This is the most downloaded sermon on the internet. It will certainly challenge the way you think about evangelism and missions…
My favourite bits:
If you’ll ask me why I went to Africa, I’ll tell you I went primarily to improve on the justice of God. I didn’t think it was right for anybody to go to Hell without a chance to be saved. So I went to give poor sinners a chance to go to heaven. Now I haven’t put it in so many words, but if you’ll analyze what I just told you , do you know what it is? Humanism. That I was simply using the provisions of Jesus Christ as a means to improve upon human conditions of suffering and misery.
And when I went to Africa, I discovered that they weren’t poor, ignorant, little heathen running around in the woods looking for someone to tell them how to go to heaven. That they were Monsters of Iniquity!
They were living in utter and total defiance of far more knowledge of God than I ever dreamed they had! They deserved Hell! Because they utterly refused to walk in the light of their conscious, and the light of the law written upon their heart, and the testimony of nature, and the truth they knew! And when I found that out I assure you I was so angry with God that on one occasion in prayer I told Him it was a mighty little thing He’d done – sending me out there to reach these people that were waiting to be told how to go to heaven.
When I got there I found out they knew about heaven, and didn’t want to go there, and that they loved their sin and wanted to stay in it.(Brother Paris speaks with great passion in this paragraph) I went out their motivated by humanism. I’d seen pictures of lepers, I’d seen pictures of ulcers, I’d seen pictures of native funerals, and I didn’t want my fellow human beings to suffer in Hell eternally after such a miserable existence on earth. But it was there in Africa that God began to tear through the overlay of this humanism! And it was that day in my bedroom with the door locked that I wrestled with God. For here was I, coming to grips with the fact that the people I thought were ignorant and wanted to know how to go to heaven and were saying, “Someone come and teach us!”, actually didn’t want to take time to talk with me or anybody else.
They had no interest in the Bible and no interest in Christ, and they love their sin and wanted to continue in it. And I was to that place, at that time, where I felt the whole thing was a sham and a mockery, and I had been sold a bill of goods! And I wanted to come home. There alone in my bedroom as I faced God honestly with what my heart felt, it seemed to me I heard Him say, “Yes, will not the Judge of all the earth do right? The heathen are lost, and they’re going to go to Hell, not because they haven’t heard the gospel. They’re going to go to Hell because they are sinners, who love their sin! And because they deserve Hell. But……I didn’t send you out there for them. I didn’t send you out there for their sakes.” And I heard clearly as I’ve ever heard, though it wasn’t with physical voice but it was the echo of truth of the ages, finding it’s way into an open heart. I heard God say to my heart that day something like this,
“I didn’t send you to Africa for the sake of the heathen, I sent you to Africa for My Sake….They deserved Hell! But I love them! And I endured the agonies of Hell for them!
I didn’t send you out there for them! I SENT YOU OUT THERE FOR ME… Do I not deserve the reward of my suffering? Don’t I deserve those for who I died?” And it reversed it all!! And changed it all!! And righted it all!! And I wasn’t any longer working for Micah and ten shekels and a shirt! But I was serving a living God! I was not there for the sake of the heathen. I was there for the Savior that endured the agonies of Hell for me, who didn’t deserve it. But He deserved them, (the heathen). Because He died for them.
Two young Moravians heard of an island in the West Indies where an atheist British owner had 2000 to 3000 slaves. And the owner had said, “No preacher, no clergyman, will ever stay on this island. If he’s shipwrecked we’ll keep him in a separate house until he has to leave; but he’s never going to talk to any of us about God. I’m through with all that nonsense.” Three thousand salves from the jungles of Africa brought to an island in the Atlantic and there to live and die without hearing of Christ.
Two young Moravians heard about it. They sold themselves to the British planter and used the money they received from their sale, for he paid no more than he would for any slave, to pay their passage out to his island for he wouldn’t even transport them. As the ship left it’s pier in the river at Hamburg and was going out into the North Sea, carried with the tide, the Moravians had come from Herrenhut to see these two lads off, in their early twenties.
Never to return again, for this wasn’t a four year term; they sold themselves into life-time slavery. Simply that as slaves, they could be as Christians where these others were. The families were there weeping, for they knew they would never see them again. And they wondered why they were going and questioned the wisdom of it. As the gap widened and the housings had been cast off and were being curled up there on the pier, and the young boys saw the widening gap, one lad with his arm liked through the arm of his fellow, raised his hand and shouted across the gap the last words that were heard from them, they were these:
“MAY THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN, RECEIVE THE REWARD OF HIS SUFFERING!”
This became the call of Moravian missions. And this is the only reason for being, That the Lamb that was slain, may receive the reward of His suffering.