Gospel mission is a long term calling to a personal and regular conversation about Jesus that God has already started and is almost finished.
Four Points of Gospel Mission
As the title of Pastor Ben’s sermon, and this post, implies, there are four, count ’em – 4 points to Gospel Mission.
- We must have Active Feet and a Joyful Voice
- We must Pray for the Opportunity – and the Strength to Endure the Work
- Jesus calls us to Mission – and Equips us for Service
- We must be Willing for God to use us
Pastor Ben isn’t your typical “Point 1, point 2, point 3” speaker. He’s typically more subtle and more complex. While he calls out his four points in this one, you’ll still find all the good stuff he usually brings. I’m only going to talk about one small part of what he had to say this week. I encourage you to listen to the sermon, “Four Points of Gospel Mission and get the whole thing.”
It’s Not My Job
Right out of the gate, let me confess that I don’t want to go to Africa. I pray, “Please God, don’t send me to Africa.” When I pray like this, I’m reminded of one of my favorite early Tom Hanks movies, “Volunteers” where his character, Lawrence Bourne III, escapes his gambling debts by hopping a Peace Corp plane bound for Thailand. When he gets off the plane, he immediately asks to go home saying, “It’s not that I can’t help these people. It’s just I don’t want to.” But let’s go to the scripture.
He Had Compassion on Them
There it is. “Compassion.” It’s my weak point. I took the “Willow Creek Spiritual Gifts Assessment” once, as part of a class. My lowest scoring gift was Compassion. I’ve spent the better part of the last decade trying to figure out what that really means. I discovered, while I’m not innately gifted to care, it doesn’t let me off the hook. If I’m going to claim the label, “Christian,” I must continue striving to be more Christ-like. The scripture above calls out compassion as one of Christ’s qualities. Consequently, I had better know how to embrace it. Here’s Pastor Ben’s description:
The word in there — σπλαγχνίζομαι (splagchnizomai) — what we get as “compassion”, it means quite literally, to “feel in the viscera” – it’s to feel empathy for another deep down inside.”
– Pastor Ben
I thought, “that’s me.” I don’t feel that way for the people in Africa. I should also point out that we had a guest speaker on Sunday, who happens to be a Missionary in Africa. So, it was a bit on the nose for me. Thankfully, Pastor Ben continued.
This mission of Jesus unto the world, it begins quite simply, because Jesus has compassion for people — He feels for and hurts for — the “harassed and the helpless.”
The first — σκύλλω (skullo) — it is to be “weary from harassment” with it’s literal root “to be mangled” or “cut up.”
The second — ῥίπτω (rhiptō) — it is to be “cast-down” or “thrown to the ground” … it’s an “inability to stand.”
– Pastor Ben
That’s when my compassion struck me. I actually do care. I care about the people nearer to me who are “weary from harassment.” Therefore, they lack the ability to stand.
Gifted for Service
While it’s difficult for me to feel empathy for those in a far away land, I do feel for people who are oppressed right in my own back yard. Let’s go to another movie, Captain America. Dr. Erskine asks Steve Rogers, “Do you want to kill Nazis?” Steve answers, “I don’t want to kill anybody. I don’t like bullies. I don’t care where they’re from.”
That’s it. That’s my particular grasp of compassion. When I see someone getting bullied; picked on, for their size, their race, their gender, or any reason, I feel it deep down inside, in the viscera. I want to do something about it. I speak up. I kneel down. I protest. I pray. I stand up for the little guy who’s different. We’re each gifted with compassion in our own ways. The Christ-like thing is to put that gifting into service.
Listen to the sermon, “Four Points of Gospel Mission.”