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cover of 5-19-2024 | Does the World Still Need Missionaries? | Isaiah 40:8
5-19-2024 | Does the World Still Need Missionaries? | Isaiah 40:8

5-19-2024 | Does the World Still Need Missionaries? | Isaiah 40:8

00:00-44:31

Sermon by Rev. Richey Goodrich

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The speaker opens by discussing his recent travels to Nepal, Cambodia, and India. He then explains that the passage he will be focusing on is about the responsibility of the Jews to accept the gospel, but he will be using it to highlight the principles of people needing to hear and preach the gospel. He reads a passage from Romans chapter 10, which emphasizes the importance of confessing and believing in Jesus for salvation. He shares two stories from his time as a missionary in India, highlighting the need for the gospel in a culture of physical abuse and the impact of a church in reaching people who have never heard the gospel before. He then addresses the question of whether missionaries are still needed and argues that there is still a need for people to go and share the gospel in other cultures. Let's continue our worship by opening our Bibles to Romans chapter 9, I'm sorry, Romans chapter 10. Romans chapter 10, verses 9-15. It's a great joy to be with you again, since I was with you in March, I was in Nepal teaching some Nepalese evangelists through the Westminster Confession of Faith, and I'll be leaving in about a week and a half to go to Cambodia and India. When I go, you go in one sense, because you're one of my sending churches, so thank you for your partnership and prayer and giving, and continue to please pray and partner with us that the Lord may continue to build His church around the world. Now our text comes in Paul's argument where he's trying to show that the Jews are not in a situation where they have not heard the gospel, they've heard the gospel, but they reject it. And so the thrust of this passage is to show that the Jews are responsible, but there's some principles he lays out that I'm actually going to focus on, about the principles of people having to hear the gospel and to apply it to mission. So I do want you to know that, I know that this is a church that's committed to expository preaching through the looks of the Bible, and if I were to preach this text in context, I would be driving home the fact that you've heard the gospel and you're responsible, but I want to draw on the principles to show the need for the gospel going forward. So having said that, let me read God's word from Romans chapter 10, verses 9-15. Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the scripture says, everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is the Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 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've never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news? Friends, the grass withers and the flower fades. The word of the Lord stands forever. Amen. Please be seated. Let me pray for us before we go any further. Father in heaven, we've just heard your word. We want to spend a few moments considering this text, thinking deeply about it, learning about your character, learning about the gospel of grace and learning about our place in your mission to save sinners from every tribe, tongue and nation. We confess how much we need your Holy Spirit to be poured out upon us during this time. And we pray that you would do that, that the spirit of Christ, the one who inspired the Apostle Paul to write these words, would illumine them to us as we consider them, that you would reveal the beauty of your son and the wonder of your gospel and the joy we have in participating in taking your gospel forward. Lord, please speak to us today. Let us be different because of our time in your word together. We ask this in Jesus name. Amen. So in 2010, my wife Kelly and I had lived in Plano for about 11 years at that point after our marriage. We moved here from Greenville. And at the time, Collin County was one of the wealthiest counties per capita in the United States. It probably still is. It seems like in Plano you could throw a rock and almost hit a church on just about every corner. And so we moved from Plano to South India in 2010, taking at the time our two-year-old daughter and our nine-month-old son. And we moved to a place that was the exact opposite of Plano in just about every way. At the time we moved to India, 40% of Indians live below the international poverty line of living on $1.25 a day. A place just outwardly filled with brokenness that you see from the moment you leave the airport. But with a greater need even than physical poverty, a place of spiritual poverty. A place where instead of a church on every corner, there's a Hindu temple on every corner and in every home. A place where less than 2% of Indians know the Lord Jesus Christ, profess Him in any way. A place where there are literally 46 people groups, 6 million or above, in this one country that are unreached with the gospel. We went there as a group of young pastors to begin to work with the local indigenous church there to train pastors so that they could plant churches among the unreached peoples of India. And we did that. We began to work and disciple and write curriculum and travel over South India and work with local folks. We also were asked by our denomination or by the Indian denomination there to start a city center church plant among English speaking middle class Indians because they are kind of an unreached group and of themselves. And we wanted to create a resource for the small growing Presbyterian church of people with education and money to fund the work of the gospel. So Indian people and Indian money growing the Presbyterian church. And we ended up only being there six years. I wish we were still there. My family and I, or at least my wife and I, would have loved to spend our whole career there, but we got kicked out after six years. But in my six years there, I was constantly impressed upon the importance of being there. How much the Lord was working through our team and the work of the gospel and other missionaries and locals who were there. And I just want to tell you two stories about that that were impressed upon me. One time we were doing a group of training with about 30 of our pastors and we were teaching a course called Living in Grace. And it was really about how do you take this wonderful reformed gospel and apply it to day to day living and how you treat your spouse and raise your kids and work through conflict. And my teammate Jonathan one time was asking these group as he was teaching this passage or this course on Living in Grace. He'd been working through Matthew 18, the steps of reconciliation. And so he asked this group of Presbyterian pastors, so if your wife sins against you, she does something wrong, what are the steps that you should do to make it right? And he's expecting, you know, you go and confront them, you know, they repent, you extend forgiveness. And one of the pastors answered and said, well, the first thing you should do is smack her really good. And he said, what? He's like, and all the Indian pastors, yeah, you should hit her really good before you do that, otherwise she won't learn her lesson. This is a culture where physical abuse is common in marriages, where 60% of Indians, both men and women, would say that it's OK for a husband to physically hit their wife at times. And so my teammate had to say, hey, let's step back a little bit and let's look at what is the role of a godly husband? How does a husband love his wife sacrificially as Christ loved the church? And it doesn't include hitting her. These were pastors, men who were going to be training others. And we were reminded of the need to teach them deeply in the gospel of grace so that they could propagate and live the gospel of grace. Another instance, just before I was kicked out, we'd planted our city center church about a year or so previous. And there was a young Indian man named Rishabh who'd been coming. Rishabh was, I think, working on a master's in Bangalore. He was a high caste Hindu from the Brahmin caste. The first time he worshiped at our church was the first time he'd ever been in a Christian worship service. And I was meeting with him, beginning to take him through a book called Prodigal God by Tim Keller, and just to explore the gospel with him. And it was so fun learning about Rishabh's story, because until he'd moved to the city, away from his Brahmin background, he'd never eaten meat. And he was telling me about his first taste of meat six months previous to that, which was Kentucky fried chicken. And he thought it was just the best thing ever. I know you all don't eat KFC a lot, but it's very popular in India and other countries. People are like, oh, do you get to eat KFC? And I'm like, I could, but I don't. Sorry if you love KFC. But I began to talk to him about the gospel, and it was the first time he'd really ever explored the gospel, really heard it. And we had created, by God's grace, a church where people could come and hear. And we saw many like Rishabh who are hearing and wrestling with and taking a long look at the gospel, encountering God's people. And I was reminded this is important to be here. Our work is important. Now, those are my experiences, just two of my experiences of serving as a missionary in a place like India. But maybe many question the need. Do we still need to send missionaries? Are missionaries still needed? I mean, what about all the work of the gospel that's here? I've heard that I've been a missionary for 15 years. I always hear, Richie, why don't you stay here? Aren't there, isn't there so much work to be done around here? I heard it 15 years ago when I first went. And of course, yes, there's a lot of work to be done around here. Maybe you've never wrestled with the priority of missions. Maybe you think, hey, we should just focus on evangelizing and planting churches here and let the other people in other countries focus on evangelizing and planting churches there. Maybe you're very passionate about gospel witness to your unbelieving neighbors here. But you've never really stepped back and said this, does God also have a priority for me, for people over there? So I want to ask and answer the question this morning from this text, does the world still need missionaries? Does the world still need people like you and me to leave the comforts of home and take the gospel to a new culture where they have not heard the gospel? And I hope you'll walk away with the resounding yes. But I don't want you to walk away because of my anecdotes of being a missionary in India. I want you to walk away from this time because you're convinced by God's holy word that he is calling his church to engage in the mission task. I want you to answer the yes because of what you are convicted from scripture to see. And so I want to walk you through this text, this wonderful text, and just draw three things which are on your outline in your bulletin. And I've done this in terms of almost just a sentence, an argument. Verses nine to 14, our first point is that apart from hearing the gospel, people cannot be saved. Apart from hearing the gospel, people cannot be saved, which means there's some implications. Our second point will be from verse 15. Thus, we must send missionaries to preach the gospel. We have to be ascending people. We need to share the gospel locally and send missionaries to those who are outside our local context. And then thirdly, verses 14 to 15, we'll try to hammer home that this means some of us must be missionaries. We can't just be sending others. Some of us need to go. But let's think deeply about this first point, that apart from hearing the gospel, people cannot be saved. And the issue of personal salvation of a person being made right with God is just pressed upon us in this text. Did you notice the repetition of the idea of salvation? Look at verse nine. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Verse 10, for with the heart one believes is justified and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Verse 13, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Or look at verse 11, everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame. In an Indian culture, they're more sensitive to shame than guilt. But in the gospel, there is no shame. Verse 12, there is no distinction between Jew and Greek for the same Lord is Lord of all bestowing his riches on all who call upon him. Another synonym of being saved. The issue of salvation is before us. But the question remains, saved from what? You might ask someone an old evangelistic question was, are you saved? And people like save from what? What do I need to be saved from? Well, Romans answers that in a powerful way. Turn with me to Romans chapter one, verse 18. After Paul has set up the theme of his letter that he's unashamed of the gospel because in it, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. He tells us why we need this gospel. And he says in Romans 118, for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. Who, by their unrighteousness, suppress the truth, the wrath of God revealed against sin. Does that include all of you? Does it include all the people of the world? Is it just some people are some people, sinners and under God's wrath, and some people are pretty good people and not under his wrath. We'll turn ahead a few chapters to Romans 323, just a familiar text. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and the implication is that all are under the just wrath of God for their sin against him, for their rebellion against him, for their failure to love God supremely with everything they have. All of us fail to do that and are thus subject to the wrath of God. All of us are in a situation of great need where we need salvation. Even in a place like India that is so overtly broken, Indians greatest problem or not, poverty, lack of education, slavery, famine, violence against women or tyranny of the government. The greatest need of every Indian, of every American is deliverance from the wrath of God because of their sin. And friends, that is the good news that the gospel addresses. It is the salvation that is freely offered to us and available to us that because it was accomplished by the obedient death or life, the atoning death and the powerful resurrection of Jesus Christ. So that the good news of the gospel is that all who put their faith in Jesus will be saved freely. Notice the emphasis on faith in these same verses back in Romans chapter 10. Notice in verse nine that you have to believe in your heart. Verse 10, one with the heart, one believes and is justified. Verse 11, everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame. Look at this idea of calling upon him. Verse 12, he bestows his riches on all who call upon him. Verse 13, everyone who calls upon him. Verse 14, calling upon him. Do you see the importance of faith, putting your trust in Jesus Christ? And it's not just faith and a general idea that God's merciful. Oh, maybe God will be kind to me. It has a very specific content centered on the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Look at verse nine. We see that you must confess that Jesus is Lord. The promised Messiah, but more than just the promised Messiah, the incarnate son of God, you you have to believe and know who Jesus claims to be in the scriptures. And you have to know what he did. It says that you have to believe that that God raised him from the dead. And in Romans, he died as an atoning sacrifice for sinners, and God powerfully raised him up from the dead. You have to know it and you have to put your trust in the person of Jesus Christ. And if you do that, the glory of the gospel is that you will be saved. But there's a content that people have to know about. I've been in many Indian homes and in most Indian homes, there's this little room, idolatry is built into the architecture of Indian homes and called a puja room, P.U.J.A., equivalent to a prayer room. And typically in the puja room, you put your favorite deities that you're going to worship, the ones you're going to burn incense to, pray, do bhakti or devotion to. And I've been into a number of puja rooms where there's the God Ganesh, the elephant headed God, and maybe the God Hanuman, the one that looks like a monkey. And in some of them, I've seen a picture of Jesus with a sacred heart, a Roman Catholic picture of Jesus. Most of those people who have that picture of Jesus in their puja room know nothing about him. They don't understand that he is God incarnate. They don't understand his saving work. If they've heard him, they might have heard the name of Jesus, but they don't know. They don't have the content and the knowledge, if they know the name of Jesus, to know enough to put their trust in him. But in our text, it's very clear there must be a content to put your faith in, to know who Christ is and what he's done. And again, just to emphasize the beauty is that this is for everyone. Did you see how inclusive it is, if you will? I mean, many many don't like the idea that we confess that salvation is found in no one else. My Hindu friends do not like that. The core of Hinduism is that there's many paths to God. Your approach is just as fine as mine. And we proclaim there's salvation in no one else. So there's a sense in which Christianity is indeed the most exclusive. Because only by putting your faith in the person and work of Jesus can a person be saved or delivered from God's wrath. But in one sense, Christianity is the most inclusive because it's for everyone who hears it. Did you see the emphasis on everyone at all? Verse 11, who can believe in him and not be put to shame? Everyone. Look at verse 12. Who does God bestow his riches on? All who call upon him. Look at verse 13. Who can call upon the name of the Lord and be saved? Everyone. Everyone. It doesn't matter your background, no matter your religious background, no matter your criminal background, no matter what you've done, no matter what's been done to you. No matter if you're male or female, old or young, no matter your ethnicity, socioeconomic background, educational status, the gospel is available to all. What a distinction from my Hindu friends. In Hinduism, they have different castes and then they have four different major castes and they have this group called the Untouchables or the Dalits, which your pastor prayed for today. There are 400 million Dalits in India, more Dalits than there are people in America. They are not even considered in the caste system. And in many places, the Dalits are not welcome in Hindu temples. They can't participate fully in Hindu worship and other things because of who they are. This supposedly inclusive religion where there's many paths to God says, that's great. There's many paths, but you can't worship here. But not the gospel. The gospel is good news for all. It is available to all. And maybe there's someone here today, maybe there's a kid, maybe there's an old person here who you need to hear that today. Maybe you think what you've done or has been done to you has put you in a position where you are unsavable. There's no way for you to be reconciled to God. And you need to hear not from me, but from God's word that everyone who believes in Jesus will be saved. Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. And so, friends, if you find yourself right now being convicted that I think I deserve God's wrath because of my sin, you need to know that Christ right now, through the preaching of his word, is offering himself to you. Will you take him by faith alone? He will receive you if you put your faith in him alone for your savior. But friends, people can't believe in this glorious Christ, this glorious good news, if they've never heard of him and his saving work. We see that huge problem in those first 14, don't we? Look at verse 14 closely with me. How will they call on him and whom they've not believed? How are they to believe in him and who they've never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? You see, the implication of the gospel having a specific content that we have to know who Jesus is, what he's accomplished means you have to hear about that to be saved. First of all, notice the dynamic of this first question that Paul asked in verse 14. How will they call on him and whom they've not believed? How can they call out to him to save them if they don't trust him? I remember an incident in India. I had a number of incidents where people on motorcycles hit me in my car. I had a pretty big family even then. I had four at the time. And so we had kind of an SUV type car. And I remember one time as I was pulling away, I had my blinker on, but blinkers don't mean a whole lot in India. And so this guy on a motorbike tries to go around me on the right, even though I've signaled that I'm turning into park. And so what happens? He smashes into my car. And so I get out. And in India, you settle things on the side of the road. And as I'm talking to him, he's like, sir, you've caused me to wreck. And I said, sir, it was your fault. I signaled. He said, no, sir, I think I may be injured. I may need to go to the hospital. And as we're working through this, my first thought is, all right, let's call the police. Let's let them settle this out. So I pull out my phone. I'm about to call the police. And I'm like, wait a second. I've already been basically robbed by the police a couple of times. The police are corrupt. If I call the police and ask for help, I'll probably actually be in a worse situation than if I just give this guy some money and leave. And so I didn't call the police. Why did I not call the police? Because I didn't believe in them. I didn't trust them. And so I didn't call out for help. That's what Paul's saying here. You don't call upon someone if you don't trust them. And people who don't heard the gospel, they don't know to trust him. But it's even deeper than that. You can't trust someone if you've never heard about them. And so he drives the logic home even further in his second question in verse 14. How are they to believe or trust in him of whom they've never heard? How can you believe in someone or trust them if you never heard of them? Now, I'm old enough to remember when they started 911. I think I was in elementary school. I'm 47. And I remember there was a huge campaign for people to know that, hey, you don't have to dial zero and call the operator or know your local police. You can just dial 911 if you're in trouble. And I think they still have campaigns to teach kids, hey, if something goes wrong, if mommy or daddy's sick, you're in an accident, someone's hurt, you need the police. All you have to do is dial 911. And we have to have those campaigns because our kids need to know that there's someone to help. And if they don't know, they don't know and they won't call when they need help. Paul says, how can they call on the Savior who is available and offering himself to them if they've never heard of them? How can you dial spiritual 911 if you don't know that you need it? You see, the emphasis of scripture is clear here in many places. Apart from hearing the gospel, people can not be saved. I hear this objection all the time. It's an issue. What about those people who've never heard the gospel? What about those people in the remote villages of India, the remote tribes of Africa who've never heard the gospel? Apart from hearing the gospel, they cannot be saved. Romans answer to look at this text, look at Romans one. Romans one says that ignorance of our responsibility before God is upon every is it's not true of anyone that we're all without apologetic because God makes himself known in creation. And what does every single person do to the revelation of God in creation? We suppress and we push back. We are personally guilty of our rejection of the knowledge of God that's available as a person made in the image of God in his creation. So whether you ever hear the gospel, you're personally responsible for your sin. Paul takes it deeper in Romans five. He says, you know what? The way that God set up the human race, he set up Adam as the leader of the human race, the covenant head of the human race. And when Adam was acting, he was acting on behalf of all of his descendants. And when Adam rebelled against God, he earned the curse of God for him and all of his descendants. So before you are ever even born or when you're born, before you've ever had a chance to rebel against God in creation, already condemned. We're condemned for Adam's sin, we're condemned for our personal rebellion. We justly deserve condemnation, whether we hear the gospel or not. And the only thing that will deliver us from that situation is hearing the good news of Jesus and believing. Friends, you may be thinking after 2000 years of the church, surely most people around the world have heard and believed or heard the gospel at least. And, oh, friends, I wish I could tell you that was true. In our world of almost eight billion people, two to three billion people have never heard the gospel at all. Of our world of 16000 people groups, more than 6000 are unreached with the gospel of Christ, and most people in an unreached people group have never heard the gospel. They do not know a single Christian. If you take all the Buddhist, Hindus and Muslims in the world, they account for half of the world's population. And 86% of people in the Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic world do not know a single Christian. They're lost. They need to hear the gospel. Every day, 150,000 people die globally. Today, roughly 150,000 people will die. The majority of those people will die and spend a Christless eternity in hell, having never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. And so when we read that they have to hear the gospel to be saved, we can't just say, well, too bad for them or they don't need us. There has to be a movement of God's church everywhere, not just American Christians, but everywhere to press and take the gospel forward, because we are convinced by the word of God that apart from hearing the gospel, people cannot be saved. And there are huge people groups who have never heard the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. And so our knowledge of the need for people in our world to hear the gospel must lead to action. And so, secondly, we must send missionaries to preach the gospel. Look at verse 15. Verse 15 says this, how are they to preach unless they are sent? How are they to preach unless they are sent? Missionaries can't go without being sent. That's the sound logic of verse 15. If someone needs to preach and someone needs to send them, someone has to help them to go because people can't go on their own. And we discover that sending is the duty of every church. When you think about the Apostle Paul, we often have this bad impression that Paul was just a solo guy. He had a vision on the road to Damascus and he went out and by himself preached the gospel. And that's not how it worked. He did have a vision on the road to Damascus, but it was the local church that sent him out. Turn to Acts chapter 13. Acts chapter 13, verses one to three, as Paul is ministering for a long period of time at the church in Antioch and as a church, as they're worshiping together, perhaps on a Lord's Day like this, Acts 13, one to three says this. Now, there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon, who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manan, a lifelong friend of Herod the Tetrarch and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I've called them. Then after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them and sent them out. You see, the Holy Spirit convicted the church that they needed to go, that these were the men that the church needed to send, that they needed to support them financially and in prayer with people. And wherever we see Paul go, he's never by himself. He always has co-workers. He always has other churches that are praying and giving and supporting his work. It's always about the church going forward. When Kelly and I moved to India in 2010, we had to do fundraising for a number of time before that. We went out with our mainly our home church and one other church plant supporting us and about 90 families, 70 families from our home church of Trinity and maybe 20 other families. And they are the ones who gave and prayed so that we could go. And over 15 years of ministry, many of those same people continue to give and I've given, you know, monthly for 15 years. Many of those same people pray for us in response to our weekly prayer updates every week. Some tell me they pray for us daily. I had them pray for this time. If you're on my update, you saw pray for me. I'm preaching at Cornerstone. Pray that God will work by his spirit. When I was in Nepal a week ago, I said, please pray for me. Here's what I'm doing. I can't do it apart from the Lord's work. And over 15 years of ministry, I've been able to see the Lord work. Churches have been planted. Pastors have been equipped. People have come to faith. I've seen fruit, but I couldn't do it. And my family can do it. And our teams can do it unless you send, unless you pray, unless you give, unless you encourage. We can't go. There's a partnership that's evident in these verses and friends, there's only two ways for the Christian to obey. You either go or send or you disobey the Great Commission. So let me help you think about this. I actually preached, I preached a sermon once before, but it was not in this country. It was to Australian college students, Korean, Chinese, Australian college students. And here's how I always challenge young people. And many of you, even though you're not in college, you're still pretty young in your working career. When I challenge people to think about being a giver, I try to help us to see that we are blessed so much materially. We like to compare ourselves and think, hey, we're not among the wealthy of the world, but the reality is we're among the wealthy of the world. So what does that mean? Let me help you see how you're wealthy. I had a I had a plea from compassion. I support a kid through compassion, our family in Africa. And I said, your child's family is now only eating one meal a day because of the global food crisis there. Can you give to support them for two hundred dollars? We could support them for four months of having a meal more than one meal a day. Most of you are not only having one meal a day. Most of you not only have more than one meal, you have meat most of your meals. Now, I intermittent fast only twice a day, but I have meat every meal of those lunch and dinner. Or think about I call this the Starbucks test. If you can go to Starbucks or insert your favorite coffee shop and drop four or five, six dollars in your favorite hot or cold drink, guess what? You're wealthy. Poor people don't have disposable income to spend five or six bucks on a coffee drink. So most of us fall into that category. So how do we think with this wealth that's been entrusted to us? How do we steward that as senders? Is it enough merely to give 10 percent of our income? And we're taught as Christians to tithe, to give support our local church, and we should. If you're a member of this church, you should be giving at least 10 percent to support this local church. But can we say with the vast wealth that's been entrusted to us, 10 percent is enough. So what I challenge young people at the beginning of their working career, try not to be legalistic. And I'm not trying to be legalistic here. I can't tell you a percentage you have to give. But if I don't get some specificity, you'll just have this idea, I should be generous and sacrificial and walk away. And it probably won't hit your heart. So I challenge young people to think about, can you start giving 20 percent of your income? Give your first 10 percent to your local church. Give your next 10 percent to other ministries and missions. What does that mean? It means it affects your other budget choices. But you set this priority and maybe it's not 20 percent, maybe it's 15 percent. And here's what I envision them. When you grow in your career, as you get a promotion, as you get more income, don't just give more because 10 percent of 80,000 is more than 10 percent of 60,000. Every time you get a promotion, add another percentage point. So maybe you start at 15 percent, you get a promotion, now you're going to give 16 percent and so on. With the goal that you would get at the height of your working career, we're giving 25 to 30 percent of your income. Again, just trying to set a challenge because scripture calls us to sacrificial giving. And I don't think 10 percent for most of us is sacrificial giving, I just don't. Maybe if you're making 30,000 dollars a year, 10 percent is pretty sacrificial. But 10 percent is not sacrificial for 100,000 a year, it's just not. So I think we have to think about, as God calls us, we have to give an account to our stewardship. What do we do with all this wealth that has been entrusted to us? And if we get a vision for being the senders that Paul calls us to, I think it'll grow us in our commitment to generosity, to support the work of the gospel. Because it's absolutely needed, because apart from hearing the gospel, people cannot be saved and people cannot preach the gospel unless they are sent. Now, let me drive it home even more, if we're going to send people to be missionaries, we need people to go as well. And so our third point, that means some of us must be missionaries. Yeah, I love this towel, I'm going to dry it, I'm sweating up here. I take it that Mark preaches with earnestness and needs it, and I hope I'm doing as well. That's good. Some of us need to be missionaries. We can't just say, OK, we've got social media. Thank God no one has to go anymore. We can just do an Instagram post with the gospel. We can do YouTube videos preaching. Well, look at the logic of verse 14. At the end of verse 14, it says, how are they to hear without social media posting? So it says, how are they to hear without the Bible? It doesn't even say the Bible. How are they to hear without the Bible? It says, how are they to hear without someone preaching a person? I don't think preaching just like this, someone opening your mouth. Have you heard the good news of Jesus Christ? Do you know what he's done for people who are lost and under his wrath? Do you know how free it is, how good it is? Do you see yourself as God sees you as a sinner in need of his grace? And friends, it's not just hearing the word, it's hearing the word through his church. God works through his church, his people, bearing the gospel, loving people in need. I shared about a man in Sunday school called Lazarus, and Lazarus is a pastor in India that I spent a lot of time with. And Lazarus's great passion is to see the gospel go forward. And Lazarus told me a story that when he got out of college, he had this zeal for Indians to hear the gospel. So what did he do? He joined Campus Crusade for Christ. And for 10 years, he went from village to village showing the Jesus film. Ten years, he said over 10 years time, he said, I saw so little fruit. And thankfully, he began to read the scripture and read other books and realized that God's plan is not to show people the Jesus film. It's to plant churches that preach the gospel and live the gospel out, the implications. And so he pursued pastoral ministry. And his great passion now is to plant reform gospel centered churches because, you know, it's through the church, through the preaching of the church, not just the Sunday morning preaching, but the preaching of its members. Can I point you to our confessional theology? The Westminster Confession, question 89, Shorter Catechism. Maybe some of you can quote it. The question is, how is the word made effectual to salvation? Listen to this answer, friends. The spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching of the word. An effectual means of convincing and converting sinners and of building them up in holiness and comfort through faith and to salvation. The Holy Spirit especially uses not just the reading, but the preaching of the word. Does it start on Sunday morning? Yes, but it continues as you preach the word to your neighbors, to your fellow students, to your lost family members, as you go to another culture and learn a language and build a relationship and open your new your wet mouth and share the gospel. And so we have to send people, people, not just social media posts, to go and live among people and plant churches and learn languages and communicate the good news. Now, how does Paul show us the wonder and the beauty of being one who goes? Look at verse 15. Paul is always looking to the Bible. He quotes from Isaiah 52, our Old Testament reading today. And look at this evaluation. Think with me together. What are you saying here? How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news? Are your feet ever beautiful any other way? I mean, ladies, do you really look at a guy? He's wearing some sandals. You're like, oh, man, have you seen Joe's feet? Well, he's hot. Look at those toes. Look at the hair just in certain places. I have to tell you, ladies, something you get pedicures a lot and paint your toenails and stuff. No guys looking at your feet. He's attracted to many other things about your beauty, but there's no guy that's going to be drawn to you because of your feet. But there is one way to have the most compellingly beautiful feet and not to other people, but in the eyes of the triune God and the eyes of God, your creator and redeemer. This is God's evaluation of how your feet can be beautiful. How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news? Who take the good news to someone who does not know it, whether it's your neighbor or an unreached people group, and you love them and you open your mouth. And if you said, have you ever heard of who Jesus is and what he's done? Let me tell you, friends, when you do that in the eyes of the one that it matters most, your feet are stunningly, compellingly, majestically beautiful. How beautiful it is to be sent, how beautiful it is to go. Friends, young or old, between ages seven and 70, is God calling you? Is God stirring your heart that God might be calling you to be a missionary? Is God moving you? Do you feel that conviction? Do you feel this burning within you that maybe God is calling me? And friends, if you are, I just encourage you to nurture that. Take a next step, begin to read about missions. If you're a teenager or above, I encourage you to read John Piper's book, Let the Nations Be Glad. When someone's considering missions, I tell them, if you can read this book and not want to go, you're not called. Because John Piper does such a wonderful job of showing all the arguments of scripture and pressing them home in a convictional, passionate way. Friends, try a short term trip. If you think God may be stirring you, find an opportunity with this church through MTW, go on a short term trip. See what long term missionaries do. See if God is calling you to do that. Some of you may think, well, Richie, I'm not a seminary guy, I don't have Bible college education. Good. Maybe the hardest places in the world, like India, the Middle East, I can't get in there as a pastor. You can get in there with your vocation. You can go and teach English if you're a teacher. If you're a business person, you can take a posting, maybe in an unreached place in the Middle East for two or three years and help the church out. You can go to places that a pastor or a theologian cannot go. Places that you're desperately needed for the gospel. Oh, friends, is God calling you to go? Because apart from hearing the gospel, people cannot be saved. That means we have to sin, that it means some of us have to be the ones who are sent. About 12 years ago, there was a young Indian man in the state of Andhra Pradesh. He'd gone through our training program, had the privilege to write a couple of the classes that he took. And he had this great passion because he knew outside of his city, there was this village where there was absolutely no gospel witness, no church. He was pretty convinced no one had ever heard the gospel there. And when he finished our training program, he went there to preach the gospel and he showed up. And in that village, it was normal for people to stand up and speak and talk more kind of older style village life. This is just 12 years ago. And so he began to preach the gospel. He began to tell people that unlike the gods of Hinduism, you don't have to to bribe this God. You don't have to provide these sacrifices or do all the stuff that God loves sinful people so much so that he gave his only son to pay the payment for sin to cover the shame of all those who will trust in him. And so he just passionately preached the gospel. And this older man comes up and begins to cry out, you're too late, you're too late, you're too late. And the young evangelist says, no, sir, you don't understand. You can be saved today. It doesn't matter what you've done, who you worship in the past. You can respond to the gospel today. And this older man says, no, sir, you don't understand. We didn't know that God had provided his only son. And just yesterday, we sacrificed a 10 year old boy to our village gods. And I mean, really sacrificed. Now, is human sacrifice common in India? No, but it happened there because they were ignorant of the knowledge of God, the creator who sacrificed his own son to make a payment for sin. Friend, there are many, there are billions in our world who have never heard the gospel, who are under God's white hot wrath, and we have the one message that can bring salvation to them. We can't be content to sit back on our laurels. We have to send and we have to go with the conviction that apart from hearing the gospel, people cannot be saved. Let's pray for a moment. I want to give you a moment to just pray through silently what God may be doing in your heart as you've heard his word. I want to ask you just for a moment to celebrate the gospel. If you're already a follower of Jesus, would you just spend some time thanking him for the promises we've heard in this text? Just thanking him that he has so freely provided you salvation through Christ, through faith. If you're not a Christian, would you just consider the claims of the gospel and ask that God would help you to believe them? Just pray silently and celebrate the gospel for a moment. Secondly, would you think about your role as a sender? Even those of us ago who still have a responsibility to send, to pray and to give, maybe God is challenging you. Maybe you feel convicted that you need to grow your giving, be more faithful in prayer. Would you ask that God would help you, that this conviction you feel would not be fleeting and be forgotten by Monday morning, but that by the power of his spirit, you'd put action to your conviction and grow in giving and praying? Would you just pray about your role as a sender for just a moment? Third and finally, if you're between the ages of seven and 70, would you pray and ask if God wants you to go? If God wants you to leave this culture and go to another that needs the gospel more, just pray that God would lead you in that, that would show you if you are that. If you're beyond those age ranges, would you pray that God would raise up more laborers for the harvest? Especially from this local church, so just pray for a moment. Father in heaven, you've heard the prayers of your people. Lord, please answer them in a mighty way. In Jesus name we pray.

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