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Notice Regarding Scripture
Please note that each sermon provides scripture verses from the NRSV.
Commitment of Mission
July 2, 2017 Mark 16:15-16
Mission season is upon us and this summer we have twelve members from our congregation who are prepared to depart for Peru on Saturday. Do you know where Peru is? Even if we are unable to go, would it not be good for us to see where Peru is located? (See map)
Though our congregation goes on a short term mission annually, it is a great joy and grace to participate in God’s plan this year in Peru. It is an opportunity for our congregation to unify and experience revival.
I do not have to speak about the importance of mission since I believe we all generally agree. However, there is often a lack of a good answer when it comes to questions of how and from what perspective to engage in mission.
Mission is a method in which God’s message is shared and nothing more. So, today, we hope that the Scripture passage can help establish a clear direction of mission for us to practice. In order to do this we need to know somethings:
1. We must all stand together for mission.
Although verse 15 tells us, “He said to them,” we must keep in mind that these words are directed straight at you and me. In the term “them,” not one of us can be exempted. This term is all-inclusive. If all of God’s people are included in the phrase, “He said to them,” then all Christians must heed the words that follow.
When it comes to the Word of God, we would be mistaken to think that it was given for others but not unto us. We, ourselves, must receive the Word of God.
God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present. Therefore the Word is not given to those who do not need them. Those hearing the message today should receive the Word as though it has been given specifically to them. While you may think that the Word is unnecessary at this moment, it is to the contrary, and God gives us the Word because we need it.
Recently, our worshiping community has joined in mission together very beautifully. The Mission Committee organized a food bazaar, the Knitting Class sold the products of their labor, the KM Men’s Group organized a golf tournament, and the KM RCG 8 collected a special offering – all of these things done in the hopes to help raise funds and participate in mission! Furthermore, many individuals here have supported the mission by contributing funds and donating goods.
Sisters and brothers, is this not beautiful? We glorify God by working together to accomplish God’s work. What remains now is for all of us to support the mission in prayer. Through all of the preparation, amazing things will surely happen!
Sisters and brothers, no matter how beautiful we make a sandcastle on the beach, it is of no worth. It will be destroyed after some time. The watch on my wrist or yet a smaller ring on my finger is of more worth than a grand sandcastle. This is because these things will remain with me for a longer time. For this reason, no matter how great something may appear, it is of no worth if it disappears someday.
The long lifespan of objects made of gold is one of the reason they have so much value. At museums, among the old artifacts, we find that many parts rotted or broke but those parts that were made with gold remain.
Likewise, because our life is eternal, we cannot compare its value to any object in the world that is limited by time. “Eternal life” is what we can have that lasts the longest. That is why it is so important for “me” to be involved in mission – to ensure that each individual life has a chance to know true salvation.
Sisters and brothers, it is time for us to stand together in mission. Even if we are unable to go ourselves into the mission field, we must be a part of the sending. Through prayer, through giving, you can participate. It is my hope that today we will all be a part of God’s will by participating in mission in any form.
2. The whole earth must be the destination for mission.
Sisters and brothers, compared to 1000 years ago or 2000 years ago, the size of the earth today has changed. While the literal size has remained the same, modern science and transportation have made the earth smaller. It is no longer the case where events that occur on the other side of the world are heard a year or several months later. We now hear about it the same day.
The events that take place in any part of the world today have become a matter of concern for all of us. It is true that the world has become a global village. As a result, our target mission fields cannot be limited by geography. Communist and Muslim nations are viable mission fields for us. Wealthy and poor nations alike are our target mission fields.
In this way, this Saturday’s mission to Peru is a mission destination that God has appointed for us all. Today, we believe God has commanded our congregation to do mission there and we have responded in obedience. Right now, in Peru, there are so many people who wander about not knowing the love of God; so many struggling, unable to improve their lives. In particular, we go to bear witness to God’s precious love for many young women who have been victims of sexual abuse and violence.
Moreover, although the United States of America is the country through which the Gospel was brought to the Korean people, it has now become a mission destination to which we should give our attention. A well-to-do nation such as Japan should be a mission destination. Although they have a good economy, it is a spiritual desert with countless idols. Likewise, the idols in China are rapidly growing. These are precisely the countries that should be our mission destinations.
The need for North Korea mission is especially urgent. While the many dying from starvation for lack of food is a problem, it is even more problematic that the Gospel cannot be preached. How can we spread the Gospel to North Korea? We must pray and build a strategy.
Sisters and brothers, there are so many lives without Christ that are dying in closed societies today. Now, as we consider the whole earth as a mission destination, let us be a people who brings joy to God by taking interest in a mission field that grabs our attention, praying, and harnessing our best efforts in doing mission.
3. What then should we do? Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sisters and brothers, we do well to follow the example of Jesus. When Jesus started his public ministry on earth, the first thing he proclaimed was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” In other words, he preached the Gospel.
In this global village, wherever we look, there are so many things we can do to help. There are people dying because there is no food to eat. On the one hand we first need to supply them with food to save their physical lives, on the other, we must preach the Gospel.
There are so many people who suffer from numerous illnesses in ignorance. They need healing through medical attention, preventative care education, and the preaching of the Gospel.
Lack of education and Illiteracy is a serious problem. To those afflicted, we can teach them how to read, teach ethics and morals as well as manners. Is that all? For the people living in the many areas stricken with sudden disaster there is no end as to what Christians can do. In doing all these things, we testify to the Gospel.
In the lives he encountered, Jesus served in ways that met the needs of the immediate problems at hand. He fed the hungry through the miracle of the five loaves of bread, he healed those who suffered from various diseases and ailments. To the many who cried out, the Lord gave healing, strength, and courage either in a spiritual or physical manner, or both.
However, Jesus’ greatest and most important concern was the people’s salvation. Remember that salvation was the main purpose in all that Jesus did. Even with people as descent as Nicodemus, Jesus taught that they must be born again and changed their lives.
This is the case: if one’s soul is not saved, even if the person enjoys all the wealth and peace while living in this world, that life is, nonetheless, and bound for hell. For this reason, today, we must make saving lives our utmost priority.
I have gleaned good insight from real estate developers. When a housing complex is planned in a neighborhood, the homes are not the first things built. The first thing they do is lay the asphalt road. This allows the vehicles to travel and deliver the supplies. However, the purpose of the road and the vehicles is to build the homes.
Likewise, the mission that we do, must keep in mind the ultimate goal and the work that precede must be done. What is the purpose of mission? It is salvation. For this work, we must pray, be educated/trained, and be joined together.
Granted, there are those who serve only with the urge to practice the great love that the Lord has given them. There are those who want to serve the poor and those who serve for the satisfaction found in service to others. When you think about it, it seems very humanistic.
Yet, doing mission for the sake of serving the people is just one aspect of mission. For example, let us consider the reason we provide food and clothing to our beloved children. We need no other reason than the fact that we love our children to provide for them.
However, everything we provide to the children is not simply for the sake of love. In our hearts and minds we hold a desire for our children to live a successful life. We hold hopes for the future of our children that include things like coverage for the cost of education, ability to purchase expensive technological equipment, and to get and give good advice.
To a daughter who is about to marry, a mother offers her words that heal, teach manners, and give other positive effects. It is not necessarily because she needs them now. She does it in the hope that she can help make her daughters marriage happier in the future.
Likewise, for the future, we must keep in mind the necessary and unimaginably important blessing of eternal life, and offer all things in service. A person who acts now in thought of the future is truly a wise person.
We must hold this thought for mission. The ultimate goal is to share salvation to the local people of the mission field. More than an individual’s 100 years on earth, the goal is eternity in heaven to which people must be led before they depart from this world.
That Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” must be deeply imprinted on our hearts. These words should be the foundation of our understanding of mission. And so we must always remember the words of the Lord as we set out to fulfill our mission.
Like a runner who races down a set course, we too must let God’s Word inform our passion for mission. When we do this, the mission work in which we engage will be pleasing to God.