bits from bob....
A Heart for Missions
by Robert J. Young
©, 2002, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]
"I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. I am not ashamed of the gospel, beacause it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." (Rom. 1:14-16)
This text from the pen of the apostle Paul gives us more than a good three-point sermon outline. Certainly we can note with profit that Paul was obligated to, eager to, and unashamed of, preaching the gospel. We often need to be reminded that we have in our hands a power from God, we have an opportunity perhaps unsurpassed in previous human history to move forth boldly and eagerly, we have the Master's mandate which challenges us.
When I read this text, however, I not only think of the great domestic opportunities in evangelism that are before the North American church, I think of the great opportunities that exist in our world. In our world today are seeking souls, receptive hearts, and open minds. I remember some of my experiences in Latin America. One of the first courses I taught at Baxter Institute in Tegucigalpa, Honduras was entitled "The Missionary Heart of the Apostle Paul." At Baxter are eager students who want to be like Paul, students who feel the obligation, students who recognize the great power of the gospel to change lives and to change our world.
I remember the church at Santa Maria del Real in the state of Olancho, Honduras. Chendo is a man who at great personal sacrifice eagerly answers to call to preach because he feels the obligation and has seen firsthand the power of the gospel to change men and women. I thrill at the experience of this church as it successfully continues to reach out with the saving message of Jesus. I think of the missionary heart of the apostle Paul.
What made Paul so special as a missionary? What words might come to mind to describe the life we seek as Christians who understand Romans 1:14-16?
May God help us develop contagious hearts of compassion and commitment, willing to accept the challenge, celebrating God's saving power, seeking the likeness of Christ!
- Missions begins with Compassion. Paul was a man with a compassionate heart. He perhaps never got over the hurt of the rejection of the gospel by his own countrymen, fellow Jews. He would have given himself for their salvation. The church will never be obligated, eager, and empowered until we learn the heart of Jesus, One who came seeking and saving the lost, One who came not to the healthy but to the sick.
- Missions demands Commitment. I've not seen the easy missionary endeavor. Paul himself speaks of countless difficulties (2 Cor. 11). The task of taking the whole gospel to the whole world will not be done by the uncommitted. Paul had an eager, obligated, unashamed commitment to the divine purpose.
- Missions never loses sight of the Challenge. Paul's zeal for kingdom things never wavered. Every time I see the hearts of brothers and sisters in other nations for sharing the gospel with their countrymen, I find a renewed challenge to escape my too frequent lethary, apathy, and inactivity.
- Mission understands the cause of Celebration. The nature of God is clearly seen when souls are saved. When one sees the nature of God, celebration is the natural response. Heaven rejoices when souls come index. May God grant us the day when we will see great celebration and rejoicing in the church because of the success of our missions efforts in spreading the borders of the kingdom and bringing souls to Jesus.
- Missions is Contagious. Paul's continuing enthusiasm and excitement about the opportunity to preach the gospel was contagious. Others spread the good news because of Paul's example and heart.
- Missions is Christ-likeness. No greater example of service exists than Jesus Christ. Paul was willing to serve humbly wherever he was needed. God was his guide, he merely followed the call. the journey was of God's doing; the agenda was God's.
Go to Articles Index
Last updated February 28, 2002.