In the next 24 hours, I will get on an airplane and fly to the other side of the world, all because of “the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Does this seem logical? Why would anyone go into a Muslim community and seek to tell them about Jesus? What kind of madness is this? All the money and time spent and for what; just to get someone to say the words, “I believe in Jesus?”

I would hope this is not the reason. This seems a bit shallow. I know many people that believe in Jesus and many of the ones I know would say it is foolish to risk a life telling Muslims about Jesus. “You know,” they say, “God will look at how many people believed, he will look at their good deeds, he will look at whatever god they chose and how they have served him/her and give them credit so that they can go to heaven.”

What is deeper than “I believe in Jesus?” The devils believe in Jesus but this does not mean they will go to Heaven. When someone says, “I believe in Jesus,” they risk everything for His name’s sake in order to preach Christ to those who have not believed. Others who say these words live and die in the same community doing all they can to help people know Christ. They are faithful to the Church. They minister according to their gifts and abilities. Then, some, who say these words, “I believe in Jesus,” simply do not have a passion for the things of God. Jesus is a Sunday morning thing and He has no real impact on life in general. Jesus is simply part of life’s ritual.

Some risk their lives and work to spiritually build the body of Christ in the community and then some “just believe in Jesus.” I would submit that “just believe in Jesus” is not an option. Saving faith in Jesus Christ will radically change and impact a person’s life.

I have noted everything above to bring us to this: A body of believers who firmly believe in Jesus, the One who has redeemed them unto Himself and cause them to stand justified before the Lord of Glory, will seek to glorify Him through missions. Regardless of the cost in human terms, missions should be our heartbeat. A people who have experienced a saving faith in Jesus Christ will actively seek to bring others to the wonderful Savior.

I was reading in Acts 15 and was struck by several statements regarding the church sending men to correct error, teach and proclaim the Gospel. In verse 22, we read that this “pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch.” Then in verse 25 it is noted, “It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul.” Now, here is the fascinating part, something I had really never seen before found in verse 26. Verse 26 says, in continuation of verse 25, “Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” These men are not just Paul and Barnabas. The men referenced here that have “hazarded” their lives are Judas and Silas! These were men of the local church who had been proclaiming that they believed in Jesus. Apparently, people had tried to kill them for the message they were preaching. This local church was producing people willing to lose their lives for the sake of the Gospel.

West Hickory Baptist Church, when was the last time we produced men that were willing to “hazard their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ?” Are we producing missionaries to go to the Muslims and die for the sake of His name? Do we count our families, homes and possessions more precious than the good news that Jesus saves?

Now, how about those of you who are retired? I will close with this statement by John Piper. He said in his book, Let the Nations Be Glad, “When the world sees millions of ‘retired’ Christians pouring out the last drops of their lives with joy for the sake of the unreached people and with a view toward heaven, then the supremacy of God will shine.”

West Hickory Baptist Church, may we be a missions-minded church seeking to reach the lost at home and abroad. May we be a church that produces men like Judas (not Judas Iscariot) and Silas who willingly “hazarded” their lives for the sake of the Gospel.

Dale Payne

One Response to ““For the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ””

  1. Dale,
    The truth of your words is arrow sharp! We have spent two decades in the American church trying to “mobilize” people for missions. Yet our efforts have been tepid. Recently, the authors of Operation World, who do possibly the best statistical research on world missions, said, “the issue is not evangelism. It is what some have correctly identified as discipleship.”

    Johnston and Mandryk feel that there is a bottle neck, at the discipleship and training level for missionaries. Thus, too many return after one term on the mission field, never to go back.

    Oh that we could give a greater portion of our efforts to maturing men and women, and see the next generation go to the nations for a life time!