The past three days of our Missions Conference at Lancaster Baptist have been incredible! We’ve been reminded that involvement in missions is not only an opportunity—it is a necessity. Missions is as much a part of the Bible as John 3:16! We must be faithful to do our part and give generously—of our resources and of ourselves—to preach the Gospel to the entire world.
In Philippians 4, the Apostle Paul thanked his supporting church at Philippi for their investment in his missionary labor. He pointed out that giving is a form of communicating (verse 14). Notice these three biblical principles God commends in giving.
1. Communicate faithfully.
Saying “God bless you” to a missionary is good, but we need to be practical in our communication. Missionaries need financial resources to feed their families and finance their labors—just like the rest of us do.
Paul commended the church at Philippi for their reliability in giving: “For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity”(Philippians 4:16). At Lancaster Baptist, individuals prayerfully make financial commitments to the missions budget so the church can make commitments to the missionaries we support. The individual commitments communicate each member’s desire to continue faithfully in their giving.
2. Communicate fruitfully.
Paul reminded the Philippian church that they were the true beneficiaries of their own gift: “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account” (Philippians 4:17).
When a person is saved, for example, in the Philippines as a result of Missionary Rick Martin’s labor, his supporting churches (including Lancaster Baptist) receive fruit to their account. Giving to missions is making a financial investment with the guarantee of eternal gain!
3. Communicate worshipfully.
With descriptive language, Paul related financial giving to the gifts of the Old Testament sacrifices: “I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18). As the incense in the temple, representing the worship of its giver, was a sweet savor to God, so financial gifts to God’s work are pleasing to Him. When given by faith through His grace, they are an act of worship.
Notice that it was to the sacrificial church in Philippi that Paul wrote, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”(Philippians 4:19). I’m sure the Philippian church had many needs of their own for which they could have used the money they gave to Paul. I know this because our church always has needs! Yet when we give faithfully (as individuals and as a church) God promises to meet our needs. Our needs are bigger than we can meet with our own resources anyway. But when we give, God meets our needs “according to his riches”!
I’m looking forward to our final night of Missions Conference. (The service will be LiveStreamed at http://lancasterbaptist.org/live.asp.) And I’m looking forward to the opportunity at the end of the service to commit to communicate with our missionaries in the way God commends—faithfully, fruitfully, and worshipfully.