By Philip A. Pinckard, Director of Global Missions Center NOBTS
The Bible tells us how important it is for people to hear the gospel and people to go to take the gospel to others. We read in Romans 10:14-15 “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things!”
Application for Our Lives
1.The first application for our lives from this text is we should be faithful to share the gospel. The apostle Paul asked how can people call on the Him in whom they have not heard and how can they believe in whom they have not heard. He asks how they can believe in the Lord if they have not heard.
Robert Morrison was the first modern Protestant missionary to China. He began his work in Macau in 1807 where he was only able to stay briefly. He labored and shared the gospel faithfully for seven years before baptizing the first convert.
Many from that part of the world have come to Christ through the faithful witness of missionaries and local believers.
May we in our individual lives and through the ministries of our churches follow the example of Robert Morrison to share the gospel. Pray about people with whom you can be sharing the gospel this week.
2. The second application for our lives is to be flexible in sharing the gospel. The apostle Paul asks how can people hear unless someone preaches the gospel to them. As we share the gospel with others, we need to be flexible.
Lewis Shuck put a piece of paper in the offering plate at a meeting of the Triennial Convention: “I offer myself.” He and his wife, Henrietta, were appointed to take the gospel to Macau where they led a Chinese servant to Christ as their first convert. The Shucks experienced many challenges in Macau. They moved to Hong Kong where people became followers of Christ as a result of the witness of the Shucks, and a Baptist church was established in Hong Kong. Lewis Shuck would share the gospel as often as twenty times a week using the Chinese language of Cantonese. Henrietta spoke about the challenges faced by missionaries: “They toil and labor and are often discouraged …. We need great faith, we indeed are compelled to walk by faith alone.” She died in 1844 after nine years of ministry in China.
Lewis Shuck would become a missionary with the Southern Baptist Convention, sharing the gospel that results in new disciples and the establishment of a Baptist church in Shanghai.
He would later share the gospel with Chinese living in Sacramento, California, help them come to follow Christ and start a Baptist church.
The apostle Paul in the book of Acts would share the gospel with the Jews in their synagogues. When he was driven out, he would gladly share the gospel with the Gentiles. (Acts 13) Paul demonstrated flexibility in sharing the gospel. The Shucks faced many challenges during their early years in China, but they were faithful to the Lord and flexible to take the gospel to the Chinese in Hong Kong.
People need to hear and understand the gospel. We should be: 1. Faithful to share the gospel.
2. Flexible in sharing the gospel. We should also:
3. Focus on Jesus in Sharing the Gospel.
Paul in writing to the Romans uses a quotation from the book of Isaiah in Romans 10:15, which says the feet of those who share the gospel are beautiful. How can this be done?
Lottie Moon provides an example of someone who would focus on Jesus in sharing the gospel. She took the gospel to many villages in China.
She was one of the first single female missionaries to move to the interior city of Pingtu, around one hundred and twenty miles from the coast of China where she had served many years. She had many occasions to focus on Jesus. During a persecution of believers she took a stand between a group persecuting believers and a band of Christians.
She said “If you attempt to destroy this church, you will have to kill me first. Jesus gave himself for us Christians. Now I am ready to die for him.” One man raised his sword and Lottie spoke to the frightened believers: “Only believe, don’t fear. Our Master, Jesus, watches over us, and no matter what the persecution, Jesus will surely overcome it.” The man dropped his sword, but during that time period some believers were persecuted and some were murdered.
Lottie was indeed focused on Jesus in sharing the gospel. She said: “As I wander from village to village, I feel it no fancy that the Master walks besides me and I hear his voice saying gently, ‘I am with you always, even until the end.’” May we follow the example of Lottie who focused on Jesus as she shared the gospel with others.
Lottie also worked to persuade the fathers of Chinese girls that she taught not to bind the feet of their daughters. She also ministered as many as fifteen destitute Chinese women in her house at the same time.
How can people hear the gospel? How can they believe without a messenger? May we determine to be:
1. Faithful to share the gospel.
2. Flexible in sharing the gospel. and
3. Focus on Jesus in sharing the gospel.
Philip Pinckard Ph.D. is professor of missions and director of the Global Mission Center at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.