Calvary Road Baptist Church

“AN APPEAL FOR MISSIONS”

First Samuel 30.23-25

 

For the better part of three months, we have focused on Wednesday nights in our study of the Bible on some Biblical principles that lie just below the surface of the Biblical narrative, there for those who look for them but rarely obvious for those reading and studying their Bibles who are not looking for them. They are the principles associated with what I refer to as the Biblical process of making an appeal. Throughout our Wednesday night studies of these principles, I have stressed the four authority relationships that Christians find themselves in that are particularly conducive to making a Biblical appeal without in any way insulting or undermining the person to whom you are making the appeal.

Be it someone in law enforcement or holding some other position in government, be it your spouse or parent in the family, be it your supervisor or leader at work or an organization you are engaged in, or even your Church, making an appeal can be very useful. It is always good to request of someone that he or she consider a new decision based upon new information, rather than even inadvertently suggesting to someone that he has made a poor decision. God has graciously provided the humble believer with the means whereby recourse can be sought, whereby relief from an onerous decision that has been made that affects you adversely can be requested. The benefits of an appeal can be profound, including the adoption of Christlike humility to put on display when making the appeal, and strengthening and reinforcing the position of the authority figure you are appealing to by making your appeal rather than undermining or in any way subverting the leader who is considering your appeal.

Acquiring the wisdom and skill needed to successfully make Biblical appeals is rightly understood by those who are young as being needful until God elevates their stature and they become leaders who are themselves appealed to later in life. As well, skill and wisdom in making an appeal is cherished by the aged as a treasure they can pass on to those younger in the faith they are mentoring and otherwise investing their lives in. In short, in God’s economy, it is not only the leaders who are expected to exercise decisive influence in other’s lives. Followers, as well, are not only expected but are also encouraged to exercise great influence in the lives of other people, even those who lead you. How is this influence to be accomplished? In great measure by the skills and wisdom employed when making an appeal that may result in the wisest of choices being made after the initial decision that was not the wisest being set aside following an appeal.

Until this last Wednesday night, my focus on appeals was exclusively appeals made to those occupying positions of authority in your life. However, at our last Bible study, I made mention of the appeal process in connection with a public speaker seeking to encourage an audience to consider making a wise and beneficial decision in light of new information or reflection upon a different perspective in life. What you chose to do or not to do last year, or several years ago, should not be felt by you to be binding if you are a different person than you used to be or if you have gained new insights that might significantly affect the decisions you wish to live your life by from now on. Am I suggesting unfaithfulness? Not at all. I am suggesting that you avoid stagnation. I am suggesting that you grow.

How are you different than you were last year or the year before last? Are you converted now, whereas before you were not converted? Are you employed now, whereas before you were not employed, or were underemployed? Are you married now, whereas last year you were single? Are you a parent now, but last year you were not a parent? Are you significantly better informed about spiritual choices now than you were in the past? Are you a more mature Christian now than you were before, less selfish and now more secure, more knowledgeable, and more giving? Sometimes it is not something that you can consciously put your finger on, something that you can identify in your thinking as a cause for reevaluation. Sometimes it is just time, whereas before you were not ready for one reason or another. At any rate, this morning’s message will be my attempt to appeal to you to make a new decision about missions based upon new information not before considered, or based upon you being a bit different now than you were when you last considered this great matter of missions.

You may remember from your reading of the Old Testament a time before David became king when he was a fugitive from King Saul with a band of 600 men and their families living in Ziklag when, while he and his men were off fighting, their families were kidnapped by marauding Amalekites sweeping through the region.[1] It was a crucial time in David’s life, with his men on the verge of rebelling against him because of their grief for their wives and children, and their desperation to hold him responsible for what happened in their absence: 

“but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”[2] 

Because 200 of David’s 600 fighting men were physically exhausted from previous fighting, after he sought the LORD’s will in the matter he left them behind while he and the remaining 400 men pursued after the Amalekites and their kidnapped loved ones.[3] Catching the Amalekites unawares as they celebrated their success at plundering not only David and his men’s possessions but also from the Philistines, and finding their wives and children unharmed, David and his men wiped the Amalekites out and recovered a great spoil.[4] Thus, what began as a heartbreaking tragedy ended up with all being safe and now greatly enriched by the plunder from the Amalekites that had fallen into their hands. However, when David and the 400 returned with all their families plus the spoils, several among the 400 objected to David sharing what had been taken with the exhausted 200 who had been left behind.[5] Imagine fighting men who did not want to share what they had with their band of brothers.

I would like you to turn in your Bible to First Samuel 30.23-25 to read David’s response to those of the 400 who did not want to share an equal portion of the spoil with the 200 who had stayed behind: 

23  Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand.

24  For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.

25  And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day. 

Please pay particular attention to David’s comment in the second part of verse 24, which speaks to a matter that has found wide acceptance in our day with respect to missions: 

“but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.” 

Can we do what has been done so frequently before? Can we apply David’s ruling to this important matter of missions? If missions is correctly likened to warfare in the spiritual realm, then it is reasonable to apply what David said to his brave fighting men then to you and me now with respect this great enterprise of Gospel missions. Some go and some stay. However, if those who go to do their part are confident those left behind will faithfully do our part then everyone involved gets an equal share of the rewards. Missionaries go. They go because God has called them to go. We who are not missionaries stay. However, we who tarry by the stuff are not among those who do nothing. Rather, we are among those involved in the same Gospel enterprise, but with a different role, with a different calling.

With these things understood I would like to present to you my appeal: 

First, THE NATURE OF A BIBLICAL APPEAL 

Perhaps you remember the proper criteria for launching a Biblical appeal. If you do not I will quickly rehearse it for you. The crucial factors in making a Biblical appeal are right standing, right basis, right timing, right information, right words, right attitude, and right response.

Allow me to briefly elaborate what I must be mindful of as I present my appeal to you: First, do I enjoy a right standing with you? That is to say, are you confident that I am not seeking my own advantage at your expense, that I am not at cross-purposes with God’s will for your life, and that I do not seek my gain in return for your loss? Second, do I enjoy a right basis for my appeal? As my appeal to you unfolds in your hearing you should evaluate if what I am suggesting for your consideration aligns with what you understand to be God’s will not only for all of His children, but also God’s will for you in particular. Third, do I enjoy the right timing for this appeal? I honestly cannot think of better timing for challenging you about God’s will for your life than on a Sunday morning during our time of worship. After all, you are no more likely to be prayed up, rested up, and properly prepared to consider a challenge to making a spiritual response than right now. Fourth, do I present to you the right information? You are a soldier of the cross, armed with the infallible Word of God. No one is better prepared to evaluate the information that I will bring to your attention than you are with an open Bible that you read and study. Fifth, will I make use of the right words? The challenge facing me is to prayerfully and wisely choose with care the way in which I present my appeal to you so that any mental obstacles that might be present are avoided to show you why it will be in your best interests to comply with God’s will for your life. Sixth, will I maintain a right attitude? That will be another of the challenges that I face. However, I would like to point out to you that I am making an appeal to you and not dictating demands to you. While I may set forth God’s will as I understand it in His wonderful Word, I am not your boss and you are not accountable to submit to me so much as you are accountable to submit to God, His Word, and His Church. My attitude is related to my relationship with God rather than my relationship with you. Finally, will you see from me a right response? If you do what you understand God wants you to do then I can assure you my response will be the right one. I will be thrilled. The real challenge I face, of course, and this is an ongoing challenge for any Gospel minister, comes when I find myself dealing with someone who is not committed to glorifying God and exalting the Savior. What is the right response to my broken heart and disappointment? To seek comfort in my God and in His Word as I pray for those who do not seek God’s best.

Have I met the Biblical criteria for making a Biblical appeal? That is my plan. That is my prayer. That is my preparation. That is what I trust will be seen with my presentation to you. 

Next, THE NEED FOR AN APPEAL FOR MISSIONS 

Two thousand years ago the King of all glory was born to a virgin named Mary, after which He lived a sinless life, died a sacrificial death, and conquered sin, death, Hell, and the grave when He rose from the dead. After that, He ascended to His Father’s right hand on high where He has been enthroned for these past twenty centuries while God makes His enemies His footstool.[6]

During these intervening centuries, God’s plan has been for His children to make Christ’s name known among the nations.[7] This is accomplished through the foolishness of preaching.[8] Imagine that sinners could be reconciled to God by the death of His Son through such a thing as Gospel preaching. Yet that is precisely the means that God has chosen so that no one can claim credit for anyone’s salvation but God Himself.

The challenge before us reminds me of young David when Saul was king over Israel and David’s older brothers were facing the Philistines and their champion, the giant named Goliath. The two armies were gathered on either side of the valley of Elah. When young David was dispatched by his father to take food to his brothers at the front he came upon the scene and wondered at what he saw. Goliath was cursing the God of Israel, yet the Israelites did nothing. David wondered out loud to this man and to that before one of his brothers rebuked him. David responded by asking, 

Is there not a cause?” 

That same question can be asked in our day. The lines are clearly drawn. The forces are arrayed. Yet there is little action from most and no action from some. Israel’s armies stood still and did nothing because they were afraid of the giant named Goliath and questioned whether they could count on God to prevail. David, however, had no such fear. You see, he personalized the conflict. He did not view himself as an observer who took note of the two armies that were assembled. He saw himself on God’s side. Therefore, Goliath’s defiance was defiance against David’s God. Goliath’s profane cursings were cursings against David’s God. The question that came out of his mouth rose up from his heart:

Is there not a cause?”

That is the question I would present to you this morning. 

Is there not a cause?” 

Is not Goliath’s defiance of the God of Israel of the same essence as those today who resist God, who refuse the Gospel, who reject the Savior, and who walk in disobedience? Further, is not David’s personalization of the conflict he witnessed the reaction you and I should have to what we see unfolding before us? This is not me watching the conflict between my brother and God. This is me on one side with God and my brother on the other side. When contemplating our activities, our involvement, our commitment, and our willingness to sacrifice, should we not ask the same question David asked? 

Is there not a cause?” 

The answer, of course, is yes.

This brings me to the final portion of my appeal and the matter before you throughout this upcoming Missions Conference. I have rehearsed to you the nature of a Biblical appeal. I have set before you the underlying need for an appeal for missions. This is a commission our Savior has given to us. This is a battle only we can properly engage in. Therefore, I beg your prayerful consideration throughout these next eight days of our Missions Conference. 

Finally, THE NEW DECISION THAT IS SOUGHT FOR MISSIONS 

Please do not change your mind about anything. I would not suggest that in your role as a servant of God where you presently are is not where you ought to be, barring any willful disobedience. Rather, take in what you see and hear over the next eight days to listen, to consider, to reflect, to pray, to seek God’s will for your life, so that you might make a new decision:

First, consider making a new decision to pray. Pray for our missionaries. Would to God their names would flow from your tongue and over your lips in prayer each and every day as you urge God to bless them for Christ’s sake. Pray for missions. Missions is shown in the Bible to simultaneously involve four regions; our Jerusalem, our Judea, our Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world. Pray that God would give our Church both expected and unexpected access to opportunities to make Christ’s name known among the nations in those regions. Pray for yourself. God’s will is for you to live for Him, not for yourself, and to sacrifice your life to advance His cause and not your own. Therefore, prayerfully ask God to use you, to make you more useful than you presently are, and to use you even more tomorrow than today.

Next, consider making a new decision to participate. Regardless of your present commitments and engagements, consider reevaluating your situation and making a new decision about your personal engagement in the ministry. First, by making a new decision concerning your giving to missions and your giving to missionaries. If you give nothing, consider deciding to give something and then giving on a regular basis. If you give something, consider deciding to give a bit more and then actually giving a bit more to missions above and beyond your tithes. Next, by making a new decision about greeting people, befriending people, and opening your life to ministry to other people in a way you do not presently engage them. My heart was recently broken when I asked about someone who had attended our Church several times, but who has decided after several failed attempts to connect here with people her age not to come again. Of course, that is a terrible lapse in judgment because her first concern should be the Gospel and her relationship with Christ. That said, each one of us should be a greeter, an usher, and a host or hostess who is willing to take on one more friend. Third, by making a new decision to be trained to be a better Christian. It can be called discipleship, mentoring, friendship, accountability, tutoring, one-on-one coaching, or any other of a number of descriptions. Whatever you call it, it is personalized Christianity that will result in you becoming a better Christian. Whatever you decided last year or the year before last, I would like you to think about making a new decision about this at this place in your life.

Finally, consider making a new decision to promote. What do I mean about promote? I mean talk it up. Talk up the Savior. Talk up the Church. Talk up our fellowship. Talk up God’s work in people’s lives. Do what Psalm 107.2 refers to: 

“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.” 

This week will be all about missions. But missions is really the practical outworking of the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a Church congregation committed to the proposition that each of our next door neighbors is no less deserving of the Gospel message than our own children and that people on the other side of the world are just as deserving of the Gospel message than the person across the street. Of course, we then put shoe leather to our sentiment, we back up our convictions with cash, and because we know that “a threefold cord is not quickly broken” we join hands to do this as a congregation.

In closing, let me urge you to do nothing at present besides listen. Prayerfully listen to what our speaker has to say tonight. Prayerfully listen to what our speaker has to say Wednesday night and next weekend. Then decide. Decide to live by faith and do God’s blessed will. Decide in a way that you’ve not decided before. But do not change your mind. Rather, make a new decision based upon things you’ve not known before or have not considered before.

Then let us see what God has in store for us.

__________

[1] 1 Samuel 30.1-3

[2] 1 Samuel 30.6

[3] 1 Samuel 30.7-10

[4] 1 Samuel 30.11-20

[5] 1 Samuel 30.21-31

[6] Psalm 16.11; 110.1; Matthew 26.64; Mark 12.36; 14.62; 16.19; Luke 20.42; 22.69; John 3.13; 13.1; 14.2-4; Acts 2.33, 34-35; 7.56; Romans 8.34; Ephesians 1.20; 6.9; Colossians 3.1; Second Thessalonians 1.7; Hebrews 1.3, 13; 8.1; 9.24; 10.12-13; 12.2; 1 Peter 3.22; Revelation 19.11

[7] Psalm 57.9; 108.3; Mark 16.15

[8] 1 Corinthians 1.18, 21

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org