Missionary Martyrs: Fools for Jesus… for the nations

Missionary Martyrs: Fools for Jesus… for the nations

David Sitton, Every Tribe Missions

Missionary Martyrs: Fools for Jesus… for the nations.

Malachi 1.11 – For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. (ESV)

“I don’t want to spend the rest of my life simply talking about the past history of God’s people who have given their lives for Christ’s sake. I want to live in the now. What about you?”

David Sitton closed his message with this question. He wasn’t denigrating history; not at all. In fact, he cited a good deal of it regarding missions, the furtherance of the gospel and the death of God’s people who took that gospel to lost and dying nations. But he challenged us from God’s Word to think hard, pray hard, search the Scriptures hard and see if God would be willing to grant that perhaps up to 140 (a tithe of the conferees) would give their very lives for the sake of God’s glory and the gospel in going to the unreached nations.

At first, I wasn’t sure I would be able to see to enter this blog just moments following this session, my eyes were filled with tears; tears of sorrow for my sin, tears of weeping for the lost nations yet unreached; tears that I have lived for self and comfort and ease in this life. We’ll see what God will do in the days, weeks, months to come in me, in the many He will raise up.

Sitton spring-boarded off Malachi 1.11 to get us into God’s Word to see the glory of God in the martyrdom – the blood witnessing of HIs people. In the words of one man he cited, “They may kill us, but Jesus is worth it!” The Fijians in 1871, after seeing the outpouring of God’s grace & Spirit upon them, loaded up their canoes and headed for New Guinea to take the gospel to the cannibalistic people there. They didn’t take suitcases; they packed in coffins which they built themselves. They fully expected to die; they fully expected not to return. And it came true; wave after wave of them, ’til God, in His free and sovereign grace poured out His Spirit and lives were converted to Christ.

“…My name will be great among the nations…” Not might be, but will be. God is not in heaven wringing His hands, just hoping beyond hope that somehow the nations would get reached. He is the Lord and He reigns over the nations and they will praise His name. Martrydom is not a setback to this global cause of missions. Rather, it’s an incentive for more missions. Jesus calls us (Sitton cited passage after passage after passage). Paul’s experience lent itself to this incentive (again, passage after passage). Martyrdom is a divine strategy intentionally employed by God to advance the fame of His name to every tribe and people and nation and language. Suffering will be one of the key means used to bring more into the kingdom. Christ’s cross did it (redemption accomplished); our crosses will prove that that Cross carries the power of salvation.

One practical question posed to us: Why is this so hard for Americans? it may be hard for any human… who wants to die? But especially for us American Christians? Sitton’s response: we’ve been seduced by our culture that God’s will for us is to be healthy, wealthy, safe and live a long life serving ourselves and those closest to us. But that’s not God’s call. We don’t have to die in the cause for world missions; we get to! That’s the difference.

So what about me? And what about you? Much to dwell on in the drive home this afternoon.

The Q & A time with each man was quite helpful in many respects, but it would be impossible for me to have taken adequate notes on all that was said since it covered so much territory rather than zeroing in on a specific theme. Sorry, but I’ll have the CDs when they come out. Ask about borrowing!


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