In what follows I have combed through Matt 10.16–31″>Matthew 10:16–31 to find the costs and the blessings of following Christ into the uncertainties and dangers and joys of a life of world missions. My prayer is that as many of you read these, God—by his word—will take hold of you in an unusual way that will not let you go till you have blessed the nations with your presence.
Count the Costs of Front-Line Missions
1. The cost of being arrested by authorities.
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.” (Matt 10.16–18″>Matthew 10:16–18)
2. The cost of family betrayal.
“Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death.” (Matthew 10:21)
This is almost unbelievable: Fathers and children will be so opposed to the Christian faith, they will want each other dead rather than believing.
3. The cost of being hated by all.
“You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” (Matthew 10:22)
Be careful that you don’t elevate friendship evangelism to the point where this text makes evangelism impossible. You will be hated by all does not mean: You can’t do evangelism.
4. The cost of being persecuted and driven out of town.
“When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next.” (Matthew 10:23)
5. The cost of being maligned.
“If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.” (Matt 10.25b”>Matthew 10:25b)
Jesus died in our place so that we might escape the wrath of God, not the wrath of man. He was called to suffer for the sake of propitiation; we are called to suffer for the sake of propagation.
6. The cost of being killed.
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” (Matthew 10:28)
So they can kill the body. And sometimes they do. Don’t ever elevate safety in missions to the point where you assume that if one of our missionaries is killed we have made a mistake. Jesus said plainly in Luke 21:16, “Some of you they will put to death.”