Setting the World on Fire
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
When I was 9 years of age I became a Royal Ambassador. The RA's is a missionary education organization in Southern Baptist churches. The Royal Ambassador organization perhaps had a greater influence upon my life than any other one thing. That is when I began to memorize scripture. That is where I learned how to share my faith. That is where I developed a missions consciousness.
I remember drawing a map of the First Century Mediterranean world and tracing the four missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul. I remember corresponding with Lanny Goldsmith, who was the son of one of our Southern Baptist missionaries in Paraguay. I remember collecting stamps and coins of the countries where we had missionaries. I remember going to camps where we had missionary speakers and I was thrilled both by their adventurous lives and their commitment to Jesus Christ.
In fact, it was at a Royal Ambassador camp that I first made a commitment to do whatever God wanted me to do with my life. And shortly thereafter, at another camp, there came my response to Gods call to full-time Christian ministry.
God has placed me here at Eastside Baptist Church, and I rejoice to serve Him in this place. This is my Jerusalem and this is your Jerusalem, but there is an entire world that needs the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
John Wesley said, "If I had 300 men who feared nothing but God, hated nothing but sin, and would determine to know nothing among men but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, I would set the entire world on fire."
One missionary convert said, "Send us men with hot hearts."
In Acts 1:8, we find the commission to evangelize the world, "But ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you and ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the utter most parts of the earth." This command, specifying the geographical areas to be evangelized, was carried out in exactly the order described here.
The work of evangelizing in Jerusalem began at Acts 2:1, when the disciples were endued with power from on high on the day of Pentecost. The work of evangelizing in Judea and Samaria began in Acts 8:5 when "Phillip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto them." The work of evangelizing throughout the remainder of the earth began at our text, Acts 8:26, when the angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip saying, "Arise and go toward the south..." So it is biblical and right to say that missions begins at home, but it doesn't stop there. The mandate of Jesus Christ is to set the world on fire with the good news of salvation. That is our commission, that is our mandate, that is our directive, that is our order from headquarters.
First of all, let us consider
I. THE SCOPE OF THIS DIVINE MISSION
The scope of Christ's commission to evangelize is all- inclusive. We are to carry forth the news of redemption to ends ...
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