The following is an edited extract of an address given at the FCS(C) General Assembly meeting in May 2022 in Edinburgh.
A missionary to South Africa once said, ‘Missions are more than a matter of obeying a command, they are the result of an encounter with Christ. To meet Christ means to become caught up in a mission (Christ’s mission) to the world – a mission of reaching the lost with the gospel.’
Sermons in shoes
I have been engaged in full-time missionary work now for some 20 years. It remains vitally important across Scotland. Our churches everywhere are largely empty – empty of perishing souls who are unchurched, unreached, undisturbed, and unsaved.
If we are genuinely concerned about the destiny of souls then we should be deeply alarmed when we hear of so few people coming to Christ and being converted. Since so few people now come to church, how are we to reach them with the good news of the gospel?
Spurgeon once said, ‘The sermons most needed today are sermons in shoes.’ In other words, we need to get up and go out with the gospel, letting our feet and shoes carry us to those who are dead in their sins and living for this world only. We need to share with them the greatest story ever told, namely that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
We are to do so persuasively and compellingly, as far as God’s Word will allow us: ‘Knowing the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men’ (2 Corinthians 5:11).
God’s command to witness the gospel is what it always has been. His mandate is, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled’ (Luke 14:21, 23).
Not once has the Lord ever said to his witnesses, ‘Stay at home and just be silent!’ Tragically, that’s what many believers have done for far too long, as I found out recently during a week of gospel outreach in a rural area.
One man said, ‘I have lived here for up to 50 years. While I have nothing against the church or against Christians, nobody has ever told me what you shared with me here today!’ What a lamentable indictment on professing Christians.