Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on November 23, 2014
Open your Bibles to Romans 10:13-21. We have designated today as Missions Sunday. It is my hope that in the years to come we will have multiple missions Sundays each year, so that we can continually remind ourselves of the primary commission by Christ to the Church, go and make disciples.
I chose today to be our missions Sunday because last week I concluded my teaching of the specific Doctrines of Grace, otherwise known as the five points of Calvinism. Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. With this doctrines under our belt I want to now direct your attention to over the next two weeks to the fruit that grows out of embracing these Biblical truths of God's Sovereignty.
I have already spoken of one result of the Doctrines of Grace, that being the praise of God for His glorious grace. This is a product of believing this doctrines because the more we realize that it was God who chose and saved us, the more we glorify him. God does all the work through Christ, therefore God through Christ should get all the credit. I believe this is the chief product of embracing these biblical doctrines; however, it is not the only product of being a Calvinist.
Today we are going to look at another result of believing in the Sovereignty of God, specifically that the Sovereignty of God is the Catalyst to the Great Commission. With that said, turn with me to Romans 10:13-21. Let us read out text, ask God to open up the eyes of our heart, and see what God wants to show us.
The Gospel is the God ordained means of a God ordained end. It is the way by which God achieves the redemption of his sinful, yet elect, children. The Gospel is the ordained net for the elect. This is something people can get hung up on when they are first exposed to Calvinism. They believe that if the elect are 100% guaranteed to be saved, then why share the Gospel with them. This thinking is called Hyper-Calvinism, and it is dead wrong. For Hyper-Calvinism is the view that all who are to be saved will be saved and the Gospel therefore does not need to be offered to the world. Therefore no one is sent, no one preaches, no one hears, and no one is saved.
Make no mistake, Paul was not a hyper-Calvinist. This is obvious by his life and his words. Other than Jesus, Paul was the greatest missionary ever to walk the planet. Just to give you another taste of how passionate Paul was about people believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Look with me at Romans 9:1-3.
How many of you can say this? How many of you would be able to say, without lying, that you would spend the rest of eternity having the wrath of God poured out on you, so that your relatives could be with God? How many of you have stayed up late at night in anguish and weeping for the salvation of your neighbors? What would cause Paul to feel such a burden for the lost?
This answer is simple. Jesus Christ. Christ is the cause of this anguish and sorrow. Paul was filled with the Spirit of Christ and therefore what broke Jesus' heart broke his heart. The same Spirit that caused Jesus to lay down his life, caused Paul to lay down his life. Paul's willingness to bear the wrath of God so that others could be saved is exactly what Jesus did when he came to earth and died on the cross. Jesus bore our transgressions and sins and was smitten and chastised by his Father so that we may be healed. Other than Christ, Paul had the most beautiful feet on the planet for everywhere he went he heralded the good news, scattering the seed of the Gospel wherever he went. Whether in the synagogues, in the town square, in prison, or in his home. Paul was a man who loved the lost.
Here is the kicker, if you are an authentic Christian, if you are born again by the Spirit of God, then the same Spirit of Christ that lived in Paul lives in you. The same power that compelled Paul to be willing to go to Hell for the lost, dwells in you, and is ready to be unleashed in your life. The question, is what is holding you back?
In Romans 10:1 Paul reiterates basically the same thing as in Romans 9:1.
I want you to think about Paul's life. From the moment Christ chose him as an apostle, the world hated him. He was beaten, stoned, drug out of town, shipwrecked, whipped, imprisoned, and lied about. Why in the world would he continue to walk down this lonely and difficult path? Because no man is left behind. The foundation to Paul's missiology is God's sovereign election; God's choice of whom will receive mercy. Paul embraces the words of Jesus in John 10:16.
Imagine, the alternative. Imagine if instead of believing in the election of the saints, you believed that it was up to man to determine who is saved and who is not. After getting beat up in one town, would you go to the next? No, you wouldn't. Why go through the trial if there is no guaranteed pay off? But instead think if you viewed each town as a prison, and inside each prison was a POW (prisoner of war) waiting for God's marines to drop in and use the gospel key to unlock the prison's gates. This is how Paul saw the mission field, freeing captives.
It is interesting, the fallacies that humans fall into when it comes to Biblical truth. I would be curious to know how many of you when driving home from one of the past sermons, have said, “If everything is predetermined, than what is the point?” You say this because you think destiny produces apathy. But this is not the case, for destiny does not produce apathy, destiny produces action.
It was the sense of destiny that drove Napoleon across Europe. It was destiny that pushed Michael Jordan to become the best basketball player of all time. The pregame destiny speech is proclaimed in high-school locker rooms across the nation every Friday night. It is destiny that has driven men to ask women out on dates since dating existed. Make no mistake the sense of fate is a very powerful motivator, and this is not by accident. This is one reason why I believe Jesus said these words before he ascended into heaven.
I believe this is why, when looking back on the history of the Church we see a landscape scattered with Calvinist who risked their life for the lost. Sine we are talking about Calvinism let us begin with John Calvin. It is estimated that John Calvin and his spiritual family in Geneva were responsible for planting over 2000 churches in France. Then there was the Calvinist John Eliot, who was the first missionary to the American Indians. He was followed by David Brainerd, whose diary is perhaps the most influential missionary books other than the Bible. It was the book that inspired William Carey, another Calvinist, who is know as the founder of modern day missions. Likewise there is Calvinist, Adoni Judson, who was the first American Missionary to India. Not to mention the missionary George Whitefield, an Englishman, who made multiple trips across the Atlantic to partake in missionary journeys through New England preaching unashamedly the Gospel of Christ to 8,000-12,000 people at a time. And don't forget about David Livingston, the well known missionary to Africa. In all of these men, there was a common thread of Calvinism.
And regarding today, perhaps the most well know Calvinistic preacher, John Piper, is simultaneously perhaps the most missions minded preacher that I know. His passion for global missions is contagious and his book Let the Nations Be Glad has inspired numerous pastors and missionaries in regards to going and proclaiming the Gospel to the lost. One of those people being David Platt, who is another radical Calvinist. Plat just recently became the President of the International Missions Board. He lives and breathes missions, and yet, he is a Calvinist.
I find it interesting that many people like to say that Calvinist don't care about missions. This is absolutely false. The evidence is the exact opposite. For since the beginning of the Church age, it has always been those who believe in the sovereignty of God in the salvation of men that have led the charge to go and proclaim that Gospel to the lost and bring the sheep home.
And this makes sense, for the biggest obstacle of sharing the Gospel is your wrong understanding of how someone is saved. If you believe that salvation comes through your ability convince them to believe, then of course you wouldn't share the good news of Christ because you are afraid of not saying the right thing. But if instead you believed that it is not your words that make disciples, but instead the power of the gospel, then you will sow the seeds wherever you go, for it is your destiny.