The gospel is the good news of life in Christ. Jesus has called us to take this message to a world desperately in need of life found in his name. Prayerfully consider how you might take the gospel to your friends, neighbors and co-workers, then to your city, then to your world (Acts 1:8).
The Unstoppable Force of the Gospel
Taking Light to the World
Take A Step: Saving Our City
Your Purpose, Your Place, Your People
Good morning, guys. How are we doing? I feel like our weather needs a therapist. It's kind of all over the place. If we wanted Seattle weather we'd move to Seattle. We're here in Dallas. We want warm weather. It doesn't bring back good memories for us, for the Pokluda clan. We have not done well in these temperatures and the ice. In fact, I looked back to a little over a year ago in December to the last "icepocalypse" we had.
My little girl, Finely, who was 4 or 5 at the time, comes in about 3:30 in the morning. She's crying in our bedroom. I'm like, "Finely, what's wrong?" and she's like, "It's too quiet." I listened, and I was like, "It is too quiet." I realized our electricity had gone out. There was no sound of the heater. The alarm clocks are not glowing. "It is too quiet. You're right." So, I'm thinking survival mode. It's 27 degrees outside. It's about to be 27 degrees inside. What am I going to do?
I get this little space heater, which runs on electricity. I look at my neighbor's house, and there's this little glow in the window. I'm like, "Oh, she has electricity." So I go out and get an extension cord out of the garage. I'm in boxers, rubber boots, and a white tee shirt. Think about it. Don't think about it too long. I'm kind of crunching through the ice and snow over to her house. I climbed the fence and the thorny rose bushes, unfortunately, and I'm digging in the snow trying to find the outlet to unplug her Christmas lights and plug in my extension cord.
She's not going to mind. She understands. So I do so. Then I go back inside, crunching back through the snow in my rubber boots and boxers, and I get the space heater and the extension cord and kind of have this Clark Griswold moment of nothing. So I go back out. I realize that glow in her window is a battery-operated lamp, because she was up, because her electricity was out as well. That was really the beginning of about three or four days of us waiting for Oncor, hoping and praying that someone was going to come over and turn on the electricity.
Do you guys remember this? A lot of your electricity was out too. This was a little over a year ago, December. So we're sitting there, 27 degrees inside our house, praying that Oncor is going to come and turn on our power, because you never know how much you need electricity until it's out. When it's out, it's out. Everything is dark. There's no heat. You're worried about the food in the refrigerator and all that. Not in that case. It's 27 degrees in the kitchen. But we're thinking about these things.
In fact, we got tired of waiting on Oncor. We packed up our family and headed to the in-laws in Waco. We're like, "We're out of here." But as you think about that, you think about how badly we want electricity, how much we're waiting for someone to come and turn the power on, you think about how much of the world doesn't have the gospel, and they're waiting for Oncor to show up. They're waiting for those who know Christ to show up and turn on Christianity.
In fact, I have a satellite image from NASA. This is the world, and it's our electricity grid. This shows where there's power and lights. That was an image taken from space. I thought, "What would it look like if we could see where Christianity was and the parts of the world that were left dark?" So we had an artist create this rendering to show us. The areas that are lit up are areas where Christianity is.
You can see that much of the world is still dark. Those are people who are waiting for Oncor. Not Oncor, but Christianity, Christians, Christ followers, those who know Jesus, to show up and turn on the power. Now some of those places… In America we have access to the gospel. Much of those places that are represented on that map as dark do not even have access to the gospel. They don't know anyone who knows Jesus. Half of the world does not know a Christian.
This morning, we're talking about taking light to the world. These stats come from the Joshua Project. There are 4,083 unreached people groups in the world. These are unreached people groups. These are not unsaved people groups. These are folks who don't have access to a Christian, to the gospel. There are 2,998,119,000 unreached people living today who have never heard of Jesus.
There are 2,670 people groups, or roughly 204 million individuals, in the world who have no Scriptures or audio recordings available in their primary language. That means if they wanted to read the Bible they couldn't. It's not printed or produced in a language they understand. Many theologians today believe that these people are going to have to be reached before Christ returns. This comes from Matthew 24:14. "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."
So we must take light to these people. You think I need electricity. They need the gospel much more than we need power. They need Christ. We're in a series Let There Be Light. The first week, we talked about you being a light, as a follower of Jesus, wherever you go. The places that you go every single day, your Starbucks, your grocery store, your neighborhood, your street, your school, your kids' school, your day care, your work…
Wherever you go every day, that you would shine a light there. God has strategically placed you there. That's your Jerusalem. Then we talked about saving our city, being a light in the Metroplex, understanding the needs of DFW and going and meeting those needs, crossing our city, going to a place where they don't have the gospel, they don't know the gospel, or they're in need of Christians to love and care for them. This is our Judea and Samaria.
This morning, we're talking about our "ends of the earth," that we would take this light to the world, to the dark places of the world, those who need it. Taking Light to the World is the message this morning. I'll be in Romans 10:8-18. As we travel through this passage, the path I'll take is the method of salvation, why it's necessary to share that method, and then how we can measure success. That will be the message.
To set this up, Paul is writing to the church in Rome that had become a holy huddle. What this means is they were like, "Hey, this Christianity thing is a good thing, but we're kind of in survival mode. They're persecuting us. So don't ask us to actually go do something with it. We're God's chosen people. We have it. God loves us. That's great. But do we really need to take it to the ends of the earth? Hey, Paul, we get you're a radical Christian. You're going everywhere and telling everyone about Jesus, but don't ask that of us. We're just trying to survive."
You can see how this message that was so relevant for the church in Rome is so relevant to the church in Dallas. Verse 8: "But what does it say? 'The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,' that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim…" That is a direct Scripture out of Deuteronomy 30:14. It's with Moses and the people.
He's saying, "Hey, the Word is right there on your tongue. You don't need me to go back up to Mount Sinai to get some more divine revelation. We don't need anything more. We have everything we need." Today, this would translate, "We have the gospel. We don't need further revelation. We have Christ crucified and resurrected. What else do we need?" Paul is saying to them.
"If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." If you're a guest with us, that's a really important text. It's part of something called the Romans Road, and it answers the question, "How am I saved? I want to go to heaven. How do I go to heaven?"
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, that Christ died for your sins, in your place, and God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved. Saved from hell. You don't have to go to hell. This is really good news. "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."
That word justified is very important. You want to circle that word in your Bible. What does it mean to be justified? A direct translation is to be declared righteous. That's kind of answering Christianese with Christianese. What does it mean to be declared righteous? Here's what it means. One moment in your life, you're living, you're breathing, you're alive, you're a soul. You are a soul that is destined for hell. You are identified as a sinner.
The next moment, you understand what God has done for you in Christ, his works, not your own, and you receive his righteousness. You are now declared righteous. No longer identified as a sinner but identified as righteous. This happened in a moment. You don't have to know the moment to be saved, but you do have to understand that there was a moment you were saved, declared righteous, justified.
"As Scripture says, 'Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.'" This is important, because after The Porch on Tuesdays I talk to people all the time, and I'm like, "Hey, are you a Christian?" and they're like, "Yeah." I'm like, "What makes you a Christian?" and they say, "Well, my parents are Christians." No, no, no. That doesn't make you a Christian. "What makes you a Christian?" "Well, I grew up in church." No, no, no. That doesn't mean you're going to go to heaven.
No one goes to heaven because they grew up in church. That's not how this works. That's nowhere in the Bible. "What makes you a Christian?" "Well, because I try to do good things." No, no, no. That's nowhere in the Bible. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." That's what the Bible says. You've believed in some other gospel. We go to heaven by Christ's works, not our own.
"For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'" The word called there means to pray in faith for salvation. "I need a Savior. I need someone to save me. I'm dead in my sins. I'm stuck here. I need someone to come in and save me. I need a Savior."
In this text, you have Deuteronomy, you have Ezekiel, you have Isaiah. You have all of these Old Testament texts here in this New Testament text, because Paul is showing something. It is God's plan that he would bridge the Old Testament and the New Testament, that this message would go out and bless the nations. That is God's plan. He's telling the Israelites, "No, it's to go beyond you. You're to take it and carry it forward." He's telling Watermark Dallas, "It's to go beyond you. You're to take it and carry it forward."
1._ The method of salvation is a message_. It's a life-altering, path-changing message. It changes everything. It's a reality. It's a choice. There's left and there's right. It's a fork in the road. If it's uncomfortable to share your faith, I understand. Sometimes the gospel is an unbelievably inconvenient truth. You're no longer to live for yourself but the one who gave you life. This is a life-changing message.
Jim Elliot, who was a missionary, a famous missionary because of the way he gave his life for the mission, prayed this: "Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me." He's saying, "Use the message I steward to bring people to a decision, that they would accept it or reject it." I have a message. You have a message. Let me illustrate this.
Growing up, we would vacation in the Hill Country. You could go and tube the river. We'd go to this place called Concan. It's the poor man's Cancun. Some of you have been there. There you could tube the river. I don't know if you've ever tubed the river, but it's fun. As a family, we'd go and tube the river. I was about 8 years old. I remember getting my black inner tube and getting in the water and this guy telling us, "There's going to be a fork in the river up there, and if you go left there's a waterfall. You want to stay to the right. Make sure you stay to the right."
I remember him saying, "Don't worry. There are going to be a lot of signs telling you that it's coming up, but when you see it coming up, make sure you stay to the right." You don't want to fall off a waterfall. So I remember that. As I'm tubing down the river, I came to the first sign. It was like, "Hey, in about a quarter mile, there's going to be a fork. Make sure you stay to the right." As we got closer, these signs became more direct. It was like, "Hey, the waterfall is coming on the left. Stay to the right."
As we got right up on it, there was a sign, "If you go left, you will die," which I appreciated. It's just clear. There's no confusion there. It's like, "Okay, I'm going to go right." We're a sign. We have a message. We come up to somebody. "You want to go where there's life? It's the way of Jesus." We shine light on a path. We're a sign. We have a message. "Right is the way. This is the way to Christ. You want to live forever? You can live forever and ever and ever with God in paradise in the kingdom. Go right. If you go left, you will die. Go right."
We're a sign. We're a fork in the road. We have a message we steward. That message is, "This is the way to life." The only thing necessary to share that message is to believe it. The only thing necessary to share that message with anyone, the only credential or criteria you need to meet is that you believe that message, and it's really, really good news. You don't have to go to hell. You can be with God forever. That's good news.
I was traveling with some guys on a guy's trip to Mexico. We were walking on the beach, and we ducked into this restaurant that was there on the beach. We were going to share a meal together. Our waitress came up, and we were talking with her and engaging with her. We said, "Hey, do you have a faith?" She said, "Not really. I was raised Catholic." I said, "Oh, I was raised Catholic." I was like, "Do you go to Mass anywhere now?" She said, "No."
She just talked about how she had done some terrible things. She's like, "I believe there's a God. One day I'm going to have to answer for the things I've done." I just got to share the gospel with her. I said, "Do you know what the Scripture says? God loves you so much he has paid for those things you've done. In fact, it says in 2 Corinthians 5, he's no longer counting those things against you for those who have trusted in his provision of Christ. Romans 8:1 says there's now no condemnation or consequence or punishment because of what he has done for you in Jesus."
I shared the gospel with her and said, "Hey, you can trust Christ right now." Do you know what she said? She responded unbelievably intuitively. She said, "Wow. That's good news. That's really, really good news." That's right. That's why we're here. "I have a sign. I have a message for you. This is the way. Christ has died for the things you've done. You can be with God forever." This is our message. This is what we tell people.
I'm telling you that Jesus does not need a PR firm, but the world desperately needs Jesus. God didn't need me to tell that girl about him, but that girl desperately needed God. She needed that message. Her eternity was hinging on that message. How could she know it if no one shared it? That's Paul's logical progression in verse 14.
"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?" Paul's message to the church in Rome is the same message for the church in DFW. How will they know if you don't tell them? How will they hear it if you don't share it with them?
2._ They will not hear what we do not share_. We are the signs God has chosen to reveal his truth to them. If those signs are not in place for others to read, for others to see, for others to hear, they won't hear it. If you've shared the gospel in Dallas, you're going to run up against this objection. I've heard it many times.
It goes something like this: "Yeah, but what about the people who have never heard the gospel? I reject God because there are people out there who have never heard the message. Therefore, I don't want to follow that message, because that message is very inclusive, and it doesn't include them." I've sat with those folks, and we've reasoned.
I said, "Hey, look at Romans 1. The Scripture says in the Psalms, 'The heavens declare the glory of God.' There's this general revelation, that if you seek God, you're going to find him. The Scriptures tell us that anyone who earnestly seeks God…" By the way, God is doing incredible things through dreams in Islamic countries. I've talked to people firsthand who have come to him through dreams.
That's what I used to do. I don't do that anymore. I simply say, "What about the one who has heard and doesn't share it?" That's not an indictment on God; that's an indictment on his people that there are still those who exist today who haven't heard the gospel. That's not God's fault; it's his followers' fault that those people exist. So why would your logical, natural reaction to that say, "I'm going to reject that message I've been told because someone hasn't been told it"?
Why wouldn't you embrace that message and go and tell them? That makes so much more logical sense to me. Spurgeon, when asked the question, "What about the heathen who never hears? Will they be in hell?" said, "What about those of us who have heard?" It's a more logical question for us to ask. Can they go to heaven, those of us who have heard but don't share it? Have we really believed it if we don't share it?
Christianity is like a disease. C.S. Lewis calls it the "good infection." It's like a disease. It's like you have some foreign body living inside of you, making you feel a certain way and do things. How do you know if someone has a disease? They show symptoms. If someone has a disease, you're going to see the symptoms of that disease play out in their life.
A buddy of mine came into The Porch, trusted in Christ, and he said, "Do you know what God did? He changed my nouns. That was the symptom of me believing in him." I was like, "What do you mean he changed your nouns?" He said, "My people, places, and things. He changed them all. That was the symptom of my faith in Christ: my nouns changed." That people would look at you and say, "Wait a minute. I think you have that infection. I see in your life love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control."
But what else happens when someone has an infection? They're contagious. It spreads. "He has that disease. It's spreading everywhere. He bumped against him, and then he got it, and now they have it, and now our whole office has caught the disease. They've caught this good infection. It has spread." My concern for the church in 2015 is that we've begun to treat this like a disease.
"Bring him in. Quarantine him. Close the doors. Don't let him out. He has the infection. No, no, no. He's crazy. He's raising his hands in worship and everything. Let's bring him in here. Let's kind of calm him down. Don't let him out in the real world. He has the infection." That was never meant to be. The reason Paul wrote this letter is like, "No, no, no. We do not quarantine those with the infection. We let it spread like wildfire." And it did. That's how we got here.
Speaking of diseases, people have told me they don't go on international missions because of diseases like Ebola or groups like ISIS. My dear friends, these are not reasons we stay; these are reasons we go. These are why we go. To do death-defying mission, you must believe in the sovereignty of God, that you will not die one hour, one moment before he has ordained ahead of time. He controls all things.
Until God is done with you, you are immortal. Until he is through with you, you are immortal. This is what moved me in this place: when I came in here and saw this kind of faith, that until God is done with us we're immortal. We were at lunch the other day, Todd and the management team, and leadership here model this so well. We were talking about, "What would you do if ISIS came to you and put a knife to your neck?"
There was silence, and then Todd responded and said, "Well, I'd ask them if they want my coat, and I would tell them that the nights here are cool and the winters are cold and before they get this coat all bloody they should take it for themselves in the name of Jesus Christ." How else will they know? I thought, "Oh, that kind of seems like the right answer." I was thinking Brazilian jujitsu. You and coat. Ok, I got you. Jesus juke. All right.
Make no mistake about it. This is a war on your faith. Those who have the cross are their enemies. So what should you do? Everything within your power you can to stop them. Write letters. Pray like your life depended on it. It might. Like your brothers and sisters' lives depended on it. They do. Do everything you can. There's a war on your faith. If ISIS were here, my concern is not that they'd take our heads off. My concern is that they'd have no reason to.
"Hey, I got a Christian. Got me a Jesus follower. I'm bringing him in."
"Are you sure it's a Jesus follower?"
"Yeah, man. He goes to church."
"He's got the disease? Are you sure?"
"Yeah, he's got it."
"Is it spreading? Have others around him caught it?"
"I don't think he's one of them. Let him go. Find us a Christian."
I know what some of you are thinking. God doesn't need you. He doesn't. He's God. He'll make the rocks cry out. The Scriptures tell us. It's really clear. He doesn't need you. But Acts 1:8, Matthew 28, Romans 10, and other verses seem like really clear calls that we're to go and take it to them. When we read those verses, we have to understand what those verses mean for us.
God is not biting his nails, concerned. "Maybe my plan is not going to be carried out. Maybe they're not going to get saved because no one is going to go there." No. He's simply sad for us that we're missing out on the adventure he calls us to, that we can actually live by faith, that we can actually live like we trust the God we say we trust in. There's an adventure there, that we can take it to people. We don't have to live in fear and lives of anxiety.
We can go and live and trust the God who controls everything. We're not taking God there. God is already there. We're simply shining a light on him. You're not going to go anywhere on this plane that God does not exist. You're simply shining a light on him. These 4,083 unreached people groups are only the result of our unfaithfulness, our delayed obedience. How else will they see? Dreams? He does it for sure. Why does he have to, though?
"As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!' But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed our message?'" Certainly, some Jews, some Israelites rejected the message. "That's not the Christ. He's not the Savior." "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ."
The Greek there, literally translated, "hearing through the saying concerning Christ." People hear through the saying, the message we share concerning Christ. "But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: 'Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.'" They heard it because we shared it. They heard it because people shared it. He's overcoming these objections. "Well, maybe they didn't hear it." Yes, they did. They heard it. They just didn't respond to it.
God has not withheld salvation from anyone. He has stretched out his hand and beckoned everyone to come in. He does not delight in the perishing. He's patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance, the Scripture says. But who is his outstretched arm, beckoning, calling them to come in? We are. Those of us who follow him are. We are his outstretched arm. We are reaching out to them.
3._ Success is measured by sharing. Like a sign, it does its job if people see it and read it, not if they obey it. A sign with a message does its job if people see the message. Success is measured by sharing. "How beautiful are the feet of those who _bring the good news," not those who save others. God is in charge of who accepts it. Your responsibility is sharing. God's responsibility is saving.
What this means is you can't get frustrated when that parent or sibling or coworker or neighbor rejects the gospel. That's God's work. You pray like your life depended on it that they would trust it. Better said, you pray like their life depended on it, because it does, that God would ignite their heart and turn on in them a light and that this message would spread, then, to their family and to their friends and to their neighbors. You pray like crazy.
It says that not everyone believed it. There are real consequences to not believing it. The Scriptures say apart from Christ, man is under condemnation of God (Romans 5:12). Apart from Christ, man is a slave to sin and in the snare of the Devil (John 8:34). Apart from Christ, man is the object of God's wrath (Ephesians 2:3). Apart from Christ, man is cut off (Colossians 1).
Apart from Christ, man is destined to die forever in the fires of hell (Mark 9), in torment (Luke 16). It is an ongoing destruction (2 Thessalonians 1). The smoke of sinners' torment goes up forever and ever without rest, ever (Revelation 14). This can be motivation to share it, that we know the other side of the good news. It doesn't have to be a reality for anyone.
But this isn't just talking about sharing good news. The text here is talking about taking the gospel to all the ends of the earth. It is interesting to me that all four of the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John… They're called the Gospels because they tell the story of Jesus four different times by four different eyewitnesses. Four different accounts of Jesus' life.
They all end the same way. They all end with Jesus, the Christ, God in the flesh, sending his people. They don't end at an empty grave. It's not like, "Oh, and then the grave was empty. The end." No. Jesus comes back and says, "Hey, gather around. Let me tell you something. You need to go to all the ends of the earth." The most famous account, called the Great Commission, appears in Matthew 28.
"Then Jesus came to them and said…" Now he's resurrected from the dead, and he says, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Here's why that's important. If you're choosing your last words, you choose them very carefully, especially if you're God, especially if people are going to read them for thousands of years. If you know, "This is the very last thing I'm going to say," you're going to choose those words really, really carefully. Jesus' last words were, "Come, come, come. Now go."
I'll illustrate it like this. There have been a lot of movies of soldiers lately. The Navy SEALs have been featured in a lot of blockbuster films lately. There have been a lot of them. I'll go Act of Valor. Have you all seen Act of Valor? It's a great movie if you want to rent it. This scene I'll share with you. You've seen it before, though. It has been played out in a lot of movies.
Here's the scene. It shows the soldiers on the base, and they're in jogging pants, and they're running and lifting weights and playing chess, and they're just cutting up and having fun. They're just like normal people, just joking around, having fun. Then the lieutenant shows up. "Hey guys, come in." They come in a classroom, much like this. There are rows of seats and a whiteboard.
He's like, "This is the enemy. This is the mission. This is where we're going to go. This is what we're going to do there," and everybody leans forward, nodding, like, "Yeah, there they are." Then the scene cuts to another scene, and the men are suited up. They have their camo on, their guns. They have their AR-15s. They're marching into a helicopter, they're flying through the sky, they're jumping out in parachutes, and they're going to get the bad guy.
I'm getting fired up just talking about it. You've seen this. Right? They come and gather around. Imagine if the scene cuts and they're back in sweats, sitting on the couch. "Oh, Lieutenant. No, y'all go ahead. I'm going to hang back here. No, that's cool. The mission was just a little scary. I'm going to play it safe on the base." That's a different movie. We don't see that movie. They don't make that movie. That's a very different movie.
Some of us live that movie. "Man, JP was passionate today, screaming. Really motivational. Really moved me. I want to go to Mattito's and back to life." Do we believe these words? Do we think they're true or is this just entertainment? What do these mean? How do they apply to us? Why would God preserve this for thousands of years? Really? That's what it means to be a Christian? Really? Not just a safe North Dallas life and have some kids and die? Really.
The disciples got it. The apostles got it. Jesus said, "Go." Peter went to Rome. He was crucified upside down. Andrew went to Greece, Turkey, and what we knew as the Soviet Union. Doubting Thomas didn't doubt anymore. He shared throughout Syria and into India. Philip went to North Africa. Matthew went to Ethiopia. Bartholomew went to India with Thomas and then southern Arabia. Thank you that he did. The message reached us.
It carried on. They carried the torch. They carried that light. It eventually reached us. The message to go and shed a light applies to us as well. Let me give you another reason. We've talked a lot about being on mission here in Dallas. We call these international trips short-term discipleship trips, because we say mission is everything you do. We do not call them mission trips, because mission is you going to Starbucks. That's a mission trip. You going to the grocery store. That's a mission trip.
So if you're going to go international, we call them short-term discipleship trips. Just don't abbreviate it, because STD trips are really difficult to market. But we send you on short-term discipleship trips. I want to give you another reason to be on mission. Check this out. This is pretty incredible. BBC said that Dallas and Fort Worth both, separately, were of the top 10 fastest growing cities in our country.
Do you know how many people move to DFW? Five hundred twenty people every day. Guess how many of those were born in foreign countries. Three hundred sixty-two, or 75 percent, of the 520 people who move here every day were born in foreign countries. They worship foreign gods. They do not know your God, and they're coming to your city every single day. That's more than a 777.
We think we need to get on a plane to carry the mission to them. They're coming to us. All the ends of the earth are coming here. So if we are living on mission here, then we go and take the mission there. The reason I tell you that at this point in the message is not to discourage you from going overseas but to tell you the people we take on short-term discipleship trips are the ones who are living on mission here. It's just the natural next step.
Everywhere he goes he's on mission. It just make sense that we would go there to Haiti. Everywhere she goes she's on mission. It just makes sense that we would go to Rwanda and Ethiopia and Uganda. You have to answer the question…Why haven't you gone? Do you believe that Christians are called to go? What about you? Do you believe you're called to go?
In summary, the method of salvation is the message, they won't hear the message unless we share it, and success is measured by sharing, not saving. My hope and my agenda this morning is to give you a concern for people all over the world who do not know Jesus, that you would pray for them, that you would share with them, and that you would support others who do, that that would be a normal part of you being a Christian. I'm going to give you three things you can consider doing.
First, be aware. Just don't be naïve anymore, if you are. Know what God is doing around the world. Know the places that are dark. Know the places that are desperate for light. How do we do that? I'm going to give you a website. It's operationworld.org. I signed up for 60 days of prayer for 60 nations around the world. This morning I woke up, and the first thing I did was pray for Austria. Austria is 0.5 percent evangelical. That is, 8,387,491 people, and 0.5 percent of them believe upon the gospel. So we pray for Austria. Be aware.
Secondly, care and connect. You can go to watermark.org/invest, and you can support others who are doing foreign missions. Now 100 percent of those dollars you give go directly to support those organizations. We don't take out an administration fee or anything. Also, if you give to the general fund here at Watermark, we deploy hundreds of thousands of dollars to international mission work through our partnerships every single year from our general fund.
Our college team is in Haiti right now. You raise support to go to Haiti. Adam just told me before they left they really had a hard time raising support, and I was just dumbfounded by that. In one of the most financially well-resourced churches in the country you had a hard time raising support to go to Haiti to share the gospel? That doesn't make sense to me.
We have missionaries and partnership organizations shedding light all over the world. In fact, I'll show you a slide that adds them to it. These are our partnership organizations. They're in Haiti, in Argentina, in Central Africa, in Iran, in Rwanda, in Ethiopia, in Indonesia, in South Asia. What the slide doesn't show you is my friend who's in China, my friend who goes to Russia often, and the other organizations.
You can see them as you care and connect, and you can be aware of what they're doing and what their greatest needs are and how you can partner with them here in Dallas. People who used to be on staff now live in Rwanda; a friend living out the mission he lived here in Dallas in Argentina, Indonesia. These are folks who have gone.
If you're here and you're like, "Hey, I want to go," you can email. On www.watermark.org/international there's an email address. You can send it to Rick and say, "Hey, I'm really interested in being deployed on mission overseas, not short-term but long-term," and we'll help you. We'll send you. We'll talk with you and make sure that's a wise decision for you.
Lastly, you go. You go with us to Mission of Hope in Haiti. You go with us as we partner with ALARM (African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries) in Rwanda and Burundi and Uganda, all over Africa. You can go to watermark.org/international, and you and your whole Community Group, your whole family can go.
I'll end with this. A man I talked about earlier, Jim Elliot… He had heard of a people group, the Aucas, now known as the Waodani tribe, in the Amazon jungle in Ecuador. He became fascinated with them and so began to research them here from the States. He spent about a year learning everything he could about the Waodani tribe, and then he moved to the jungle. He spent three years in the jungle learning the languages of the tribes around there, researching them.
As he got closer to engaging with these people, he flew a plane over them and would lower goods to them and speak to them through an amplifier, sharing good messages through that plane. The reason he did… Something interesting about the Waodani tribe is they were extremely violent. In fact, there was an oil rig right near where they were, and they had killed all of the oil workers. It had been abandoned because everyone was afraid to go there.
They had killed many people from neighboring tribes. They were a very violent group. Jim knew the only hope for them was that they would hear the saving message of Jesus Christ, so he strategically worked for four years to engage the Waodani tribe with the mission, with the message of Jesus Christ. One day, when they lowered goods down to them, the Waodani tribe responded by giving them a gift as well in their basket from their plane. So he thought, "This is the perfect time. I'm going to engage with them."
Nathan Saint, who flew the plane, saw a beach, a place where they could land, so they, one by one, lowered the missionaries down to that beach where they would then live to engage with the Waodani people. Nathan then took the plane and told the people, "Hey, our friends are on the beach. Go meet them." A man and two women came and engaged with Jim Elliot and his crew, the four other men. There were five of them in total.
They had a meal together and had a great time. Of course, there was a language barrier, but they were able to love on them and share the love of Jesus Christ with them. They pleaded with them. "Go and tell the entire tribe to come. We would love to tell you something. We have a sign. We have a message for you." They left. Two days go by as they waited for the tribe to come. Two women show up, and as they see them, they're very excited. They quickly cross the riverbank and go over to the women.
As they got closer, they realized they were not friendly. When they turned around, they realized they were surrounded by men with spears. Jim Elliot had a revolver on him, and as he reached for it, he remembered his promise not to kill anyone who did not know the gospel, because he knew it. The five men died that day. In an effort to share the gospel with this tribe, they died. Elisabeth Elliot, Jim's wife, was back here in the States.
As she listened on the two-way radio, hoping to hear Nathan Saint share what they had been up to that day with his wife, they didn't hear anyone. They grew concerned. As days went by, their concerns grew, so a missionary was deployed to fly a plane over there. He saw their plane had been destroyed there on the beach. Message was sent back here to the States. The States deployed a search and rescue team to go and find these men. They found their dead bodies on the beach and buried them.
When Elisabeth Elliot heard, she began training and equipping herself here in the States. She grabbed her daughter Valerie and Nathan Saint's wife, and they went to the Waodani people. She showed up and said, "You killed my husband, and I have a message of hope for you. I have a sign, a message. It's left or right. There's a God. That God you worship… He had a Son who died for you, and there's one true God, Father, Son, and Spirit, and I want you to know about him. I want you to hear about him."
The entire tribe converted because of God's love through this woman, their wives. It captured the nation and was featured in Life magazine, and now we tell it for motivation today, that we would go and share with all of the nations. Some of you think, "Yeah, but Jim Elliot died." No. Jim Elliot lived more than any of us ever will. He said, "When it comes time to die, make sure all you have to do is die." Let me pray.
God in heaven, thank you that you are sovereign and that we can trust you. Thank you that you have plans for our lives that go beyond growing our net worth and living comfortably. Thank you that we can lose our lives for the sake of you and your gospel and take it to the nations. Thank you that you've called us to do so clearly.
I know that shame and guilt are not motivators consistent with your Spirit, so, Lord, I pray that our motivation today would simply be your Spirit making known to us the things of you through your Scriptures. If it's there, stir our hearts, Lord. If it's not, then may we return back to our lives as normal. I pray this message would be a fork, that we'd choose if we should go to the right or to the left. Father, thank you for your Son and the way you set us free through him, in whose name we pray, amen.