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How To Succeed In The Christian Life
Lesson Thirteen

by R. A. Torrey

Foreign Missions

In order to have the largest success in the Christian life one must be interested in foreign missions, {%FirstName%}.  The last command of our Lord before leaving this earth was,

"You go; therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:  and lo, I am with you alway even unto the end of the world" [Matt. 28:19-20].

Here is a command and a promise.  It is one of the sweetest promises in the Bible.  But the enjoyment of the promise is conditioned upon obedience to the command.  Our Lord commands every one of His disciples to go and "make disciples" of all nations.  This command was not fiven to the apostles alone, but to every member of Christ's church in all ages.  If we go, then Christ will be with us even unto the end of the age; but, if we do not go, we have no right to count upon His companionship.  Are you going?  How can we go?  There are three ways in which we can go, and in at least two of these ways we must go it we are to enjoy the wonderful privilege of the personal companionship of Jesus Christ. every day unto the end of the age.

1.  First, many of us can go in our own persons.  

Many of us ought to go.  God does not call every one of us to go as foreign missionaries, but He does call many of us to go who are not responding to the call.  Every Christian should offer himself for the foreign field and leave the responsibility of the choosing him or refusing him to the all-wise One, God Himself.

No Christian has the right to stay at home until he has gone and offered himself definitely to God for the foreign field.  If you have not done it before, do it today.  God alone with God and say, "Heavenly Father, here I am, Your property, purchased by the precious blood of Christ.  I belong to You.  If You want me in the foreign field, make it clear to me and I will go."

Then keep watching for the leading of God.  God's leading is clear leading.  He is light and in Him is no darkness at all [1 John 1:5].  If you are really willing to be led, He will make it clear as day.  Until He does make it clear as day, you need have no morbid anxiety that perhaps you are staying at home when you ought to go to the foreign field.  If He wants you, He will make it clare as day in His own way and time.  If He does make it clear, then prepare to go step by step as Je leads you.  And when His hour comes, go, not matter what it costs.  IF He does not make it clear that you ought to go in your own person, stay at home and do your duty at home and go in the other ways that will now be told.

2.  We can all go, and all ought to go to the foreign field by our gifts.

There are many who would like to go to the foreign field in their own person, but whom God providentially prevents, but who are still going in the missionaries they support or help to support.  It is possible for you to preach the Gospel in the remotest corners of the earth by supporting or helping to support a foreign missionary or a native worker in that place.  Many who take this course are able financially to support a foreign missionary out of their own pocket.  If you are able to do it, do it.  If you are not able to support a foreign missionary, you may be able to support a native helper - do it.  You may be able to support one missionary in Japan and another if Africa and another somewhere else - do it.  Oh!  the joy of preaching the Gospel in lands that we shall never see with our own eyes.  How few in the church of Christ today realize their privilege of preaching the Gospel and saving men and women and children in distant lands by sending substitute missionaries to them, that is, by sending someone that goes for you where you cannot go yourself.  They could not go but for your gifts by which they are supported and you could not go but for them, by going in your place.  You may be able to five but very little to foreign missions, but every little counts.  Many insignificant streams together make a mighty river.  If you cannot be a river, at least be a stream.

Learn to give largely.  The large giver is the happy Christian.

"The liberal soul shall be made fat" [Pr. 11:25].

"He that sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he which sows bountifully shall reap bountifully," and "God is able to make all grace abound towards you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things may abound to every good work" [2 Cor. 9:8-9].

Success and growth in the Christian life depend upon few things more than upon liberal giving.  The stingy Christian cannot be a growing Christian.  It is wonderful how a Christian men begins to grow when he begins to give.  

Power in prayer depends on liberality in giving.  One of the most wonderful statements about prayer and its answers is 1 John 3:22.  John says there that, whatsoever he asked of God he received; and he tells us why, because he on his part, kept God's commandments and did those things that were pleasing in His sight, and the immediate context shows that the special commandments he was keeping were the commandments about giving.  He tells us in the twenty-first verse that when our heart condemns us not in the matter of giving then have we confidence in our prayers to God.  God's answers to our prayers come in through the same door that our gifts go out to others, and some of us open the door such a little ways by our small giving that God is not able to pass in to us any large answers to our prayers.

One of the most remarkable promises in the Bible is found in Phil. 4:19,

"My God shall supply [R.V. fulfill, that is fill full] all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,"

but this promise was made to believers who had distinguished themselves above their fellows by the largeness and frequency of their giving [Cf. vs. 14-18].  Of course, we should not confine our giving to foreign missions.  We should give to the work of the home church:  we should give to rescue work in our large cities.  We should do good to all men as we have opportunity, especially to those who are of the household of faith [Gal. 6:10].  But foreign missions should have a large part in our gifts.

Give systematically.

Set aside for Christ a fixed proportion of all the money or goods you get.  Be exact and honest about it.  Don't use that part of your income for yourself under any circumstances.  The Christian is not under law, and there is no law binding on the Christian that he should give a tenth of his income, but as a matter of free choice and glad gratitude a tenth is a good proportion to begin with.  Don't let it be less than a tenth.  God required that of the Jews and the Christian ought not to give less.  After you have given your tenth, you will soon learn the joy of giving free will offerings in addition to the tenth.

3.  But there is another way in which we can go to the foreign field, that is, by our prayers.  

We can all go in this way.  Any hour of the day or night you can reach any corner of the earth by your prayers.  I go to Japan, to China and to Australia and to Tasmania and to New Zealand and to India and to Africa and to other parts of the earth everyday, by my prayers.

And prayer really brings things to pass where you go.  Do not make prayer an excuse for not going in your own person if God wishes you, and do not make prayer an excuse for small giving.  There is no power in that kind of prayer.  If you are ready to go yourself if God wishes you, and if you are actually going by your gifts as God gives you ability, then you can go effectually by your prayers also.  The greatest need of Jesus Christ today is prayer.  The greatest need of foreign missions today is prayer.  Foreign missions are a success, but they are no such success as they ought to be and might be.  They are no such success as they would be if Christians at home, as well as abroad, were living up to the full measure of their opportunity in prayer.

Be definite in your prayers for foreign missions.  Pray first of all that God will send forth labourers into His harvest, the right sort of labourers.  There are many men and women in the foreign field that ought never to have gone there.  There was not enough prayer about it.  More foreign missionaries are greatly needed, but only more of the right kind of missionaries.  Pray to God daily and believingly to send forth labourers into the harvest.

Pray for the labourers who are already on the field.  No class of men and women need our prayers more than foreign missionaries.  No class of men and women are objects of more bitter hatred from Satan than they.  Satan delights to attack the reputation and the character of the brave men and women who have gone to the front in the battle for Christ and the Truth.  No persons are subjected to so numerous and to such subtle and awful temptations are foreign missionaries.  We owe it to them to support them by our prayers.  Do not merely pray for foreign missionaries in general.  Have a few special missionaries of whose work you make a study that you may pray intelligently for them.

Pray for the native converts.  We Christians at home think we have difficulties and trials and temptations and persecutions, but the burdens that we have to bear are nothing to what the converts in heathen lands have to bear.  The obstacles oftentimes are enormous and discouragements crushing.  Christ alone can make them stand, but He works in answer to the prayers of His people.  Pray often, pray earnestly, pray intensely and pray believingly for native converts.  How wonderfully God has answered prayer for native converts were are beginning to learn from missionary literature.  [Encourage yourself by reading missionary biographies!]  It is well to be definite here again and to have some definite field about whose needs you keep yourself informed and pray for the converts in that field.  Do not have so many that you become confused and mechanical. 

Pray for conversions in the foreign field.  Pray for revivals in definite fields.  The last few years have been years of special prayer for special revival in foreign fields and from every corner of the earth tidings have come of how amazingly God is answering these prayers.  But the great things God is beginning to do are small indeed in comparison with what He will do if there is more prayer.

Feed Yourself Assignments

These assignments assume the student has completed the Feed Yourself course.

1. Memorize Matt. 28:19-20.
2.  Look up in your Bible each Scripture reference mentioned in this lesson - even the ones that are quoted.
3. If your church sponsors foreign missionaries begin supporting them financially and with prayer.  Write them letters of encouragement and friendship.


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