The Bible teaches us that all people are meant to obey and glorify God in worship.
A big problem with that goal is that many people are not believers, and as a result do not worship God. So the solution would be to evangelize right? John Piper gave the reason for missions as simply as this: “Missions exists because worship doesn’t” and we have Jesus himself with the great commission in Matt 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” While it doesn’t explicitly say, this is God’s will for you, it is a general command for every believer to be involved in missions.
Let’s talk real quick about missions today. We have our various ministries, local missions, and global missions.
- Ministry is how we serve and grow believers, it's what the small groups, sermons, etc... should be doing. This is usually seen in context of an already existing church.
- Local missions is reaching out to unbelievers right around you; at work, school, and the community in general. Local missions and ministry is needed. There are people here who are hurting, in your church. Cancer, marriages, children. We must not neglect them. We are commanded to make disciples and this will be mostly done right where we are in cities. Thousands of people without Christ and they need to hear it, and this is what local missions intends to do.
- However; Global missions is horribly neglected.
Some of this might seem familiar already if you know David Platt, and to continue he puts this in a powerful way:
"There are 2 billion people in the world right now who are classified as unreached. Meaning they have no access to the Gospel .
Unreached doesn’t just mean lost people “But there are unreached people right around us (local missions)”, meaning unsaved, but that’s not what unreached means.
Unreached means you have no access to the Gospel. You don’t find a Bible, a Christian or a Church. It means you can be born, grow up, live life, and die, without ever hearing about Christ.
2 billion people in 6,000 people groups, for whom this is a reality at this moment. Global Missions is tragically neglected." (This is part of his talk at a pastors conference, and it is great to listen to if you haven't, go here to watch and be enlightened.)
What do we do? Drop everything and jump on a plane to reach the unreached? Sure, if you have been called in that way, get to it! But there is another way to be involved in missions and you don’t have to go! Oh man, here it comes right? This is the big sell, let me find my wallet. Yes, yes it is. Give me all your money, this is a spiritual holdup. JK. Actually, it’s a bit deeper than that, and doesn’t always involve our wallets.
If you read towards the end of Philippians, you will see that Paul is writing a thankyou note to the Philippi church. Paul was going out and proclaiming the name of Jesus and much of what Paul mentions in this letter is thanks for supporting him through that. Paul was in prison at this time, and back then, you couldn’t count on the state to take care of you while in there. If you were ever going to eat while in prison during that time, someone outside had to make that happen. It wasn’t as simple as dropping off food either. You had to personally take it to them, and it could be an issue for you to be helping a criminal. But the believers in Philip said they cared about him and what he was doing, so they are going to support him. Paul recognized this and thanks them for the money, food, prayer, and people they sent to care for him and enable him to keep going.
Paul helped start this church. He mentored them, and in turn they equipped him to keep doing that in other places. They became a partner in God’s missions. They get to share in the joy and hope that is going out as more came to know Christ. They were just as critical part of that mission as Paul was.
On the same point, don’t make the mistake that we are “helping out” God. This is less about what we can do and more about what it shows about us. In fact, Paul makes it very clear in Philippians 4:17 “Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account” The key phrase here is “for the profit” Paul is literally saying, it will benefit you to give in this way. What I really like about this verse is that the word Paul uses here in Greek is “Karpos”, and this word is usually translated as “fruit”, as in the fruit that Jesus says should be producing in John 15:8, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples”
In this case: supporting Paul’s mission was an act of bearing fruit. But Paul is no longer be on this earth for us to support, so we missed out. But wait, was it Paul’s mission? Or was it God’s mission? Until the day Christ returns in all His glory, it is not too late to become a part of this mission.
Educational side note: Notice how the knot in the top image is similar in style to the team logo? No coincidence: Ecclesiastes 4:12, "And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him, a threefold cord is not quickly broken."