The New Life: Words of God for Young Disciples of Christ
BY Rev. Andrew Murray
Chapter 31 Missionary Work
"And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following" kjv@Mark:16:15 kjv@Mark:16:20.
Every friend of Jesus is a friend of missions. Where there is a healthy spiritual life, there is a love for the missionary cause. When you consider the reasons for this, you obtain an insight into the glory of missions and into your calling to embrace this cause as a part of your soul's life. Come and hear how much there is to make missionary work glorious and precious.
1. It is the cause for which Jesus left the throne of heaven. The heathen are His inheritance, given to Him by His Father. The power of Satan has been established in heathendom. Jesus must have Himself vindicated as the Conqueror. His glory, the coming and manifestation of His Kingdom, depend on missions.1
2. Missionary work is the principal aim of the Church on earth. All the last words of the Lord Jesus teach us this.2 The Lord is the head, and He has made himself dependent upon His body, His members--by whom alone He can do His work.3 As a member of Christ, as a member of the Church, will I not give myself to take part in the work, so that this goal may be reached?
3. It is the work for which the Holy Spirit was given. See this in the promise of the Spirit--in the leading of the Spirit--graciously given to Peter and Barnabas and Saul.4 In the history of the Church, we find that times of revival go hand in hand with a new zeal for the missionary cause. The Holy Spirit is always a holy enthusiasm for the extension of the Kingdom.
4. Missionary work brings blessing on the Church. It enthuses heroic deeds of faith and self-denial. It has furnished the most glorious instances of the wondrous power of the Lord. It gives heavenly joy over the conversion of sinners to those who watch for it with love and prayer. It cleanses the heart to understand God's great plans, and to await the fulfilment of them in supplication. Missionary work is an example of life in a church, and brings more life.5
5. What a blessing it is for the world. What would we have been if missionaries had not come to our heathen forefathers in Europe? What a glorious blessing missionary work has already won in some lands. What help is there for the hundred millions of heathen, if not in missions?6 Heaven and hell look on missions as being the battlefield where the powers of Jesus Christ and Satan encounter one another. Alas! that the conflict should be carried on so feebly.
6. There will be a blessing for your own soul in love for missionary work.7
You will have the opportunity to exercise your faith. Missionary work is a cause for faith, where everything goes on slowly, and not according to the inclinations of men. You will learn to cling to God and His Word.
Love will be awakened. You will learn to go out of yourselves and your little circle with an open eye and a large heart--to live in the interests of your Lord and King. You will realise how little true love you have, and you will receive more of that love.
You will be drawn into prayer. Your calling and power as an intercessor will become clearer to you, and you will receive the blessedness of working for the Kingdom. You will discover that the highest conformity to Him, who came to seek the lost, is the surrender of your own ease and rest to the loving fight of prayer--in behalf of the heathen--against Satan.
Young Christian, missionary work is more glorious and holy than you suppose. There is more blessing in it than you are aware of. The new life in you depends on it more than you can yet understand. Yield yourself again in obedience to the Word to give missions a large place in your heart--yes, in your heart. The Lord Himself will further teach and bless you.
And if you want to know how to increase your love for missions as the work of your Lord, devote yourself to the following guidelines. Become acquainted with the missionary cause. Read writings and books to know the condition and needs of the heathen, to know what, by the blessing of the Lord, has already been done for them, and what work is now being done. Speak with others about this cause. Perhaps a little missionary society could be instituted in your neighbourhood. Perhaps one of your prayer meetings, say, once a month, could be set apart for prayer in behalf of the missionary cause. Also pray for this in private. Let the coming of the Kingdom have a definite place in your personal prayers. Strive to follow the material for prayer that is provided in the promises of God's Word--in the whole of Scripture and especially in the prophet Isaiah--in regards to the heathen.8 Give also for missions. Not only when you are asked--not merely when you can spare without feeling it--but set apart a portion of what you possess or earn for this cause. Let the Lord see that you are earnest about His work. If there is missionary work that is being done in your neighbourhood, be a friend to it. Although there may be much imperfection in that work--and where is there work of man that is perfect?--do not complain of the imperfection.
Son of God, when You did breathe Your Spirit upon Your disciples, saying, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost, " You added, "As the Father bath sent Me, even so send I you. "Lord, here I am--send me also. Breathe Your Spirit into me also, so that I may live for Your Kingdom. Amen.
Footnotes1) kjv@Psalms:2:3 kjv@Matthew:24:14 kjv@Matthew:28:18-20 kjv@Mark:13:10 kjv@Luke:21:24 kjv@Romans:11:25) 2) kjv@Mark:16:15 kjv@Luke:24:47 kjv@John:17:18 kjv@Acts:1:8) 3) kjv@1Corinthians:12:21) 4) kjv@Acts:1:8 kjv@Acts:11:12 kjv@Acts:11:23-24 kjv@Acts:13:2-4 kjv@Acts:22:21) 5) kjv@Acts:14:27 kjv@Acts:15:4-5 kjv@Romans:11:25 kjv@Romans:11:33 kjv@Romans:15:10 kjv@Ephesians:3:5 kjv@Ephesians:3:8-10) 6) kjv@Isaiah:49:6 kjv@Isaiah:49:12 kjv@Isaiah:49:18 kjv@Isaiah:49:22 kjv@Isaiah:54:1-2) 7) kjv@Proverbs:11:24-25 kjv@Isaiah:58:7-8) 8) kjv@Isaiah:49:6 kjv@Isaiah:49:18 kjv@Isaiah:49:21-22 kjv@Isaiah:54:1-3 kjv@Isaiah:60:1-3 kjv@Isaiah:60:11 kjv@Isaiah:60:16 kjv@Isaiah:62:2)
1. "Unknown makes unbeloved" is a saying that is especially true of missionary work. He who is acquainted with the wonders that God has worked in some lands will praise and thank God for what the missionary enterprise has achieved and will be strengthened in his faith that missionary work is really God's own cause. Among the books that help to awaken interest in missions are biographies of missionaries. Books on missions are generally found in church libraries (or Christian bookstores).
2. We should never forget that the missionary cause is an enterprise of faith. It requires faith in the promises of God, in the power of God. It has need of love-love to Jesus, by which the heart is filled with desire for His honour, and love to souls, with a heart that longs for their safety. It is a work of the Spirit of God, "whom the world cannot receive" ( kjv@John:14:17). Therefore, the world can approve of missions only when they go forward with the highest prosperity.
3. Let no friend of missions become discouraged when the work proceeds slowly. Although all baptised men in the heathen nations are not truly converted, although even among the converts there is still much distortion, although some fall back after a fair profession, everything is by no means perfect among the civilised either. Among our forefathers in Europe, a whole century was required for the introduction of Christianity. Sometimes a nation received Christianity only to cast it off again after thirty or forty years. It required a thousand years to bring them up to the height at which we now stand. Let us not expect too much from the heathen at once but with love and patience and firm faith, pray and work and expect the blessing of God.
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