Sunday, September 13, 2009

Raised Up With Christ and Devoted to Prayer, Colossians 3.1-4 & 4.2-4

What is the relationship between the plot line of the Bible, missions and prayer? In today's sermon I attempt to show how these three things come together. Back in June, the 76th General Assembly requested that today, September 13, 2oo9, be set aside for a special season of prayer for the work of Worldwide Outreach of the OPC. In the OPC, Worldwide Outreach speaks of more than just foreign missions, it also includes home missions and Christian education. Given this call to prayer for the mission of the church, I thought it would be helpful to look at what God has to tell us about prayer and missions.

In order to do this I look at Colossians 3.1-4 and 4.2-4 together. Here is a preview:
. . . Missions is not something that the church attempts in and of her own strength, wisdom and strategizing for God; rather, missions is about God's plan and his activities, and the church's privilege to participate in what he is doing. And one of the main ways that the church participates in missions is through prayer. Praying for the church's work, then, is not peripheral, but is central. It is central to the nature of missions as God's work and it is central to who we are in Christ.

. . . The Bible is an integrated and true story with a plot line. And the plot line centers on a God who is on a mission to glorify himself, through his Son, by creating a people for his name's sake. From the beginning, God has been on a mission to bring a people to experience and enjoy the eternal fellowship experienced and enjoyed among the three persons of the Trinity.

. . . Paul calls us to understand our place in the drama of redemption, our place of sharing in the role of the main protagonist, Jesus Christ, so that we might know how to live out our new roles in this continuing drama.

. . . And hear me, God will accomplish his ends . . . God is on a great unstoppable mission to glorify himself through the Son by saving a people for his name's sake. When this understanding of God, his purposes, and our new identity in Jesus Christ grips us, how can we do anything other than pray for his mission in which we are participating?!

. . . Those who preach and teach the gospel, those who administer the sacraments and church discipline, those who plant churches here in America, those who go to foreign lands across the globe, those who write and publish studies to help people to be nourished in the their faith and trained for gospel ministry, they are not the only ones who are called to participate in world wide outreach. The congregations, you, Grace Church, also have been called to share in the work by your prayers. Not everyone will be a preacher--but everyone has a role in God's unfolding drama of redemption. When you pray, you participate in the forward advancement of the gospel and the forward advancement of the plot that leads to the ultimate consummation of the story. And therefore we pray.
What a privilege it is to be redeemed and to play a role in God's continuing mission of redemption as we find ourselves bound up and united to the main protagonist of the unfolding drama, raised up with him and devoted to prayer.

You can listen to the entire sermon here.

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