For the Sake of His Name

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Open your bibles to Romans 1:5 “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:” Last week, we looked at the first three points that Paul makes about the gospel that he has dedicated himself to. Paul stated that he was called to serve God. He was called to be separated unto the gospel of God. Not everyone is called to full-time Christian ministry but Paul was. He continues his discussion on the gospel by pointing out that he had received grace and apostleship. It looks like this is two different things that God has given Paul: grace and apostleship, but most likely these are the same thing. If you remember my teaching on Sunday Evenings about grace, you will remember that grace is a the favorable disposition of God that moves him to freely give and act on our behalf. Grace is often the gifts that God gives to us. In this case, God had given Paul the spiritual gift of being an apostle. Later in Ephesians, Paul will talk about the gifts of being an apostle, a prophet, an evangelist, and a pastor-teacher.
Paul had been called to a specific ministry and gifted to do that ministry. This morning, I want to challenge you with the task of missions.
Back at the turn of the century from 1800-1900 there was a revival of missions. At the time of William Carey just after the Second Great Awakening, there were maybe a few hundred missionaries in the world. We know that missions was important to the apostles: Paul traveled all over Central Asia and Europe, Thomas went to India
Later in 1886, DL Moody would request that the son of missionary parents from India, Robert Wilder, preach at the Mount Hermon Bible Conference to over 250 students from 89 different colleges and universities around the country. During the meeting, Wilder had representatives from 10 different nations speak to the students about missions in their countries. That meeting sparked a desire in the heart of 100 students to surrender for missions.
The following year, Robert Wilder and one of the students John Forman traveled to all the colleges sharing what had happened in that meeting. From their travels, over 2,000 more students volunteered for missions. The movement began to grow exponentially and in 1888 the Student Volunteer Movement was well underway. There theme was “The evangelization of the world in this generation.” and they nearly accomplished that goal. An estimated 20,000 students became missionaries in the late 1800’s because of the Student Volunteer Movement.
You might think well great, they got the gospel to all the known world in the 1900’s. Do you realize that in 1900 there were only 1.6 billion people. Today there are 7.95 billion people on the earth. Since those days, the world has exploded and the need for missions has exploded as well.
God is calling some today to the work of being separated to the gospel of God, dedicated to the full-time missionary work of spreading the gospel. Men can serve God in anyway that God chooses to use them as a plumber, teacher, athlete, electrician; but some are specifically called to the work of full-time missions. All I can do is lay the need before you and hope you will submit to that calling in your life. Paul didn’t fight that calling because Paul clearly saw that Jesus was his Lord and we are His servants. I pray this morning that if God is calling you, you will listen.
We are going to look at three more aspects of the gospel as they relate to missions today.

The Response to the Gospel

Romans 1:5 “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:”
This is the message of the missionary: obedience to the faith. This is the message that Paul was preaching everywhere he went, but what does this phrase mean.
There are two ways of taking this phrase:
1. Subjective- the obedience that springs from faith Hebrews 11:8By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” This is the whole premise of the book of James that faith without works is dead. Those who have truly placed their faith in Jesus will live a life of obedience. We will all vary on how much that evidence is seen in our lives, but there will be some evidence of true saving faith.
It is kinda like having a friend that offers to drive you to the store. You take him up on the deal, but as you get near the car you refuse to get in the car. He asks you, “What’s up?” and you respond “I don’t know I just don’t feel like getting in the car.” He is probably going to say, “Don’t you trust my driving?” If you really trust his driving, you are going to get in the car.
2. Appositional- the obedience that is faith Romans 10:16 “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?” Faith itself is also a choice of obedience in a way. It isn’t the obedience of works, but it is the obedience to the call. It is not resisting. Maybe you have been thinking about getting saved for some time. You’ve been putting it off for some reason or another. The gospel is calling you to submit to God and place your faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Don’t fight and resist any longer.
I think the meaning is probably both of these two put together. Faith itself is a response to the gospel. People must place their faith in Jesus Christ. That is what we go forth a preach. There are all kinds of tasks that a missionary can get involved in such as flying plans, orphanages, feeding the poor, building churches, translating bibles, teaching English or literacy; but all these other tasks must revolve around the central task of getting the gospel to the lost. Our primary task is to call men to respond to the gospel.
But faith also produces changed lives. We are not looking for people to add Jesus to their other gods. You cannot be a Hindu-Christian. You are one or the other. True faith is going to lead to changed lives.

The Scope of the Gospel

Romans 1:5 “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:”
So we have seen the message of the missionary, but who is the missionary supposed to go to. The gospel is to be preached among all nations.
in the text, the emphasis is on the word all. All is used in Romans more than any other book because Paul is stressing the inclusivity of the gospel. No people group or ethnicity is excluded. Are we willing to give the gospel to those we view as our enemies? What about Iranians or Palestinians? Though there is probably no greater need than for those ethnic groups to hear the gospel, there is sometimes a aversness among christians to give it to them.
All is also an indication of the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise in Genesis 12:3 “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” God’s plan from the beginning has always been the salvation of all the nations. Jesus did not come just to save the Jews; he died for the sins of the world.

What does that mean for missions?

The word for nations in this passage is ethne which refers to people groups. Notice in the OT passage, God called them families. Ethnic groups are not defined by political borders. Just because a missionary is in Brazil that doesn’t mean he has reached all the ethne of Brazil. In Brazil alone there are 323 people groups. 49 of which are unreached with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I think during the Student Volunteer Movement, the emphasis was on political divides rather than on people groups and so our task has gotten that much greater.
Worldwide there are a total of 7,280 unreached people groups. The task is incomplete. Its kinda like when you turned in a test or a research paper and you didn’t get it finished. You teacher may have written the words Incomplete on the top of the page. The work of world evangelism is still labelled incomplete.
Thank God for Revelation 7:9 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;” Revelation 7:10 “And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”
The task of world missions is to get the gospel to all the ethnic groups of the world. All the tribes, all the languages, all the nations.

The Goal of the Gospel

Romans 1:5 “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:”
Throughout the scriptures the word “name” represents the true character or significance of a person. Last week we spoke of one motivation for getting the gospel out to people: the Lordship of Christ.
Paul has not really wandered from that statement.

What is our primary motivation for missions?

Why should we undertake the task of missions? There are many motivations that someone might have.
You might see that starving kid from Africa on some missionary presentation and you think “Look how they are suffering.”
You might see all the bibles and churches in America and think, “The unreached deserve a chance to hear the gospel.”
You might see how few missionaries there are and think, “Someone has to do it. Might as well be me.”
You might see the depravity of mankind and think “If only they had the gospel, they would act differently.”
You may hear a message on hell and think, “I don’t want anyone to Go there.”
In some cases God forbid, they may think “That looks like a posh lifestyle, I want that.” These people would never last, but it is possible.
All of these reasons fall short of the greatest motivation for missions. Paul’s motivation for missions is the glory of God. Paul’s goal was that the name of Jesus would be glorified. Any other goal falls short because it is merely humanism.
Paris Reidhead was a CMA missionary to Sudan around the same time that AW Tozer lived. Reidhead famously preached a sermon called Ten sheckels and a shirt that I think it would do all of us well to listen to. In that sermon, Reidhead tells the story of his arrival in Africa. When he got to Africa, he had a spiritual breakdown. He got there and had been preaching the gospel and no one would listen to him. It seemed like he was getting no where. Reidhead said to God, “It is some fine thing you have done sending me out hear and they already heard and don’t want you.” As he sat there complaining about his state, it seemed as if God spoke to his heart and said, “I didn’t send you out there for them; I sent you out there for me.” and that realization turned things around. It undid the humanism of his heart and realigned it with the true purpose of missions. Missions isn’t primarily about lost people going to hell though it is that. Missions is about the Glory of God. God deserves the lives of those for whom Jesus died.
Paul declares in
Philippians 2:10–11 “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Missions is about the glory of God. It is about the worship and fame of His name. It is about what he is owed.


Two missionaries heard of an island in the West Indies where an atheist had 2-3,000 slaves. The atheist had refused any missionary work among those salves and the island was off limits to preachers. If a preacher would be shipwrecked on the island, he would be kept in isolation until a ship arrived to take him home. These two young Moravian missionaries heard about the need here and decided to sell themselves as slaves in order to reach the island. As the set sail, family and friends gathered on the shore. As the ship slipped further away, they heard a shout, “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of his suffering.”
No doubt they had in mind Revelation 5:9 “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” Jesus is worthy. Is He worthy of you life offered up as a sacrifice of missions?
Estimates today are that there are about 29,000 baptist missionaries worldwide and that includes Southern Baptist missionaries. With the need booming so much, you would think the volunteers would correspond. Do you honestly think God is not calling missionaries any more? When was the last time a young person seriously considered this as an option for their life? When was the last time a young person surrendered to be a missionary? God is calling all the necessary reapers of the harvest, but they are not hearing the call. I think of the famous quote by William booth:
“Not called!' did you say? 'Not heard the call,' I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father's house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face — whose mercy you have professed to obey — and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world.”
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