“And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation, but as it is written:
“To whom He was not announced, they shall see; And those who have not heard shall understand.”
Few if any have ever blazed the trail of a pioneer missionary like the Apostle Paul. He was indefatigable, indomitable, unrelenting, continually pressing forward to the regions beyond. His eyes were always set upon the horizon of the gospel. He did not set his attention so much upon the borders of nations, but upon the borders of the gospel. As the gospel advanced and conquered new frontiers for Christ in the hearts and minds of the people, new territory was now under the influence of Jesus. Paul would take care of those churches, instruct them, set up leadership in them, and then lift his eyes again to the regions beyond. Every time the borders of the gospel would move and expand, Paul would move and expand with it. His aim was always to go beyond the current gospel borders. Our text shows us the reason this man, who once tried to destroy the faith, made it his aim to build that faith to the ends of the earth.
When Paul wrote this to the church in Rome, it was written in the Greek script of the day. What we translate as, “made it my aim,” has a much more pregnant meaning in Paul’s original language. The phrase translated, “made it my aim,” is actually only one word in the original. The Greek language had an ability to combine two words together into one to get their point across, and that is what was done here-two words combined into one-which we translate as “made it my aim.” The word is a combination of the word love, and the word honor. It means to love the honor of a thing, to be moved by the love of the honor of a thing to strive for it, to have an ambition that comes from the love of the honor of a thing. And here we arrive a Paul’s not so secret secret: Paul was motivated in his labors for Christ by the love of the honor of proclaiming the gospel of Christ to those who have not heard of Him.
Paul lived for the love of the honor of introducing Christ to those who have never heard of Him.
While others feared the darkness, Paul loved the honor of walking into the darkness with the light. While others looked at the danger that taking the gospel to barbarians posed, Paul looked at the honor of proclaiming Christ to the barbarians. Others may look at the possibility of loosing their life in dangerous regions, Paul would look at the possibility of loosing the honor of proclaiming Christ to them. He lived for the honor of preaching Christ-and not for his own honor.
The evangelization of the world will never be accomplished through those who live for their own honor. The effort to preserve their honor will be the very thing that keeps them from the regions beyond. Such is the ministry of the cross. You cannot carry the cross and live for yourself at the same time. If we do not take up our cross and forsake all that we have, we literally do not have the ability to follow Him. If we live for our own honor, we live only for this life. We spend eternity’s treasures for a passing breath, a mere vapor (James 4:14).
The church is to have the same ambition as the apostle Paul, even though we may not have the same calling. Every born again saint must continually keep their eyes lifted to the regions beyond, even if our labor is at home. We are very much like the person at the kitchen sink who is busy washing the dishes, but has their eyes lifted looking out the window into the world beyond as they do so. We labor here only because this is where Christ has us. But since our heart is Christ’s, it cannot help but look out the window to the regions beyond where we long for Him to be known there too.
Oh saints! There is not a place in the world today where Christ is as unknown as He is in North Korea. Out of love for His honor, would you join with us to pray for the people of North Korea?
This is the heartbeat of Durihana. Pastor Chun has said, “the reason we rescue North Korean’s is because we cannot get into North Korea to proclaim the gospel to them. We have to get them out so we can share the gospel with them.”
I have been with him on a rescue, and that is exactly what he does. Christ is proclaimed to those who have never heard of Him. May God so orient our hearts that we live for the honor of proclaiming Christ where He is not known.
Next week I will share about the cost of ministering to the unreached, and what it means practically for the reached. In the meantime, would you please continue to pray for a rescue that is taking place right now? We will send out notification when it is complete.