Friends! Family! Kingdom Partners!
This morning I’d like to share an excerpt from Capturing the heart of God for the Nations with you!
It is still true today that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few (Matthew 9:37-38). Today, as we ride out the effects and affects of Covid-19, I ask you to orient yourself to the harvest that lies beyond.
While our ability to go out, and preach that the Kingdom is at hand may be limited right now, we can prepare for the harvest that is yet in the field, praying and asking God to send laborers into His harvest.
Moreover, won’t you be as bold to ask if He wants to send you as one of those laborers?
Love in Christ,
OUR MISSIONS RESPONSIBILITY
And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.Acts 19:10
The torch for world missions began with the primitive Church. In obedience to the supreme commission entrusted to them, these early apostles were dispersed throughout the nations, eventually dying as martyrs because their message of Christ would be unacceptable to the religionists and the lost of their day. One of the major figures in launching world missions was the Apostle Paul, whose missionary journeys took him from Antioch into all of Asia and then to Rome toward the end of his life. Through the obedience and passion of these firebrands, the gospel fires blazed in many nations.
From generation to generation there has always been a remnant that has remained loyal and passionate to continue to grow the Church and pursue the lost. These determined followers loved not their lives unto death and sacrificially went to the regions beyond. This fire of God for the nations must once again be kindled in our hearts.
In his book, The Passion for Souls, Oswald Smith wrote about Dr. Alexander Duff:
“Dr. Alexander Duff, that great veteran missionary to India, returned to Scotland to die, and as he stood before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, he made his appeal, but there was no response. In the midst of his appeal he fainted and was carried off the platform. The doctor bent over him and examined his heart. Presently he opened his eyes. “Where am I?” he cried. “Where am I?” “Lie still,” said the doctor. “Your heart is very weak.” “But,” exclaimed the old warrior, “I must finish my appeal. Take me back. Take me back. I haven’t finished my appeal yet.” “Lie still,” said the doctor again, “You are too weak to go back.”
But the aged missionary struggled to his feet, his determination overcoming his weakness; and with the doctor on one side and the moderator on the other side, the old white-haired warrior was led again to the platform, and as he mounted the pulpit the Apostle Paul, whose missionary journeys took him from Antioch into all of Asia and then to Rome toward the end of his life. Through the obedience and passion of these firebrands, the gospel fires blazed in many nations.
“When Queen Victoria calls for volunteers for India,” he exclaimed, “hundreds of young men respond; but when King Jesus calls, no one goes.” Then he paused. Again he spoke. “Is it true,” he asked, “that Scotland has no more sons to give for India?” Again he paused. “Very well,” he concluded, “if Scotland has no more young men to send to India, then, old and decrepit though I am, I will go back, and even though I cannot preach, I can lie down on the shores of the Ganges and die, in order to let the peoples of India know that there is at least one man in Scotland who cares enough for their souls to give his life for them.” In a moment young men, all over the assembly, sprang to their feet, crying out, “I’ll go! I’ll go! I’ll go!”
For years handfuls of people have gone, prayed, and given to the harvest, but most today remain disconnected from this call. Many Christians will give more money to buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks than they give to missions. Some will spend thousands of dollars to keep their pets healthy and strong while giving next to nothing for the sake of world missions. Their out-of-balance lives and their misplaced priorities need to be addressed.
Without a vision the people perish… Without a vision the people will not carry the gospel torch.
In developing nations, missionary zeal burns white-hot, with believers carrying the gospel torch despite their meager resources. There are nations being visited by the same Holy Spirit that blasted into the upper room and transformed a handful of trembling disciples into world-changing, dynamic soul-winners. Asia is experiencing tremendous church growth, with thousands coming to Christ each day. In Africa, believers boldly carry the gospel torch on trains and buses, and in the markets you will always find at least one zealous Christian busy about the Father’s business.
Anyone who has ever taken a short-term missions trip to a Third World nation has been impacted by the success of the gospel, as thousands are seen responding to the message of life. This gospel must be preached to all nations before the return of the Lord Jesus. We need to see the lost reached in the nations but also those all around us.
Every Christian should carry the gospel torch in this nation and to the ends of the earth through intercession, generous missionary offerings, and short-term missions trips. Some believers may even end up being called into a long-term missionary lifestyle.
“Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.”Oswald J. Smith, 1889-1986, Canadian missionary statesman and pastor
— Dr Leon Van Rooyen; Capturing the heart of God for the Nations
So, while we are all facing physical restictions in some form, we look toward the future with expectation; eagerly waiting for the go-ahead so that we can run to those who have not heard, who have not seen, so that every tribe and every tongue may come to know Him!
I know that for many of you, this season of quarantine or lockdown has taken a heavy toll on your emotional wellbeing, but I want to encourage you with this text that I recently sent to a friend: nothing you lay down in pursuit of the kingdom will ever make you less than what He created you to be. Sacrifice isn’t meant to be easy. But it’s not without reward.
Therefore, whatever sacrifice you make, or whatever challenge you face, may you endure it for the joy set before you, so that He might be made known, so that His Name may be glorified, and that all might taste and see that He is good!