Thursday, October 2, 2008

Do you have rope burn? Where are your scars?

"If the Christian is truly obedient to the Great Commission, he will give his life to go down into the well or to hold the rope for those who go down. Either way, the rope will be burned into his hands. The depth of the scars will determine the extent of the obedience. Have you surrendered your life to go to the lost peoples of the world, or have you surrendered your life to support those who go? What has the Great Commission cost you? Where are your scars?"

This quote truly characterizes the life of the missionary, Andrew Fuller.

Andrew Fuller was born in 1754 in England. He rejected "high Calvinism" as false and unbiblical. High Calvinists did not believe in calling sinners to believe in Christ. The belief of the day was that it was foolish, unbiblical even, to issue an indescriminate appeal of the Gospel without warrant.

After reading "Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners" by John Bunyan, he had tried to convince himself he was one of the elect but knew it was false. After reading John Bunyan's autobiography and "Pilgrim's Progress," he understood that the Grace of God was for sinners and there was a call to all sinners to believe and obey.

Sinners, as sinners, have an obligation to call upon God.

In 1769, at age 15, the weight of his sin was heavy upon him. He read Job 13:13 (Though he slay me...) and decided to hope in Christ even if he were rejected by God. From that point on, he had faith in the Gospel.

In 1770, he was baptized, married the year after and by 1775 he was made pastor at the the age of 20.

1777-1783, he was a missionary Pastor. In 1781, he made a scandalous statement for the day: he was going to preach to sinners! Gasp! Nothing like this had been done. The objection was mighty for the church of the day did not believe in issuing an indescriminate call to people who did not show any outward sign of conviction. He preached that the Gospel was offered FREELY to ALL without distinction.

From 1784-1814 he was the missionary who held the rope. While others were arguing over the scandal of offering the Gospel to all as the Bible clearly states we ought, he was busy spreading the Gospel to the point of death. He became convinced that the error of denying God's sovereignty is that you fall into liberalism and liberals don't send out missionaries.

Lessons from Fuller's life:

1) We must stop believing that busyness is inherently the enemy of spirituality. He worked himself to an early grave for the Gospel of Christ.

2) We must have an uncompromising commitment to the Word of God. He didn't care about labels.

3) We must have a theology that is Christ centered not us-centered. It's not about putting faith in your signs of faith but in Christ alone.

4) Fuller would call you to look at your hand. Is there rope burn?

These were notes that I took from a sermon I heard last night from my pastor, David Prince. Our church is having a missions conference this week and he featured the life of Andrew Fuller, the man who started the modern missions movement.

No comments: