February 24, 2011 – Stanley

Our Missionary Mission Acts 13:1-4

Paul and Barnabas set the standard for the church’s mission work when they obeyed God’s call to go forth. The local body of believers—those left behind to share Christ with neighbors and friends—equipped the men for their journey. They did so for the same reasons that apply today:

1. The spiritual condition of mankind. Romans 1:21-32 describes this sinful world. Unchecked sin leads people down a slippery slope toward a depraved conscience and, ultimately, a darkened mind that cannot perceive what is right. Every unbelieving person is sliding on that treacherous path.

2. God’s spiritual provision. The Father responded to mankind’s plight with grace: He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to save the world. On the cross, Christ bore the sin of every person—living, no longer alive, and yet to be born. The offer of salvation is for all; God’s grace is blind to race, creed, and color (Rom. 10:12). Those who believe in Jesus are forgiven their sin, and they will spend eternity with the Lord.

3. The commission from Jesus Christ. Acts 1:8 says we receive the Holy Spirit so we may bear effective witness to those who need salvation. Notice that we don’t simply begin at home and work steadily outward. People everywhere are waiting for the Good News. The word is to be carried far and fast.

The purpose of the church is to worship and witness. Some will go and some will send, but all are called to the work of spreading the gospel. This is not a suggestion; it is a command (Matt. 28:19). Believers living in God’s will are all to be involved in missionary work.

February 24, 2011 – Begg

Showers of Blessing

I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing.

Ezekiel 34:26

Here is sovereign mercy–“I will send down the showers in their season.” Is it not sovereign, divine mercy? For who can say, “I will send down showers” except God? There is only one voice that can speak to the clouds and bid them send the rain. “Who sends down the rain upon the earth? Who scatters the showers upon the green herb? Do not I, the Lord?” So grace is the gift of God and is not to be created by man.

It is also needed grace. What would the ground do without showers? You may break the clods, you may sow your seeds, but what can you do without the rain? Just as absolutely needful is the divine blessing; you work in vain until God then bestows the shower and sends salvation down.

Then, it is plenteous grace. “I will send down the showers.” It does not say, “I will send down drops,” but “showers.” So it is with grace. If God gives a blessing, He usually gives it in such a measure that there is not room enough to receive it. Plenteous grace! We need plenteous grace to keep us humble, to make us prayerful, to make us holy; plenteous grace to make us zealous, to preserve us through this life, and at last to land us in heaven. We cannot do without saturating showers of grace.

Again, it is seasonable grace. “I will cause the shower to come down in their season.” What is your season this morning? Is it the season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. Is it a season of great heaviness and black clouds? Then that is the season for showers. “As your days, so shall your strength be.”1

And here is a varied blessing. “I will give you showers of blessing.” The word is in the plural. All kinds of blessings God will send. All God’s blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If He gives converting grace, He will also give comforting grace. He will send “showers of blessing.” Look up today, O parched plant, and open your leaves and flowers for a heavenly watering.
1Deuteronomy 33:25