personal responsibility to become a harvester in this massive mission to which we are called.
On one occasion, Jesus said in John 4:34-35: 34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
Do we see the need? Are our eyes open? We know our country has problems. We know our world is in trouble. The mess our nation is in should compel us to get obsessed with our mission, but for many instead of being focused on our mission we are just focused on the messes. The answer to the problems in America won’t be solved at the polls in November. The answer for America is Jesus. Who are you talking to about Him? Open your eyes to the people around you who need Him!
It is a Moving Mission-In verse 3 Jesus said, “Go, I am sending you out.” I love the word, “Go!” It is action-packed. When you are looking for an answer about the best physician, the best carpet cleaners, the best way to get gum out of your kids’ hair, many of you post your need on FB and follow it with the word “Go!” You expect people to respond. You expect something to be set into motion that will change your circumstance. “Go” is a small, but powerful word.
You have the sense that Jesus, knowing He has spent time with the disciples, knowing He has shown them what to do, knowing He has taught them what to say, He is now commanding them to “go” and implement what they have learned with the expectation that great things will happen. There is forward motion that flows from the word “go.” There is an advancing of a cause when people obey the word “go.” We are to be a people on mission who are sent by God to go to others with the Good News of the Gospel.
Our mission isn’t an information-giving-only mission. We don’t just sit back and wait for people to come to us to ask us about Christ and then give them the information. Occasionally that happens, but it isn’t the case most often. No, our mission is a proclamation mission. We are to be on the “go” with the Gospel. We aren’t to wait for people to ask us who Jesus is, but we are to be proclaiming Christ “on the go!” As disciples of Christ we are sent to tell others about Him. A church “on the grow” is the result of its people being “on the go” for Jesus.
In Isaiah chapter 6, the Prophet Isaiah had a vision of the Lord. It was dramatic. It was compelling. He saw the holiness of God and the filthiness of his sin. He experienced the forgiveness of God that cleansed him in an instant. It not only changed his heart, but it changed his understanding of his life’s mission. During the vision Isaiah heard God speak and God said, “Who will I send, and who will go for us?” And Isaiah’s response was immediately, “Here I am, send me.” A true encounter with the radical holiness and forgiveness of God should compel us to be sent in His name to allow other people to experience the same.
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962), a world-famous violinist, earned a fortune with his concerts and compositions, but he generously gave most of it away. Therefore, when he discovered an exquisite violin on one of his trips, he wasn’t able to buy it. Later, having raised enough money to meet the asking price, he returned to the seller, hoping to purchase the beautiful instrument. But to his great dismay it had been sold to a collector. Kreisler made his way to the new owner’s home and offered to buy the violin. The collector said it had become his prized possession and he would not sell it.
Keenly disappointed, Kreisler was about to leave when he had an idea. “Could I play the instrument once more before it is consigned to silence?” he asked. Permission was granted, and the great virtuoso filled the room with such heart-moving music that the collector’s emotions were deeply stirred. “I have no right to keep that to myself,” he exclaimed. “It’s yours, Mr. Kreisler. Take it into the world, and let people hear it.” (http://www.lifeway.com/Article/sermon-commissioning-mission-teams-evangelism)
Oh, the melody the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have no right to keep it to ourselves. We must go and take it to the world for the people to hear.
It is a Miraculous Mission-In verse 9 of Luke 10 the disciples were told to heal the sick as they went to share the Gospel. I’m not saying you need to hit the football stands and the grocery store this week and lay hands on people in the bleachers and on people who are buying bleach and heal them in Jesus’ name, although God could call you to do that. Healing is one way that God makes Himself known to people.
One of our church members, Montena Perry was at a WVU game a few weeks ago and the man sitting to her right kept putting his head down in his hands. She asked him if he was feeling bad or needed some water or help. He said he was feeling bad, but had felt obligated to come to the game. Montena prayed for the man that he would feel better and would enjoy the game and would be safe driving home. In the third quarter, the man told her that her prayer helped as he was feeling so much better. He started cheering and high-fiving the guy he was with. What a transformation. That was a miracle that was in direct response to the prayer of one of God’s people “on the go.” What if she had never bothered to ask him if he was ok?
What we can take away from this command to heal people in Jesus’ name is simply that as we are on mission together for Christ there will be a demonstration of the difference Jesus makes in our lives and in the lives of people who will allow Him to impact them. Whether it looks like it or not to us, to them it will be a miracle!
Signs and wonders accompany the ministry of Jesus. There will be answers to prayer. There will be supernatural abilities to discern things and know what to say. There will be God-appointed “set-ups” where you just “happen to run into people” who are in need of something you can provide. There will be resources that flow from you and other believers into the circumstances of people who need them. God wants to use you to make an obvious difference in people’s lives somehow. When that happens, it is God at work to produce a convincing miracle to the person in need.
Rather than tell people we will pray for them, we need to stop and do it in the moment. I believe the moment a need is known is an opportunity for God to do a miracle. We shouldn’t be shy or afraid to believe God for the miracles people need. We are His disciples. His name is on the line. He has commissioned us to go. He will supply what is needed in order for people to understand the difference He makes.
The Apostle Paul had this to say about the demonstration of God’s power to unbelievers. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5: 1 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.
2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.
4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
Maybe when you witness to someone the demonstration won’t be a healing miracle that speaks to someone, but maybe it will be the demonstration of your life. Maybe the witness of your car to pull out of your driveway each Sunday will speak to someone. Maybe the way you present yourself on social media will convince people that Christians have a deeper compassion, a sweeter spirit, and a more compelling reason for life and decision-making. Maybe the way you interact with people at sporting events and the way you handle conflict reveals to people that there is a power greater than ourselves that enables us to behave in a holy and helpful way. Whatever the demonstration, I do believe God calls us to live in such a way that our lives demonstrate the power of the Gospel.
Finally, as we come together on mission, I want us to realize that:
It is a Must-hear Message Mission
Do you believe we have a message people need to hear? Do we believe that there is no other way to salvation than through personal faith in Jesus Christ? In Luke 10:9 we read that not only are we to provide a demonstration for people to see in order to build their faith whether healing or some other kind of demonstration but we are to proclaim to them the Kingdom of God. We are to share the message of salvation with them.
Christians, we have the cure for sin! We have the antidote for death. People will not make it into heaven without hearing and embracing message of the Gospel. People, we have what everybody needs! It is a must-hear message mission that we are on.
So, a few weeks ago I developed a stye in my eye. You know how painful and uncomfortable those can be, right? They are completely annoying. It persisted, and so did I. I was not throwing out all of my makeup and going without wearing makeup, and so I just kept on trying to paint over and brush over that painful stye, but it was a doozy.
One Wednesday night one of our church members told me there were drops I could buy at the pharmacy for my stye. I was like, “No way!” This was a “eureka” moment! This was good news. This was the hope I had been waiting for. There was an easy fix for my problem!
And of course, being a preacher, I immediately made a mental note for a possible sermon illustration as I thought, “Why hadn’t someone told me sooner?! I had suffered unnecessarily for a week because I didn’t know the medicine ‘stye eye’ existed. I didn’t know. I didn’t know. You know where I was going with that, right? How will people know about Jesus if we don’t take our critical message to them, right?
After a week of suffering, once I heard the good news I thought, “Oh yeah, bye, bye stye!” And so, I went to the pharmacy to make my purchase. Sure enough, right there on the shelf was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen.
I couldn’t wait to try it out. I put the drops in my eye and continued to follow the instructions for two days. The stye felt a little soothed, it felt a little better but the redness wasn’t receding, the puffiness wasn’t fading. I wondered why it was taking so long for this cure to work. I then read the fine print on the box:
Not a cure? What!? I felt like I had been punked. I bought that medicine thinking it would cure my problem, but it only provided temporary relief. The message on the front of the box sounded good. It sounded comprehensive. It sounded healing. It sounded like a solution to my problem. But it wasn’t. It couldn’t heal my stye. It could only give me temporary relief.
Well, my preacher mind started to work again and I thought to myself, “Isn’t that like the messages in the world today. Culture says, “Try this, it will make you feel better.” “Swallow that, it will melt your problems away.” “Watch this, it will make you forget all about your misery.” “Just use your credit card and have some fun now. Don’t worry about the long-term cost.” “It’s ok to have some extra marital activity. It will cure your sadness, your loneliness or whatever it is you think you are dealing with.” “Smoke this it will give you a new lease on life.”
And you know the rest of the story. What is promised seems to make things better for about five minutes until you realize that it can’t cure what ails you. Only Jesus can cure us. Only Jesus can remove the sting of sin. Only Jesus can wash us and make us clean. Only Jesus can give us the value and worth we were created to possess. Only Jesus can give us power that will enable us to be victorious for daily life.
If there were multiple ways to salvation, we could just speak one of many positive messages people could hear and trust they would find their way. If there were multiple ways to salvation it wouldn’t be so urgent and dire that we speak as loudly as possible, after all, if there are many ways people are bound to hear of at least one road that will take them to heaven. But people, that isn’t the case! There is only one message of truth that people can respond to and have their sin removed. We have the must-hear message! We have the only message that can take care of people’s deepest need, not temporarily but for eternity! There is no fine print! There is no reading between the lines. There is no back of the box you have to consult. Jesus is who He says He is, and He can and will do what He says will!
Oh, church, we must come together for we have a massive mission to accomplish. We must come together in order to be sent out, in order to be mobilized to infiltrate our communities with the Gospel truth. We must come together and become harvesters for the Kingdom of God with each one of us doing our part. We must come together to live on mission in order to demonstrate the difference Jesus makes. We must come together because our must-hear message is the only message that can save people for eternity