Who’s Missing? Whose Mission?

Text: Matthew 22:1-14

Introduction

All are invited; only some accept.

  • The kingdom of heaven is compared to a wedding feast to which everyone is invited.
  • Only those responding to Christ’s invitation may participate (Romans 10:13).
  • Those who have trusted Christ are assured of eternal life in heaven (John 3:16).

Who’s Missing?

  • Those who have an opportunity to respond to the invitation but reject it due to hardness of heart or indifference. Examples are found in the parable of Jesus – and right here in our own country.
  • Those who are exposed to a Christian witness and choose to follow another way. Millions of Muslims, Buddhists, cultural Catholics and secular humanists follow the religious traditions of their families and societies. They have no hope of being in attendance at the wedding feast because Jesus is the only way (John 14:6).
  • Those who have never heard the invitation—unreached, unengaged people groups. More than 1.5 billion people today are missing out on the opportunity to hear the Gospel. They are found:
  1. in isolated geographic locations and cultures where there are no churches and no missionary has ever had access to them.
  2. in hard-to-reach places such as remote mountain valleys or indigenous tribes in the Amazon jungles
  3. in communist and socialist countries where government restrictions prohibit a Christian witness
  4. in Muslim or Hindu cultures where there is hostility toward the Gospel and danger for any who would dare go to issue the invitation
  5. in other places where there are no resources such as Bibles and literature in their language.

Whose Mission?

  • Christ’s followers are responsible for reaching those still missing from the kingdom. This task is not for an elite few who go as missionaries. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) was given to the church—the people of God. We are the bond-servants of Christ sent into the highways and hedges to compel them to come.
  • We can pray for the missing. We can give to provide resources. But we also must go (Romans 10:14-15).
  • The Great Commission does not say that we are to witness only to those where we live or only to those who are receptive or only where it is safe to share the Gospel. We must extend the invitation to all peoples. If not us, who? If not now, when?

Closing

Jesus told the story of two brothers who were told to go and work in the fields (Matthew 21:28-31). Which one was obedient? Many of us give lip service to serving God, expressing a willingness to go reach a lost world. But are we planning to stay?

Invitation

  • to those who have never responded to Christ’s invitation
  • to those who will be obedient to take the invitation to people still missing from God’s family.

Jerry Rankin

President Emeritus at International Mission Board, SBC
President of the International Mission Board 1993 –2010 after serving for many years on the international mission field.
Jerry Rankin

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