Thoughts on life and Scripture...

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas and Missions

Christmas is a good time to reflect on the incarnation of our Saviour and to renew our commitment to foreign missions. I would like to show why in this post.

Christmas is all about the eternal Son of God coming down to earth to become a man so He could save sinners by suffering their punishment on the cross and rising again. God the Son left the glories and comforts of heaven to come to this sin infested world. In heaven He was praised and adored by all the angels. But on earth He would be cursed by men. He is the infinite, self sufficient, all knowing, and all powerful God. But in coming to this world as a baby, he became dependent on others. He had to learn and grow. He was weak. He got tired, hungry and thirsty. He felt pain and hardship. He was tempted and learned obedience. The Holy One who dwells in unapproachable light, now lived among sinful men, with sinful words and deeds all around Him. We could spend years meditating on this subject and not exhaust its depths.

Imagine for a moment if I owned a worm farm. One day I realized that my worms were going to die from some horrible red robin. The only way to save the worms was to become a worm and fight this great beast. So I become a worm and defeated the robin, but in the process became mortally wounded and died. Perhaps you would be impressed by my sacrifice, after all, who would actually stoop that low to save a bunch of worms? I doubt anyone would do such a thing. Yet this picture only slightly illustrates what Jesus did for us. He came to save sinners, who are less than worms. We are rebels against God. We hate Him by nature and would joyfully kill God if we could get our hands on Him. I am sure all heaven would have sighed in relief to see me and all other sinners sentenced to an eternity in Hell. "At last justice is done, no longer would these sinners curse and dishonour the only Blessed God," they would say. Yet Jesus came to save these sinners. Those who are worthless and vile, are the ones He came to redeem. God looked with love and compassion on the miserable plight of men and provided a Savior. This is Christmas. It is the story of God's love and sacrifice to an unworthy people.

Missions is all about sacrificing to show God's love in the proclamation of the gospel. The missionary who leaves his home country or culture to go to a foreign land to bring the light of the gospel is in a very small way doing what Jesus did in His first coming. The missionary leaves his home, his family, his friends and all that is familiar. He often leaves his comforts and safety to enter a new world. There in this new culture he must learn many things over again. He must speak a new language, learn new customs, eat new foods, and find new friends. Maybe he will become poor. New sicknesses are a danger. Plus he brings a message that is foolishness to this world. Men may hate him, scoff at him and even injure or kill him. There is mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual difficulties that are all around him and his family. Yet he and they suffer all this so that sinners can hear the only cure for their sin disease. This gospel message is powerful for the salvation of sinners. This he believes and so he continue on in his work, confident that God's word will be effective. To one degree or more, this is what all those who are involved in missions go through. Only the love of Jesus Christ would compel any to go through such hardships. And yet these hardships are only a flicker of light compared to the great suffering of Jesus Christ to save sinners. We can never suffer more for Christ than He did for us.

On this Christmas season, spend some time thinking of the glory of Christ and His humiliation. Consider the hardships that missionaries go though. Pray more for the missionaries that your church supports or for an organization that sends or supports missionaries. Give financially to those faithful missionaries. Also, consider if God is calling you to go and proclaim the good tidings of great joy to those who live in darkness.

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