14But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? 15And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”16But not all have obeyed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.
18But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for
“Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.”
19Again I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,
“I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”
20Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,
“I have been found by those who did not seek me;
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”
21But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
The practical logic of evangelistic missions is self-evident. In the previous day's reading we were reminded that those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus shall be saved. Here Paul argues straightforwardly that in order for people to call on the name of the Lord, they need to believe; in order for them to believe, they need to hear; in order for them to hear, they need someone to proclaim the Gospel; in order for someone to proclaim the Gospel, someone needs to be sent.
I love schematics:
saved < call < believe < hear < proclaim < sent
Therefore, someone has to go! Someone has to be sent!
Look anywhere in the world where there is a thriving community of believers, pretty good probability that that thriving community can be traced back historically to someone being sent by God. Without the sending of someone from one community to another, we would simply not have Christianity as a global phenomenon. But thank God people were sent and people went willingly and courageously. All of us are greatly in debt to these brave, trusting, hope-filled servants of the Lord.
Without the sending of these servants, the outcome is not that hard to figure out: no thriving community who worships the Lord.
But with the sending of these servants, in many places of the world communities of worship give glory to God and these communities through the power of the Spirit and knowledge of Christ transform the surrounding society. Hence the sending forth of servants becomes also a sending forth of transformation.
Let's pray for those who have been sent in the power of the Spirit, in the name of Jesus: Father God, we pray for our friends who have been sent in the name of Jesus for the sake of your love. Be with them today. Encourage their hearts. Provide for their needs. Bring fire to their souls. Fill them with power and perseverance. Establish them in your purpose. In Jesus' Name, Amen.