Text: Psalm 113:5-8
Topic: Reaching the Unreached for Christ
Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama
December 4, 2006, Week of Prayer for International Missions
2006 International Missions Sermon, notes and outline from Dr. Jerry Rankin and the IMB of the SBC
5 Who is like the Lord our God,
Who dwells on high,
6 Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?
7 He raises the poor out of the dust,
And lifts the needy out of the ash heap,
8 That He may seat him with princes—
With the princes of His people.
PLAY THE VIDEO FILM CLIP OF WEST AFRICA
Introduction: I’ve been to West Africa. On three separate occasions I’ve been blessed to travel to the great country of Ghana, West Africa. My first impression was one of overwhelming poverty, disease and the destitute quality of life in these countries.
The 1,600 people groups throughout West Africa live daily with drought and famine. But even as you survey the barren, dry countryside, Psalm 113:5-8 offers hope of God's love and redemption. "He raises the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap, that he may seat him with princes, With the princes of His people.”
Psalm 113 reminds us that God can lift the poor and needy peoples of West Africa and throughout the world and make them to become the sons of God. But if they are to become the people of God we must obey and witness. We must pray. We must give. And possibly, we must go.
1. A COMMAND TO OBEY
Reaching the Unreached for Christ always begins with the Great Commission. Jesus told us to go. He commanded us to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. If we don't accept responsibility for the task, who will? We have been given the words of eternal life. We have a message of hope for those in despair. We have the water of life for a thirsty and dying world. God expects you and me to obey His command to make disciples of all nations.
Many of our fellow Southern Baptists have already obeyed our Lord’s command to go. The last reported statistics of the IMB tell us we have:
· 5,144 missionaries
· 17,676 new churches
· 459,725 Baptisms
· 6,438 unreached people groups
· 11,365 total people groups
INSERT THE WORLD CLOCK HERE IF POSSIBLE
2. A COMMITMENT TO MAKE
If the poor and needy of West Africa and elsewhere are to find hope and become the sons of God, we must be committed to do what we can. For you, that may mean praying for the nations and peoples in darkness. God said in Psalm 2:8 (NASB), "'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.'" We must make a commitment to pray for the unreached people groups of West Africa and throughout the world. We must also make a commitment to do whatever God leads us to do. For you, that may mean participating in a short-term mission trip. But it might instead mean a decision to plant your life among those who need to know Jesus.
That’s exactly what the Womble family has done. Brad and Sally Womble made a commitment to serve the Lord as career missionaries with the IMB. Now they are bringing light to a land darkened by spiritual slavery. Brad serves as strategy coordinator for the Songhai of Niger. Though most Songhai profess allegiance to Allah, demon worship and possession are common. "You can go into villages where they're walking bodies," Brad says. "All the life is gone from their eyes." But there is evidence that the Lord is at work. Brad and his team have successfully planted three churches and started several outreach groups. Their master plan focuses on market towns where they find large concentrations of Songhai. "We are hoping to see many come to Christ," he says.
In West Africa alone there are:
· 22 countries
· 287 million people
· 50% Muslim
· More than 150 million are lost
· 242 IMB missionaries in West Africa
· 1 missionary for every 619,834 lost persons
HAVE SOMEONE COME AND PRAY FOR THE WOMBLES AND THE UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS OF WEST AFRICA
3. A COST TO PAY
Those who go as missionaries must pay a cost to respond to God's call.
Our Lord made this clear when He challenged His disciples in Luke 9:23, Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
Missionaries in West Africa accept a sacrificial lifestyle, sometimes without amenities such as dependable electricity, running water or indoor plumbing. They are subject to malaria and other health challenges. It is not unusual for them to have to evacuate their assigned country due to a government coup, political upheaval or ethnic violence. But we also must pay a cost. You and I must be willing to give generously and sacrificially to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® to support those who go. This year our goal is $25,000.02
Illustration: Tsunami survivor gives first fish to God
When he launched his boat for the first time after the tsunami, a Sri Lankan fisherman gave the first fish he caught to a Christian pastor. When the pastor insisted the man take the first fish to his own family, he replied: “I must give the first fish to the church. Please take it and feed the people working at the church.” Local and international Christians were at the local church that day, preparing kitchen sets and dry-rations packets for tsunami survivors. This fisherman had probably never heard or read from the Bible about giving the first fruits to God, but somehow he knew it was the right thing to do.
4. A COMPROMISE TO EVADE
Luke 6:46, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?
Whether or not the lost peoples of the world hear the Gospel and join us as princes of God depends on our submission to the Lordship of Christ. You cannot compromise in order to hold on to your safety and security and still reach the destitute and dying. You cannot compromise for the sake of a comfortable lifestyle and still fulfill God's mission. You must go all the way in obedience and commitment.
Illustration: Message from missionaries’ teenager
A teen child of missionaries wrote in a newsletter: “There is just one thing I would like to say to all the students and youth leaders back in the United States: You don’t have a clue how lucky you are to be able to sing Christian music as loud as you want, or to go to a concert or a youth retreat, or to be able to carry your Bibles without having to hide them, or do outreach, hand out tracts, put up posters, mail flyers, or to be able to put that sign up in front of your church that says 'First Baptist Church.' You have the freedom to worship God openly – USE IT!”
This Christmas, as is true every Christmas, Southern Baptists will be praying for, giving to, and going into all the world to reach the unreached for Christ.