Acts chapter number 13, we have the story about Paul and Barnabas being sent out from the church in Antioch there, and what I want to preach about this morning is the subject of biblical principles on missions. Biblical principles for missions, because these are missionaries that are being sent out. At the beginning of Acts chapter 13, Paul and Barnabas are going to go throughout all kinds of areas preaching the gospel, winning people to Christ, churches are going to be established. Most people pointed to the apostle Paul as the greatest missionary who ever lived. Even in the back of many Bibles, there'll be maps and charts of the missionary journeys of Paul, and so on and so forth.
Now, foreign missions is part of the great commission. Reaching other nations with the gospel of Jesus Christ is something that we've been commanded to do. You don't have to turn there, but Matthew chapter 28, verse 18 reads "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
It says in Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Acts 1:8: "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
So God is commanding us to teach all nations, to get the gospel to every creature, and to take it even unto the uttermost part of the earth.
In this chapter, Acts 13, I've identified five important principles regarding missions and missionaries that are all right here in this chapter, so the entire sermon is going to come from Acts chapter 13, where all these things are found. Now the reason that I'm preaching this this morning is because Brother Garrett Kirchway is going to be sent by our church to Botswana as our first missionary, as what the Bible calls an evangelist. The Bible doesn't use the word missionary, but it uses the word evangelist, and the word evangelist simply means one who brings the gospel. If you break down that word, it comes from root words meaning good and message. You know, angel would be a messenger in the Bible, evangelist is someone who is bringing the good news or bringing a good message, glad tidings. Bringing the gospel is what an evangelist does.
Now, Brother Garrett, for those who don't know him, I'll just tell you a little bit about him and his background and then I'm going to get into Acts 13 and give these five principles.
Brother Garrett Kirchway, he came to our church on September 17, 2008, and he was saved and baptized at our church and he's been a faithful member of our church for almost eight years now, and he's been a very zealous soul-winner during that time. He's been very involved in the church's ministries, etc. I just want you to know, this was actually my idea.
I approached Brother Garrett Kirchway and I said to him What do you think about staying in Botswana as a missionary, because he and I are going to be traveling to Botswana this September because of the fact that he's getting married in Botswana. There was a young lady that was coming to our church for many months because she was a foreign exchange student over here on this side of the world. She was originally from Botswana, and during that time they got to know each other and they're going to be getting married this September in Botswana, and I approached Brother Garrett and I said to him What do you think about just staying there, in Botswana, instead of her coming back, which was their original plan, what about just staying there and just being a missionary to Botswana and reaching Botswana with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I pretty much just had him at hello. As soon as he heard that, he said that sounds great. That's a great idea.
The reason why I approached him with that is I'd actually been spending months of just studying my Bible and thinking about these things and I feel that God moved in my heart about this, and I think God was moving in his heart, as well, which is why it was so easy to bring him to that conclusion. I think that God is really giving us a great opportunity here, and that God has opened a great door for Brother Garrett to be mightily used in the nation of Botswana, and here's part of the reason why I think that he's so well suited to the job is that first of all, he's a great soul-winner. He loves soul-winning. He's a hard worker. He's a faithful church member. He's very zealous. This is not some kind of a wet-behind-the-ears novice or immature Christian. He's a very mature believer. He knows the Bible very well. In fact, I'd venture to say he probably knows the Bible more than almost anybody that I know. There are few people that I would say know the Bible as well as Brother Garrett does.
Not only that, but I think that he's a perfect fit for this type of a job, of going to a place like Botswana, which is frankly in many ways a primitive place. This is not a very ... I don't want to say it's a third world country because they have made great improvements there over the last few years, but it's still going to be a bit of a culture shock to go from United States of America to go to Botswana, for those of you who know a little bit about Botswana. Brother Garrett, I think, is going to be well-suited for this because he's actually lived a very austere life for the last eight years. He lives a very simple life. He's not one that lives with a lot of frills and luxury. He hasn't even owned a car for the last eight years. For years he didn't even have a phone or Internet.
This is kind of funny, but his family that lived in Mesa, he would communicate with them by letters. They live in Mesa, he lives in Phoenix, and he actually would ... They'd write him a letter, Hey we want to have you over for dinner, and he'd reply with a letter, Okay I'll be there, and so on and so forth. So he's the kind of guy that I think is going to be cut out for this type of a ministry. It's a great opportunity over there. I'm going to get into a little more in the sermon itself, but that place is white unto harvest. There are lots of people there that are receptive to the gospel, and I'm really excited about the great things that are going to happen when we go there this September. I'm just going to go there for the wedding and I'm just going to be there for a short time and figure out what's going on over there, and then God willing, the plan is for him to stay there for the rest of his life and reach the people of Botswana with the gospel.
So here's just a quick rundown of what the plan is, before I get into the sermon. First of all, he's going to be working for our church for the next three and a half months, until we leave in September. He's going to be on staff here and he's going to be getting some practical training and just doing some preparation for this great step in his life, and then in September, we'll be heading to Botswana.
Now our church is going to pay his salary while he's here and while he's there that he might devote himself full time to these missionary activities and be in the ministry full time, but I will say this: The plan is actually to raise the money online in order to keep him there and keep him rolling. We will pay his salary, whatever doesn't come in, but we're going to try to raise a lot of money online, and I predict that once people understand what he's doing over there and see the fruit and the results of what we're doing over there, I don't think raising the money online is going to be difficult at all. I think it's going to be easy. I think people are going to want to contribute once they see what's going on.
I know several pastors have already said to me as soon as they heard, because they know Brother Garrett, as soon as they heard about this they said well hey, put us down; we're going to support him on a monthly basis right away. Then we're going to make it possible for people, as individuals, to support him online through PayPal, and so that's the plan as far as financially, and then we'll see how it goes. I have total confidence. I don't have any question that this is going to be a great ministry and a great work is going to happen for God, but let's get into the sermon and I'll explain a little more as we go through the sermon.
Point number one of this sermon is this: Leaders are identified, trained, and sent out of the local church. Okay, so right here at the beginning of Acts chapter 13, in verse number 1, the Bible reads "Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister."
So we see here a model of men being sent out, and these men are specifically being sent out as evangelists, as missionaries. They're going out to bring the gospel to people who need to hear it and to set up churches in places that have no churches. That's what's being sent out here. Notice they're trained in the local church, they're identified in the local church, and they are sent out by the local church. These men are already serving in the local church before they go out to do this ministry as a man of God.
Now the reason that I point that out is that today the local church is being de-emphasized. Some of that has to do with technology, some of that just has to do with the fact that we're living the last days and the Bible predicted that people would forsake the assembling of themselves together, and so on and so forth. We need to understand that God's plan for reaching the city, the state, and even the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ is through the local church, the local congregation, the local assembly, and that is where leaders are cultivated, trained, identified, and sent out to go do great works in other places.
I keep seeing this stupid picture that's going around Facebook, this meme. It's funny because when I was in San Antonio, I preached against one meme and then I saw one that was even stupider than the one I was preaching against, and it just blows my mind how people lack discernment and they share these things. This is what it was. It was a picture of a church building, right? And it said this is not a church, and then it was a picture of, like, 15 dudes at the library sitting around with their chairs in a circle talking about the Bible, and it said this is a church; know the difference. Okay, that's the one I preached against when I was in San Antonio.
Then I saw another one that was even more foolish, where it had a picture of a church building and said this is not a church, and then it had a picture of, like, 4 dudes in a living room sitting around talking about the Bible. Now listen to me, that is not the church. A bunch of dudes in a library sitting around in a circle is not the church. My first question was Well where are the women and children? How is this a church? The same goes for the other one where we've gone from 15 to 4. No, you getting together with your buddies in a living room or a library is not the church, okay?
The church is a congregation, an assembly of believers. We need to understand the importance of going and attending a physical church, not just online or Well I'm tuning in on the radio, I'm watching it on TV, I'm getting it on the Internet. No, you need to physically be there, assembled together with God's people in the congregation. The congregation is where God's work is organized and where it takes place, where the plans are made, where people are sent out, and where leaders are tested and tried.
You see, when a man is sent out to do the work of being a bishop, what we would call a pastor, the Bible uses the terms interchangeably: bishop, elder, pastor. That man should be first serving in a local church, tested and tried and sent out of that local church. If a man is going to be a deacon, obviously he first serves in the local church before being elevated to the status of being a deacon. If a man is going to be sent out as an evangelist or a missionary, to go out and preach the gospel and baptize and see people saved and see a church established, that man must be trained and sent out of a local church and serve first and be found faithful in the local church, not just be sent out without knowing who he is or, worse yet, some guy just proclaims himself, because he has a camcorder and a YouTube channel, he just proclaims himself the pastor of a church.
There are all kinds of people out there today that are preaching lies and preaching heresy and they're not even a part of any church. They don't even show up to any church, and yet they think that they're going to teach us the word of God and they're going to straighten us out, and they're this man of God. No, no, no. You're not even to first base, buddy, if you can't even get your rear-end in a local church. You're not to first base spiritually. I don't care how much Bible you think you know, I don't care how many works you think you're doing for God, if you can't even show up at your local, independent Baptist church, you don't have anything to teach to anybody because that's step one, is to get in church.
We have all kinds of people that are like a cult leader, where they'll literally say every church is false. We're talking about in the United States, where there's a Baptist church on every corner. Where there are 6000 independent, fundamental, King James only Baptist churches in the United States. 6000. But no, everybody's false so I'm going to just set up my own thing in my living room or whatever. No, you need to get your rear-end in a local church. Oh but they're wrong on this. Even if the church is not perfect, they need to serve and be a part of that church and grow there and be trained and humble themselves and learn something.
This throwing out of the local church model is epidemic today, where we have people just with ... But with these ignorant-type memes. My reaction to that meme is of course the building isn't a church, but that's called a straw-man argument. Nobody thinks that that building is the church. It's the assembly that's in that building. They'll try to pin that on you like, Oh if you don't believe that me and my buddies in my living room is a church, then you're saying the church is a building. No, no, no, the church isn't a building, but there's a much greater chance that there's a church hiding in that building than that a bunch of dudes sitting around a coffee table is a church.
Churches are to be started by other churches. That's the model. Churches are to be started by men of God who have been trained and tested and tried in the local church, and we need to stay with this biblical model that we see in Acts 13 and many other places, that leaders are identified, trained, and sent out of a local church.
Now let me stop and say this. Brother Garrett Kirchway is not being ordained as a pastor this September because he does not meet the qualifications for a pastor because he does not yet have children. He's just getting married; he's not to that point. To be a pastor or a deacon, you must be one who is married to one wife and having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. In this passage here, these guys that are being sent out, they're actually not married, either. Neither Paul nor Barnabas were married nor had children. He's getting married, of course, as he begins his ministry, so he's not going to be a pastor, but he's going to be sent there as a man of God, and there is a scriptural position of being an evangelist. Otherwise, what is Paul doing? What is Barnabas doing? These guys are going and evangelizing and going to a place that does not have established Baptist churches whatsoever. Not just that they don't cross the T and dot the I, but they just don't have them. He's going there to evangelize a new area, not in the United States where there's a Baptist church on every corner.
People get mad when I say that, but they get ma because of the fact that it's the truth and it's a little too close to home. I realize that a lot of Baptist churches are lame and watered down, but your spiritual life will be much better going to a church that's a little bit lame than not going to a Baptist church whatsoever and just sitting on your rear-end at home or making videos with a camcorder out in the woods or something and claiming Well I'm a man of God or whatever. I'm in the ministry.
So number one, leaders are identified, trained, and sent out of the local church. Brother Garrett Kirchway is one who is not a novice. He's not a newbie. He has been faithful. He knows the Bible. He knows what he's doing. He's mature in the faith. He's mature humanly speaking, and I believe that he'll represent our church very well as an evangelist both locally here for the next three and a half months and then when we send him to Botswana to go there and turn that place upside down with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now, if God blesses him with children, then he will eventually be ordained as a pastor of a local church, a local independent Baptist church in Botswana. Otherwise, someone else will step in and fill that role and be ordained as a pastor in that place.
Let's go to verse number 6 and see the second principle that we find in this passage. Number one, we saw that leaders are identified, trained, and sent out of the local church. They laid hands on these men, prayed for them, what many people would call ordination. They're being ordained not as a pastor of a church, not as a deacon in the church, but they're actually being ordained and sent out as evangelists. They're being ordained and sent out as missionaries.
Look what the Bible says in Acts 13, verse 6. "When they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him. And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord."
The second principle I see here about evangelists, or what we call missionaries, is that their job is not to just preach the gospel, but it's also to rebuke the false prophets and false doctrines of the area that they go into. So if a missionary comes in to an area, it's not just his job to only preach the plan of salvation. No, he needs to preach the whole word of God.
Go to Ephesians chapter 4 and I'll prove it to you further. It's his job to preach against the false prophets and the false teaching of his area. I've known of many missionaries who went to the Philippines. They won't preach against the Catholic church because the Catholic church is so prevalent, so strong there, it's going to offend too many people. Look, if you're not going to preach against the Roman Catholic church, don't go be a missionary to the Philippines. Just stay here. Just stay home, because if somebody's going to go into a nation that's given over to false doctrine, and many areas in the Philippines are given over to that Roman Catholic false doctrine. Many areas are given over to Islam and that wickedness. Look, they need somebody not to just preach the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but also to rebuke the false prophets and the false doctrine of that area. That's what Paul's doing. He confronts this Barjesus, this phony Elymas the sorcerer. He calls them a child of the devil, he rebukes his false doctrine, and then people got saved even as a result of that rebuke.
Look at Ephesians 4, verse 11. It says "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers." So God is giving apostles, which we know that today there are no more apostles because of the fact that an apostle was one who had seen the resurrected Christ in the flesh, but we do have prophets. Prophets just means preachers. A lot of people, they mix that up and think it means something that it doesn't. Prophet means preacher. He gave people that preach. They're not necessarily in a leadership role of being a pastor, a deacon, or an evangelist, but they preach. They're preachers. They're teachers.
The Bible says one of the things he gave is evangelists, and he gave pastors and teachers. What is the purpose? Look at verse 12. "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." So the evangelist's job is not to just give the plan of salvation and nothing else. No. He's also there to teach and preach the rest of the knowledge and to also edify the body of Christ and do the work of the ministry "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive."
So the Bible says there are people out there who are lying in wait to deceive and they're cunning and they're crafty and they preach lies and false doctrine. It's the job of the pastor and the teacher to teach people so that they won't get sucked into that. To warn them about false doctrine, and this also falls under what the evangelist is called to do.
You see, the evangelist, in carrying out the great commission to teach all nations, not only is he to teach the gospel, but he's also to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and then he's also to teach them to observe all things whatsoever Christ commanded. That's all encompassed in the great commission.
Now, when you think of Botswana in particular, this is a place that is filled with false doctrine and false prophets. I mean it is just filled with a phony, false Christianity. One of the biggest false doctrines over there is the charismatic movement, and I feel like Brother Garrett has been perfectly prepared for this because Brother Garrett, before he was saved, was deeply involved in the charismatic movement. I mean he knows the charismatic movement and he's going to be ready not to just go there and say well I don't want to offend anybody, I'm just going to preach the truth and just, you know, hopefully they'll figure out that this other stuff's a lie. No, he's going to go there and confront that false doctrine head-on and he's going to preach against the lies of the Benny Hinn types and these charlatans and their false doctrine and their phony tongue-speaking, as they call it, which has nothing to do with what the Bible teaches about other tongues, it's a bunch of babbling and nonsense.
In Botswana, a lot of this charismatic movement is taking the word of God and mixing it with some of the local tribal customs that these people had before they supposedly converted to Christianity, so it's just a lot of weird voodoo jungle religion mixed in with the word of God, and it has no place being mixed in with the word of God.
Just as the Roman Catholics mix in a bunch of Roman paganism with the word of God, a lot of these people in Africa, they're mixing in a bunch of pagan, folk religion and they're mixing that stuff in. Listen, it's demonic. All this rolling in the aisles, foaming at the mouth, barking like a dog, laughing hysterically, it's demonic. Somebody needs to go over there and rip some face and preach against this stuff and expose people to the truth.
Look, it's filled. You say, well Botswana already has a lot of Christians there. It's a predominantly Christian country, someone might say. But if you look at what type of Christianity they have over there, it's predominantly the Anglican church. It's predominantly the Methodists. It's predominantly the charismatic movement. All of these corrupted, apostate, Protestant religions and Pentecostals that don't believe that salvation is by grace through faith alone. No, they don't. They're not preaching out of a King James Bible, they're preaching out of these modern, messed-up Bible versions. They're teaching that you can lose your salvation. They're teaching all kinds of lies and false doctrine. They're not preaching the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, and Baptists are virtually nonexistent over there. I mean there are almost no Baptist in the whole country, and the ones that are over there are a bunch of NIV-preaching, totally corrupted in their doctrine.
Look, I'm sure that there are some that are over there that are right, but this is a country of two million people, and yes there are, I'm sure, many people that are saved and many people that do believe right, but I'm telling you that the predominance over there is false doctrine. The predominance over there is the modern Anglican and modern Methodist churches, which are total apostate religions that deserve a whole other sermon just against them.
See, it's the job of the evangelist to preach the gospel, to preach salvation, but also to preach against the false doctrine. Preach against the heretics. Preach against the false teachers.
Thirdly, let's get another important principle from this passage in Acts chapter 13. We're going to stay in Acts 13 the whole sermon. Look at verse number 14. "But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down. And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on. Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience." And then he goes on to preach a long sermon that I'm not going to re-read. Brother Garrett himself already just read it before the sermon began.
What we see here is a third principle of missions, and that is that evangelists should preach wherever God opens the door for them to preach. Now, these guys aren't even preaching in a Christian church here. They're showing up at a Jewish synagogue that has an open mic. That says Hey if you guys want to get up and say anything, come on down. Of course, they get up there and they boldly preach. I mean they preach a hard sermon rebuking the Jews for not accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior, and they end up getting a lot of people saved and God uses this opportunity in a great way. So evangelists should follow this great example and preach wherever God opens a door for them to preach.
Now I do the same thing as the pastor of this church. See, the Bible instructs a pastor to do the work of an evangelist. Why? Because even pastors should be out soul-winning. Even pastors should be bringing the gospel to the lost and doing the work of an evangelist, and I take every opportunity that I can get to preach unto the heathen if I'm given the chance to preach.
For example, every single semester I go and preach multiple times at South Mountain Community College. Now that's not exactly an independent fundamental Baptist organization. That's a government school. That's a government community college, and I get to go in there. I've also done the same thing at ASU, where I was invited in to a class to preach. The class was called religious extremism, but I was invited as a guest preacher, okay? I got to go in there and preach. At South Mountain Community College, I've preached in the world religions class, representing fundamental Christianity. I've preached in their classes about philosophy, classes about religion, and I go in there, I preach the gospel, I preach the plan of salvation, I preach other biblical truths. I'll get up and preach for an hour and 15 minutes to these students, and I do this multiple times per semester. Some people have criticized that and said Well hey what are you doing preaching in this heathen institution, but I will say this: I think it's biblical, as well. I'll preach anywhere that I'm invited to preach as long as I can say whatever I want.
I refuse to censor the message. And by the way, the apostles in the book of Acts, they refused to censor the message, also. They're told, hey don't preach in the name of Jesus. Don't speak this. They said, no, we are to obey God rather than men. Look, if I can't preach the whole counsel of God; if I'm told to censor the message and water it down, then I'll just skip that preaching engagement.
Listen to me. I've been invited to a Southern Baptist church to preach. I'll preach there. I've done it. I was invited to a community church. So-and-so the community church, and I said sure. As long as I can preach whatever I want, and I know I'm not going to censor the message, I don't even know how, so I'll take any opportunity to preach. I mean, hey, I'd get up and preach at a Roman Catholic church as long as I could tell them that their church is filled with idolatry and that praying to Mary and praying to the saints is an abomination and that the pope is an Antichrist, I'd be glad to preach there. I'll preach in a Jewish synagogue. I'll preach in a Mormon church. Hey, I'll preach anywhere that I'm invited to preach as long as I can preach whatever God lays on my heart, and that's what He's going to lay on my heart in those places, just so you know.
As long as I can preach the unadulterated word of God. Listen, I've never been censored at South Mountain Community College. I've gone over there, and anybody who's gone with me knows, I don't hold anything back. I preach just as hard there as I preach here, and it's totally allowed.
Now, I remember when I was in bible college, they were teaching us about this ministry that their church was doing, and it was called Responsibility USA. I don't know what kind of a name that is for a ministry, but this was their public school ministry. They said oh this ministry is great because we get a chance to go in and reach the public school kids with the gospel of Jesus Christ through our Responsibility USA. But here's the thing, they weren't allowed to mention Jesus. They couldn't say the name of Jesus, and they said okay. Is that what Peter and John would have said? But they are told hey don't mention Jesus, don't mention heaven, don't mention hell. Okay, okay, and they go in and just give a message of hey, don't do drugs. Hey, practice abstinence. Hey, don't drink and drive. Responsibility USA. Then they would say, hey if you want to learn more, you can show up at this youth night that we're having, and try to draw them out of there and get them over to this other meeting where they give them the real thing. Where they preach them the word of God.
Look, the ends doesn't justify the means. I'm not going to walk into some place and be told speak to the students but don't mention Jesus. Hey, if the name of Jesus is not welcome, then I'm going to skip it. I don't care what the building is, I don't care what the engagement is, I don't care if there's a family gathering and they said hey don't mention the name of Jesus, don't pray in Jesus' name just pray ... I'd just say look, I'll skip it. If Jesus' name isn't welcome, then I don't feel welcome either and I'll skip it. Responsibility USA. How about Jesus Christ for the USA? How about faith alone for salvation for the USA? How about heaven or hell USA! That's what we ought to have a ministry about.
Look, as soon as that college told me hey you can't preach certain things from the word of God, I'd just say okay well I appreciate you having me. It was good while it lasted. See you later.
Now what does this apply to Botswana? Well, from what I've heard--and Brother Garrett and I are obviously going to know more once we get there and begin the work and especially once he really gets into it over there--but from what we understand, there's an opportunity over there to go in and preach in the public schools. Where a preacher can come in and boldly preach the world of God in the public schools, and that would be allowed and invited and welcome. Hey, that's a great opportunity. I mean that's great. That's like when Paul was able to just go into the synagogue and get behind enemy lines and just preach the word of God, preach the gospel. So that's going to be a great opportunity. Another reason why Botswana is a great place to send a missionary, because it's a place of opportunities. I got to hurry up, though.
Number four: Look at verse 42. The Bible reads: "And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."
Number four is this: We should preach the gospel to those who are receptive, and if people are not receptive, move on. What do we see in this passage? He tries to preach it to the Jews. They're not receptive. What does he do? He moves on to a group of people that wanted to hear the word of God, that wanted to hear the truth. This is an important principle when it comes to missions.
Look, I'm not going to criticize anybody who's doing legitimate work for the kingdom of God and who's legitimately doing their best to follow the word of God and preach the gospel, but I'm going to tell you right now, as the pastor of this church, as the leader here, I don't want anything to do with any missions program that's going to an unreceptive area. I'm not interested. I think it's a waste of time, and I think it's unbiblical. You know, if somebody wants to go there and beat their head against the wall, God bless them, but I'm not going to encourage young men to do that. I'm not going to put my money or resources, and I'm also not going to put this church's money or resources, toward something that's not working and toward something that is just an unreceptive lost cause.
Today, missionaries have drilled this into our head like, hey it's just about reaching one soul. Hey let's go there for 15 years and just reach a handful of souls. Look, that doesn't make any sense friends. You say well but the value of one soul. Yeah, but what's the value of two souls? What's the value of ten? What's the value of 15? You say well how dare you say that. Well, this is biblical teaching. It's not just in Acts 13, oh no. Jesus said in many places ... First of all He said go to the poor, the blind, the maimed and the [halt 00:38:48] first because they're the most receptive. Not only that, Jesus said this. When they persecute you in this city, flee into another. That's what He said. He said if you enter in to a town or city and they don't receive your word, shake off the dust of your feet and go to the next city. That was the soul-winning instruction, my friend. He didn't say hey just stay there and beat your head against the wall for the next 20 years.
Now, it sounds good when these missionaries portray it to you that way and they make it sound really great how, man, we were there for 20 years and we didn't think we accomplished anything but it turned out we got these 17 people saved or something. It's all worth it for that one soul. Except that you're not following a biblical model, and while you beat your head against the wall trying to reach those 17 people, you could have got 1700 people saved in a receptive area.
Now, hear me out. Listen to me. First of all, the Bible is on my side here because the Bible clearly states that if people aren't interested, you move on. As evidenced in this passage. If this town doesn't want it, you go to the town that does. You'll notice Paul stayed in the places where the door was open and where the people were being saved. Okay, but I don't see anything in scripture--and again I'm not trying to hurt anybody's feelings, I'm just teaching the bible--I don't see anything in scripture that says hey, take the word of God underground when it becomes illegal to preach the word of God. I mean, can anybody point me to something in scripture that says hey, go underground. Do it by stealth. Do it in secret. I don't see anywhere that says take the gospel underground. I'm not trying to offend people or hurt anybody's feelings, I'm just teaching what I see in the Bible. God says if they persecute you in this city, you flee unto another, and you open your mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.
We preachers, we should only know how to preach one way. No holds barred. That should be the only way that we know how to preach, and all we should know how to do is just go soul-winning and just walk around and just talk to anybody and everybody and just give the gospel. That should just be who we are.
You say, oh man, we're going to support this missionary. Again, look, if people want to do this, fine, but I'm just telling you, this is not our missions model at this church because of the fact I don't believe it's biblical, but if people want to go risk their lives and beat their head against the wall, hey God bless them, but I'm not interested. I'm interested in following Jesus' plan for soul-winning. Look, I'm not going to send somebody to a country where it's illegal to preach the gospel, and that's what some ...
Some missionaries will be sent to a place where it's illegal to preach the gospel. Now, look, are they going to go there and just preach anyway and just be thrown in jail and martyred? Okay, no, what their plan is, is to go over there and do it under the radar. So they'll go to a place like Iran. You know, a place like, I don't know, in the Islamic world or North Korea or whatever, where they can't preach openly, and they'll do it under the radar and as a result they can't really get that many people saved. It's going to be a really small scale because they have to just get to know their neighbor real well and invite them over to dinner 5000 times and then sort of pray before their meal and see what happens. It's kind of like stealth, underground ...
It just seems to be a waste of resources because here's what I could do instead. Don't just think, oh I don't agree with him; think about what I'm saying. Just hear me out, okay? What if you, instead of going to that Muslim country where it's illegal to soul-win and you got to be all stealth and cloak-and-dagger, and you're lucky to get eight people saved or something, what if instead you went to a receptive place where you can just freely preach the gospel? You say, yeah, but those people are already hearing the gospel. We got to get it to these people behind the barbed wire. But let's just say you went to the receptive place. Let's just say you went to Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix, Arizona, is a pretty receptive place and we have a great opportunity here to win souls. Here's the thing.
Please take the baby out if it's not going to be quiet, just so that we don't disturb the whole service. We're very patient and tolerant with babies, but we do ... If they keep crying, please take them to the back. That's what the rooms are for.
If it's totally legal here to preach the gospel, and people want to hear the gospel, and we can get people saved on a weekly basis, and if we try hard we can get people saved on a daily basis here, it makes more sense to be here doing that and we're going to win Muslims in the process. Think about it. You go to some Muslim country where you're hiding and beating your head against the wall to get eight Muslims saved. You can get eight Muslims saved in Phoenix, Arizona, my friend. There are whole neighborhoods of Islamic refugees, Islamic communities, and there are all kinds of opportunities right here in the United States.
Look, if you went and were a missionary to Botswana, just in the process of winning a ton of people to the Lord that are receptive, that are ready to hear the gospel, you're going to win all kinds of people from literally every nation in the world because Botswana is a great tourist attraction. People go there to see the zebras and the giraffes and the lions. You know, it's Africa, and it's actually a popular safari place so they have just a massive amount of tourists coming through every year. Why would you sit there and go to some super-hard place when God said if they persecute you, don't go underground. Leave. Why? Because you're not as effective for Christ underground as you are preaching from the housetops. That's why he told us to preach from the housetops.
Show me the verse that says go underground. Show me the verse that says go where it's illegal. Go where they're denying you to do it. Now look, if you're going to go behind enemy lines and preach the gospel and want to give your life for Christ, hey I respect that, but I just can't get behind this cloak-and-dagger, stealth missions. Again, I'm not trying to just rip on other people and I'm not downplaying the sacrifices that others make, but I'm just telling you that if we follow the Bible, we're going to be more effective, we're going to get more done. It just makes sense to go to Botswana than to go to Iran. It just makes more sense to go to Botswana than it does to go to Iceland. Why? Because in Iceland nobody wants to hear the gospel. Why would you go beat your head against the wall in Iceland when you could be in Botswana getting somebody saved every day?
Brother Garrett's future wife is already over there in Botswana. She's already winning souls, and she is having a great time winning souls because the people over there are hungry for the gospel and they are receptive. That's where we ought to be going. That's where we ought to be sending a missionary. Yeah, we'll evangelize Iceland and Italy and Saudi Arabia and all the most unreceptive places we can find after we're done with all the receptive places. It's just like in the city here. Where do we go first to go soul-winning? Paradise Valley? Scottsdale? No. First we go to Guadalupe, South Phoenix, Mesa. We go to the receptive, then, last of all, we go across the street from the Mormon temple. It just makes sense to go first to the receptive because you're accidentally going to win more people to the Lord from those areas anyway.
I mean look, I can take you soul-winning to a place here where you'll think you're in Africa. I could take you soul-winning to a place in Phoenix where you'll think that you're in the Islamic world. I could take you to a place where you think you're in China, so why don't you win all these Chinese people to the Lord first, before you decide to go underground? Again, if you think about it and if you study the word of God, you'll see that what I'm saying is the truth. It's a biblical principle for missions. If they're not receptive, move on.
If Brother Garrett goes to Botswana and he calls me and says man, nobody's getting saved over here. These people are just hardened to the gospel. In fact, I keep getting arrested every time I try to preach. Then I would say hey, well then it's time to come home. But that's not going to happen, and that's why we're even choosing this place. It's a great opportunity. The door is wide open.
Number five, and this is an important point for missions: The goal of an evangelist or a missionary is to do a big work for God and to reach an entire region with the gospel. Did you hear that? Do a big work for God and to reach the entire region with the gospel. That's the goal.
Look at it in the passage here. Acts 13, verse 49. "And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region." Did you hear that? The word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. "But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium."
Yeah, they finally got thrown out. They finally got persecuted, and they just shook the dust off their feet and moved on to the next place. But you know what they'd already done? They'd already pretty much reached the whole region with the gospel. The entire region. These guys did a big work for God. They were thinking big and their goal was to reach the entire region with the gospel of Jesus Christ. You say what's the goal? What's the goal of sending Brother Garrett Kirchway into Botswana as a missionary? What's the vision? What's the plan?
Look, I'll be disappointed if we don't get the gospel to every single person in Botswana. Two million people. That's the plan. That's the goal. Not to just be a little outpost or a lighthouse or a little oasis in a spiritual desert. No, no, no. It's to get the gospel to every man, woman, boy, and girl in that country. You say well you're crazy. No, no, no. It's doable. It's realistic for those who think big. The small-minded will struggle with that goal. It's humanly possible for one man to show up in Botswana and to preach and to win souls and to train soul-winners and to reach the entire nation.
Now I'm not saying get the whole nation saved. That would be a silly goal because we know that people decide whether or not they're going to get saved. That's the free will of the individual. That's a personal choice. Broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. But that every single person in Botswana would hear the gospel, or at least be given the chance: Hey, can I show you the gospel? And that every person in Botswana would know that there had been a prophet among them. That's the vision. That's the goal.
What's my vision for Phoenix, Arizona? What was the vision when I got here? Look, I have a big giant map on the wall there, and by the way, there's another piece to that map that goes even higher, that's in a room over here, that's eventually going to be shaded in, as well, because my goal is to knock every single door in Maricopa County. The whole greater Phoenix area, which represents 3.9 million people. That's the goal. Get the gospel to four million people.
What's his goal? Get the gospel to two million people. It's doable if we get a vision. If we get excited. Two many missionaries today think small. They get this one soul thing drilled into their head. One soul, just get that one soul. Look, I get it. I get the value of one soul, but what about the value of 30 souls, or 60 or 100? Don't give me this one soul thing. I don't see Jesus' whole ministry reaching one soul. I don't see John the baptist reaching one soul. I don't see Paul reaching one soul. I don't see Peter and John. No, I saw them reaching multitudes is what I saw. Multitudes! Both men and women. That's what they did, and that's what we're supposed to do.
Jesus said the works that I do shall ye do and greater works. He didn't say smaller works. He didn't say go small, He said go bigger. I'm only reaching the lost sheep of the house of Israel. You're going to go into all the world. And the Bible tells us that they turned the world upside down. The goal is to turn Botswana upside down with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The goal is to get the gospel to every man, every woman, every boy, every girl, every town, every city, every village, and get a whole bunch of tourists saved into the bargain. THat's the plan. That's the goal.
We need to think big. Too many missionaries are sitting around tending to their gardens and growing flowers and tulips and saying well, we just really want to manicure our yard because then we'll be a good testimony unto our neighbors who we're hoping to give the gospel to after we've had them over for dinner for the twelfth time. You know this whole thing of Well it's different here. This is what people try to tell you. Well you don't understand. It's not like the United States. Soul-winning doesn't work here. You got to get to know the people. You got to build their trust. No, you go there and you open your mouth and you preach the gospel and if they don't want to hear it, you move on to the next person. Yeah, there are people that over time you're going to build relationships with and get saved, but that's secondary. Primary is to go give the gospel to every creature.
Let me just do a quick review of these points and then I'll be done.
Point number one: Leaders are identified, trained, and sent out of the local church. Not just a commando or a lone ranger, but someone who is being sent out by the authority of the local church, who's been tested and proven and tried by the local church and has been found faithful. Where we can send him out enthusiastically and lay hands on him and pray for power upon his ministry as he goes out to do the work that God has called him to do. The local church.
Number two: Evangelists are to rebuke false prophets and false doctrine where they go. Not only that, they need to preach against sin. Let me tell you something: Botswana is a place where sin abounds. Oh, sin abounds there. Here's the good news about Botswana: The good news is that it's one of the safest countries in Africa. It's a safe place. Garrett's not going to have to worry about just constantly taking a beating in an alley or something just because he's the rich white man to them, or whatever. It's a pretty safe place. That's great.
Here's another great thing about Botswana: They speak English there. Former British colony. All their schooling is in English from a certain age. He doesn't have to go over there and beat his head against the wall trying to learn this super-hard language, or especially those click languages that are in parts of Botswana. Anyway, he's going to go over there and he's going to be able to just right away preach the gospel to the people in English. Speak English. But get this: In Botswana, 25% of the population is infected with HIV. 25%. You know what? They didn't get HIV by osmosis, folks. There's fornication over there. There's sodomy over there. There's sin going on in order for that STD--sexually transmitted disease--to be prevalent. You could say well there's other ways to get it, but you know what? A lot of people are getting it over there through fornication because fornication does abound. Honestly, Brother Garrett needs to not only get people saved, but he also needs to go over there and preach hard on sin. He needs to preach against the fornication.
Missionaries, they get this idea, and I don't know where this came from, but they get this idea that somehow as a missionary they just need to stick to the basics, because we're just reaching these people as brand-new believers.
Please take the baby out, okay? I asked you to take it out. Please take it out right now.
They think somehow that they have to keep the preaching on the bottom shelf because, after all, we're going into a territory where people don't really know the Bible and so we keep the preaching real basic. The thing that doesn't make any sense about that is that if you're a pastor in the United States that's doing his job properly, you're constantly bringing in new believers, too. Think about that. Our church, whether it's been around for 10 minutes or 10 years, ought to be bringing in new believers on a weekly or monthly basis. We should constantly be reaching people, right? But yet there's this attitude out there that says oh, well, when you first start a church you got to preach light. You don't want to preach too hard because they're new believers, after all. Here's the problem with that philosophy: 10 years later, when the church is filled with seasoned Christians, you're still going to have those new people coming in. Either they're going to be able to handle the hard preaching or they're not. That's life.
This idea of well we got to keep the preaching just real dumbed down, real basic, just stick with just a positive message of just the gospel. No, no, no, no, no. Now when we walk up to an unsaved person and knock on their door, soul-winning, of course we stick to only the gospel because the person is not even saved. That's all they need. Christ and Him crucified. But then when you get up behind the pulpit to preach, I don't care if you're in Botswana or Boston, I don't care if you're in a church that's been around for 100 years or 100 days, you preach the whole Bible, including preaching against fornication. Including preaching against the false prophets and false doctrine. You preach the whole Bible, not this thing of like ...
I've noticed sometimes that guys who can't really preach that well, it's like, oh make them a missionary. Because it's like people expect missionaries to be a weak preacher, which is sad. No preacher should be a weak preacher or a soft preacher. If you're going to be soft and weak, don't preach. Leave it to somebody who can get it done. Brother Garrett is a dynamic preacher. He preaches hard. That's what they need over there. That's what they need everywhere.
Number two: Evangelists need to rebuke the false prophets and false doctrines. That's what a missionary is called to do.
Number three: They should preach wherever God opens a door. Not just, obviously, the weekly services. Not just the door-to-door soul-winning, but hey if you can get an opportunity to go into a school or go into an apostate church and go there and preach the truth? Take it. Go for it. The apostles did.
Number four: We should preach the gospel to those who are receptive. If people aren't receptive, move on. Shake off the dust of your feet.
Number five: The goal of an evangelist is to do a big work for God and to reach an entire region with the gospel. It's doable. Now one man doesn't do it, but it starts with one man and then he trains others, reaches others, organizes others, and listen, we're not going over there to Botswana to play games. I'm just telling you that right now. If that's what this is, then let's just pull the plug on it right now. Let's just cancel it right now. It's not too late to cancel. If we're just going to go over there and play a few games and knock a few doors and just reach some tiny village, no, no, no. The whole nation or I'm out. Whole city. Find the biggest city, million people in it. Are we reaching everybody or what? Otherwise, count me out. I'll get involved in something else. I'll put my time, energy, and resources, and the time, energy, and resources of this church into something else that's a winner.
Folks, the time is short, and we are living in the last days. We don't have time to goof around. I don't want to goof around here in Arizona. I don't want to goof around anywhere. I don't want to tend the tulip garden. Nuts to it. Dig up those tulips, make a salad out of them, and go soul-winning. Think big. Go big or go home is the message that missionaries need to be hearing. The whole region, but you know what? I believe that God's going to do an amazing work in Botswana, and if you feel the same way, say amen. I think it's going to be great. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer.
Lord, we thank you so much for this opportunity, Lord, that we have to extend our influence as a church, Lord, not only to knock every door here in Phoenix again and again with the gospel. Not only to turn Arizona upside down with the gospel, Lord, but thank you for giving us this opportunity, Lord, to reach out and send out our soul-winner, Lord. Our preacher. Our kind of guy. To be able to send him to a place like Botswana that's just ripe unto harvest, Lord. What an opportunity. What an exciting thing to get involved in. Just to be a part of it, Lord, it's exciting, and help us to be excited about it. And Father I pray that you would just bless over the next few months as we prepare for this great undertaking, and prepare Brother Garrett, prepare all of us as a church, Lord, prepare the resources that he's going to need, and Lord I pray that you would just go before to Botswana and prepare the people, Lord, for a great harvest of souls to be reached with the gospel, Lord. Thank you so much for giving us a man like Brother Garrett that we could send to do a job like this, and thank you for the opportunity to be involved in your work, Lord. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
All right, we broke the record this morning. What is our attendance this morning? 239. What was our old Sunday morning record? Wow, we smashed it. So our old record was 222. We have 239 people here this morning, and so that means that we're having ice cream after the service.