I want to talk to you, young person. You’ve learned doctrines of sovereign grace. You read the Puritans. Congratulations. I will not lose sleep tonight because people in the world lack self-esteem. I will not lose sleep tonight because they’re not having their best life now, or they’re not being all that they can be, or their checkbook is not balanced. I will lose sleep tonight, if I lose sleep tonight, because men will stand naked before God and be cast into hell. When I preach, and when you preach, whether here or in the mission field, you cannot simply think that you’re just a communicator of truth and you leave it there. You must preach as a dying man to dying men. And I see that in Paul. There was a passion. There was an urging. He wasn’t simply satisfied if he preached well or communicated truth. He longed for God to be honored among men. And he longed for men to be holy, to be Christlike, and to be able to rejoice in the benefit of their great salvation. We ought to be a people given to urging our brethren to greater and greater godliness, to greater and greater piety, to abound further and further in love.
He says, “I urge you, brethren.” What is he going to urge them to do? To do the most difficult, scandalous, in some cases, some would say, preposterous thing a person could ever urge another person to do. To give their life away. Do you know, even the devil had it right? In this sense, you can take away a man’s goods, his houses, his lands, you can do absolutely anything to him, but the moment you touch his flesh is when you’re truly going to test this man. To give away a car, a home, a tithe… is a small thing. But to ask a man to give away his life…
I know there is so much romantic notion about missions, but Amy Carmichael, Elisabeth Elliot’s book, it’s right, missions is only this: an opportunity to die. And opportunity to give your life away. For something much larger than yourself. Much greater than yourself. So he is going to ask these people to do what some would consider almost cultic, absurd, ridiculous, immoral, to give their life away, to offer their life. Now, you’re going to need strong medicine to motivate a person to something such as this. What on earth or in heaven could ever motivate a man to give his life away? I’m going to urge you to give your life away to God. To offer it up as a living and holy sacrifice to God. Now, I’m going to do so on the basis of the following: The first 11 chapters of this book that outline for you the mercies of God. And have you decided that you would submit your life to those directives? You see, we talk about being biblical in our worship.
Have you gone through Scripture to discover what God desires out of worship? Well, you know, we love worship this way. I don’t care how you like worship. Because that’s not the point. What has God said? You see, in this idea, we can romance this thing to death. We can spiritualize it to death. We can say, oh, I’ve given my life to the mission field; that does not mean at the same time that you have given your heart to God. Because you can go to the mission field and be godless, and carnal and trite. You’d be better off joining National Geographic than you would a mission agency. Are you seeking in simplicity to examine your life? I’m not talking about finding legalistic inferences and forcing them upon yourself. I’m talking about the great principles of Scripture dealing in every aspect of your personal life, applying them to you, and seeking to obey them? Let me ask you a question. If you go to the mission field, without taking what I have said as a serious endeavor, isn’t there the possibility that the only thing you’re going to do there after you have crossed land and sea, is make a convert like yourself that’s nothing more than a two-fold son of hell? There isn’t a whole lot of American Christianity, folks, that needs to be exported. Unless, like Ravenhill says, we put it on some kind of a raft, and send it off to a lone island, and after it’s going away from the dock, we all sing the doxology. If we’re going to endeavor to work in missions, then we must be motivated by a God that we know. A Gospel that we know. And we must be a people who have endeavored with great force to examine their lives in the light of Scripture and conform their lives to what Scripture says. How much of what you have – even the way you sit in a chair – is formed by those around you, and not by Scripture? Something to think about. Well, I think if you’re going to be a missionary of any account, this is what you must do. Stay in your room. Not only pray, but study. So that when you walk out of that room, you have something to say about God. And so that you will be able to walk out of that room. Listen to me. I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt. You walk out there in all your zeal, in the middle of the plaza, and you begin to preach, and you think as a young missionary that angels are going to drop out of heaven, and the Hallelujah Chorus is going to be sung, and millions of people are going to be converted, they’re going to toss you on their shoulders and build a statue of you. That’s not going to happen.
What’s going to happen is this: you’re going to go there, and you’re going to preach, and you’re going to preach, and when a crowd starts listening to you, somebody somewhere is going to rise up and call you a demon. The entire crowd’s going to turn on you. They’re going to grab your little pulpit and your makeshift microphone and all your little tracts and they’re going to throw you out on the street. It’s going to take a lot more than a romantic zeal for missions to make you get up, pick up your pulpit, your tracts and walk right back in there and preach again. It’s going to take a passion for God that is created out of knowing Him. And that’s the same for everything in the Christian life.