When you read autobiographies of men like William Carey, Hudson Taylor, George Mueller, and the Moravian missionaries, you learn of people whose lives demonstrate why some of us need to “go” to a mission field in a foreign land. William Carey spent 41 years without furlough in India. He believed he was called by God to serve among unreached peoples in unreached places.
Over the centuries, these missionaries have written letters back to their home churches, challenging them to send and support workers in the harvest fields of Asia, Africa and South America.
One of the earliest missionaries in China, Lottie Moon, wrote, “Please say to the new missionaries that they are coming to a life of hardship, responsibility and constant self denial. They must live, the greater part of the time, in Chinese houses, in close contact with the people. They will be alone in the interior and will need to be strong and courageous. If ‘the joy of the Lord’ be ‘their strength,’ the blessedness of the work will more than compensate for its hardships. Let them come ‘rejoicing to suffer’ for the sake of that Lord and Master who freely gave his life for them.”
Freely you have been given…
For some of us, giving is easy, a matter of simple obedience. God tugs on our heart and we make the sacrifices necessary to give to a cause. But I would like to challenge you today not simply to give, but also to go – however, whenever, and wherever God leads.
I believe we must go, using the word ‘must’ in light of Romans 1:14, where Paul speaks of his eagerness to preach the gospel, “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.”
Does that statement echo in your ears and heart? Literally, he owes the gospel to all peoples — to Greeks, to barbarians, and to the people of Rome. I find that statement fascinating. Paul’s ownership of the gospel creates an obligation. Because he knows, he must spread the good news of what God has done in Christ.
This is what I’m praying would become a reality in our hearts: that you and I realize that we must do everything we can to bring the gospel to people who’ve never heard it; that our ownership of the gospel creates an obligation; that saved people on this side of heaven owe the gospel to lost people (and peoples) this side of hell.
Why must we “Reach the Unreached”?
So why does the Book of Romans tell us we must go to the unreached? Here, briefly stated, are four reasons:
- Ignorance (or just knowledge about God) damns mankind to hell forever.
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:21
- The gospel of God is enough to save them.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16
- His plan requires we make sacrifices for his people.
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? Romans 10:13–14
- God rightfully deserves the praises of all peoples.
Bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations. Romans 1:5
We can’t keep this gospel to ourselves. It is the greatest news in all the world: People can be made right with God, forever, through faith in Jesus Christ. Everybody needs to hear this.
In Romans 15:20, Paul tells the church in Rome why he is writing this letter to them. “And thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation.”
Paul sincerely believed that he owed Christ to the nations. He was asking the church at Rome for help, so he could preach the gospel to the unreached in many other parts of Europe.
That’s a message for all of us. Let’s make Him known. It’s not an option; it’s an obligation.
In His Service,