Sermon in a nutshell: Acts 13:6-12 “God is with missionaries.”
Who are missionaries? Missionaries are the ones who are sent by God! The word “missionary” comes from the Latin words, “act of sending (missionem)” or “to send (mittere).” The first church sent missionaries to foreign lands to preach the Good News of Jesus and to share the life of the risen Jesus. When Jesus was on earth, he did three things: Preaching, Teaching, and Healing. Missionaries continued the ministry that Jesus had done on earth, doing the same three things: Preaching, Teaching, and Healing.
I remember that in Korea, the first school was started by a missionary. The first school for women was started by Mary F. Scranton, a woman missionary of the Methodist Church. Because of the sexist tradition of Korean society, nobody wanted to send their daughters to the school. So, Mrs. Scranton had to recruit the students from the street. Homeless girls, orphans, and beggars were the first students. Among those students, we later find the first president of the Ehwa Women’s University, the first gynecologist in Korea, and many leaders of Korean society.
I remember, also, that the first hospital in Korea was founded by a missionary. Horace Newton Allen, a Presbyterian missionary started a small medical facility. It grew and later became one of the best hospitals in Korea. When I went to Guatemala with our medical mission team, one of the team members was the granddaughter of the professor of the medical school and hospital. God is good!
So, the missionaries go everywhere to preach, teach, and heal, sharing God’s love and life. On the other hand, in the Bible, we find opponents of the missionaries. The Bible uses different titles for such people: “false prophet,” “sorcerer,” “Elymas (Greek transliteration of sorcerer),” or Bar-Jesus. Bar-Jesus literally means “Son of Jesus.” Even though the false prophet held the title, “Son of Jesus,” his actions had nothing to do with Jesus’ teaching, healing, and preaching.
Their main concern was for their own personal benefit. They cared for their titles, positions, and profits. Many times they held high positions in the community. Bar-Jesus was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul had an interest in the Gospel that Paul and Barnabas were preaching. However, the sorcerer did not want to lose his influence in the political arena and opposed Paul and Barnabas.
There are people, even today, who use religion to get what they want. They do not have any concern for the glory of God. They come to church to get votes. They come to church to get personal benefits. They pray to God to get what they want. They do not discern the will of God. They do not want to give to the church, saying that the church always talks about money. Actually, churches are talking about mission and ministry, but some people only hear the word, “money.” When we ask for money for the homeless shelter, some people hear the word, “homeless shelter,” and some people hear only the word, “money.”
Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at the sorcerer and said, “You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.” When we ignore the LIGHT, Jesus, we are already blind people. When our greed blocks our vision, we cannot see the wonderful things that God is doing among us. Those people cannot even see the obvious truth, the Resurrection of Jesus.
As Easter people, we want to continue what Jesus and the disciples of Jesus have done up until now. We want to keep teaching, preaching, and healing. I noticed that our church has many teachers, former teachers, and health care providers. The rest of us are all preachers in one way or another. I always say that there are three kinds of missionaries: The sent one (Going missionaries), the praying one (The prayer supporters), the sending one (The money givers). When we do God’s work, God promises to be with us: Then Jesus came to them and said, “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.” (Matthew 28:18-20) Let us continue our missionary works in our own unique ways believing in the promise of God! Amen!
- Among those three types, what type of missionary are you?
- What kind of mission are you supporting these days?