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Midrand Chapel Baptist Church
Sermon Resources

One Master One Mission

Missions Conference 2020


Main Scriptures
Series: Missions Conference 2020
Book: Romans
Scripture References



7 characteristics of the Christian or church that would be fruitful in partnering with God in His mission:

Gospel grounded (15:14-15)

Willingly worshiping (15:16-17)

Spirit empowered (15:18-19)

Globally going (15:20-21)

Sacrificially giving (15:22-29)

Fervently praying (15:30-33)


This morning I want to launch our annual missions conference with a message about missions which I’ve called “One Master, One mission.” As Christians we have been called to serve on master in His one great mission. This master and this mission is what binds Christians together from every culture and place, from every generation and age.


We’ve just finished the book of Acts, which has given us the perfect foundation from which to launch into a discussion on missions. In the last few chapters of Acts, we saw Paul make the journey from Jerusalem to Rome. Paul was given specific revelation that Christ’s purposes would prevail over every human scheme and plan and all opposition and that Paul would ultimately stand before Caesar in Rome in order to bear witness to Christ. This final journey of Paul mirrored the gospel’s journey through the entire book of Acts - out from Jerusalem to the ends of the world as God’s witnesses were carried along by the power of the Spirit and enabled to overcome every obstacle and hindrance. The book of Acts ends with Paul in prison in Rome, but the gospel unleashed on the world….


So this onward and outward march of the gospel into all the world provides the interpretive key, the paradigm which helps us understand what God is doing in this world, in history, and what God desires to do through our lives. We are having a missions conference in the midst of a pandemic because we believe missions helps us make sense of everything God is doing, even in the midst of a pandemic.



Transition to Romans

When Paul was nearing the end of his third missionary journey he had plans to go to Jerusalem and then from Jerusalem to Rome and then from Rome to reach out to the Western parts of the empire. He wrote a letter to the church in Rome laying out these plans, laying out the gospel he preached and really calling them to partner with him in this gospel mission to the West.


This morning I want to take a look at the end of this missionary support letter to uncover there what it takes to be fruitful in missions


7 characteristics of missionary …..


Rom 15:14-30


           1: A gospel grounded Church (15:14-15)

Some people like to think of Romans as a doctrinal treatise. Wilmington’s handbook to the Bible says,


“Romans is the most complete summary of Christian doctrine. If all of the Bible were lost except Romans, scarcely any fundamental doctrine would be lacking.”


But let’s not lose sight of why Paul wrote Romans, why he laid down such a thorough and systematic presentation of the gospel. It was to make sure that the church at Rome was well grounded and ready for the missionary outreach he was planning to partner with them in. The building will never be stronger than its foundation. The church will never be stronger than its doctrine and its fruitfulness in missions will never go beyond is grasp of the gospel.


Paul can say in vs 14 that he is confident that they are “filled with all knowledge” and even able to “instruct one another” and yet he has written to bring them back to their gospel roots and anchor them once again in this solid foundation.


Application: That is why we strive to ensure that every new member goes through the Foundations of the Faith material with an existing member in our church – because we want to make sure all our members have a solid grounding in the gospel. The gospel is the basis for all Christian growth and activity.


Notice that Paul for Paul sound doctrine is not just about knowledge. It is certainly not less than understanding, but Paul rejoices that this church is more than full of knowledge, they are also full of goodness. They have applied this knowledge to their character and lives so that their good doctrine is being lived out in good works. When we hold fast the gospel, it holds us fast, and does a transforming work that becomes increasingly evident by the good fruit it produces in our lives.


           2: A willing worshipping Church (16-17)

Paul can say at the end of vs 15, this undeserved, unmerited gift was given to me, “to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles”

Notice how he describes his mission here:

·      He is a “minister.” This word is used to describe a priest serving in the temple.

·      He picks up on that in the next part of the verse and calls is a priestly service of the gospel

·      Then he develops it further and calls this ministry to the Gentiles and offering, holy and acceptable to God.

What Paul is implying here is that Old Testament ritual worshp, Old Testament priestly services is replaced by in the New Testament by gospel missions. This is how we now worship God, how we gives thanks to Him for our salvation, how we worship and magnify His grace. Not by going to the Temple, but by going to the nations. Not by offering a bull or goat, but by offering ourselves as living sacrifices which make much of God with our lives….


Paul sees his mission as an act of worship and that is how every missionary and mission minded church ought to see it. Missions is the overflow of worship.

As John Piper puts it, “Missions exist because worship doesn’t”


We want to go to the nations with the gospel because that is what will magnify Christ and what He has done. We want to go to the nations because Christ deserves to be known there and worshipped there as much as here. We sacrifice our best people and our money and time because all worship necessarily involves sacrifice – and we do it willingly and joyfully because that is the nature of worship.


           3: A Spirit empowered Church (17-19)

Paul is one of the greatest missionaries the church has known. He an say in vs 19 that he has fulfilled the ministry of the gospel, that he has been faithful to his calling as the Apostle to the Gentiles. That he has preached everywhere from Jerusalem to Illicrium.


That’s an incredible statement. If you look at a map, Jerusalem is on the Eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. As you move West, Italy is the boot that justs out into the Mediterranean Sea roughly halfway across it. Illicrium is the province on the Eastern border of Rome just across the Adriatic Sea. So Paul is basically saying that he has fully preached the gospel throughout the whole Eastern region of the Roman Empire which is probably why he wants to establish a base at Rome and from there reach out to the Western regions of the Empire.


We’ve been tracking those missionary journeys over the last few months in the book of Acts. We know that it was no small feet and was accomplished at great personal cost. This is an area


  • Approximately 600 miles north to south, 800 miles east to west, an area of over 250 000 square miles.

  • That’s nearly down to Cape Town and across to Durban, 10x the size of Gauteng.

  • At a time when most traveling was done on foot -Paul and his companions had covered a region as roughly 1/5th the size of South Africa.

  • That’s what you call missionary Zeal!


But notice vs 17 – Paul is proud of what he does, he is proud of the work he does, proud to be a part of God’s great mission. He’s not proud of who he is or what he has accomplished. Because this ministry was an undeserved gift and has not been carried out by his clever plans or great zeal. Vs 18, he won’t speak of anything except what Jesus has accomplished. Vs 19 in one sense everything Paul has accomplished is a miracle which has been accomplished by God’s power and to God alone belongs the glory. Notice how he emphasizes what God has done, what Jesus has accomplished, what has been carried out by the power of the Holy spirit. This mission is the work of the entire Trinity, the whole Godhead is intimately involved in this mission. But certainly we see here what we are told in the book of Acts, that the distinct ministry of the Spirit is to empower gospel messengers and the message so that it all accomplishes God’s mission.


Any church that is going to be fruitful in missions is going to have to be humble and care more about God and His glory than themselves. They are going to have to care more about building God’s kingdom than their own, they are going to have to learn to depend on God for resources and power beyond their own. God is not only concerned that the mission be accomplished, but also how it is accomplished. It must be accomplished by His power so that all glory goes to Him alone.


A gospel grounded church, a willing worshipping church, a spirit empowered church

A globally going church (15:20-22)

V 20 “I make it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named.”

  • Paul expresses here, the going that is an essential element of missions.

  • As a church we talk about evangelism or community outreach, we try to emphasize the responsibility of every member to be sharing the gospel with those we rub shoulders with on a daily basis.

  • But I hope its still fresh in your minds from the book of Acts, that the gospel has to keep going out, from Jerusalem, to Judea to the ends of the earth. Out and out and out.

  • We don’t rub shoulders with more than 10 million Tunisians, most of whom will live their whole lives without ever hearing the gospel or knowing a Christian. Someone has to go and tell them. Someone has to go where Christ is not already named….

               Geograhic to Ethnic missions

In the early days of missions this was primarily geographic – from Jerusalem to Rome and Paul can speak about the regions here where the gospel has been preached. At first the gospel had to just penetrate all the continents, then all the countries. But then it became apparent that even once the gospel had gone to a country, there were distinct people groups within that country who, because of language and cultural barriers, were not hearing the gospel or able to attend church. So the focus of missions shifted to unreached people groups. Distinct groups of people who had little or no exposure to the gospel even though they might be living in reached countries. This people group focus is not totally foreign to Paul because note how he describes his distinct calling, he’s a minister to the “Gentiles” vs 16, the offering of the Gentiles, the Gentiles vs 18. “Ethnos” is the Greek word used to describe non-Jewish people groups.


Paul had been specifically commissioned by Christ to be a pioneer missionary and church planter among the unreached people groups of his day. Here he explains the need to keep pressing on in this mission. Was there still work to be done in the region to the East? For sure. Was there still a need for evangelism, and church planting? For sure. Had every last individual been evangelized? Definitely not. But the burden of missions, the very definition of missions is to carry the gospel across geographic, ethnic, cultural and linguistic barriers  so that as vs 21 says, “those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”


This is not to say that the evangelism and discipleship and church planting which was still taking place in those regions was unimportant, or even less important. But missions understands that we can’t wait until every last person is reached, every last church is planted, before we begin to move to the regions beyond. There is a mandate, an urgency that drives missions to keep pushing onward and outward with the gospel and Paul explains it here in vs 21


The mission of Christ (21)

In vs 21 Paul is quoting from Is 52:15 to explain his motivation and drive to preach where Christ has not been named. Go there…


  • Read 52:13-53:5

  • Really part of Is 53. Same theme throughout, the suffering and exaltation of the messiah.

  • What is the result of Jesus sacrificial offering, what is the fruit of his death and resurrection?

  • He will sprinkle many nations, he will wash them of their sin and bring them to their knees in worship before the one true God. The God that they never knew, they will come to see and know and worship.


Paul is quoting from this well known O.T passage to remind us – that the cross work of Jesus is not done until the gospel has been taken to all nations and they see and they understand and they fall down and worship God through faith in Jesus Christ. Why is Paul so passionate about going to the unreached, about taking the gospel to the next and the next and the next.. because that is what God is passionate about – exalting His Son.


This is not primarily about having compassion on people who are perishing, though that is certainly a part of it. This is about having an unquenchable desire to see Jesus Christ exalted among the nations.


               Application: not all go

Not that we all rush out here and go – we are not all equipped and called to go, but that we would all share equally in the burden so that whether we are going, or sending or praying – we will be willing to sacrifice as much, to pray as much, to give as much to see the gospel progress.


The one who sends and the one who stays and the one who goes have one and the same master and one and the same mission.


If Paul were alive today, I’m convinced he would be telling us about the 6700 unreached people groups in our world today – whole groups of people who have yet to hear, yet to see, yet to worship – and Christ deserves to hear His name exalted in their language with their lips.


A gospel grounded, willing worshipping, spirit-empowered, globally going,


           5: Sacrificially giving Church (22-29)

               Support raising

Paul now reveals his plans to go to Rome.

  • Vs 24 Rome is not his final destination, he will pass through, encourage the brethren on his way to Spain.

  • Spain was the Western part of the empire, the region beyond.

  • He hopes to encourage them, vs 32 to be refreshed by their company – but also to be helped on His way.

  • He wants them to support him, to assist him financially and otherwise in his missionary outreach to the regions beyond.


This is, of course, one of the reasons he writes the letter – its a kind of support raising letter to help the Roman believers recognize their responsibility to be part of the expansion of the gospel to all nations.


Again we see that its not that the work of discipleship is unimportant, vs 24, he intends to stay with them for a while for their mutual encouragement. And its not that caring for people’s physical needs is unimportant, he’s delaying the mission in order to make the trip up to Jerusalem to relieve the saints there. But he’s not going to let those things hinder him from fulfilling his calling as a pioneer missionary and apostle. We know from the book of Acts that there was a famine in the land and the Jerusalem church was hardest hist and found themselves in dire need and Paul has only too happy to be a part of taking benevolent relief from the Gentile churches to this largely Jewish church because it gave practical expression to the unity and love of the early church that stretched across cultural and ethnic barriers.


Application: This is a good reminder that we can’t let this pandemic stop the church being the church and missions is a central part of what the church is and does. God is not short of money or resources for His mission – but are we willing to make the necessary sacrifices?


Notice Paul mindset when it comes to giving. Vs 27 they were pleased to do it, it was an overflow of gratitude and an act of worship. But also in the second half of vs 27 “they owe it to them.” Paul saw it as a kind of gospel obligation. Since the Gentiles had shared in such great spiritual blessings in the gospel, the ought to be willing to depart with some of their material blessings. vs 28 Delivered what has been collected = literally sealed to them this fruit. Paul is delivering to them this fruit, this product of the gospel – its more than a food parcel – testimony to the gospels work amongst the Gentiles. Then he will go on to Rome to be helped on to Spain.


That is really what he is getting at in vs 29. He is sure that through his gospel ministry the church at Rome is going to be abundantly, fully,  completely blessed – surely then they can respond by giving cheerfully and sacrificially to the gospel mission.


Since God has given us His Son in order to secure our redemption, since God has been so generous toward us – surely we can’t be stingy when it comes to giving and sacrificing for the sake of His mission.


Illustration: To my knowledge Midrand Chapel has always given at least 20% of its income toward missions of some kind. At times we’ve given closer to 50%. I honestly believe that is why this church is so materially blessed. We’ve been a faithful channel of God’s resources to others – we can’t let this pandemic rob us of that gift – to be generous givers.


Missions is expensive. There are always needs closer to home, there is always more money and time and people that can be used on caring for ourselves – but we can’t do that at the expense of God’s global, international gospel mission.

There are various statistics flying around but all of them confirm that globally the church gives less than 1% of its income to foreign missions…. Consider all the churches you know – how many of them are prioritizing foreign missions in the budget? How many of you are prioritizing missions in your budget?


           6: Fervently Praying Church (30-33)



Third characteristic (partner in going, giving, )

           Partnership in praying (30-33)

There is one other thing Paul desperately needs from them:

Strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf.

  • Strive together with me – not you pray and I go. I am praying fervently as I go, please pray with me.

  • Soon-agonizo-mai: Agonize with me, labour with me, come alongside me and bear the load with me through your prayers.

  • This is not a “God bless the missionaries” just before we eat lunch.

  • This is a fervent, faithful, commitment to pray – to pray as if you were the one whose life was in danger, as if you were the one who was facing these great trials and hardships.

  • Most often when I hear of someone fasting, they are fasting about some major decision they must make, or some situation they are facing which makes them feel an especially acute ned to pray.

  • The spread of the gospel should invoke in us and accute need to pray, to take a days leave to pray, to fast and pray, to get up and 2 am and pray – not for us, but for those who are on the forefronts of taking the gospel out on our behalf – who are on the front lines where the battle is fiersest.


Example Awake Tunisia: Awake Tunisia. Less than 20 converts in over 150 years of missionary outreach. 1999 Awake Tunisia, we committed to pray every day for a year, received updated prayer requests from the missionaries on the field. Saw over 150 converts in one year. When we fervently pray for what is on God's heart – we can expect God to answer.


  • Gap groups – adopt a missionary, get their prayer letter and take 5 minutes to pray for them while praying for each other. One of you send them a short e-mail or sms saying we prayed for you, anything specific we can pray for.

  • Family devotions, each day or once a week – pray for missionaries, or country or people group

  • Bible studies – adopt a missionary, or an unreached people group, or both. Take a few minutes of your prayer time to pray.

  • Prayer cards – Joshua project. Enable desktop to change



What kind of Christian, what kind of church is a fruitful partner in God’s gospel mission?

Gospel grounded, worshipping, spirit-empowered, globally going, sacrificially giving, fervently praying church.

Does that describe you, does that describe us? In which of these 6 areas do you most need to grow in the next year so that you can fruitfully partner in God’s mission.

Let me close with a poem written by CT Studd, the 19th  century missionary to China.

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”

— extra stanza —

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee


“Only one life, it soon will pass – only what's done for Christ will last.”