Based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Growing in Grace is a blog by Pastor Matthew Molesky. His posts explore the Bible, theology, ecclesiology, culture, books, family, and life.

International Evangelism at Home

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51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 
52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. 53 But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 And they went on to another village. 
57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”  (Luke 9:51-62, English Standard Version)

I preached on this text this last Sunday, and we spent a fair amount of time looking at the attitude of the disciples toward the Samaritans, and Jesus' response. Namely, how Jewish disciples were relating to a people-group ethnically, culturally, and religiously different, versus how Jesus wanted them to respond. And then, I argued that there was much for us to learn from this interchange, and then apply, to how we as American Baptists are relating to a people-group in our area, Somalis, who are ethnically, culturally, and religiously different, versus how Jesus wants us to respond.

While I won't repeat the sermon here (you can watch it for yourself if you'd like), I am grateful that it has created a tremendous amount of healthy discussion. Of course, that discussion will only be good if it bears the fruit of many of us reaching out, on mission with Jesus, toward those for whom he died. May it be so. I pray to that end.

But I don't want to stop at praying - although that is extremely important to the mission, as we will see this coming Sunday in Luke 10:1-24. I want to give you encouragement for international evangelism at home. What follows is the end of an article by Associate Pastor Andy Johnson, from Capitol Hill Baptist Church.

May God continue to save those from every tribe, and language, and people, and nation.

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Let your international investments inform your local ones.

We hope our church will find ways to reach out to Muslims, especially from nations where we have long-term missionaries at work. One of the best ways we’ve been able to do this is hosting our overseas workers for long-term stays when they are back in the States. And we want them spending months here, not days.

Having missionaries here with us who speak a people’s language and know their culture has been super helpful for building inroads among internationals. And if we are going to spend a lot of money sending people overseas to take the gospel to a particular people, we should certainly encourage our members to cross the street to reach the same people.

Be happy with unexpected fruit.

As a church that is heavily invested in mission to the Muslim world, I wasn’t expecting that most of the fruit of our local work with internationals would be from secular East Asia. But as God would have it, that’s been the case. And that’s great! As our members have gotten to know students on local campuses, this has been the wonderful result and we’re delighted. Be strategic, but realize that the Spirit moves wherever he will.

Remember that all peoples need the gospel.

Perhaps the best way to encourage a love for strangers is to keep reminding our people about the implications and imperatives that flow from the gospel. The only bridge we need to reach out to men and women from distant cultures is a reminder of our common state before God.

We all share the same parents. We all share in their sin. We all use our various cultures and man-made religions to hide from the true God and our guilt before him. We all need a savior from outside ourselves and from outside our culture. In short, we all need the gospel.

I know this may sound simplistic. But I’m convinced that, more than any program or effort or idea, the faithful preaching and careful application of God’s Word to the topic of cross-cultural evangelism is what God has most used to bring about the international fruit our own church is enjoying.

So pray for your own church. Lead them gently to embrace the nations around you. But build your church’s outreach all on a foundation of solid, gospel-informed love for every sheep who would come to hear [the King's] voice and follow him.

 

Though You Slay Me

Since We Have These Promises

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