Calvary Road Baptist Church

“I sat where they sat…”

Ezekiel 3:14-19 & Romans 10:13-15

Preached by Rev. Stephen R. Grey

at Calvary Road Baptist Church on Sunday evening, February 27, 2001

 

Have you ever wondered how one gets to be a missionary?  Wondered about the steps involved…where one begins…How do you start?

Follow along in the Scripture with me.  Turn to Romans 10:13-15 and then Ezekiel 3:14-19:

 

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Romans 10:15  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

 

Ezekiel 3:14 So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me.

Ezekiel 3:15 Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.

Ezekiel 3:16  And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Ezekiel 3:17  Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.

Ezekiel 3:18  When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

Ezekiel 3:19  Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

 

With such wonderful words of acclaim for the bearer of the good news and then with such heavy, succinct and plain words of caution and commission, what are we to do? And further, How are we going to pull it off?

Notice I said “We.”  You see, before any one is called a missionary he must first be called the child of God. There have been a few souls who took upon themselves the task of carrying the good news to the world without being a child of God: namely Bob Seeger and Little Richard.  Need I say more?

Notice in our scripture it says Before it says how beautiful the feet of those who carry the gospel are.  It says for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  You see how can anyone who is not saved help one come to Christ? And if you are in doubt what that means the scripture defines itself,  that calling on the name of the Lord is because the heart has already believed and the mouth has already confessed.  It is a demonstration of what has already happened.  When one comes to Christ, they by necessity must have already believed in their heart and confessed with their mouth the Lord Jesus, so the actual coming to Christ is the next natural thing to happen.  Calling on the name of the Lord to save you does not save you.  AS John Rice says…It is what is in the two verses beforehand that saves you.  The coming or calling is just the result of that.  The end result is that one ends up having come to Christ who then takes them to the father.  Amen?!  So, then God’s message is to all of  us.  Maybe we could ignore the first passage but we certainly find ourselves hip deep in the second passage don’t we.

Now on to our task before us. The Missionaries coming to our conference next week have gone thru a process or are in the midst of going thru a process called “deputation.”   Deputation is a process whereby the missionary finds churches such as our and asks to come and present  his upcoming work to the country to which God has called him and presents his work asking for our prayer and some of the resources that God has entrusted to us, namely money.  Remember “the Lord says, Luk 12:34  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Now in doing this the Missionary usually preaches, has a presentation of the field he is going to or back to, has a display and prayer cards for keeping in our Bibles or on the fridge whichever we use the most, to help us remember him in fervent prayer.

Deputation is a process that takes anywhere from a year to usually two to three years to accomplish.  His goal is to get commitments from enough churches to meet his budget for ministry and living expense while on the field. What is it like doing this?  Since Suzanne and I have done this a few times, initially to get support for our country, but then also in reporting back to our churches and raising additional support as commitments from churches diminish over time due to economy and other varied reasons.

Let me take you on a short deputation journey. Here is my goal.  First that you can better appreciate our upcoming missionaries and know how to better take care of them.  Secondly, that you would be more faithful to missions giving and involvement, and thirdly that you would realize that you too can do this.  It is my conviction that it is safer to volunteer to the Lord for whatever mission field is being presented than to always wonder if God would have had you go to that mission field.

Back in 1977 winter time, our church had a missionary come thru from the country of Costa Rica. Our son Jonathan was sick with ear infections in those days and Suzanne had just come from the hospital with him .  As was my conviction, after listening to the missionary I asked the Lord if He wanted us to go to Costa Rica.  Now, the thing you need to know is that every time before I had asked the Lord this question the answer was always a very sure “No.”  This time however, lights flashed, bells rang figuratively but I knew that God was doing something.  So when I got home and asked Sue what she thought of the idea, her normal answer was to say, “Stevie, if that’s what you think God wants to do, you go and the kids and I will write.”  This time, however, her response was, “Do you think this is God’s will for us?”  And after I said, "Yes.”  She said, “When do we pack?”

Monday, being the next day I told my Pastor that God was calling us to Costa Rica.  He said, “Do you really believe that?”  I said, “I do.”  To which he replied, “Well then you are fired. You have two weeks’ pay coming but you better hit the road running.”

You might think that that was cruel or ungodly, but I tell you , it was the best thing that could have happened.  Because, you see, it forced me to get after what I believed was God’s will. After one week of trying to figure out what to do and how to do it, I laid myself down on the couch and told God, I quit.  Not quit Him or His plan for us but quit my trying to figure out how to go about doing this thing we call deputation.

After a few minutes, an idea came to me and I got up and called a Pastor friend with whom I had served in a church earlier.  He now had his own church and as it turned out was just trying to fill a hole left by a missionary who could not come to his Missions Conference.  He asked if I’d like to come.  What do you think I told him? It was to be a round robin mission’s conference with three other churches, and a total of 8 missionaries.  Well, that sounded good to me.  Four churches right from the get go. So on Monday morning  two weeks later, I headed out of the church parking lot about 10:00 in the morning.  Just as I was leaving, a lady drove up to me and handed me a $ 20.00 bill and said Bro. Grey, knowing how much you love Big Macs I thought you could use this.  What she did not know was that this was all the money I had to go on my trip.  I had filled  up the car and just knew that God would take care of me and the family while I was gone.

So out of the drive way I went, with a prayer of thanksgiving in my heart.  By the way, this was the winter it snowed in Florida and my car had no heater and I had no winter coat.  But I did have the love of God in my heart.  Was that “faith or folly?  I did not know but I knew that God said, “Call on me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not”… and… “My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in Glory thru Christ Jesus;” and “Casting all your cares upon Him for He careth for you.”  Seven  hours later it was night fall, cold and shivering and exhausted I began to wonder what I was doing, but God knew.  I was headed to Marietta Georgia  and was just about out of fuel and terribly hungry and I knew I could not make it many more miles.   I was still a few hours from where I was going.   All of a sudden I saw a billboard sign advertising Motel 6, for $6.66.  I wondered if I even had $ 6.66, but knowing I could go very little further, I headed off the freeway at the next Motel 6 sign.  Sitting in the drive way of the motel, I started to count my $.  I had $6.00.  Not enough for the room, but as I sat there praying I spied a dime on the floor.  Picking it up I wondered how much other money I could find if I looked more diligently.  Wouldn’t you know it…why in no time at all I had enough for the room and the tax.  So proudly, I got out of the car and went in to get a room.  When the clerk saw me and asked if he could help me I said, “Yes, I want a room, but first can you tell me where Gilead Baptist church is?”  Where had that thought come from?  I did not know of any such church or pastor in Macon Georgia.  Yet there it was, right out of my mouth.  To which the clerk said," Why surely sir, it is right next door to us."  Can you imagine how excited I was?  My kinky question had gotten a heaven sent good answer.  So before checking myself in I said,  “well I am going to go next door and check out this place and then come back.”

Wouldn’t you know it?  As I drove slowly there, the church building on a Monday night was all dark but had a long circular drive.  So I thought I’d just drive around it and head back to the motel.  As I got to the back of the property, which was the front door it still was all dark, except I noticed that there, was one dim light hanging over the main door of the church and one lone car in the large parking lot.  Boy howdy, I thought, what if the Pastor is here?  So full of renewed faith and hope, I got out of my car and ventured to the door.  And guess what, it was …locked.  No, it was not locked it was open and as I opened it and walked in…it had an auditorium that seated about 500, and way down front at the pulpit was one lone man.  It had a sloping runway for an aisle to the front  and as I was part way down there the Pastor asked, are you my missionary?  Wow, how did he know?  I said, “Yes sir I reckon I am.”  You do know you talk different in the South, right.  He said, “Well Bro. so and so, I have been waiting all day for you” I said, “well sir, I am not Bro. So and So.”  He said “who are you then?”  And so I told him feeling a bit foolish now.  But he said, “Son, you may not be the missionary I was looking for but you sure are the missionary God sent me.  How would you like to come home with me and have a bowl of my wife’s best homemade soup and spend the night with me and then tomorrow I can fill you up with gas and you can get on to your mission conference?”

Folks, I never preached in that church and I never saw that Pastor again, but we were off and running on deputation. That week God taught my heart some very valuable lessons.  First that He honours a life lived by faith.  Secondly, he honours those feet that are going to take the gospel of the good news to those who are lost and thirdly coming right up after this next story.  By the way, Gilead means, Mountain of Testimony.  This was going to be one gigantic week in my learning how to trust God.  Oh yes it was!

When I arrived at where I was going, my Pastor friend said Steve here is $ 20.00 for you since I know you will need some more fuel.  Arriving at the first church of the four I thought I will fill up later after the service.  But as God does so well, He seemed to say to me at offering time, “put your $ 20.00 in the offering.”  I had a quick discussion with Him about that and finally said "well, Lord you have gotten me this far with almost nothing so I can trust you.”  I preached that night about how God takes care of those He calls to do His will.  And after the service this sweet grandma type lady came up to me and said, “Missionary, I have searched all week for a few dollars, in my chairs, in my cupboards, in my dressers and finally God helped me find these two silver dollar coins and God has told me to give them to  you.  I said "oh no dear lady, I could never take them from you."  She said, “Young man are you in the habit of robbing an old lady of a blessing from God?”  I said “no Ma’am.  And I took her two silver dollars and headed to the gas station with rejoicing.  Pause…I wished I still had those two silver dollars as reminders of how God takes care of us, but of course they went to buy gasoline.  But I assure you God has given Suzanne and me lots of reminders along the way in all of these years.  What did I learn that night...?  That God honours those who obey Him.  Who give sacrificially out of their poverty? 

And God uses people to give the blessings, many times.  What does the book of Luke say…Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Permit me to tell you what it is like when you put more in the offering than you get back.  Especially after the Pastor says that you will get everything that comes in. Houston Tex., is such a place at a church called Grace Baptist Church, pastored by a Bob Jones fella.  That night I will never forget.  Another lesson in Faith.  Another night when I gave $ 20.00 in offering before the Pastor said all that comes in will go to our missionary.  As I was leaving with $ 12.42 in my pocked from the offering, an usher came running out to give me an envelope that had what appeared to be a small toy in it.  The usher said, well, Pastor did say to give you everything so here is another envelope.   He must have missed the inside directions on the offering.  I shoved it into my pocket and somewhere down the road I became inquisitive to see what some kid had stuffed into an envelope.

Boy howdy, is all I can say.  For before my very eyes was a beautiful lovely exquisite diamond ring in the shape of a rose and every leaf had a diamond in it. Well, we still have that ring and guess what?  It even fit Suzanne’s hand.  We have had it appraised over the years and it is currently worth $6 to 7,000 dollars.  Have we been tempted over the years to sell it?  Well, I’d be lying to you if I told you no, but just as soon as we look at it, it is like the sign of the rainbow.  It was a pledge from God that He would take care of us and He has never failed yet.

Folks, let’s take really good care of our Missionaries next week.  Let’s first give ourselves to God as those in Macedonia did.  Let’s diligently pray and ask God to put an amount of money on our hearts that we can give every week to our Missions program.  Wouldn’t it be good if we had 100 % participation in our pledge offering?  Wouldn’t it be so good if God were to call one of us or more to the Mission Field?  Wouldn’t it be good if it were you?

Think of this…Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Folks, God loves the soul winner who cares more about God than he does himself!  I promise you.



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org