The Challenge of Missions
 
by Dr. Ken Matto
 
(Isa 52:7 KJV) How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Did you ever feel that your life was somehow shortchanged? In other words, did you ever feel that you wanted to do more for the Lord but were unable to? In these past few weeks I have been reading a book entitled ďFrom Jerusalem to Irian JayaĒ by Ruth Tucker. It is the history of Christians missions from the Apostle Paul up to 1983, when the book was written. It is a concise history of missions in that she does not cover every single missionary or mission society but covers a sufficient amount to give you a good idea of the struggle of the pioneer missionaries in the USA as well as foreign countries.

As one who has a heart for missions but suffers from lame legs, this book is making me realize that my Christian walk pales in comparison to those missionaries who literally gave up their lives, and not after seeing thousands converted, sometimes they died within a month on the field, before their work even began. I read episodes like that in the lives of these missionaries and I wonder why the Lord would lay a certain mission field on their heart and then when they get to that field, they contracted a disease or were killed by the people they were trying to reach.
(Isa 55:8 KJV) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. This is why it takes great faith to become a missionary.

Some medical missionaries gave up very lucrative practices here in the United States just to go to poverty stricken countries to give medical aid to the people and preach the Gospel. Many missionaries faced not only harsh conditions but opposition by the government and the people they were trying to reach. In fact if you read the history of New Tribes Mission you will find that it was born out of the blood of many missionaries. Many of these missionaries were so sold out to the Lord Jesus Christ, that they did not concern themselves with whether they lived or died. They knew that their mission was in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ and if they lived, then they may see a great harvest, but if their lives were taken, then they would be home with the Lord.
(2 Cor 5:8 KJV) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Thirteen years before the martyrdom of Jim Elliot and four others by the Auca Indians in Ecuador in 1956, there were five other missionaries of New Tribes Mission (these were the first five missionaries of New Tribes Mission) whose lives were taken in Bolivia but their bodies were never found. In fact, it was 6 years later when finally an eye witness came forth and said the missionaries were killed. Cecil Dye was one of the five missionaries killed and he penned these words before his promotion to Glory.

Cecil writes,
"I don't believe we care so much whether this expedition is a failure so far as our lives are concerned, but we want God to get the most possible glory from everything that happens, and we know that the powers of Hell are marshalled against anything that would bring about this desired aim. On the other hand, it seems that it would be a real testimony to the Lord's power to make this expedition successful. Then again, perhaps, more Christians would become more aware of their responsibility to lost men and less concerned over the material things of this life if the expedition failed and we lost our lives. Maybe they would pray more for the next group that went to the same tribe, and maybe, there would be more "all out" volunteers so that every tribe would be reached in our generation. I believe the real attitude of every fellow in this group is that they want, at any cost, that which will glorify God most."  --------Cecil Dye

Compare these faith-filled declarations with the pettiness of todayís Christians who go ballistic if someone sits in their seat in church or takes their parking space. These people were not concerned for their own comfort nor were they concerned about losing their lives. There is a secular saying I heard some time ago which goes, ďIf you do not fear death, you can do anything.Ē I guess they had things in mind such as Philip Petit who walked a tight rope between the World Trade Center Towers in New York in 1974, or people that walk a tight rope across Niagara Falls. Let us bring that statement into the spiritual realm.
(1 John 4:18 KJV) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

The above verse teaches a similar truth but it is speaking of true love that casts out fear. If the ten missionaries who were martyred, had any fears about doing what they did, they might have stopped the mission trips and went to a safer field. Their love for the lost people drove them on without fear of their own lives being lost. Now I am not saying that they did not have any fears or trepidations, but the fears they had, as normal human beings, were overridden by their desire to evangelize these people groups. Either you rule fear or it will rule you.

Not everyone is called to go to the mission field but when we read about these early pioneer missionaries, we see a zeal for the Gospel which has been lost today. The majority of Christians have listened to their church leaders in the arena that they are unqualified for evangelism. If a person is saved and has a Bible, they are qualified to bear witness of what God has done in their life. The idea that you need seven years of Bible college and Seminary is bogus. Why? Because when you graduate, you will expound John 3:16 to the hearers. You can expound John 3:16 right now. Why wait seven years to say the same thing you are going to say right now? There was one missionary that Ruth Tucker listed in her book, the name escapes me now, who only had a third grade education and God used him mightily on the mission field.

I started this article by asking a question if you felt you were cheated because you wanted to do more for the Lord and you couldnít? The question we need to ask ourselves is, within the confines of my present life, what can I do in my Christian walk? That is the attitude that God looks for in us. He doesnít want us sitting around mulling over what we cannot do. Let us say that the only ministry you feel qualified to do at this point in your life is handing out tracts. Then you do that! Letís say you get three hundred tracts a week and hand them all out and you do this for two years. In those two years, you will have handed out 31,200 tracts. Many times tracts get read a few times, even by scoffers. When I was in the Hungarian Reformed Church, I always carried tracts with me. One time, I sat next to a fellow but didnít know him. I shook his hand, welcomed him and gave him a tract. He knew my cousin which was sitting behind him, so he took the tract and put it into the bulletin to hide it and showed my cousin and they both laughed. Now if they donít become saved, they will both give an account on Judgment Day for laughing at the Gospel. They werenít mocking me, they were mocking the great sacrifice the Lord made on Calvary. The Gospel is about Christ, not the messengers.

Just think what an impact you can make on your city by organizing a tract distribution. If you live in cities like New York, Chicago, Mexico City, London, Montreal and many like that, you can garner an army of tract passers and could literally hand out a million tracts a week. Donít worry about scoffers, you just place those tracts in the hands of those who will take them. If you are getting good Gospel tracts in the hands of the people, then you are fulfilling the Great Commission. Donít concern yourself about people not getting saved through your tracts, concern yourself that maybe you will reach some of Godís Elect who will become saved. I know a brother in the Lord who went on a tract trip for Family Radio (before it switched gospels from the truth to Campingism) but had trouble walking and was unable to go to the streets. He stayed in the hotel and set up the tracts so when the folks came back for more tracts, they were in and out in minimal time. The time this man saved them, probably resulted in many more thousands of tracts being handed out. Even if you are physically disabled, it is not a hindrance to God.
(Exo 4:11 KJV) And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?

Donít let Satan get you to believe that because you are not called to a major ministry, you are of no value. Tommyrot! If all you can do is send tracts back with your bills, then do it. Most payment processing places have large numbers of people. A tract may get read many times. You may even send it and a Christian may open your envelope. They could take that tract and place it in the lunch room. If God opens the eyes of the person who will read that tract, then you have borne fruit, and you wonít know it till you get to Glory. In conclusion, donít be discouraged. Read about these missionaries which I believe is the heart of Christianity. Jesus traveled and preached! Paul traveled on three missionary journeys and preached! All the twelve disciples were all dispatched to different mission fields. Your mission field, at present, is where you are. A flower blooms where it is planted, even among the weeds. That is where God has placed you at present. Garner the zeal that these pioneer missionaries had and use it in your own personal ministry. Finally, I would suggest that you visit the following website http://www.farese.com/index2.htm    Here is a link to his testimony. http://confessingbaptist.com/johnny-farese-absent-from-the-body-present-with-the-lord/    I will let that be the summation of this article.  (9/3/04)
 
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