Last Words

When Sir Isaac Newton died he said, “I don’t know what I may seem to the world. But as to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then in finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” Leonardo da Vinci was heard saying, “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.” Last words are often reflective and very important.

The Lord Jesus breathed, “It is finished!” as He died on the cross. What a statement! Those three words are the apex of human history! Jesus then rose again and ascended into Heaven. Again, His last words before He ascended are most profound. Let us look at these last words.

The disciples heard Jesus speak His last words on this earth in a mountain in Galilee. We find these words in all of their profundity in Matthew 28:18-20. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

All Power

First of all, Jesus said, “All power is given unto me.” The word translated power here is exousia. It means authority. Jesus declared that God the Father had given Him all authority. The type in the Old Testament representing this relationship with the Father is Joseph ruling under Pharaoh in Egypt. This statement that Jesus made emphasizes and enforces what He would say next. He had the authority to say it, and we have every right and obligation to obey.

All People

Next, upon the premise of His absolute authority, Jesus commands that all people must hear the Gospel. “Go ye therefore and teach all nations…” The word for nations is ethnos. Nations does not refer to political nations, but, rather, to people groups. What exactly is a people group? “For evangelization purposes, a people group is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance (language and culture).” [Joshua Project Definition]

There are currently 16,825 people groups. Out of these, 6,989 are unreached with the Gospel. This means that roughly 42% of the world’s people groups do not have enough of the Body of Christ represented among them to begin a church planting movement. Imagine 42% of the world with no Bible, no church, and no missionary to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Jesus said that He had all authority, and with that authority He commanded His followers to take the Gospel to all peoples!

All Places

The last thing that Jesus did was give His disciples a promise. He promised to be with them even unto the end of the world—in all places! Often we interpet this promise to mean protection and peace. While God does protect His followers, many missionaries have been martyrs for the cause of Christ. A fuller understanding of this promise can be found in Mark 16:20, “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” After Jesus ascended into Heaven He worked with them through His Spirit. He did the work! This is the only way for the Gospel to make it to all people—through His power and strength! The work must be done with Him.

We must take heed to the last words of our Lord Jesus. He declared His authority. He issued a command, and He gave us His promise. We must meditate on these last words and understand how we are to carry them out. Then, perhaps, our last words would be similar to that of George Whitfield’s: “Lord Jesus, I am weary in Thy work, but not of Thy work. If I have not yet finished my course, let me go and speak for Thee once more in the fields, seal the truth, and come home to die.”

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Into All The World: Volume 6, Issue 10

The Gates Of Hell Shall Not Prevail

By Berhanu Yoseph

Many times we easily forget what Jesus has said about His Church. When something bad happens we worry too much. Recently we lost two, well experienced pastors. When both of these churches’ pastors went home to the Lord, I began to think that these churches would not continue. However, both churches continued in a very special way because these churches do not belong to the pastors! They are His local churches! The Church in Benara, in fact, invited me to their baptism program after they lost their pastor eight weeks ago. I was informed that more than 28 people were ready to be baptized. Praise the Lord and glory to Him! The Gates of Hell shall not prevail!

Our work with the South Sudan people in Ethiopia is going very good. We have a great opportunity to serve. It is truly promising to plant many churches. There are nine churches we have planted in the different villages of the Gambela region and four additional churches in the refugee camps. These are the work of God’s amazing grace. The places are very remote and far from where we are living, almost 1,000 km. The Gates of Hell shall not prevail!

Note: If you would like to receive Berhanu’s prayer letters please email us.


Office News

By John Yingling

I praise the Lord for the opportunity to travel to Indonesia and the Philippines last month. It was exciting to see what God is doing in both countries. I was thrilled to be a part of an ordination ceremony on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. I was equally thrilled to see what God is doing through Nap and Shirley Donado and Chris and Carol Woodley in the Philippines. The Donados are working on their sixth church plant. There is a wonderful movement of God beginning to develop around these ministries. God has given the Woodleys access to an unreached Aeta people group in the Philippines besides their work with the Deaf. Many are being saved!

Brother Terry Childers had a great opportunity to be at West Coast Baptist College in Lancaster, CA last month. This month, we are looking forward to representing BIO at Pensacola Christian College at the Campus Church missions conference. We will also participate in Ambassador Baptist College’s annual missions conference at the end of October.

Please remember our annual Fall Meeting is November 16-17. This year it will be held at the Music Road Resort in beautiful Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Dr. Milton Ker will be our main speaker. Our theme this year is Missions in the Twenty-First Century. Please make plans now to attend. To reserve your room call 1-800-429-7700 and tell them you are with BIO. I hope to see you there.


The Smiths Return To Cambodia

Map of Cambodiaby John Yingling

We praise the Lord that Ron and Sara Smith had a profitable furlough. They have returned to Cambodia to begin their third term.

Ron writes, “Upon our arrival in Phnom Penh, we must look for a new place to rent as our current facilities will no longer be available. Location is very important to our church. Please join us in prayer about this. We thank God for His mercy and protection as we traveled and visited with supporting churches. God is so good to us! Continue to pray that He will use our lives in Cambodia, that the millions there without Jesus Christ will come to know His wonderful grace and His saving power.”

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Deaf Churches: A Three-Country Africa Visit

During the months of August and September I had the privilege of visiting three different African countries as BIO’s Director of Deaf Ministries. These were Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia. In each of the places I visited I spent time with BIO missionaries working with the Deaf.

Ethiopia

Photo of conference crowd.The late pastor Bizuayehu Assefa started an annual conference in Addis Ababa in which he invited the deaf churches in Ethiopia to come together for a time of learning and encouragement. This year was the 28th year for the conference. Ebenezer Baptist Church for the Deaf invited me to be one of the speakers for the conference. I preached four times and enjoyed the preaching of several deaf pastors in Ethiopia.

There were 18 different churches represented in the three day event with over 250 people attending. It was a great time of Christian fellowship for these deaf saints. Many of the attendees came from smaller villages and would not normally have as much opportunity to fellowship with other believers back in their home town.

During the conference there were 2 Deaf saved and many came forward in the invitation with a desire to be a greater witness for the Lord. I recently wrote about this trip in my personal prayer letter.

Tanzania

Photo of Deaf kneeling at the alter.Pastor Frank Laurent has been doing a wonderful work in his home country of Tanzania. The Bethel Baptist Church of the Deaf in Dodoma, Tanzania was in great need of a larger place to meet. I was privileged to preach the first service they held in their new building. On that special Sunday morning 13 Deaf came forward in the invitation to accept the Lord as their Savior!

The building is far from complete, but they are able to use the space. Their old meeting location was large enough for about 40 people to sit, yet they regularly had 60 coming to church. Now they have plenty of room with room to grow.

Bro. Frank is doing a wonderful job in training young men to do the work of the ministry. His one request for me was to return home and tell others to take time to visit the work in Tanzania. He wants you to have a burden for the need of more workers so that you will pray for their ministry effectively.

Zambia

Photo of Sunday School classMy purpose for going to Zambia on this trip was as much personal as it was ministry related. Bro. Yohannes Getaneh has become a good friend through the years as we have worked together through BIO. I was deeply curious to go see the ministry God has him doing among the Deaf. God has used Bro. Yohannes to train and help start 25 churches for the Deaf in Zambia.

I preached both Saturday and Sunday to the deaf church in Lusaka. After the Saturday service we all went out in front of the church and handed out tracts to people passing by. After a short time Bro. Yohannes and I sat down in the shade while the church members continued to pass out tracts. We were not sitting there just to rest out of the sun. No, we were there so that the Deaf could invite the hearing people passing by to come chat with us about the Lord. The Deaf kept us supplied with people to talk with. I prayed with about 8 people concerning spiritual needs. None that I talked with accepted the Lord, but Bro. Yohannes was able to pray with 3 hearing people who put their faith in Jesus Christ. It was a wonderful team effort on the part of the deaf congregation and two hearing preachers.

Your Involvement

Most missionaries would love to have a visit from a supporting church or individual. Don’t hesitate to contact a missionary and see if you can work out a time to visit them on the field. If you need help connecting with one of our BIO missionaries please contact us and we will help in any way we can.

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A Visit to Cornerstone Christian School for the Deaf

Earlier in the month of August, my wife and I were able to be with Cornerstone Christian School for the Deaf in Angeles City, Philippines. We were there in my capacity as Director of Deaf Ministries for BIO. The school hosted a training seminar for teachers of the Deaf which was offered to teachers of other schools in the area. We had three different Christian schools and one public school represented in the seminar. Also interpreters from other church ministries joined us.

This was a training seminar to help teachers know how to better communicate with the Deaf. Of course, it was also an evangelistic opportunity. There was one teacher who was unsaved. She did not get saved during the seminar, but we are praying that she will remain in contact with the Christians who invited her to participate and that she will eventually see her need of salvation.

Along with the school training, we ministered in the deaf church. Through interpreting, special music and preaching, both my wife and I enjoyed serving with the Cornerstone Baptist Church. It is an actively growing ministry. We had 67 who came to church that Sunday. Soon the church will have to knock out some walls or find a new place to meet. A great problem to have.

Because of specialized ministries like this, missionaries are able to get into some countries that would otherwise be closed to traditional ministry. Certainly the Philippines is not a closed country. Missionaries are being trained and sent from there in exciting numbers. It is encouraging to think that some of the people we trained this summer could be ministering in restricted nations among the Deaf in the future.

Maybe God has blessed you with specialized training that you could use to help reach the nations for Him. Would you pray about using your talents to train missionaries and national workers to better carry out the great commission in their area? It could be through a training seminar like we conducted or it may be as full time missionaries in a foreign land. If you have questions about how you can serve the Lord in missions, please contact us and we will do what we can to help.

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Becoming a Twenty-First Century Sending Church

Mission leader and pastor, Mark Stachura said, “The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity.” Every church should be a sending church. The standard model of a sending church is found in Acts 13. After fasting and praying, the church in Antioch sent out their two most capable ministers in obedience to the Holy Spirit. What does a sending church look like today?

A sending church is led by the Spirit of God

Acts 13:2 says, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” In this day and age our own church programs and plans seem to take precedence over missions. It is important to realize that the church at Antioch took the initiative in being led by God. The above verse says, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted…” Simply put, they sought God! The Word of God is clear in this regard. Hebrews 11:6b says, “…he (God) is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Furthermore, it wasn’t just Barnabas that was seeking; it was the entire leadership of the church. A sending church is one that seeks God and is led by the Spirit of God.

A sending church is obedient to the Spirit of God

Acts 13:3 says, “And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” I believe that God has missionary candidates in every local church that He desires to send out. Some never hear the call, while others hear it but do not heed it. The church at Antioch was in tune to the needs of their community and the world. The talk in the foyer after church was predominately spiritual talk and that of meeting the needs of the world (Acts 11:27-30) not the upcoming football season. This environment fostered a heart to serve and to give; a heart that was obedient to the Spirit of God. It is no surprise, then, that this church immediately sent out their very best in obedience to the Spirit of God.

A sending church participates with the Spirit of God

After Paul and Barnabas’ first term planting churches in Asia Minor they came home for a furlough. Acts 14:26-28 says, “And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. And there they abode long time with the disciples.” The church in Antioch yielded their beloved Barnabas and Saul to the Lord, but their missionaries were never far from their heart. They prayed for them often, and they rejoiced to see how God used two of their own throughout Asia Minor. And then, during the missionary team’s furlough, they loved on them and ministered with them and to them (Acts 15:3,35). Wherever Paul traveled he expected believers to participate with him (Acts 21:5, Romans 15:24, 1 Corinthians 16:6). The Apostle John also encouraged participation in missions in 3 John 5-8.

Today opportunities to participate with the Spirit of God in missions abound. Our standard of living enables many to give generously to missions. The Internet, printing press, radio and other forms of communication equip many believers to support the work of God in powerful ways. Our modern day technology keeps us in constant contact with our missionaries, and modern travel encourages shot-term missionary trips. Every local church should be a sending church! Oswald J. Smith said it succinctly when he said, “The mission of the church is missions.” We will be a sending church if we are led of the Spirit, when we obey the Spirit and when we participate with the Spirit of God. “The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become,” Henry Martyn, missionary to India and Persia.

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