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Missions a Partnership with Christ

By C.R. Hudson

      Duquesne Garden, Wednesday Morning, October 13.

      Jesus said to the twelve; "Ye did not choose me, but I have chosen you." And his interest from the hour of their appointment until the close of their career continued to deepen. When Simon Peter was being consumed with ambition for a high place in the kingdom of God, the Master said to him, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." When James and John had lost their temper and wanted to call down fire from heaven upon the Samaritan village, Jesus rebuked them and they went on their way.

      The last six months of his ministry was spent for the most part in company with the apostles. He took them upon a journey far toward the north, through Phoenicia, by Tyre and Sidon, and over the Albanian Mountains to Caesarea and Philippi. He walked with them and talked with them; he ate with them and slept with them; he rejoiced with them and wept with them, until their very hearts had been knit together by the strongest ties of love. And when they reached Caesarea, Jesus said, "Who do you say that I am?" It was a personal question. When it came his time to die, having loved his own that were in the world, he loved them to the end. And so, when they went out to the Mount of Ascension, Jesus having loved them and having died for them, and they in turn loving him and being willing to obey him, he said, "Go ye into all the world." They reached out their hands through the darkness, took hold of the hands of Christ, and said, "Lead, Master, we are willing to go wherever you lead." The only question is, Will you go all the way?

      When he wanted another partner to help to carry the gospel to the Gentiles, he came all the way from heaven and met Saul in the Damascus road, and said to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" A personal question. And he said, "Who art thou, Lord?" And the answer came, "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." Did you ever count the personal pronouns in that experience of the apostle Paul? It was a personal relationship that existed [141] between the Master and the man; and from the day that Paul met Jesus on the Damascus road to the close of his splendid career, his one ruling passion was the love of Christ. Before Christ met him he was an advocate of the law; after Jesus met him he was an advocate of a Person. Before Jesus met him he was an advocate of a religious system; after Jesus met him he was an advocate of the wonderful personality of the man Christ Jesus. For straightway in the synagogue he preached Jesus that he is the Christ, and he continued to preach Jesus and to pray Jesus and to work for Jesus and to suffer for Christ until he could say, "I bear about in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus;" until he could say, "I no longer live; the old tenant of soul has moved out, and the new tenant, Christ Jesus, has moved in and has taken possession."

      Paul was a great missionary, but the secret of his power as a missionary was due to the fact that he made converts, not to an idea, not to an institution, not to a doctrine or to a dogma, but that he made converts to a person. For the ones whom Paul turned to the light believed in Jesus Christ, and they confessed their faith in Jesus, and they were baptized into Christ; they had their conversations in Christ, and their lives were hid with Christ in God. No wonder the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch, where Paul preached Christ.

      The great center of our plea is the living Christ, and the exaltation of Jesus as Lord. The missionary that goes out to preach a doctrine or to establish an institution, or to carry forward some peculiar ideas, will find that his work is not permanent; but the missionary that has a passion for souls, to win them to Jesus, will find that his work will abide.

      We have learned in the past century something of the commission, all but the last clause; we have not fully got the spirit of it as yet. We have learned to go, and as a result we have missionaries in every country. We have learned to baptize, and a million and a quarter of people have been baptized into Christ. We have learned to teach, and we have belted the globe with our schools. We have yet to learn, "I am with you always, even to the end of the earth." And when we learn that in its fullness, every young man having a passion to win souls to Christ will reach out his hands through the veil and take by the hand that Silent Partner, who will go with him in the way. For he must reign till the last enemy be put under his feet.

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