3 John: The Missionary Plan
Open your Bibles, if you would, to 3 John. I'm preaching through every book of the Bible. We have covered 63 books so far, today will be the 64th. We're going to preach an overview of the entire book. So, there's an overview of every book so far, to this point, online. I’d encourage you all to go online and revisit those as you're studying different books, just to get an overview.
Today, this is 3 John. And the title of the message is “The Missionary Plan,” the missionary plan. I hope today not just to talk to you about missions or hospitality in general. But I want to fundamentally change the way you individually see your life. I want to fundamentally change the way you see your life. You know, lost people matter to God. Would you agree with that? Yes, awesome. I would too. And I know you agree with that.
There is a war going on right now, as you know. It's between two lost nations, two lost nations -- one Israel and another group called Hamas. We, of course, must stand against terror and stand against evil. We have a particular interest in Israel. They are God's chosen people. Their land is not only created by God, but it is given to them by God. But I want to help us think this through a little bit. Because when we share the gospel with people, we're sharing it to the lost whose eternal destinies are not heaven.
What attitude should we have right now? I mean, if you are engaged in the news, it feels like it's election season or something. Every news station is talking about the same thing. Scripture is not silent on how our attitudes should develop towards unbelievers or what it should be towards unbelievers. And 3 John is about hospitality to traveling missionaries in general. But we must have the right attitude towards others, otherwise we will not be living in line with the mission God has given us. Romans 9:3 is Paul's attitude towards the unbelieving Jews. He said, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” That would be the Jews. They were his enemies at the time. Though kinsmen of the flesh, they were ripping Paul's flesh from his back because of the message that he gave.
There are many famous missionaries who have gone out into the world. You know these, or maybe you can read about these. Jim Elliot is one of them we like to quote. He attempted to evangelize the very dangerous tribes of Ecuador. Hudson Taylor, who spent 54 years giving his life to evangelize China. That's pretty big. William Carey, minister, translator and anthropologist in India, known as “the father of modern missions.” And yet in today's world, you don't need to sell all you have and travel to another country to actually reach that country.
You could just start a podcast, right? There's a podcast on everything these days. If you want to learn how to tie your shoes, they have podcasts about that. You can start a website or get on TV. It's pretty easy. Digital, though, can be taken down and edited, whereas the written you have to burn to get rid of, so I call that the timeless media -- books. But social media goes around the world to billions of people every single day. And we can utilize that for the spread of the gospel, for the spread of the fame of Christ's name, to people who are unbelievers. You may have been on social media this morning, hopefully not right now. But maybe sometime this morning, you were on it, and maybe this afternoon. Watching and listening to videos, and sending out messages, and making films are great, but people -- they need tangible feet on the ground. We need people in every single city, country, state, geographic location in the world to change the world.
Of course, Jesus could have sent angels to speak to every person on the planet, but he sent living human beings to carry the message. And while videos and social media can do much, we need live people, and I want to get this across. That we need to see ourselves differently than what we do. We need to think about missions and mission work differently than what the church at large thinks. Let me give you a little bit more of what Paul thought of the unbelieving Jews around him, and this will saturate our hearts and our attitudes this morning with the right way of thinking. Romans 9:1-5 says, “I am speaking the truth in Christ -- I'm not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit -- that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.”
That is Paul's view of the ones who are persecuting him. This needs to be our view of those who persecute Christians. This needs to be our view of the lost -- that we wish ourselves to be a curse. That means Paul's like, “I wish I were going to hell and everyone else were saved.” He references Christ and the Holy Spirit; he calls Christ “God.” At its very core, this is a deeply felt love for the lost. And this needs to be on our hearts and minds 24/7, all the time. It needs to infuse our prayers as we “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), as we love God, whom we can't see, and love our neighbors, whom we can. As we think about our family members who are dear and who are loving to us, we need to think about the gospel and proclaiming it to them. We need to be receiving it from each other, and we need to be about loving our enemies with the gospel.
The apostle John writes 3 John around AD 90 to 95, somewhere in there, very close in time to 1 and 2 John. He writes to the leader of a small church, and this man's name is Gaius. Gaius saw his life the same way Paul did, in the same way you and I should see our lives. Turn to 3 John with me, if you would, and look at verse one. (3 John 1) I'm going to read the whole book to you. “The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. For I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God.
[3 John 7] “For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore, we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth. [3 John 9] I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.
[3 John 11] “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true. I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we'll talk face to face. Peace be with you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.”
This is a common letter, common form in the first century, of one person to another. And this text will see two aspects of the missionary plan. We're going to see two aspects of the missionary plan. Point one is the missionary plan involves loving churches. It involves loving churches. As you see here, Gaius was a loving church leader. He was loved by the apostle John. 3 John 1 - to “The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.” That is an essential core of who we are, how we think, and how we live -- that we have an outward visible love for one another in the truth.
The apostle John, out of his love, prays for this church leader. Look in verse two (3 John 2). This is an actual prayer. “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” He is praying for the benefit of this other believer. It's very straightforward. But here's the crux of the matter -- that Gaius’ relationship with the apostle John centered on the truth. It brought each other great joy, because it was centered on the truth. And if you want to have relationships that bring you great joy, they need to be centered on the truth, centered on love, centered on God's Word.
It assumes that we know and understand and enjoy God's Word. It assumes that we can speak God's Word to one another. I don't know about you, but whenever I am down, or I'm not feeling good, or life just seems to be pummeling me, a well-placed word of encouragement from a brother in the faith or a sister in the faith is like a sweet morsel when I'm hungry. It's what I need. It's a savory dish to my soul. It encourages me, and it gives me strength to press on and to endure whatever is happening for the sake of Jesus's name.
You know, we are going to have some fun this afternoon, and it brings us great joy to see each other having fun. And parents, I hope you can enjoy this time as your little children run around like mad men all over the parking lot from the bounce house to -- there's even going to be a Velcro wall out there for the brave among us. It's going to be fun. I mean, Christians gather around food. We've done so from the beginning. That's what we do. We eat and we enjoy time with each other. And I have many fond memories, as I've said before, of chicken and unidentifiable jello at meals during the week. It's just how we have fun. And that's great.
But lasting relationships among believers is centered mostly on the truth, as other things are ancillary items -- they augment our relationships with each other. And in our marriages, it augments our relationship from one spouse to another, and the strongest marriages and the strongest relationships, whether you're married or single, they're all centered on Jesus. And we see that in 3 John here. We see that strong bond between the apostle John and his beloved friend. People gave great testimony about this man, Gaius.
In 3 John 4, we see that the apostle John says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” That’s true of parents, but it's also true of believers. If you've ever had a non-Christian friend come to the faith, it brings you this wave of joy that lasts for a long time. It's almost like we don't think it's possible at times, and then they turn their life around, and they give their life to Jesus Christ. And it just wells up this great tidal wave of joy in our lives that we ride for a long time. Because it's not only just that joy between us and them, it's like now they are a child of God; they are family in a new way.
The bonds that we're going to share and have far surpass this earth and this time on earth -- it's going to be eternal. And I want to ask you: do you seek those kinds of relationships with each other? People gave great testimony to the love that Gaius had for the truth. And others, besides the apostle John, gave testimony about his life, that he was walking in the truth. 3 John 3 – “For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth.” This man lived it out, and other people could see it. And “beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers [3 John 5-6], strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church.”
So, people who are traveling missionaries -- they were strangers, they were believers -- they came in, they got to know him, they got to know his church. And the one thing that they knew, the one thing that they went away with, was if this man and the church love the truth, they love other people. Loving churches are full of loving people. They rejoice in the truth. We're not overcome by the world. Why? Because Jesus has overcome the world. We are not overcome by the fears and anxieties of the world. Why? Because Jesus has overcome. We know where our final destiny lies. And we rejoice in these things as we walk in the truth.
But there is a word of caution here in 3 John as well in verse nine (3 John 9) - not all who claimed to be of the truth are of the truth indeed. He says in verse nine, “I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us.” The apostle John thinks Diotrephes talks wicked nonsense. It's not mincing words here. He's very clear. This guy is not walking the walk, here. He's talking in ways that are detrimental to us. And he even refuses to welcome the brothers as they're going along their way and puts out people from the church who do welcome those.
Is Diotrephes a false teacher? Is he a heretic? Maybe. Maybe. He is possibly the leader of one of the churches there. He could be a leader in Gaius’ church, but it seems like Gaius is a leader of a church that's doing well. And Diotrephes is the leader of another church in town that is not doing so well. But they all, according to the apostle John, should be under his authority, that is under the authority of the Word that he preaches. They should all be promoting the name of Jesus Christ, but Diotrephes doesn't, so he speaks wickedly; he acts wickedly; he persecutes people who do follow the truth. And then in 3 John 11, the apostle John says, “do not imitate evil but imitate good.” Who was he just talking about? Right? Diotrephes. Don't imitate evil, don't imitate that guy, but imitate good. “Whoever does good is from God.”
At a very minimum, Diotrephes is an unbeliever leading a church. You say, “Wow, that sounds unique.” Well actually, the Wesley brothers, John and Charles, by their own admission, were unbelievers leading great multitudes of people in their lives, right, until they came to true saving knowledge of the faith. So, we have, so far, that the missionary plan involves true loving churches, hopefully led by believers, right, led by believers, full of other loving people. But the plan involves something else as well.
Second point is that the missionary plan involves sending churches, sending churches. Look at verse six, second part of verse six (3 John 6) - “You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God.” And verse eight (3 john 8) – “Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.” Send and support who? Who is it talking about here? We see in verses three and five (3 John 3 and 3 John 5) who it's talking about. It's talking about “the brothers.” It’s talking about other faithful Christians, right? Who are these brothers, and what are they doing? Well, they're traveling around. And what is their central mission? I think this is where a lot of churches kind of broaden their missionary support and their missionary scope beyond what the central purpose of missions is in the Bible.
And I think we need to focus in on this. Look at verse seven (3 John 7). This is their purpose: “For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles.” You say, “Oh, well, they must be supporting themselves like Paul did.” Well, first, Paul collected vast sums of money for the poor in Israel, okay. He also worked. But notice in verse eight (3 John 8), it says that we should support people like that. Right? So, among fellow believers, we should support people who do what? They go out for the sake of the name. Their main goal in missions is to preach the gospel. Their main goal is to proclaim the fame of Jesus' name. Jesus' name represents all that he is. Grace Bible Church supports foreign missionaries whose main purpose is the proclamation of the gospel. We send people out into the fields to share the gospel.
What is the gospel? The gospel is that God is holy, and we are not. The gospel is that man is sinful, and in need of being saved, not just from their own sin, but from the wrath of God. Right? In this very letter, we understand, or in Romans 9 we understand that Jesus is God. We understand that Jesus is the propitiation for our sins, that he is the one who takes away the wrath of God, and we need to tell people, whether they're here in Purcellville or Leesburg, or Sterling, or wherever, whether they're in Lovettsville, Hamilton, Round Hill. We need to share the gospel, that they need to come to grace. They need to come and be forgiven by God's grace. That's the gospel message.
And you and I, if we are saved, we should be able to share the gospel message with other people. So, at Grace Bible Church, we have a philosophy of ministry, that supports those whose main mission is the proclamation of the gospel, the proclamation of the gospel. I mean, Jesus sent people out into the harvest, did he not? This is what he did. Luke 10:1-2 – “After this the Lord appointed 72 others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. [The laborers are few] Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’”
The news stations are not enough. We need people to go into all the world and carry the gospel. You and I need to be thinking about this, not just where we make donations with our money, but what we ourselves are doing. Most missionaries would say that they go out for the sake of the gospel. I've shared this story before. When I was leading the missions at a church in the midwest, we wanted to support more missionaries. And we already had a bunch of families that we were supporting. And we wanted to support more. So, myself and another guy from our church, we traveled to Belize to inspect this missionary, who was asking for support from us and from a whole bunch of churches throughout the midwest. So, I thought, “Well, why don't we go see what the work is on the ground that he was doing.”
So, we went there to Belize, and it's a very poor place. This was, let's see, 20-some years ago. Gas was five and a half dollars a gallon 20-some years ago, right? You think it's high now. This country where most people didn't have a car, and this is where they were doing mission work. And as we look to see, like, what kind of mission work are they doing? What we really realized is that this was a very successful businessman who sold all that he had and retired from selling fancy cars in San Francisco and other places. And he used that money to go and basically build himself a really nice place in the forests along the coast of Belize. And he set up other places (more huts) for people to come and visit.
And then the question was, “But yeah, what are you doing with the gospel?” And there wasn't a whole lot of good he could tell us from that. He basically was known in a little bit of the community. I mean, they speak English there, he doesn't have to learn another language. So, we were like, “Okay, well, why don't we go meet some of these people you had shared the gospel with.” And for two days, we didn't meet a single convert. We didn't meet a single person that asked if there was a church they could go to or didn't recognize this man as the leader of a church. They didn't recognize this man as a leader who would train indigenous people there in Belize to start their own churches. They recognized him as an American who had a big property on the coast. Right?
Now before we think so poorly of him, we must recognize that we're not to be just making for ourselves big properties here in the area and living for our own sake. We are to be living for the sake of the gospel. Needless to say, we came back and didn't support him and encouraged none of those churches to support him. I've talked to many people, over the years, who want to retire and then give their lives to foreign mission work because it sounds exciting, and they want to make up for lost time. And if that's something on your mind, I would encourage you never to do that. If you're not willing to give up your life to go be a full-time missionary, retirement is not really giving much up.
I would encourage us, though, to look at what is the clarification for how we're supposed to send people out. Look in verse six (3 John 6). We're supposed to send people out in “a manner worthy of God.” Buying a piece of forest that the government was selling at the time, you know, for like $100 for 50 acres on the ocean, because no one wants to develop it there -- there's no resources, there's no way to build there. You have to spend all your own money to do that. And while they would give you a piece of forest, infested with black Pumas and mosquitoes, you'd have to develop this on your own. So very few people were doing this. But his goal was not to entrust the gospel to faithful men who could teach others also. His goal was just to have an adventurous life in another country. We don't support missionaries like that.
The missionaries that we support are giving their very lives for the gospel. They have full-time jobs of sharing the gospel with anyone who wants to hear. They have set aside their ambitions in life. They have set aside other worldly goals -- of building up their 401K plans and investing in the lives of their children and their grandchildren -- for the sake of the gospel. They invest in their families, but they invest everything they have in developing churches around the world for the sake of the gospel.
We have had many people, many times a year, come and ask our church for support as missionaries, and we say, “Sure, let's talk about it.” And our goal is not to have just a zillion missionary families out there. Our goal is to send them out in a manner worthy of God, to take care of them, to provide for them well. So, our philosophy is that we'd have fewer missionary families to support and to support them well.
And a couple years ago, one of our families brought this family, the Brunks, to us and said, “Hey, this is a good family. We should support them.” So, what we did was we checked them out. What work are they doing? How do they spend their time? Are they willing to be partners in the gospel, right? Because you walk together with them in the truth. Are we willing to share their ministry with them? Or do they just want support? And what we found was that they, for many, many years, had been doing wonderful work in South Africa. And so, we brought them on. And we support them every month, and they are probably the best missionary communicators from the field I've ever met. Every single Wednesday, you can get updates from the field in Africa as to what they're doing that week and how you can pray for them that week. And if you want to know how to sign up, you can come talk to me or Adam, or really most of our people know that you can receive those e-mails. But they're constantly striving to get the word out.
Humanitarian relief is not the mission of the church. Okay, there are many people who need food, and we should give food as we can. But that's not the mission of the church. You should not just say “be warm and filled” and not help their needs, if you can, right? We should do that. But the goal of the church is not to have well fed people on their way to hell or highly skilled people on their way to hell. That's not the goal of the church. That's not the goal of missions.
And as we look into missionaries to support, we find a lot of people who, you know, they want to teach people how to farm. And do you know any farmers that only do that a couple of hours a week? Like, it is an insane amount of time to be a farmer. I've obviously never been one. But I grew up in a town full of farmers. And by the time we got to church, they had already been working for 4 hours or so. Right? They're falling asleep in the choir because they had been up since three in the morning, right? The animals don't say, “Oh, yeah, it's church time…, or it's Christmas time…, or it's Thanksgiving, we'll just take care of ourselves.” Right? So, if your goal as a missionary is to farm, that's going to take up 95% of your time. So, the other 5%, you're sharing the gospel. Some people support missionaries like that and mission works like that.
But for us, we see the command clearly in Scripture is to support people like these. Who were these? They are the brothers from verses three and five (3 John 3 and 3 John 5), who go out “for the sake of the name.” They go out to share the gospel. They go out to share the gospel. They should be well cared for. They have as their right to get their living by the gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:14 – “In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.” That's why we support them financially, so that they can spend their time centered on the gospel.
So, the missionary plan involves loving churches, it involves sending churches, but is that it? Is that it? Is mission work for you and I simply to give money to those who go out? I mean, if you look up a definition of “missionary,” you're going to see someone who goes to a foreign country to share the Christian endeavors with the world, to share the Christian message with the world. Right? So, is that all we do? Missionary work is foreign? Well, here's where the challenging part comes in.
Look, again, in verse seven (3 John 7). I would say it's anyone who has gone out for the sake of the name. It doesn't just say that these people go to foreign countries, does it? You won't see that anywhere in this very short book on being hospitable and taking care of traveling missionaries, traveling evangelists, if you would. But the biblical text just says taking care of people who go around sharing the gospel. That's what the thrust of this message is.
But Jesus sent disciples out too, right? Remember the verse we read earlier? (Luke 10:1) He sent them out two by two, right -- 72 people, 36 pairs of disciples. They were missionaries, weren't they? Or do they just become a missionary when they cross a border into another country? How are we looking at missionaries? How are we looking at supporting those who share the gospel? Is it just someone else's job? Right? They went to local towns. It says they went about in every town. Luke chapter 10: they went about in every town where Jesus was about to go.
Now, if you know anything about Billy Graham, in his earlier years, that was his method. He would send out teams of people into areas before he would get there, you know, kind of tenderize the area a little bit. He didn't just show up for the rally. And wow, you know, 1000 people came to know the Lord that day. No, he sent people ahead, mostly three to four months ahead. And those teams would stay in those cities. They would gather support from all the churches, okay. And he got in a little bit of trouble because he just used any church, right? But he would gather support from the churches and the leaders, and they would share the gospel with those leaders, and then they would train people and raise them up, so that when Billy came and he shared the message, the hearts were ready.
What Jesus did was he sent out laborers two by two, not just to say, “See you later, I hope you survive.” But he then followed up, and he was the big gun coming in afterwards. He was the one who would then come into an area and preach the gospel. Now, if we think about this in the context of the local church, who would be the ones that go out and tenderize the area? Missionaries, and everybody go like this: [raises his hand]. Right. Right? Okay? And then we gather, and we share the gospel with them more. Do you start to see where I'm headed with this? So, the disciples could be categorized as missionaries. Missionaries are simply witnesses of Jesus Christ.
Now, let's go back to the question: do missionaries have to be foreign? That's how we define them. Right? We have missionary budgets; that just simply means that we take part of our money and give it to people who are in other countries, sharing the gospel. Many countries have been sending people to the US for decades, by the way (because we are so “unchurched”) with the gospel.” So other countries send missionaries to us; we send missionaries there. Right? So, it's like, “Where are the real missionaries?” Can you be a missionary in Purcellville? Alright, Acts 1:8 - this is right before Jesus was going to ascend into heaven. “’But you [all of his followers and disciples] will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses [where?] in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’”
And here we sit, 1000s of miles away from where that command was given 1000s of years ago. It's not just to foreign places that missionaries are sent. Missionaries are sent to local places as well. Missionaries, defined by the Bible, are those who go out with the gospel. They give their lives to the gospel. The disciples started in Jerusalem, in their own town, where they lived, with the gospel, to share the good news of Jesus Christ -- that if you repent and believe you can be saved. Right? This belief is “I want to follow Jesus. I know it's nothing of myself. I know I'm sinful in and of myself. I know I can't save myself. So, I need a Savior.” That's the gospel.
It started in Jerusalem, and then Samaria. He picks the town nobody wanted to go to. “If you're going to follow me, you've got to do what no other follower really wants to do.” That's what he's saying here. Samaria is about 50 miles north, if you just drew a straight line right through the geography. If you have to drive there, guess what? Now you have to drive around the West Bank to get there, almost 100 miles. Okay? So, Jerusalem, Samaria, and where? To the end of the earth. Let me ask you a question. If that was the plan for the disciples, are you a disciple? Ah, I got one disciple in here. Yeah. If you're a Christian, you're a disciple of Jesus Christ. Your plan is to go to Jerusalem, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. That's the plan.
We are missionaries. We are missionaries. I don't know if you think about yourself like that. But biblically, if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, your mission is to make disciples and preach the gospel. “And Jesus came and said to them…,” Matthew 28. About a year ago, we said this every single Sunday, for almost a year, at the end of the service. “’All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20) We are missionaries. Make disciples, teaching them, baptizing them, baptizing who? Disciples, followers of Jesus Christ. Sharing the gospel.
There's a missionary to Burma. His name was Adoniram Judson. At age 25, he began preaching in Burma, which is as Myanmar. He was the first North American Protestant missionary in Burma, ever -- think how old the earth is – ever. Because of his efforts, 175 years later, two Christian university professors traveled to the United States. They went to California, and they went to a seminary called The Master’s Seminary, where I met them. They came from a really difficult situation. I've mentioned before, when I was taking Hebrew exams, the one guy (the professor) from Burma, who is my age, his family had to run for their lives, because their village was being overrun by what we would call “guerrilla warfare.”
I did not think my life was tough at seminary after that day. Right? For us, what’s difficult is just keeping focus for the day. That's us most of the time, right? “I don't have enough money to go to that nice restaurant I want to go to. It's really getting me down.” “I have to sit and study under people who love me, who have access to 1000s of books for my benefit. This is so difficult.” Right? And on and on we go. And every now and then the world kinda wakes up, and we see things like, “No, there are people who live across from Gaza Strip who have rockets fired on them all the time.” And there are people born in Gaza who didn't ask for all these things. These little kids who are being raised up -- you can watch all the videos -- to hate and kill Israelites, from very early ages -- you can see hundreds of video testimonies of this. Right? Who don't know right from wrong, who think they're doing “just” things. And every now and then, it gives us a glimpse of just how privileged and wonderful life is here.
But we are missionaries, and I want to ask you, what will we do with our lives? What are you going to do with your life? What does success in your life look like? How's it defined? What's the greatest plan you can come up with? What's the best scenario? Besides your 401K tripling in the next couple of years. And then what are you going to do with the money? Spend it on a house that's going to drop 50% in value. Right? Give it to your kids who are going to do what with it? Right? It's the futile dream that we're told to give our life to, and all the while Jesus is saying, “Hey, look over here. There's people going to hell. Can you just share the gospel with them, please, just once this year. Just share the wonderful news that I gave my life for them.”
Some of you should consider getting trained and going somewhere else in the world and sharing the gospel. You should consider full-time foreign missions. You should consider taking that career path that you've got, that leads you all the way through the American dream, and you should pick up God's dream for you. You will not be disappointed. It will be the most difficult thing you have ever done and the most satisfying thing you have ever done, guaranteed. Some of you should consider full-time ministry. Men, some of you should consider being a pastor. You should think about giving your life to preach the gospel. You should think about giving up your career for the gospel. You should think about at least giving up some of your time to teach the gospel.
Maybe you'll be the next George Whitfield. He's the one who founded the Methodist movement, by the way, and then gave it to the Wesleys, right? Read good biographies, you'll see that. He traveled over here in the 1700s, from England. He was loaded with funds, gave most of it away, and came over here. The American people in the 1730s had just rejected John Wesley; they sent him packing and running. And Whitfield shows up with a boat full of -- it's basically like a giant Walmart -- with everything from England that everybody wanted, and he gives it to people. And he starts sharing the gospel. He's providing for their needs and also providing for their spiritual needs.
And some of you men need to consider doing that, because we need more preachers. We need more people who are willing to forsake all and give it to the gospel. Maybe you'll be the next MacArthur who is on national news, sharing the gospel during pandemics. Maybe you'll be interviewed on CNN, and you can tell the anchor that, “Well, that's a good question. But let me give you the best question. Where's your eternal soul going to reside forever. That's what we need to talk about today,” as he would do with Larry King, often. Maybe you'll write over 50 books.
Ladies, we need women teachers. We need women who take discipling the next generation very seriously. And we've got some ladies here who are studying. They're learning how to teach. They're learning how to disciple. We've got ladies discipling other ladies, but we need everyone to be skilled
with the gospel. We need good resources for the women. I mean, are we really going to let unbelievers define what a woman is today? Seriously? Or let, you know, a fine Jewish man, define what it is to be a strong, bold conservative, who debates anyone.
We should be the ones. We are the ones who have the gospel, who have the good news. We should be missionaries to our friends at school, to our neighbors, not just to our own family. Satan doesn't care if all you do is just witness to your children. He doesn't care. He just doesn't want us to spread the gospel to the world -- beyond ourselves. If you can visually picture Israel as a country right now -- when you just keep it to yourself -- they're totally surrounded, for hundreds and hundreds of miles.
We are missionaries. While I hope some of you will consider being a pastor, writing books, giving your lives for the gospel, developing good ways to share the gospel with the whole world, and to be “all in.” Most likely we’ll keep our jobs, and that's okay. But you cannot keep your job and just assume it's just for you. We cannot stay silent with the gospel. Maybe you'll be the one in your neighborhood, the only one, who cherishes Christ above all else, and it's just obvious. Maybe you'll be the first believer in your family, or maybe you'll be the start of many generations of believers. Your home life does not define you, the gospel does.
My dad, who was a preacher for 46 years, grew up in a home where there was all kinds of things people could go to jail for happening all the time. He would just say, “Dave, I don't know what else to do. All I can do is just share the gospel over and over again. And so that's all I can do, I just want to be trained to share the gospel.” Maybe you'll be the one to serve in the local church through music or teaching or taking care of the elderly and the widows. But give your life to the gospel. Maybe you'll be the one in October, at the end of the year, and you'll dress up your kids like little funny looking Puritans walking around, instead of, you know, ghouls, and you'll be like the weird family with the best candy. Get the best candy. You know, maybe you'll be known as the one who is different in your neighborhood. If you want to turn the lights off and hide, that's fine. Just don't do it the rest of the year.
Maybe you'll be the one to put out decorations on your home that talk about Jesus at Christmas time, inviting your friends, inviting your neighbors to talk about the Lord. Not just cowering from the world but like a missionary living for Jesus. One thing's for sure, there is much work to be done in this world to take care of our dear missionaries who have gone out, but one thing's for sure we cannot stand by hoping someone else will do it. And it may not be your full-time paid job, but it is your full-time job. The two options that we have here from 3 John are to be like Diotrephes -- don't pick that one. The other option is to be a loving, sending church who's already full of missionaries. We are missionaries here and now, for we've all gone out for the sake of the name.
Let’s pray. Lord God, we need your boldness. We need your compassion, dear Lord. We need to be known for our love. Lord, we need to be known for your name. Help us, dear Lord God, to live out the calling you've given every single disciple of Jesus Christ, that our lives are lived for the sake of your name. Let's just pray for a moment, silently to God, and ask to live for him each and every day. Lord God, we love you. We pray that you would take our lives and use it for your glory. Amen.
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