EDITOR’S NOTE: David Platt is president of the International Mission Board. This year’s Week of Prayer for International Missions in the Southern Baptist Convention is Dec. 4-11 with the theme of “The Gospel Resounds.” The theme undergirds the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. The offering, in tandem with Cooperative Program gifts from Southern Baptist churches, supports international workers in seeking to fulfill the Great Commission. Gifts to the Lottie Moon offering are received through local Southern Baptist churches or online at IMB.org, where there are resources to promote the offering. This year’s goal is $155 million.
If you are reading this article, you are likely a part of one of more than 46,000 churches the International Mission Board partners with to spread the Gospel around the world, particularly among people who have never heard the Gospel.
That’s a pretty awesome thought: you and your church are joined with 46,000 other churches who say, “Together we want to get the Gospel to every person and group of people on the planet.” And the primary way we do that together is by sending and supporting missionaries all over the world.
Thousands of missionaries have been sent out from this coalition of Southern Baptist churches. These missionaries are not just sent out; they’re also supported by the giving of our churches.
God’s Word shows us in 1 Thessalonians 1 why giving together like that makes sense — and, even more, how giving in your church is resounding to God’s glory around the world.
First Thessalonians is the first letter Paul writes to the church that he, Silas, and Timothy had played a part in starting. These men had a close relationship with this church — 15 different times in this letter, Paul calls them his “brothers,” over and over emphasizing his love for them. And over and over again, he expresses thanks for them, for who they are, and for what they are doing. That’s what draws me to this book when I think about you and your church: As a part of this coalition of churches who are sending and supporting thousands of missionaries around the world, I just want to thank you over and over and over again. I want to thank you for what you’re doing, not just as a family of brothers and sisters there in your church, but as a family of brothers and sisters far beyond your church.
In that sense, then, I want to say some of the same things to this entire coalition of churches that Paul says to the Thessalonians. Paul starts by reminding this church how the Gospel has affected them — how the Gospel has changed their lives — and how that Gospel has spread through them. First Thessalonians 1:8 tells us the Gospel has sounded forth from Thessalonica not just throughout Macedonia and Achaia (the nearby areas), but everywhere around the world. In the same way, then, I want to encourage you to stop and reconsider how the Gospel has affected you — how the Gospel has changed your life. And I want to celebrate with you how the Gospel is spreading through you everywhere around the world.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press