(Given on a ‘Mission Sunday’ when various missions were presented to the congregation.)
There are a lot of stories out there in the world. There are a lot of different messages. Every day we are bombarded with all sorts of ideas and concepts. But, when you get right down to it, there is one story the world needs to hear above all else. It is the only story which can bring peace to the troubled and war-weary. It is the only story which can bring light into darkness. It is the only story which can bring reconciliation to those who are alienated from God. It is the Good News of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Today, we are going to share with you what this congregation is doing to take the Good News to other parts of the world. Before we do, it’s worth asking the question, “Why? Why should we care that others hear about Jesus?” It boils down to one simple fact: We should care about taking the gospel to others because somebody cared about sharing it with us. They, in turn, heard the message from somebody who cared about them. And this chain of love stretches back all the way to God. The Apostle John puts it this way: “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 NIV)
When we think about love, we often associate it with emotions or feelings. But love is far more than that. Love also involves action. This morning I want to mention three action words that are included in God’s love.
The first word is ‘sent.’ The Apostle John writes, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10 NIV)
A second word which is associated with God’s love is ‘came.’ It would have been pointless for God to send Jesus if He never arrived at His destination. But Scripture says, “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.” (Ephesians 2:17 NIV) In another place it says, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” (1 Timothy 1:15 NIV)
God’s love not only prompted Him to send Jesus; love not only prompted Jesus to come, but that love also prompted them to give. Paul writes, “…live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1 NIV)
Because God loved, He sent. Because He was sent, Jesus came. When He came, He gave.
We’re reminded of that gift each week in the Lord’s Supper. “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”” (Luke 22:19-20 NIV)
But the bread we eat and the juice we drink should not only remind us of God’s love and Christ’s gift, it should also remind us of a responsibility we have. Jesus told His disciples, “…As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21 NIV) Are we willing to go and to give so that others may receive the gift of eternal life? Think about it as we eat and drink in Christ’s memory.