At a meeting of Baptist leaders in the late 1700s, a newly ordained minister stood to argue for the value of overseas missions. He was abruptly interrupted by an older minister who said, "Young man, sit down! You are an enthusiast. When God pleases to convert the heathen, he'll do it without consulting you or me."
William Carey wasn’t fazed. In 1792 he organized a missionary society, and at its inaugural meeting preached a sermon with the call, "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God!" Within a year, Carey, his pregnant wife and three sons were on their way to India with a former surgeon, John Thomas. It was much more difficult than they expected. Thomas left and Carey struggle to keep his family fed and healthy. He lost a two wives and at least one child. It was seven years before he saw a convert and after 41 years with no furlough home he had seen only 700 converts out of untold millions of Indians. How did he persevere?
“When I left England, my hope of India's conversion was very strong; but amongst so many obstacles, it would die, unless upheld by God. Well, I have God, and His Word is true. Though the superstitions of the heathen were a thousand times stronger than they are, the example of the Europeans a thousand times worse; though I were deserted by all and persecuted by all, yet my faith, fixed on that sure Word, would rise about all obstacles and overcome every trial. God's cause will triumph.”
What is God’s great cause and how does He intend to accomplish it?
We have been unpacking the Mission Statement of The Bridge Church at Bear Creek which says, “We exist in order to make much of Jesus. We do that by making disciples who know the Gospel, live the Gospel and advance the Gospel.” This week we will give consideration to the idea of advancing the Gospel.
Pray: In asking the Lord to speak to you from His Word today, use Psalm 67 to inform that prayer.
Meditate: We will look at a number of texts in the Scripture this week and we will see what the Lord says about how He intends to bring people “from every tribe and language and people and nation” before His throne to worship and serve Him forever.
1. What comes to mind when you hear that we are to advance the Gospel?
2. In Psalm 67 what captured the psalmist’s heart and imagination?
3. What do you learn from the following texts?
• Matthew 28:16-20
• Mark 16:15-16
• Luke 24:44-49
• John 17:18; 20:21-22
• Matthew 24:14
• I Peter 2:9-10
• What did you learn?
4. What do the following texts suggest about the task of advancing the Gospel?
• Isaiah 55:10-11
• John 6:37-40, 44
• John 11:52
• Acts 13:38; 16:14; 18:9
• II Corinthians 4:1-7
• I Thessalonians 1:4-5
• What did you take away from these texts?
5. What do you think is the motive for advancing the Gospel? (Consider Romans 1:5; 10:1; I John 3:7)
6. According to Revelation 5:9-10 what is the goal of missions? Is missions ultimate or secondary? (see also Psalm 47, 96)
Pray: Write out a short prayer of response to what the Lord has shown you in His Word today.