Here's something I just wrote for our church's e-newsletter and Sunday morning bulletin.
God never ceases to amaze me. On the very week I was scheduled to preach on the worldwide mission of Christ, I received a free book from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. I did not know it was coming.
For many months my hope for this Sunday has been to lay out a compelling vision for worldwide missions and to show that there is no real distinction between local and foreign missions. Division of labor? Yes. Division of mission? No. And then I planned to sketch out the contours of a plan that will likely guide us in the coming years as we learn to overflow with the love of Christ into the world.
Then, on Tuesday, I received the book. It’s a classic, in fact, it’s sold over 3.5 million copies since it was first published in 1963. It was written by a close confidant of Billy Graham, Robert E. Coleman, and it’s entitled The Master Plan of Evangelism (Revell Books, Grand Rapids: 1993). As soon as I opened the package I knew the Lord had orchestrated the moment so I prayerfully pulled back the cover and began to read. Just a few pages in I came across the following passage and I urge you to read it carefully, noting especially the last two sentences.
“The days of [Jesus’] flesh were but the unfolding in time of the plan of God from the beginning. It was always before his mind. He intended to save out of the world a people for himself and to build a church of the Spirit which would never perish. He had his sights on the day his Kingdom would come in glory and in power. This world was his by creation, but he did not seek to make it his permanent abiding place. His mansions were in the sky. He was going to prepare a place for his people that had foundations eternal in the heavens.
“No one was excluded from his precious purpose. His love was universal. Make no mistake about it. He was ‘the Savior of the world’ (John 4:42). God wanted all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. To that end Jesus gave himself to provide a salvation from all sin for all men. In that he died for one, he died for all. Contrary to our superficial thinking, there never was a distinction in his mind between home and foreign missions. To Jesus it was all world evangelism” (17-18, emphasis mine).
Amen. May the Lord drive this lesson deep into our hearts at Glory of Christ that we may both go to the ends of the earth and across the street with the eternal hope of the love of God in Christ.
Aching to be on mission with Him,