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August 10, 2008 AM

PHIL 4:15-18 

INTRO: It is very fashionable these days for churches to write mission statements. I read a number of church bulletins and newsletters, and it is interesting to see these little documents which purport to describe the mission of the local church. I cannot help but wonder if these mission statements of human origin do not come perilously close to a creedal statement. And I have wondered, too, if we have neglected or forgotten that we have been given a mission statement from the Lord Himself. My contention is that we do not need a mission statement of human origin ... the one the Lord gave us is as fresh and needed today as it was 2000 years ago. Here it is: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..." (Mt 28:19,20).

    1. Gen 9:1 and Acts 1:8
      1. notice that in both God's intention involves the whole world
      2. humanity was to spread upon the face of the earth - the gospel was all humanity on the earth
    2. Gen 11:1,4 - Acts 2:46,47
      1. in both cases the world view was not in the forefront of thought/mission
      2. I have a strong suspicion that comfort, convenience, security and such were very much part of the thinking
    3. Gen 11:7,8 - Acts 8:1,4
      1. God took action - diverse languages accomplished His purpose
      2. what caused the Christians to leave Jerusalem? Persecution
    4. God has a purpose for the gospel
      1. His purpose has not changed (although it may be neglected by many)
      2. He wants the saving gospel to go into all the world!
    1. Phil 1:3-5 - "...fellowship in the gospel..."
      1. the Philippian church was most assuredly a "mission minded church"
      2. they had received the gospel and acted on that which they received
      3. but they had, from the beginning, been committed to spreading it!
      4. they did not think of themselves as a "repository" to be guarded - they saw others having the same need as they
    2. Phil 1:18 - "...Christ is preached..."
      1. remember, the apostle is now a prisoner in Rome - no longer in Philippi
      2. but he is writing them of success of the gospel in a place far from them
      3. why? what interest would they have in that place?
      4. answer? they were vitally interested in the preaching of Christ everywhere
    3. Phil 2:4 - "...but every man also on the things of others"
      1. in this little verse is a key to mission mindedness
      2. they could have said they were only interested in Philippi - as some do
      3. and they could have satisfied themselves that they are preaching Christ
      4. but what about realms beyond Philippi? the needs of others!
    4. Phil 2:15 - "...lights in the world"
      1. here was a vital part of their response to the "mission statement"
      2. the nation, the world were their responsibility
      3. their world (ours, too) was a dark place - evil, ignorance abounded
      4. the hope of their world was their shining - cf. 2 Cor 4:4
    5. Phil 2:16 - "holding forth the word of life..."
      1. this sounds to me like an action item
      2. the question may come, though, "How?" - I cannot go to distant places
      3. I certainly want people in other places to hear the gospel, to be saved
      4. answer? their having fellowship in the gospel through Paul's preaching!
    6. Phil 4:15,16 - "...concerning giving and receiving, but you only"
      1. here is how they were able to have the world view of evangelism
      2. they supported the preaching by seeing to the needs of the preacher
      3. and this is how we, who cannot go, can be involved in preaching in distant places
      4. notice 4:18 - their monetary support was a sacrifice acceptable to God!

CLOSE: We must have a commitment to the gospel and to others if we are to be a mission minded church. We do have a responsibility to our local community. But we cannot use that responsibility as an excuse to neglect those beyond us. Rest assured that our helping to proclaim the gospel in places beyond "home" results in many prayers of thanksgiving!

Cecil A. Hutson

10 August 2008

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)