#alloftheworld

October 9, 2016

Do you remember when your kids
were teens and you would leave them at home alone, maybe for an hour or a
weekend?  If so then you know that the
most important thing that you wanted them to remember were your last words.
“I love you, remember your homework”,
“I love you don’t forget to do the dishes and clean your room.”  “I love you, remember no parties and don’t
burn the house down.” 
Some of Jesus’
last words to his kids, the apostles were read for us earlier.  Or at least a portion of those words, the
part that Mark recorded.  If we want to
capture all of those words we need to look in all three gospels and the book of
Acts.  And when we put them together we
get something like this:
But then
after 40 days of miracles, and teaching Jesus has this to say to His followers:
“And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father
promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you
with power from heaven.  But when the
Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people
about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends
of the earth. These signs will accompany those
who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak new
languages. They will be able to handle snakes
with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They
will be able to place their hands on the sick and heal them.  With my authority, take this message of
repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of
sins for all who turn to me.’ You are witnesses
of all these things.
Go
into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone
who refuses to believe will be condemned. Teach these new disciples to obey all
the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even
to the end of the age.”
Those
fragments by the way are found in Matthew 28:19-20,
Mark 16:15-19, Luke 24:47-49 and Acts 1:8-9. 
This is
week one of our “Hashtag This” series and over the next couple of months we
will be looking at various phrases and words in the bible that would warrant a
Hashtag. 
And
perhaps you are wondering:  What is a
hashtag?  According to Wikipedia: A hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag
used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for
users to find messages with a specific theme or content. Users create and use hashtags by placing the hash
character (or pound sign) # (also known as number sign or octothorpe) in front
of a word or unspaced phrase, either in the main text of a message or at the
end.
So, in
this case each of those scriptures might have included the hashtag #gointoalltheworld
This is
also week one of Partner Month at Cornerstone. 
Each October at Cornerstone we highlight various partners who we have
chosen to work with to change the world. 
In today’s case you will hear from Selinda Van Horn who represents GP or
Global Partners, which is our sending partner. 
And the
reason that we have partners at Cornerstone can be summed up with
#gointoalltheworld.
The words
that were read for us earlier are in reality the mission statement of the early
church.  You know what a mission
statement is right?  It is when you have
boiled the purpose of your life or the life of your church down to a concise
statement of purpose. 
Over the
past three Sundays we’ve looked at why Cornerstone is what it is and why we do
things the way we do. 
And it
ultimately goes back to our mission statement. 
Cornerstone Wesleyan Church exist to reach
pre-Christians through dynamic worship and relevant preaching, bringing them to
a life expanding relationship with Jesus Christ and guiding them into a practical
holiness as evidenced through the fruit of the Spirit.  That is our mission statement, the
short version is Cornerstone Church exists to reach
pre-Christians, the even shorter version is Cornerstone
exists to help de-populate hell. 
And if
Cornerstone Wesleyan Church does not reach pre-Christians through dynamic
worship and relevant preaching, bringing them to a life expanding relationship
with Jesus Christ and guiding them into a practical holiness as evidenced
through the fruit of the Spirit, then we have failed to do what we set out to
do. 
The
greatest measure of our success is how well we fulfil our mission statement.
But it’s
more than that for you and for us because along with the mission statement that
we have for our church is Christianity’s mission statement which was given to
us by Jesus: “Christianity exists to make disciples
of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything that I have
commanded.” 
If we are
not doing that then we have failed, so let’s look at the mission statement of
the church.
1)  What Is Supposed to be
Done
There has to be a reason why the
church is here and why the Lord leaves us in the world after we get saved.  I mean let’s think about it, the world is
cold and uncaring, full of pain and grief and heaven has none of that. And so
isn’t that where we really ought to be? 
But that isn’t where we are. 
So, why are we here and not there? In John
20:21
Jesus, tells His disciples why
they are being sent out John 20:21 “As the
Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”
 So we are being sent by
Christ in the same way that Christ was sent by the Father, and why was that?  Apparently to help depopulate hell.  John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and
only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal
life.
Winning
the lost is the bottom line that’s why we are here, that ought to be the
mission statement of every Christian and every Christian Church, to reach the
lost. 
It was Charles Spurgeon who wrote:  “If sinners be
damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they
perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them
to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our
exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”
Sounds
like Spurgeon was committed to keeping people out of hell.   
But more than that Jesus reminds us in John 10:10  . . .
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.   So how do we not only
help people obtain an eternal life when this life is over, but make the life on
this side of eternity a full life, an abundant life? 
Well, Jesus offered a couple of suggestions in his
teachings when he told the disciples in Matthew
5:13
  “You are the salt of the earth.” And so we are told that we are to be an influence in the world, both
preserving it and flavouring it as salt, and then Jesus added to that in the
next verse when He said Matthew
5:14
  “You are the light of the world.”  So we are to light
the way and brightening the world as light. 
2) Where
It’s Supposed to Be Done 
 Jesus told his
apostles in Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the
Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about
me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of
the earth.”   Today that might sound like this;
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And
you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Halifax,
throughout the Maritimes, in Canada, and to the ends of the earth.”
Basically that means everywhere. 
Too often we qualify the word missions by adding either foreign or home
to the beginning of it.  But the church
only has one mission and that is to make disciples of all nations, baptizing
them and teaching them to obey everything that Christ commanded.
We have
an obligation to reach people where ever there are people.
That
means that we have an obligation to reach our next door neighbour, to reach the
guy across the street, to reach the lady on the other side of town, those in Quebec
and California as well as those in Ghana and Haiti.
And it
needs to be intentional.  It won’t just
happen.  If we don’t plan a way for it to
happen then don’t count on it happening.
At
Cornerstone reaching the lost is a priority, not just in Hammonds Plains which
is our Jerusalem, but also in our Judea, our Samaria and to the very ends of
the earth. 
And early
on we realized that we wouldn’t be able to fulfil all of that mission by
ourselves.
3) Who is
Supposed to Be Doing It
If we were to look at who was there on the day of the ascension we would
discover the eleven remaining apostles, but the great commission had to have
been for the entire movement at that time, it wasn’t enough for those eleven to
be committed to evangelism without the rest of the group being committed as
well. 
The great
commission is meant to be a mission statement for all Christians.  It doesn’t matter what Christians call
themselves, whether it be Wesleyan, Nazarene, Baptist, Pentecostal or whatever.  They have a common mission and that is, to
make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey
everything that Christ commanded. 
For
Christianity to survive, Christianity has to be committed to the mission of
winning the lost. 
When we
stop making disciples and stop baptizing people then at that point the Church
will begin to die, and it will die within one generation.
But the
great commission has to go beyond simply being for all of Christianity; it
needs to be a burning passion for the Wesleyan Church.  Without the desire to win souls to Jesus
Christ our denomination will become just another empty shell in the
ecclesiastical wastelands of our country.
But the
great commission has to go beyond simply being for all of the Wesleyan Church
it needs to be for this church right here. 
Without the desire to win souls to Jesus Christ our church will become
just a service club, we’ll be like the Lions or the Rotary Club. 
Not that
there’s anything wrong with the Lions or the Rotary club it’s just that they
are not the body of Christ and we are, or at least that’s what we are supposed
to be.

It would be so much easier to convince people
of the value of evangelism if the Bible said that the only way that you could
get into heaven is if you brought somebody with you, but it doesn’t. 

However, listen to the words of Christ in John 14:21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones
who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will
love them and reveal myself to each of them.”

You want to be loved by God and by
Jesus?  Sure you do.  Well here’s the ticket all you have to do is
to obey Christ’s commands and one of those is Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach
these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.”

If that
was a command of Christ and we don’t do it then John 14:21 says that we don’t
love him, and only those who love Christ are loved by the Father and only those
who are loved by the Father are going to get in.
4) How it’s
Supposed to Be Done 
The power of the Holy
Spirit is the means; the method is not defined.   Deng Xiaoping
said “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white as
long as it catches mice.”  When we
allow the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives neat things happen.  The Bible tells us in: Mark 16:17-18 (Jesus Said) These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe:
They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages.
They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything
poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the
sick, and they will be healed.”
Now some
people get really caught up in those particular things, but they are simply
indications of the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who
minister.  It is a promise of enablement
and protection. 
How many
people who were serving evil now serve God?
When Selinda
and Jesse move to their new field they are going to have to learn to  speak in a new tongue because their mother
tongue is English. 
When Val,
Joel and Dana were working in the clinic in Haiti last spring weren’t they placing
their hands on sick people to heal them? 
I don’t
think that you ever have to worry about me picking up snakes, and I think some
churches try to prove the deadly poison promise with the coffee they serve.
Sometimes
we get so caught up in how we should do it that we never do it.  It was Thomas Jefferson
who said “In matters of style swim with the current
in matters of principle stand like a rock.”
Do you
remember when Nike used the phrase “Just Do It.”?  I would like that to be my message to the
church, “Just Do it”  Listen again to the
promise of Christ in Acts 1:8 But you will
receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my
witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Canada, throughout the
Maritimes in Canada, and to the ends of the earth.”
There are
two things that happen when the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, two evidences
of his presence. 1) We receive power 2) We will tell people about Jesus. 
If our
lives do not exhibit power and we are not witnesses than it would appear to be
very obvious that the Holy Spirit has never come upon us.
As far as
evangelism on a personal level that is all of our responsibility, you can no
more shirk that than you can walk past a drowning man and not throw him a
rope. 
But on a
broader spectrum there are those who God has called to reach people where you
can’t.  And that’s why we have partners.
We
realized very early in our existence that we couldn’t do it all, and in many
cases there were already people doing it. 
Which is why we have chosen to partner with organizations like Soul’s
Harbour, World Hope, Compassion, Open Doors and Global Partners in order to
change the world.
After all “Christianity exists to make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded.”