Our Work In The World
Students are accustomed to answering questions, so let me ask one. What are we here for? Did you ever ask yourself, “Why am I here on Earth? Why is it that God did not take me home to heaven after He saved me?” God saved you to make you a missionary. If you are not a missionary there is something the matter with your Christian experience.
You may ask, “Do you mean that we all ought to go to the foreign field?” No, but you all should go out into “the field.” God saved you to use you in service. God keeps you here upon this Earth for that purpose, and if you have not got a missionary spirit, if your heart does not go out to the lost, those that you see all around you, and beyond them to the very ends of the Earth, then there is something the matter with you.
There are many professing Christians and there are some ministers who do not believe in foreign missions. We sometimes wonder if they have ever been born again, if God is their Father, through the new birth.
A daily paper tells us that a little fellow came into the house with a fluffy specimen of a chicken, that could hardly stand on its legs. It had come from an incubator. His father ordered, “Take that chicken back to its mother.” The boy objected, “It ain’t got no mother.” “Then take it to its father.” He answered, “It ain’t got no father neither; it ain’t got nothing but an old tin lamp.”
Some professing Christians evidently were not born of the brooding of God’s love, because they have not got a missionary spirit. If I am born of the spirit of God, I have received the nature of God, and if I have the nature of God, I have a missionary spirit. If you are a Christian and you say you do not believe in foreign missions, you are on dangerous ground. You cannot possess a rich Christian experience.
From a rich spiritual condition and from a live church, missionaries go out. They go out frequently. From dead or backslidden churches missionaries do not go, except in unusual cases. Even as a man depends upon his heart, and even as the clock depends upon the spring that is behind the face, even so the work abroad in the foreign field depends upon the life of the church at home. As we see a revival breaking and spreading at home, we shall see with it a great desire for the lost, reaching to the far-off corners of the field.
What was the first thing you did after you became a Christian? Why, you began to testify. Why did you testify? Because the spirit of God wanted to make you a witness. A missionary is a witness beginning at Jerusalem, at the fellow right next at hand.
The condition of the church at home shows the need of a revival; it is in a backslidden condition. A church in a nearby city resolved to extend its sphere of usefulness. How do you suppose they went about it? There was the old church building, and they thought they would add something to it. They put up another structure. They built a covered passageway to it. The new building was given up to pleasure. One floor was waxed for dancing. Billiard tables were set up in the basement. The young people of the church were urged to come and partake of the fellowship. All these things were for the benefit of the young people. They held them to some degree, but to what? A revival could never break into a church like that under those conditions. The condition of the church is everywhere deplorable, and it shows the need of a revival of prayer, Bible study and godly living.
The condition of the heathen shows a tremendous need; it is deplorable. The ways of the heathen are vile. They are suffering under the most cruel customs imaginable. Not only are they suffering under terrible conditions, humanly speaking, but their spiritual state is indescribable.
The spiritual condition of the heathen is spoken of in Romans, chapters two and three, and in the third chapter we find some Bible facts about the heathen. We learn that they are all under sin there as we here at home. Sometimes we try to make excuse for them. We lay down imaginary geographical boundaries. God has made no boundaries in the Book, and man everywhere under the sun is unsaved and undone without Christ.
In Romans 2:12 you will find that man is perishing in the heathen fields without God. He does not know about the law. Even though he is without the written law, he is perishing. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Perish is the word again. As far as the Bible is concerned, it shows the heathen in a deplorable condition, and the spiritual condition of the heathen world shows that a revival is needed here at home. It is only from a revived church that workers go out.
It is marvelous to see how God works in the far-off fields. Here we have all that eloquence can do. We have all that money can accomplish. We have to plead with men to come to Christ. It is increasingly difficult to get the unsaved people into our services. It is increasingly difficult to get them saved after they come under the sound of the Gospel. But, oh, how they come out in some of the foreign fields!
Prayer is only the beginning of our work. We must give and go, too. “But when He saw the multitudes He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd”Matthew 14:16. Jesus said, “Give ye them to eat.”And then the last command He gave to those disciples, as recorded in Matthew 28:19, “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations.”
We have got to pray and give and go, and when we are praying and while we are giving it is then that God lays upon our hearts the necessity and privilege of going into the regions beyond, and giving our lives to the work.
God has laid down a program. You hear a great deal about winning the world to Christ, and about conquering for God. Man has a program, even in the church. And his program reads about like this: “By our present methods and by rallying our strong forces to the fray, we will bring the world to Christ.” That is man’s program. God’s program is given us in Acts 15 and reads like this: “At the first,”and “After this.”At the first, God taking out from Jew and Gentile the body of Christ. Then afterwards His coming and the millennial glories.
A missionary is not made by any geographical conditions at all. If you are born of the Spirit of God, and God has His way, you will have a missionary spirit. You will speak to the souls around you about Jesus. If you are a Christian, and satisfied with what you can do here at home, if you are not concerned about the multitudes in the regions beyond, who have never heard the name of Jesus, who have never had the opportunity opened to them to enter into relationship with God, you ought to ask God about it, and ask Him what is the matter with your heart, and then God will show you what you are here for. You are here to be a missionary, beginning at Jerusalem, and then to go out by prayer, and in person, as God permits you to go.
It is significant to find that those who are most interested in bringing about a revival here at home are the people who are greatly interested in the spread of the Gospel in all the world.
—Address given at the Moody Bible Institute