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I Am Not Ashamed: Going into Your World

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Theme: We need to go into “all the world” but we especially need to go into “our” world.
Theme:
Date: 07/09/17 File name: Romans46.wpd ID Number:
Date: 07/09/17 File name: Romans46.wpd ID Number:
One hundred and fifty years ago, the modern missions movement was just beginning, and Africa was the focus of the effort. Africa was called the “Dark Continent” not merely because large swaths of it remained unexplored, but also because the Gospel had not penetrated into the interior.
Robert Moffatt, a well-known Scottish Congregationalist missionary to South Africa was back touring Scotland attempting to enlist more missionaries for the work. He arrived in Blantyre, Scotland on a cold, rainy night to speak at a church. To his dismay, the only people in the service that night were women. He seriously considered canceling his message, but instead went ahead and preached to them from Matthew, chapter nine about the need for the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers. He told those gathered, “Every morning when I get up and look at the horizon, I see the smoke from a thousand villages where the name of Christ has never been heard.” Robert Moffatt did not know that there was a teenager in the service. He was hidden up in the organ loft where his job was to pump the bellows for the pipe organ. That young boy would be haunted by Moffatt’s description of “ ... the smoke from a thousand villages where the name of Christ has never been heard.” That Christian teenager, that night, decided that he would become a missionary. His name was David Livingstone.
I grew up learning about Livingstone in history class, but what I learned was that he was a great explorer ... the one who discovered the source of the Nile River, exploring and mapping much of central Africa. It wasn’t until I was in college and had a class on the history of missions that I discovered that he was first, and foremost, a Christian missionary. Always seeking to take the Gospel to new areas and new tribes Livingstone went deeper and deeper into the interior, finally losing contact with the outside world. For six years neither family or friends heard from him, and the assumed he was “lost” and perhaps even dead. Some of you know the rest of the story ... how the New York Times hired Henry Stanley, himself an explorer, to go and search for Livingstone. Stanley searched for two years, and when finally finding him uttered the now famous words "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" Stanley would later write, “He converted me to Christ, and he wasn’t even trying to do so.” Livingstone would die a few years later. His body was taken back to Great Britain and lies entombed at Westminster Cathedral. His heart, however, was not buried with him. According to his wishes, and written instruction, his heart was removed from his body, and buried in Africa. He wrote, “My heart has always been here, and this is where I want my heart to stay.”
The Apostle Paul lived eighteen hundred years before the “modern” missions movement began. Like Moffatt and Livingstone, and countless other missionaries, the Apostle was motivated by “ ... the smoke from a thousand villages where the name of Christ has never been heard.” And in the closing paragraphs of his letter to the Christians at Rome he shares his passion.
In this passage I want you to see 1) Paul’s Position, 2) Paul’s Practice, 3) Paul’s Passion, 4) Paul’s Plan, and 5) Paul’s Prayer, and then some application for us.

I. PAUL’S POSITION: HIS IDENTITY WAS CENTERED ON MISSIONS v. 14-18

I. PAUL’S POSITION: HIS IDENTITY WAS CENTERED ON MISSIONS v. 14-18
ILLUS. In American society, most people identify themselves to others by their position within the culture. When someone asks, “Who are you?” our typical response is, “I’m a banker,” or “I’m a teacher,” or “I’m nurse.” In that regard, the Apostle Paul may have fit into our culture amazingly well.
1. if you would have asked Paul who he was, his first response would have been “I’m a missionary.”
missionary.”
a. the Apostle Paul was many things: an Apostle by the grace of God, Christian Apologist, Tent Maker, Church Planter, Author, Theologian, and Philosopher
Apologist, Tent Maker, Church Planter, Author, Theologian, and Philosopher
b. but first and foremost the apostle considers himself an missionary ... that’s his position in life
position in life
“ ... because of the grace God gave me 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” (, NIV)
2. but Paul is a missionary to a specific group of people
a. he is a missionary to the nations
b. the word translated Gentiles in these two verse is the word from which we derive the word ethnicity
the word ethnicity
c. Paul is God’s tool for reaching the Kaleidoscope of Gentile ethnic groups within the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
ILLUS. Most of you know the story of Paul’s coming to Christ. His name is originally Saul. He is a Pharisee’s Pharisee, passionate — even fanatical — about his Jewish faith, and keeping the Law. He hates the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. He believes Jesus to have been a false Messiah who was leading Israel astray. His disciples were just as bad, and Saul has made it his life-mission to destroy these people called “Christian.” He is on his way to the city of Damascus, arrest warrants in hand, to detain all the Christians he can round up. But something extraordinary happens. In a vision, Jesus reveals himself to Saul. He immediately falls to the ground and calls Jesus “Lord.”
It’s the next part of the story that many don’t know about, or forget about ... the intercession of a disciple named Ananias: “In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.” (, NIV)
1) the ethnic diversity of 1st century Europe was immense
2) customs and languages varied from region to region, from valley to valley, and sometimes from town to town
sometimes from town to town
ILLUS. In the list of peoples present on the Day of Pentecost in , no less than 16 nationalities are listed. But thanks to a conqueror named Alexander the Great, who had subdued much of the Mediterranean basin 300 years previously, virtually everyone spoke Greek, the language franca of the era. It meant that wherever the Apostle Paul went, he could communicate the Gospel in the language of the people.
3. the Apostle sees preaching, and teaching, and sharing the Gospel with the Gentiles as his priestly duty so that, in their conversion, they become an offering acceptable to God
his priestly duty so that, in their conversion, they become an offering acceptable to
God

II. PAUL’S PRACTICE: HE SHARED THE GOSPEL WHEREVER HE WENT v. 19

“by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.” (, NIV)
1. the apostle writes, from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel
ministry of the gospel
a. it’s a summarization of his missionary travels to that point, and describes the extent of his travels
extent of his travels
b. Paul's ministry was wide
1) if you have a study Bible you can look in the maps section and find the journeys of the apostle Paul on his missionary trips
of the apostle Paul on his missionary trips
2) what is amazing is the geographical distance this man covered in preaching the gospel
gospel
c. in a succession of missionary journeys he traveled throughout the heart of the Roman Empire — from Jerusalem all the way around through Illyricum
Roman Empire — from Jerusalem all the way around through Illyricum
1) Illyricum was a Roman province that corresponds to what most of us knew as the nation of Yugoslavia before its breakup
nation of Yugoslavia before its breakup
2) again, if you would look at a map, you would see that this is a huge swath of territory that the apostle journeyed through preaching the gospel wherever he went
territory that the apostle journeyed through preaching the gospel wherever he went
3) and then the apostle quotes from the prophet Isaiah saying that his missionary work is a fulfillment of prophecy
work is a fulfillment of prophecy
"Rather, as it is written: "Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand."" (, NIV
2. the Apostle takes seriously the general commission that Jesus gave his followers — as you are going, make disciples — with the more specific commission that Jesus gave Paul personally as a chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles
you are going, make disciples — with the more specific commission that Jesus gave Paul personally as a chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles
a. wherever Paul goes, wherever he finds himself whether it be a synagogue, a sports stadium, a market square, or a jail Paul regularly and consistently tells people the Gospel
stadium, a market square, or a jail Paul regularly and consistently tells people the Gospel
3. his message is a specific message — it’s the Gospel — meaning good news, the good news being that, by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to the Scriptures alone God saves sinners, to His glory alone
news being that, by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to the Scriptures alone God saves sinners, to His glory alone

III. PAUL’S PASSION: HE DESIRED TO TAKE THE GOSPEL TO NEW PLACES v. 20-21

“It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. 21 Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.”” (, NIV)
1. Paul was always happy to share the gospel where he happened to be, but Paul had a special heart to go where the gospel had not been shared before
special heart to go where the gospel had not been shared before
ILLUS. He has the StarTrek passion to “Boldly go where no man has gone before!”
2. believe it or not, Christians can still go where the name of Jesus has never been heard
ILLUS. When missiologists talk about the state of world evangelism, they refer to three groups:
groups:
Unevangelized People Groups
• Unreached People Groups, and
Unreached People Groups, and
• Unengaged People Groups.
Unengaged People Groups.
Unevangelized to People Groups. Most people in an unevangelized people group have not personally heard the gospel but they do have public access to the message. Often they have friends or family members who are committed followers of Jesus. They have at least a vague understanding of God and Jesus and if they wanted to know more, they just need to show up at any of the dozens (or typically more) of churches in their community.
not personally heard the gospel but they do have public access to the message. Often they have friends or family members who are committed followers of Jesus. They have at least a vague understanding of God and Jesus and if they wanted to know more, they just need to show up at any of the dozens (or typically more) of churches in their community.
heard the gospel but they do have public access to the message. Often they have friends or family members who are committed followers of Jesus. They have at least a vague understanding of God and Jesus and if they wanted to know more, they just need to show up at any of the dozens (or typically more) of churches in their community.
Unreached People Groups. The vast majority of people in an unreached people group have not personally heard the gospel because there is extremely limited public access to the message. They have no church or Christians in their community adequately equipped to reach them.
Unengaged People Groups. No one in an unengaged people group currently has a chance of hearing the gospel because there is zero public access to the message. There are no churches or Christians in their community. People in an unengaged people group need the gospel. But unless something changes, they have zero chance of hearing it.
a. it’s this last group that the Apostle Paul has a passion for
b. and, as we will see, Paul literally wants to go to the end of the earth in his time — Spain
Spain

IV. PAUL’S PLAN: HE TOOK CONCRETE STEPS TO REACH THE NATIONS v. 22-29

1. Paul is what we might call, spiritually fidgety ... he is never content with how far the gospel has reached
gospel has reached
a. there is always the smoke of a thousand villages and towns and cities on the horizon where the people have not heard about Jesus
horizon where the people have not heard about Jesus
2. the Apostle is writing this letter to the Christians at Rome in the closing months of his third missionary journey
third missionary journey
a. as he looks back on the effort he writes, “ ... there is no more place for me to work in these regions, ... ” (, NIV)
in these regions, ... ” (, NIV)
1) Paul has done as much gospel planting and watering, and even harvesting in Asia Minor, the major Mediterranean islands, and southeastern Europe as he thinks he can
Asia Minor, the major Mediterranean islands, and southeastern Europe as he thinks he can
2) churches have been planted, pastors ordained, and Christians discipled, and now they can continue the work in their areas
now they can continue the work in their areas
3. Paul expresses his desire to head to unengaged people in Spain
a. and he outlines his plans to the congregation at Rome
ILLUS. One of the ways we get to know people is through the letters they write. In my work on Krueger family history, I have dozens of letters that the family has saved over the years. One of the more interesting series are about half-a-dozen exchanges between my great grandfather and grandmother while they were dating. Great grandmother Minnie is visiting family in St. Louis, and she “don’t like it in St. Louis, not a bit.” She’s homesick and longing to get back to the farm in Drake. Three times in a three-paragraph letter she talks of being home sick. Great grandfather August responds, saying he’s afraid that she will “git” over her home sickness and never want to return from St. Louis. He writes, “All joy is bereft me the day that you leaves me.” He closes, saying, “May your virtues shine like blossoms on a Pumkin vine.” As I read their letters, I catch a glimpse of their character, and what is important to them.
work on Krueger family history, I have dozens of letters that the family has saved over the years. One of the more interesting series are about half-a-dozen exchanges between my great grandfather and grandmother while they were dating. Great grandmother Minnie is visiting family in St. Louis, and she “don’t like it in St. Louis, not a bit.” She’s homesick and longing to get back to the farm in Drake. Three times in a three-paragraph letter she talks of being home sick. Great grandfather August responds, saying he’s afraid that she will “git” over her home sickness and never want to return from St. Louis. He writes, “All joy is bereft me the day that you leaves me.” He closes, saying, “May your virtues shine like blossoms on a Pumkin vine.”
As I read their letters, I catch a glimpse of their character, and what is important to them.
b. as we read through the Letter to the Romans we see it as a doctrinal treatise — a book full of doctrine and theology
book full of doctrine and theology
c. BUT, it is, first and foremost, a letter that — as we see here in this passage — expresses the Apostles character and what’s important to him
expresses the Apostles character and what’s important to him
d. he wants to get to Spain ... he REALLY wants to get to Spain, but FIRST he wants to spend some time with these brothers and sisters in Christ
to spend some time with these brothers and sisters in Christ
1st, he expresses his sincere desire to come and visit with the Christians at Rome — I have longed for many years to come and see you
• 2nd, before he heads their way, he is going to Jerusalem, taking the offering he has been collecting for the poor and starving Christians in Judea
2nd, before he heads their way, he is going to Jerusalem, taking the offering he has been collecting for the poor and starving Christians in Judea “Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem.” (, NIV)
“Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people
“Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people
there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem.” (, NIV)
3rd, once he has delivered the love offering, he will make plans to leave for Spain but he will do so by way of Rome, and looks forward to enjoying their company for a while
• 3rd, once he has delivered the love offering, he will make plans to leave for Spain but he will do so by way of Rome, and looks forward to enjoying their company for a while
4th, once he has been revived and refreshed by their fellowship, he plans to move on to Spain
• 4th, once he has been revived and refreshed by their fellowship, he plans to move on to Spain

V. PAUL’S PRAYER: HE LEANED ON GOD FOR SUPPORT IN TRIALS v. 30-33

“I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, 32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.” (, NIV)
1. Paul understands that he is not in this missionary venture alone
a. he hopes for their financial support
“I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.” (, NIV)
b. but more than their financial support, he needs the project undergirded by their prayer support
prayer support
2. the apostle recognizes the relationship between missions, ministry and prayer
a. the apostle asks them to pray for him
1) he asks them to pray for his protection from those who would oppose the gospel
2) he also asks them to pray that his service in the Lord will be acceptable
ILLUS. These prayers Paul encourages are not to be passing comments like, "By the way God, bless Paul and his missionary work," or like the generic prayers we so often pray ourselves, “God bless all the missionaries.” Paul encourages a real striving with him in prayer. It's a word that means "struggle" and implies working hard with another in order to accomplish a specific goal.
the way God, bless Paul and his missionary work," or like the generic prayers we so often pray ourselves, “God bless all the missionaries.” Paul encourages a real striving with him in prayer. It's a word that means "struggle" and implies working hard with another in order to accomplish a specific goal.

VI. APPLICATION

A. We Need to Be a Mission-minded People

1. Jesus did not give us a choice in this
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” (, NIV)
• “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”” (, NIV)
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”” (, NIV)
2. no, God does not call everyone to go to Africa, or Asia, or China to tell the Good News
a. but he does desire that everyone of us ...
1) 1st, tell the Good News to others in our little corner of the world
2) 2nd, that we help those who can go and will go to go
ILLUS. This congregation takes up three major missions offerings a year. The Christmas Offering for International Missions is an offering that helps send the Gospel to the ends of the earth. The Easter Offering for North American Missions is an offering that helps send the Gospel to our “Samaria” — our own nation as well as Canada. The Missouri Missions Offering stays right here in our own state — our “Judea.” While we don’t take an offering for it, we do budget for local missions right here in Linn — our “Jerusalem.” Add to that, an on-going offering that supplements the mission work of a man who grew up in this church, and ministers in South Africa — Gary Robertson and his family.
Christmas Offering for International Missions is an offering that helps send the Gospel to the ends of the earth. The Easter Offering for North American Missions is an offering that helps send the Gospel to our “Samaria” — our own nation as well as Canada. The Missouri Missions Offering stays right here in our own state — our “Judea.” While we don’t take an offering for it, we do budget for local missions right here in Linn — our “Jerusalem.” Add to that, an on-going offering that supplements the mission work of a man who grew up in this church, and ministers in South Africa — Gary Robertson and his family.
3. We Need to be a Mission-minded people

B. We Need to Share the Gospel

B. We Need to Share the Gospel
“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”” (, NIV)
1. how long do people have to know you, before they hear about Jesus?
2. the Church needs to rethink missions
a. missions is not something restricted to overseas
b. it’s not something restricted to the “professional” who is theologically trained
c. we have got to get this out of our heads
3. we have got to think of ourselves as “missionaries” to Linn, and Jefferson City, and Westphalia, and Chamois, and Frankenstein, and Mount Sterling, and Meta
Westphalia, and Chamois, and Frankenstein, and Mount Sterling, and Meta
a. missions work is not so much a vocation as it is a lifestyle

C. We Don’t Have to Go to Far Away Places to Find People Who Have Never Heard the Gospel

C. We Don’t Have to Go to Far Away Places to Find People Who Have Never Heard

the Gospel

1. we fool ourselves if we believe that we live in a Christian nation or a Christian community
community
a. Paul was spiritually fidgety — always wanting to take the Gospel message to places where it had never been heard
where it had never been heard
1) believe it or not, there are still places in the world where a Christian can go where the Gospel has not been proclaimed
where the Gospel has not been proclaimed
2. we live in a culture where the Gospel is readily available, but many have never heard it
a. they’ve heard about Jesus ... they’ve accepted the essential doctrines of the faith ... they’re good neighbors and good citizens ... and many of them regularly attend church
they’re good neighbors and good citizens ... and many of them regularly attend church
b. but the Gospel has never taken root in the soil of their heart, and their lost
3. and we are not being kind if we do not confront them with the Gospel

D. We Need to Pray for Those Engaged in the Work of Mission

D. We Need to Pray for Those Engaged in the Work of Mission
1. the Lord placed a burden on Paul’s heart for the Gentiles, and we need to pray that our hearts will be burdened for the lost
our hearts will be burdened for the lost
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