Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… -Matthew 28:19
The passage above from Matthew’s Gospel has come down to us as “The Great Commission.” It is the final command of Jesus recorded from his earthly ministry. We are called to be a people who take the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to the nations and, after seeing them respond in faith to Christ, baptize them in that same name (“name” here, incidentally, is singular, giving us a strong Trinitarian formula that indicates that all three Persons of the Trinity go by one Name – God).
This Sunday we begin our annual Missions Emphasis. The title we are giving to our emphasis this year is 1,671 Waiting on God’s Word. Currently in our world, 1,671 distinct language groups have no portion of the Scriptures translated into their heart language (that number, although not arbitrary, does fluctuate slightly based on how the information is surveyed). Our goal this year is threefold. First, we want to raise awareness not only to the need for Bible translation but also to the reasons why it is needed. Second, we want to show how the difficult task of getting the Bible (or even portions of it) to a people group without a written language actually takes place. Finally, we want to encourage you to be generous in your support of missions here at LifePoint so that we can continue with our goal of seeing two people groups, the Lik and Ketengban peoples of Indonesian Guinea, equipped with the complete Bible in their heart language. These are worthy goals, and we are praying that God will help us accomplish all three.
In order to meet these goals, we have invited Andrew and Anne Sims, missionaries with the Seed Company and friends of LifePoint who have been involved in Bible translation work on the mission field for over thirty years, to come and share with us on Sunday evening at 4:30 p.m. We will also spend the next two Sunday mornings looking at two different passages of Scripture (Isaiah 55:6-11 & Psalm 119:17-20) that will help us see the very real need that all people have for God’s word in a format that can both be understood and implemented.
This Sunday, September 9, we will make Faith Promise Cards available so that you (and your spouse and family if you are married) can prayerfully consider if (and how) you will participate financially in our missions work at LifePoint. Then, on Sunday, September 16 - Faith Promise Sunday, we will collect the pledge cards, count what has been promised for the year 2019, and budget accordingly.
As I stated in a Jym Shorts article from late July, my obvious hope and prayer each year is that our Faith Promise will increase both in the number of those who participate and the amount of funding raised. More important than those numbers, however, is our overall commitment here at LifePoint to the Great Commission that Jesus has given to all believers. That we …go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you… (Matt. 28:19-20). One of the ways we try to obey this call is to give to legitimate missions work. A good awareness of the need for Bible translation work and, as a result, the Bible in every heart language is but one step in the process of enacting that Great Commission. Our world desperately needs to hear the gospel message, and that message has been made known to us solely through the word of God.
I hope you will prayerfully consider continuing to partner with the church in missions in 2019, or to begin that partnership for the first time this fall. We give so that others may hear the same good news that transformed our lives and gave us a hope not only for today, but for the future as well.
Grace and peace,