The thing that makes a missionary is the sight of what Jesus did on the cross and to have heard Him say, “Go.”
[God] may direct some to leave their homeland to go to proclaim the Gospel in a foreign land. There is a great temptation in such circumstances for people to revert to the legalism of thinking that they are being heroes for God because they are leaving their homeland to endure the rigors of living in a foreign land. Those who are directed to do hard jobs for God must remind themselves that these rigors are simply for their health. As these difficulties help them become more like Christ, they will sing a song of praise unto God, and as a result “many will see it and fear and put their trust in the Lord” (Psm. 40:3). People who regard themselves as invalids rather than heroes will make excellent missionaries.
The primary qualification for a missionary is not love for souls, as we so often hear, but love for Christ.
The greatest missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue. It needs no furlough and is never considered a foreigner (William Townsend).
If missions languish, it is because the whole life of godliness is feeble. The command to go everywhere and preach to everybody is not obeyed until the will is lost by self-surrender in the will of God. Living, praying, giving and going will always be found together.
[Salvation of another] is what man cannot do. It is impossible. Only God can take out the heart of stone (Eze. 36:26). Only God can draw people to the Son (Jn. 6:44, 65). Only God can open the heart so that it gives heed to the gospel (Ac. 16:14). Only the Good Shepherd knows His sheep by name. He calls them and they follow (Jn. 10:3-4, 14). The sovereign grace of God, doing the humanly impossible, is the great missionary hope.
The sovereignty of God [does] not make the pursuit of sinner pointless – it makes it hopeful. Nothing in man can stop this sovereign God from saving the worst of sinners.
There are four reasons we can be absolutely sure that the mission of God will triumph in the world. First, the word of Jesus is more sure than the heavens and the earth (Matthew 24:35). Second, the ransom has already been paid for all God’s elect, and God did not spill the blood of his Son in vain (Revelation 5:9). Third, the glory of God is at stake and in the end he will not share his glory with another (Isaiah 48:9-11). Fourth, God is sovereign and can do all things and no purpose of his can be thwarted (Job 42:2).
More and more I am persuaded from Scripture and from the history of missions that God’s design for the evangelization of the world and the consummation of His purposes includes the suffering of His ministers and missionaries. To put it more plainly and specifically, God designs that the suffering of His ministers and missionaries is one essential means in the joyful triumphant spread of the gospel among al the peoples of the world.
You will never make a missionary of the person who does no good at home. He that will not serve the Lord in the Sunday school at home, will not win children to Christ in China.
You shall never make a missionary of the person who does no good at home.
The fundamental basis of all Christian missionary enterprise is the universal authority of Jesus Christ, “in heaven and on earth.” If the authority of Jesus were circumscribed on earth, if He were but one of many religious teachers, one of many Jewish prophets, one of many divine incarnations, we would have no mandate to present Him to the nations as the Lord and Savior of the world. If the authority of Jesus were limited in heaven, if He has not decisively overthrown the principalities and powers, we might still proclaim Him to the nations, but we would never be able to “turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God” (Acts 26:18). Only because all authority on earth belongs to Christ dare we go to all nations. And only because all authority in heaven as well is His have we any hope of success.
In 1956 Life magazine told of the shocking death of five missionaries in the jungles of Ecuador. For several months these men had tried to make contact with the primitive Auca Indians. On their first attempt to establish a camp, they were brutally murdered! Today these same Auca tribesmen are all Christians. They are leaders of a small congregation that worships near the spot where the missionaries died. Many educators and government leaders have expressed astonishment at the miraculous change in these Indians. How did it happen? The answer lies in the love of God expressed to these people by the sister of Nate Saint and the wife of Jim Elliot, two of the martyred missionaries. Led by God who is love and not vengeance, these women were able to break down the walls of distrust. In time they were able to share the gospel with these tribesmen and see the love of Christ transform their lives.
The God who is worthy to be known and served for who He is, is Himself the answer to this world’s longings. And those who know Him best are best equipped to serve Him. He is their message. If we have discovered the glory of God in the face of Christ, we must not hold back. The God of glory must be made known.
This God, who is King, is worthy to be known and to be proclaimed for who He is. The missionary who proclaims this God cannot fail. If his message extols the sovereign God, it will be significant even supposing it is never the means of winning one soul. The message will not be lost. It cannot be lost. It will remain as something precious. Before men and angels – yes, and before the demons of hell – it will be praise to God! “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish” (2 Corinthians 2:15).
One might think that shame would now drive us to our task (of missions). Do the commands of our Lord mean so little to us? Are we indifferent to Him? Or, if not shame, pity on those who have not heard. Are we unconcerned at the cries of the heathen? Can we weep at television drama and sit dry-eyed before the needs of the lost? Such questions shame us, yet I know that shame will not move us as we ought to be moved. We will need a larger motive than our own humiliation to finish the task. Even the spiritual poverty of the pagan will not do it. We must have a grander vision…a new vision of God. And that vision is majestic, glorious.