November 26, 2023
The Great Pursuit
2 Corinthians 2:14-17
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is Sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. – 2 Corinthians 2:14-17
“As Christ’s captive servants, God is calling us to offer our lives as a sacrifice of worship in the pursuit of God’s mission among all peoples.” – Joey Shaw
The world’s greatest problem is LOSTNESS. It’s growing every day.
Picture this: Wading into the rushing waters of the jungle river, Sarah looked at the bank filled with members of her indigenous tribe. She was about to make a bold statement — one that not only transformed her life but could change eternity for the Embera people of Colombia. She nodded to the IMB missionary to proceed. He said, “I baptize you Sarah in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” in Sarah’s language before lowering her into the river. Sarah, the first known follower of Christ among her tribe, couldn’t stop smiling as she explained her decision with the community. This moment was years in the making.
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. – 2 Corinthians 2:14
Lostness is a blindness to the promise and the hope of the gospel. It is a lostness that leads to eternal separation from the Father.
Picture this: Missionaries Elliott and Pat Nichols pray for a Wolof village chief in Senegal who has been sick for many weeks. After the Nichols’s finished telling the stories of the Bible there, they showed the JESUS film to the whole village. Some villagers sat silently at the end of the film. Others wept. The chief, who was then walking with a cane after suffering a stroke, stood up and hobbled over to Elliott and Pat. “Today is the best day in my life and in the life of my people,” he told them, his eyes shining.
Lostness… we hear it in the voices of the hurting. We sense it in the brokenness of the world around us.
Picture this: A volunteer team treats young villagers with a medicated soap, then applies special medicines to the scabies sores all over their bodies. This process had to be repeated for three consecutive days. Volunteer teams are vital to the mission endeavor all over the world.
8 billion people are living in 195 countries speaking over 7,000 languages.
Picture this: On each well Dina’s team builds, they inscribe the words, “God loves you,” in Portuguese. Wells are being drilled all over the world as a way to meet a vital need and communicate the Gospel.
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, – 2 Corinthians 2:15
Today over 3 billion have yet to hear the good news of the gospel.
Picture this: An elderly Muslim man from Central Asia smiles for a photo. The world Muslim population is 1.8 billion and growing.
We see the vision God gives us in Revelation 7:9.
Picture this: Children pose for a photo at the Christian Community Center in Chisinau, Moldova. The center reaches out to children whose parents have left the country to find work, leaving the kids behind with friends or relatives, or some of them alone with their siblings in the house.
The great commission fuels our desire to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, but we must be willing to go further than we have ever gone before.
Picture this: A homeless man worships at a church service run by missionaries and local churches in Mexico City, Mexico. Hundreds of homeless people living in Mexico City meet together at this event to worship and study the Word of God. Missionaries and churches are able to minister in many different ways.
to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? – 2 Corinthians 2:16
To the very edge of lostness where more than 3,000 people groups have no missionary presence and likely no access to the gospel
Picture this: Pausing for Friday noon prayers, Muslims line the sidewalks near a mosque in Paris. The Muslim population in Europe continues to grow.
No one is engaging them, but together we can change that.
Picture this: Women from an unreached Muslim people group in South Asia have recently begun to show more of an interest in the gospel. Christian workers in the region have led several women to faith and have started discipleship groups.
We know the love, hope, and peace of the Gospel. We know the way, the truth, and the Life. We know the power of true redemption.
Picture this: A believer in a country closed to the gospel of Christ worships in a secret church. Believers all over this world meet in secret and underground churches due to severe persecution in many communist countries.
For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. – 2 Corinthians 2:17
We must not ignore lostness, we must not be silent, and we must not stand still. We must be united in this great pursuit to reach every nation and every people no matter the cost.
Picture this: A man from the Sikka people group pauses working for a photo. The Sikka people are the traditional residents of Flores, an island in eastern Indonesia with a Spanish colonial history.
Will you be engaged in The Great Pursuit?