Summary: Why go to the unenlightened heathen with the Gospel? Because they are sinners in need of Savior.
Why Go? Rom. 2:12-15
INTRO.: When we talk about the mission of the Church to send the Gospel all over the world, the question always comes up; "What happens to the heathen who never hear anything about God?" or "If we are judged by the light available to us, then they can get to Heaven without Jesus. Why send the Gospel?" sometimes it takes the form of; "Aren’t we condemning them to hell by giving them the opportunity to reject the message of Christ?,"
These are legitimate questions. I was asked these questions recently and my answer didn’t even satisfy me. So, I thought I would do a little research in the Bible. That’s where we must find the answer. I found the Bible was fairly clear on the subject and I want to share some of its teachings in this message.
Two things must be clear from the beginning. First, do not assume the heathen are happy children romping naked in the jungle, living carefree lives without mortgages, schedules, and pressures. They are not. That’s National Geographic hype. They live in fear of demons. They are dominated by witch doctors. They suffer from disease, poverty, war, and starvation. They practice slavery. They steal and kill. In short, they live much like we do, only without plumbing.
And that doesn’t even count the millions who live in the concrete jungles we call cities who have never heard the name of Jesus.
Secondly, we do not send missionaries to the heathen because of their need. We send them and we go because of the command of Jesus, which is very clear. It is our responsibility as children of God.
With all that said, let’s look at a couple Biblical principles:
I. God has made Himself available to all men: Rom. 1:20
A. He can be seen clearly in the creation.
1. The heavens declare His gloty. Ps. 19:1-4
2. Men are without excuse. No one can claim ignorance as an excuse when knowledge is available.
3. No one can view the creation with an open mind and not believe in a Creator.
B. Because they can’t see God, men rule Him out.
1. They try to find alternate explanations for what they see.
2. Of course, much unbelief is based on a desire to avoid accountability. If there is no God, anything can be justified.
3. They think they’re smart, but they’re fools. V. 21, 22
C. The Bible teaches that all will be judged. II Peter 2:4-9
1. God didn’t spare even angels who sinned.
2. He didn’t spare the world of Noah’s day, but saved Noah and his family.
3. He didn’t spare Sodom and Gomorrah but rescued Lot.
4. God knows how to punish and how to rescue. The time is coming.
II. Everyone can know God and will be judged by what we do with that knowledge. 2:13
A. There is really no difference in God’s sight between Jew and Gentile as far as sin and salvation is concerned.
1. God does not show favoritism.
2. Jews, having the Law, will be judged by the Law. Unable to keep the Law, they are lost in sin.
3. Gentiles, without the Law, will be judged without the Law. They are also sinners and will perish in their sin.
B. How can God judge those who have not received the Law?
1. Paul goes on to explain. All men have a law built into their nature. 2:14, 15
2. Certain moral laws are a part of human nature and are put in us by God. They are frequently distorted and corrupted, but they exist.
3. Like the Jew, who cannot live up to the Law, the Gentile (heathen) cannot live up to his own standards and is condemned by his conscience.
C. All are sinners and fall under God’s condemnation. Gal. 3:22
1. We cannot keep sin secret from God. "you may be sure that your sin will find you out." Num. 32:23
2. Even the conscience is not always a reliable guide. "My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me." I Cor. 4:4
3. When we talk of those who do not know God, consider II Thess. 1:8 "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus."
III. The bottom line is all people need a Savior.
A. I can think of only three exceptions:
1. Little children who have not yet rebelled against God.
2. Mentally handicapped who aren’t able to understand and make decisions.
3. Those who already have a Savior. Christians.
B. Is it possible God will save those who have never heard of Him or had an opportunity to accept Christ?
1. Only in the sense anything is possible with God.