My devotions this morning were in the book of Romans -- the grandest and plainest statement of the gospel in the New Testament.
I once called both Matthew and Luke Christian "manifestos." Likewise, Romans is a Christian manifesto, a manifesto of freedom through Jesus Christ.
As I read and studied Rom. 1:1-7, I thought of my daughter's husband who, along with a team from his church, left yesterday on an international mission trip to South Asia. Why did he go? Why do we go? Here Paul tells us why we go. We go because a right relationship with God is possible only by what Paul calls "the obedience of faith" -- a faith in Christ that leads to a life of obedience. But the ultimate goal of missions is much bigger than that. Its goal is the honor of Christ's name (1:5). We go because we are concerned with the name of Jesus Christ. To use biblical language, we are jealous for the name of Jesus Christ. This alone is the highest of all missionary motivations, higher even than wanting the nations to believe and obey, important as that is. The greatest missionary motivation is zeal for the glory of Christ. Jon left yesterday because he is concerned for the honor of his imperial majesty Jesus Christ. He came to Ethiopia with us three times for the same ultimate reason.
That is our great concern as we evangelize and disciple the nations -- the sake of his name. All other motives are unworthy ones. Hence Paul writes, "I am eager to share the gospel" (Rom. 1:15).
I don't know about you, but I sense that we have come to an unprecedented moment in history, a time when the potential for gospel ministry has never been greater. In the midst of political chaos and discontent, we are seeing a reawakening of the historic passion for missions that has always characterized evangelicalism. With God's help, I believe the turning tide before us will swell into a mighty, unstoppable wave of missionary activity for the honor of the name of Christ.