Good morning it's great to be back here with you although it's not back here for me because this is the first time in this sanctuary it's beautiful Last time I was here as was Joyce and we were peering through the windows oh no there was a someone living in the house over here I'm sure he was wondering what are you doing on our property but we wanted to see the future home of Grace Bible Church of Phoenix and it's wonderful to be here with you today and taking part in worshipping God in this wonderful facility. This church means a lot to me and to my wife Joyce I don't know where Joyce is a oh there she is she's waving and I met Joyce in this church not this building of course but this church a church is the people of the church and it was I still remember the day February twenty three nineteen eighty six it was a Sunday evening service and I came to present the work that I was planning to do in Kenya as a missionary and Joyce was in attendance and I think some of the pastor and some other members were working to get us together and it must have worked because now we are married thirty two years and that year was a busy year thank you but we met February twenty third we were I think in gauged in June married August sixteenth and left for the mission field November third all of one thousand nine hundred six so that was a busy one and we praise the Lord we're still continue to serve the Lord Arthur three daughters were all born in Kenya while we were missionaries there and then now we have nine grandchildren hard to believe that that time has gone but we praise the Lord that we spent all those years serving the Lord together as a team that gives us great joy I always say I'm happy to grow old as I as long as I'm growing old with the Lord right as long as he's with us we can overcome all I was in ten. Recently at a conference and one of our pastors has just gone through tremendous turmoil in his family his wife passing and of cancer and then his daughter was murdered but at the end of it he says God's grace is sufficient and I will carry through Carry on carry through and God's grace is sufficient to overcome what we do face in this life so thank you to our Grace Bible Church thank you for supporting us all these years because that was also the year that you started supporting us and these thirty two years you stood with us in the ministry of proclaiming this wonderful gospel of God's grace and that's all you want to talk about today as we speak I just want to say in the international director now of things to commission I was a pioneer missionary for eighteen years with Joyce then I took the position of Executive Director in Indianapolis at our office that was eleven years and then three years ago I took the position of international director we spread out our leadership team and so now I am responsible for the overseas work of things to commission and I travel almost constantly visiting all the fields where we work we work in seventeen countries now and the world seems to be getting smaller and smaller as I travel around I think of how far how hard it was for the Apostle Paul to travel and I think of how easy it is for me to just sit on an airplane you know eating meals that they give me and I get to where I need to go but it does involve also training new missionaries and taking the gospel to new countries where we have not gone before and I'll talk about that coming up I wanted to talk about the Word of God First because mission is done because of what's written here. This challenge is off if I could not prove what I do from the Word of God I certainly would not be participating. In the lifestyle I am but because mission can be proved from the Word of God it challenges us it commissions us to do the work that God wants us to do and so I want to talk about that commission we have my sermons and titled seeking reconciliation seeking work reconciliation recently in Singapore we had the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong un of North Korea and if you live in that part of the world North Korea is always a concern there loose cannon you don't know what they're going to do and they don't have communication official communication with anybody and there was able to be a summit between the first time I think an American president has ever talked to the leader of North Korea and there is an attempt at least the first step to try to bring reconciliation of course we want him to reduce his nuclear weapons but we also would like to see reconciliation between North and South Korea as you know after the Korean War those two that was one country and families were just divided you know this line was drawn there and families were divided people haven't seen each other for decades now since the war ended and how wonderful it would be if reconciliation could be achieved in Korea and that's of course our hope and our prayer I still remember some of you who are younger won't remember one thousand nine hundred eighty nine when there was a special edition of the newspaper I was living in Kenya and it said the Berlin Wall has fallen how many of you remember that day OK Quite a number of you that was an exciting day remember that thing called the Cold War people were building bomb shelters in the backyards because there was going to be this nuclear holocaust and all of a sudden the Berlin Wall has fallen I remember President Reagan's speech Mr Gorbachev tear down these walls that's a. You can see it on youtube for those of you are younger but I remember that speech and it was just like a year later that wall came down and a couple years later Joyce and I were in action Berlin and Raible to see where that wall was and it's exciting that we could just walk across it and one time people were like shot with machine guns when they tried to walk across that same that same territory and now you can just walk across the younger generation they'd only nor Germany they don't realise there used to be two countries East Germany and West Germany but they were reconciled they were brought back together families that had been separated families that had been shot trying to see each other we're now reconciled and living together as one and what an exciting day that was for those people God These signed us to live in relationships that's the first point I'd like to make we go back to.
Creation I like to see the big picture so I go back to creation What's the first verse of the Bible in the beginning God created right the first Burr the first action of God is what creating and. When God created it expressed his individuality it expressed his free will and later on in the same chapter it says that God created us in His image rights and so we also have that ability to express our free will to express our individuality and as we look at around at the world we see that people still have that image of God that basic spark of God We see even someone who doesn't believe in God still can express their creativity they can create and we appreciate that God has put that into us that makes us unique being. Who were created by God that we are created in His image we have free will we can create and part of that free will that creativity is to develop relationships of course the greatest relationship we have is with God Himself the first one of the first questions God asked and the terrible question in the Bible where are you remember that question. After Adam and Eve ate of the tree they were hiding in the bushes I'm not sure I'm getting into eco Is this too far from my mouth or.
Maybe I don't know that OK but. They had enough of the tree and so when God came into the garden what did they do they hid from him they had a great relationship God had created them to live in relationship with him they had a spirit God is Spirit and they related to each other and then after they ate of that tree which God had for bid them from eating of he came into the garden to see them and they were nowhere to be found God was standing alone in the garden where he always stood and he was looking for those precious people that he had made and those people had exercised their free will. They had made the choice to disobey God and step out of the relationship instead of running to him to talk to him to embrace him they were hiding in the bushes. And God stood in the garden alone. And said Where are you.
Why did God ask that why didn't he just kill them and be done with it because God wants a relationship with us.
He loves us He wants us he desires that that friendship that communication that. It's interesting how God brought the animals to Adam and to see what he would name them think God can't name animals of course he can't he wanted to see what Adam exercising his own decision his own freewill would decide to name these animals and got accepted his decision they had a relationship with each other and that relationship sadly came to an end on that day with that terrible question where are you now we say God is still asking that question right because God still loves us just as much as he loved Adam and Eve He loves every one of us he loves everyone in our community he loves them dearly they are precious to him and he wants to be in relationship with those people. And we have a part in that process but God also wants us in a relationship with one another a second question God asked in the next chapter Chapter four of Genesis.
Cain and Abel brought the offerings and then Cain was not happy right and God came down and talked to him and he asked him another question first thing God said outside of the Garden of Eden Why are you angry right why are you angry and he came and asked that question because he wanted the two of them to live in relationship with each other and of course we know the result of what happened the terrible first murder and.
Sadly there is still conflict in the world today isn't there a terrible conflict. Joyce and I lived in Kenya at the time of the Rwanda war and about eight hundred thousand people were killed in just a couple of months and basically because they were from two different tribes and they just slaughtered them because they were a different tribe. And we just see things like this happening again and again people we cannot live. That relationship is broken between people and I I think of our country also those.
Hearings there on Kavanagh last week and boy there was some tension some disagreement between Americans right about is this the truth is this not the truth and I saw a lot of division and suffer a sion within our own country what is the truth.
God wants us to have that relationship you know in the Garden of Eden there was one thing that was not good right God said everything is good in fact when he made humans he says it's very good but then he says it was not good for what.
For the man to be alone right it's not good for the man to be alone god. I mean God exists whether humans exist or not God is still God he doesn't change but he looked at this human he had made and he realized this guy is lonely This guy needs somebody this guy needs a relationship that he doesn't have right now and it's not good for him to be alone and so God created Eve to be with him and so God recognizes that need to be together to interact with each other and so I believe that we as humans were designed to have relationships we are spiritual beings not just physical beings I appreciate the Sunday school lesson that Joel was teaching today where he talked about us not fighting just against flesh and blood but our fight is against the Prince of polities and powers of the air we are spiritual beings and how we are doing spiritually will reflect how we do physically if the spiritual part is not strong there will definitely be a. Salt in how we live our physical lives and so it starts by getting connected to God maintaining that relationship with God and so God These signed us to live in relationships and God's message today I'd like us to open to second Corinthians Chapter five.
Second Corinthians Chapter five
we call this the Grace Commission. Right you may have heard of the great commission Well this is the Grace Commission and if we look at verse.
I'm going to draw back to verse fourteen second grant the inspired fourteen for Christ love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all and therefore all die and a wonderful verse saying that Christ's sacrifice was made for all he died on the cross for all the provision of salvation was made for all but it says in verse fifteen and he died for all that those who live. Not everyone lives not everyone has come alive spiritually not everyone is living with Christ but those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again and so we as believers we don't just live for ourselves and how's my relationship with God Of course God wants us to live in relationship with him but we also have to be concerned of those outside what is their relationship with God how are they doing we cannot just be concerned of ourselves as God asked as Cain asked God am I my brother's keeper right. Well was he. According to God was Cain his brother's keeper Yes God was to God held him accountable for the condition of the situation that his brother was in and for. So also we don't live just for ourselves even if it spiritually just to satisfy myself spiritually. But I also must live like Jesus Christ lived that I must be concerned about those outside who don't have the relationship with God that I have.
What's going to happen to them I had they living in a relationship with God is their spirit one with God's Spirit and what can I do to change that and so as we go on in this passage it says so from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view though we once regarded Christ in this way we do so no longer. I believe that saying that we see people from a spiritual standpoint yes we tend to be I think America's becoming more secular many Western nations are and we see the physical and we judge people based on the physical what clothes are they wearing what car they drive what job do they have and yet it says we don't look at people that way anymore we should look at people how are they doing spiritually.
Where do they stand with God and that is a concern that we have as missionaries where do people stand in their spirits not just where do they stand or sit physically but where do they stand in their spirit with the God who created them in the beginning.
And then he goes on verse seventeen Therefore if anyone is in Christ the new creation has come the old has gone the new is here.
Verse eighteen all this is from God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ not counting people sins against them and he has committed to us the message of reconciliation you see in those two verses it talks about both the Ministry of reckon so. The ation and the message of reconciliation you see reconciliation takes two parties to be involved God did his work on the cross I always describe it as a ring of reconciliation God did his work in the cross and because of the death of Christ he was able to step into that ring but if we're still outside his reconciliation taken place. You see it takes two to step into that ring and agreed to be reconciled God has done his work of reconciliation there's nothing more he can add his work is complete but it's now for us as humans to step into their be reconciled to God and by doing that we're reversing the effects of that curse that happened in the Garden of Eden we are under the law of the spirit of life instead of the law of sin and death right sin and death says you sin you die.
But you see the law of the Spirit when we receive the Spirit it overcomes that law and the law no longer applies to us because the Spirit who indwells us gives us life gives us eternal life gives us assurance of the life that waits for us so God has stepped into that ring of reconciliation.
Then WHO ARE WE verse twenty we are there for Christ embassadors as though God were making his appeal through us we implore you on Christ we have be reconciled to God You see if reconciliation was already completed in verse nineteen there would be nothing to preach it's done it's over everyone saved but Verse twenty is here. And verse twenty says we are the ambassadors of Christ Christ is not going to come down and talk to our neighbors we are going to go and talk to our neighbors and through whatever means whatever skills or person to person skills you have we are going. To tell them Be reconciled to God God has made the first step now it's for you to step into that ring salvation is by grace through faith right Grace is what God did on the cross we can't change that happened two thousand years ago Christ died for us but faith is something people can place their faith in Jesus Christ today and that is the message we preach today is a message of faith in Jesus Christ that people can be reconciled to God they can have eternal life and I pray that we will take up that message and ministry of reconciliation bringing people back into a relationship with God And finally we have the task of proclaiming reconciliation. Paul has this great idea in the Bible has this great idea of one day everything coming together under the head and that he had is Jesus Christ initially but eventually will be God the Father himself because it says that Jesus will hand the kingdom back to God the Father and Paul has this beautiful view but it's not taking place today because there's millions and in fact billions who have not heard a clear presentation of the gospel they have not heard the name of our Savior Jesus Christ and it becomes upon us to go to them and preach that message you know the value of going to sending people out to preach the message I was in Milwaukee last week or two weeks ago and a man came and talked to me as name was Randy and he says Randy I had a band I drive for. And he says the other day I was in Oshkosh and I picked up a guy and he was a Filipino and he says will you drive me around for three days I have business to do for three days and I just like to have one driver drive me everywhere so Randy said sure you know all that I don't know while much the guy paid for that but. Randy says I'll do that and as they were driving they started talking about spiritual things and the man he asked the this Filipino man are you a you know do you believe in Jesus Christ as always yes I am of I'm strong believer in Jesus Christ and the guy says ask him Well what church do you attend and he says well in the Philippines I attend the Grace Church and he's like Randy's like whoa you know he attends the Grace Bible Church of gosh what's Gunson and he says How did you hear about the gospel of grace he says well many years ago a missionary named Vernon Anderson came and preached to my father and my father believed in grace and our whole family attends the Grace Church know
my father you know where my father was saved and first sent out from Osh Kosh Wisconsin there was a member of the Grace Church there who would not give up on my mom and they called themselves American pagans and they had nothing to do with church they never darken the door of a church but this woman from the Grace Bible Church there would not give up and every chance she got she which they had to pay their rent to her so every chance they got she would evangelize them and then eventually they went to a Bible study taught by the pastor of that church and they heard the Gospel and they decided to be missionaries and they were that was Osh Kosh Wisconsin and now all these years later someone comes back just randomly I don't know but. He met a member of that church and he was saved because that church sent off a missionary and so this is what mission does it transforms whole families and this man's family was transformed and so we still have that task of taking this wonderful message and it is a transforming message my dad came from a family where his father was a drunkard and his mother was had he a lot of emotional problems because his father was a drunkard and yet our whole family has been transformed by this message of Jesus Christ and again and again we hear these stories and Joyce and I have committed ourselves to the message. And ministry of reconciliation it's one thing to have the message and know the message but it's not something to hold for ourselves it's something that can transform the lives of the people around us and it does every day somebody whose life is transformed by the gospel of grace but if we hold it for ourselves it's not going to have the opportunity to change those around us and I praise the Lord that Joyce has called us our one of our big ministry says Grace Theological Center. Our mission every year we teach for two months eight hours a day and we train missionaries in the last three years we've trained thirty nine missionaries in the Philippines. About three fourths of them two thirds of them are now on the mission field serving the Lord these are Filipinos Americans and Indonesians who we train in the Bible School is held in the Philippines Joyce and I both teach there.
We also work with what we call our team missionaries.
More and more missionaries are coming from other countries that were former mission fields see like where I was talking about my father going over in one thousand nine hundred fifty eight to the Philippines you see the Philippines we no longer consider it a mission field of things to come mission they are now partners I teach this thing called the TRO a strategy target plan train release and partner and they are now partners with us in taking the gospel to the next place if you came up to me after the service and says I want to be a missionary in the Philippines I would say.
What are you going to teach them that they're not already doing I would actually want you to go to some other country where the people are unretouched where there has been no missionary to preach the Gospel and that would be where we want to send people we are focused very much now on countries that are less than five percent Christian giving an example of Thailand point five percent Christian you can walk through a town in Thailand for. Weeks and you will never meet one Christian you will not hear the name Jesus Christ you will not see a church they don't have enough type Christians to reach their own people and I praise the Lord we now have missionaries in Thailand Killian's in the Murat's who are preaching the gospel there they can speak the language they can preach in the language they can read the Bible and they are committed to reaching. Those people with the Gospel we. Are teen missionaries are in we're in five countries already Myanmar Cambodia Laos and Vietnam and East Timor those are the five countries where we're already working now a team missionaries aren't going to come here to the states we've found that it's hard to get visas for them and it's costly to send them here and it's very time consuming they would have to spend a year here raising their support so we seek to rate help them raise support they raise one third in the Philippines and the Philippines Philippine churches are rising up as a missionary sending country three years ago only seventeen of our churches we have five hundred twelve churches in the Philippines though only seventeen supported missionaries. Three years ago I heard the latest it to stick I've heard is seventy four churches are now regularly supporting missionaries and so they are rising up the goal of the mission department head in the Philippines is half of those five hundred churches are going to support mission in the future and that will increase but we still want to raise two thirds of the support here in the States and they raise one third over there and so this is a little different way of looking at it because in the past you're used to supporting an individual like you support Ben enjoys Anderson and we are supported by this church every month but in this case you you would be supporting the people on a certain field you want the Gospel to go out to Vietnam Well you can support Vietnam and we will make sure that there is somebody going out to be.
And even if that missionary leaves we'll find another missionary to take their place and that outreach in Vietnam will continue so if you wanted to adopt one of those countries we can certainly talk to you about it and we can you will know who is there right now but. You would be more adopting a country than adopting a specific missionary I just want to read a quote from joy. And. Vietnam.
Vietnam is a communist country so we have to be a little bit sensitive about countries like Laos and Tampa and Vietnam are both communists and yes our missionaries have been picked up they have been interrogated by the police so those are sensitive countries we don't even put the names of the people on our website if you talk to me personally I'll tell you who they are and what they're doing but we won't put it up on the website but joy in Vietnam. She taught at a very good school a university in the Philippines and she wants to teach in a nursing school with her husband Jimmy Jimmy won't teach he's working on learning the language she just wrote to me on what's up.
Pastor been I guess that means a low and Vietnamese.
I don't know but the quest for this job seeking thing is taking on a slow pace because she wants to get a visa by teaching in the university and that also gives her access to university students.
God is teaching us patience when at a certain point I wanted to scream out and turn to another direction just then he would use a person to remind us yesterday I was invited by the V.N. dong college to witness their contract signing with another school asking if this is God's way of teaching me to hold on I am hopeful that he will show me the right track towards the working VSA goal the what maybe didn't quite difficult taking it one step at a time soon I'll be able to claim the mountain thank you so much for backing us up in prayer pastor being keeping you in our prayers. This is the kind of difficulties they're facing they get discouraged too you see Vietnam's not inviting missionaries to come to their. Country In fact it's illegal to be a missionary there so people go in with jobs and then they share Christ as they live there and.
In the Sunday school we were talking about prayer when Joel was was teaching in a fusion six eighteen this is a spiritual battle if Satan can get these people off the field I don't know how many people they'll reach in their lifetime one five ten one hundred and then how many grandchildren and spiritual great grandchildren.
We don't know but if same can get them off the field and discourage them right now then he doesn't have to worry about any of those people hearing the Gospel in the future. And so this is mission is a spiritual warfare especially where Satan has reigned supreme for so many years thousands of years he's not going to give up easily and I thank you for praying for the missionaries they desperately need they are under attack every single day and so thank you for standing with them stand with Jimmy enjoy in Vietnam we're hoping to send another couple there next year to join them and they'll be living in the Saigon air area and they'll be proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ to those people.
I want to well my points always like to review my message God designed us to live in relationships right that's the way God designed relationship with God and relationship with each other a church is not just a spiritual institution it's really a social institution as well I met my wife in a Grace Church and it's a great place to meet you single people out there it's a great place to meet your your spouse a Grace Church and God's message for our time is reconciliation it's the message of reconciliation. And the ministry of reconciliation and our task is to proclaim God's reconciliation to the world at the verse chapter six we're reading second Corinthians five verse chapter six verse one and two as God's coworkers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain for he says in the time of my favor I heard you and in the day of salvation I helped you I tell you now is the time of God's favor now is the day of celebration I look at this verse and I think how can you receive God's grace in vain I thought God's grace conquers all nothing stands in the face of grace Well this verse talks about the possibility of receiving grace in vain and I see that this is the way I see this because he talks about salvation you see I see the world and I see the cross on top of the world you see the cross is the sign of God's grace he died for our sins while we were still sinners.
And then from that cross God's grace is to flow out in streams and rivers all over the world touching every single person in the world because God wants every one of them to be in relationship with him and so that stream of grace is to flow out all over the world. But what if I receive grace and I receive grace and I receive grace and I become bigger and bigger with grace
but it never goes beyond me.
What happens to that tributary what happens to that stream.
We've just dammed it up. And we've created the Dead Sea of grace yes we are enjoying God's grace and this is a church where the Grace is preached all the time and you're enjoying the grace of God right here in this congregation but what about those out there who know nothing nothing zero of the grace of God.
How is that tributary of grace going to reach out to them if we block it with ourselves. And I pray that we will consider this and not receive God's grace in vain that it will flow beyond you and me I'm not saying everyone get up and go out and become a missionary but there might be some of you who should do that.
But missionaries have to be sent. Right and they are sent through your prayers through your letters of encouragement maybe your kids want to be a missionary you can encourage your kid to be a missionary.
Support you know you work hard for your money and when you give that that's your life going in invested on the mission field.
But let us not receive the grace in vain let it flow through us and affect impact the whole world for Jesus Christ.
I was in Kenya recently an up close with this.
And I met a guy named a pastor he's been writing to me on Facebook and he's a pastor of one of our Grace Bible churches in Kenya we use the same name there Grace Bible Church and his name is John Gotti UKI and he's a young pastor twenty five years old and I always wondered who is this guy I mean he writes to me and he's excited and he's growing this church in the guru is like the fourth largest city of Kenya so when I was there last time I talked to him and he invited me to an acquittal and at some point in our conversation he says I am third generation Grace Bible church I'm thinking wow I was like the Pioneer missionary and I don't know who you are he says Yes my grandmother helped you plant the church in Malaya when he has another part of Kenya near Mbu where we used to live and sure enough I remembered his his his grandmother.
I was just a brand new missionary and there was an opportunity to plant a new church in this area. And she helped I mean she was basically one of the pillars of that church plant I am sure the Llewellyn would remember how to use one's mother. And this would be that woman's grandson is now our Grace pastor and he says I am going to plant we are going to plant five Grace Bible churches in the city of New Kuta it's a big city and I think of the investment that we made and how all those years ago working with that woman it wasn't easy planting that church that place was man full of mosquitoes and opposition and it was it was not an easy church plant but today boy they have a beautiful stone building and it's tiled floor and it's a very nice church growing all the time.
But I think of of that's what mission is you know mission is an investment and now here three generations later the Grand this this John Karr UKI twenty five year old single guy he's a grace pastor and he's excited about the work he's doing he's excited about the grace of God and he wants it to be known throughout that city he always tells me not corduroy is the best city in Kenya and I'm thinking there's a lot of cities here but for him there is only one city that's not cool because God put me in the cool and I will serve the Lord there that's at the that's at the bottom of the Great Rift Valley if you see in those pictures of flamingos flying around that's in the City of an acquittal so I leave you with that and say thank you. You see it is true Joyce and I went over there cliff and the well and went over there and we preached God's grace to the people of Kenya and there is fruit there's now third generation fruit of what we did all those years ago but you know you're part of that because we would not have been there if you had. Not sent us to be there. And one day some day when God remembers the work that's been done what we call the Judgment Day or the Bema Seat of Christ and he looks at our lives and says OK what did you do for yourselves what did you do for me.
And the reward for getting the work started in Kenya certainly.
We were part of that but you are just as much a part of what we do you may never meet John Kerry Yuki but I guarantee you John Carter UKI is there are serving the Lord because you as a church stood together with us and I thank you for standing for a mission in this church and I pray that you would continue to to do that going into the future the task is not done my friends next year two thousand one thousand we want to go to Taiwan two point eight percent Christian two point eight percent how many people have never heard the Gospel in these countries so thank you by the way in your bulletin there's a there's.
This where is it news you can use for prayer this is our mission things to come mission should be in your bulletin today I can't tell you I could stand up here the whole time untold stories about these people but I my time is up so. But here's some of the things we're doing Joyce and I are going to.
Oregon from here and then I'll be going to Brazil for two or three weeks and then I'll be going to Dubai we have a church there the name back to Singapore again which we use as our base and then hoping to visit some other countries so pray for us and pray that will be strong in the work that we're doing I don't keep us healthy for this ministry let me just close in prayer it's a precious Heavenly Father I thank you for Grace Bible Church of Phoenix thank you for this beautiful facility they have it's great to be able to preach here this time for the first time. I thank you for Pastor Josh and Kristen and their love for you and their love for the people here their desire to serve you Lord and I just pray that this church is going to continue to have an impact on the community or perhaps there's many here who don't go to church who don't know the love that you have for them I pray that this church will reach out with that message of reconciliation that God loves all people and he has a place for every single person for all this in Jesus' name he mine thank you.