By Samuel Clough
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. – 1 Corinthians 10:12 (ESV)
My heart is trembling at the desperate need of preparation in this hour. While I am sure the Lord has His prophets hidden in caves, I am also convinced we are completely unprepared for what is coming. Not only are we not prepared, I feel it is going to come much faster than we think and be upon us in a moment. In fact, it is already upon us.
Just last week I sat in a briefing for a prayer meeting with an Egyptian believer. She spoke of how unprepared the church was in the moment of pressure and crisis. She said when the revolution started the force and the pressure on the church to speak on humanitarian issues rather than Jesus was so much stronger than they had ever expected. In her opinion, under the immense pressure, the church was closer to humanism than a bold, clear witness for Jesus. My entire being was shaken to hear this saint who was in Egypt during the entire crisis repeat over and over, “The church is preaching humanism; it’s all humanism; we must preach Jesus, He alone is justice.”
I am still reeling from her words. They hit me like a hammer from the Lord. If Egypt’s church, who is familiar with a measure of pressure, was pressured towards a humanistic gospel in the hour of crisis what does that foretell for us who know almost no suffering let alone persecution? We have not even been tested by small shakings. How will be endure these kinds of pressures? Is there any hope that our gospel will be pure and that we will give a witness to Jesus when there is a palatable, humanistic option available and rejecting that option to preach Jesus only risks our own lives?
We are not as strong as we think. Most of our strength is humanistic and self-centered and will crumble in the hour of crisis. We desperately need a strength that is found in weakness. We need the strength of the Holy Spirit only, not just a bit of the Holy Spirit added to our own self-confidence.
The wisdom of God is that the church will be purified and that the gospel will go to all nations amidst great pressures and shakings. I am trembling that, amidst all our rightful zeal to get the gospel to every people group, we have not read Matthew 24 in sequence. The gospel will go to every nation, but it is in the midst of birth pains and terrible shakings. These shakings will set the hope of the church fully on Jesus and open hearts to receive the gospel.
Saints, not one of us would lead the way Jesus does. We would choose much less traumatic means, but Jesus’ zeal for a people with whole hearted love is so intense that He will use pressure to form a glorious companion. The process will be difficult and one none of us would choose, but the result will be worth it.
Let me be very clear that I do not want to disparage the church in Egypt in any way. Believers there have stood firm as a minority amidst persecution for years. There is a vibrant prayer movement being born in Egypt and I hear that they estimate nearly 2 million conversions to Jesus over the last few years. No doubt that church in Egypt is dear to Jesus and will be a bright and shining light in years ahead.
That said, I believe the Lord wants us to learn from the shaking in Egypt that pressures that we cannot imagine will seize us in a moment. In many places, pressure will probably ebb and flow, but the game has changed this year. Pressure and shaking is upon us. There is no going back. Even now, as the news has turned to Japan, believers are under much more persecution and violence than before or during the revolution.
It is being revealed that what looked like demonstrations for human rights and freedom were actually an open door for an increase or evil. The demonstrations looked noble, but any “justice” movement that does not embrace Jesus as the primary issue of justice is humanism at best and will lead to an increase in wickedness. That is beginning to be seen in Egypt as the world barely notices the believers killed there in Garbage City just last week. The result of “humanitarian protests” last week was that women are without husbands, children are without fathers, and other believers lie in hospitals. The world has “moved on” but the evil of seeking justice without Jesus is being demonstrated clearly in Egypt for those who will look.
Let Egypt be a lesson to us and give us strength to stand up and raise an alarm when the voices of men look noble and just but are devoid of Jesus. It is the time for us to get oil for our lives. It is time for us to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that we can be a faithful witness, a burning and shining light in the hour of testing.
By Samuel Clough
“Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.” – Philippians 1:28–29 (NLT-SE)
Perseverance of believers in the face of suffering is one of the primary testimonies of the age to come and the truth of the gospel. Not only is it a testimony to unbelievers, it is also a great privilege. The privilege of believing, of coming into the understanding of Jesus, is one thing, but there is an additional privilege in suffering. That privilege is not just coming into an understanding of Jesus, but coming into real, physical participation with His life by living a life of a similar kind as His was. I wonder how many of us consider suffering to actually be a privilege? We do not because we do not understand the significance of suffering.
Not only is suffering a privilege, but it is at the very heart of Jesus’ exaltation and Paul is connecting the believers in Philippi to his description of Jesus’ exaltation in the first 11 verses of chapter 2. Paul’s encouragement to the church to embrace suffering is his logical conclusion to his own consideration of Jesus’ own sufferings which began in the first part of the chapter.
Because Jesus’ sufferings led to His exaltation, therefore he is encouraging the church as well to embrace her sufferings that she might follow her master, both in temporary suffering and in permanent reward from God. Paul is encouraging them to follow the divine pattern. Their reward in the age to come is dynamically connected to their suffering in this age, just as Jesus’ present exaltation as ruler over the universe was the result of His suffering.
Obeying God in blessing can be easy, and this is not to say that God does not release blessing or that all blessing is wrong. However, there is something unique about suffering. Suffering demonstrates the authenticity of love. Suffering is what disarms the powers and principalities because when a heart is unmoved by suffering then a fragrance of love arises that they are powerless against. When love arises in the midst of suffering, the powers are completely stripped of their powers over the one who is full of love in the mist of suffering.
When believers love during suffering, it demonstrates their love for God as a person rather than love for God merely as a benefactor. While God is our source, it is also critical that we understand these two kinds of love and suffering is the tool to demonstrate what kind of love we have. The test of suffering reveals that we love God for who He is and not what He does for us unless, tragically, we fail the test.
When we demonstrate that kind of love, it is a rebuke to the powers and principalities who live only for their own benefit and constantly seduce men to live in the same way. In many cases, it is the suffering of the church that breaks the drunken delusion of the age and confronts lost men with the reality of deception.
The world has no answer for a suffering church. The powers and principalities are stripped and exposed by a suffering church. A suffering church is the ultimate rebuke for this age and it is the ultimate sign of the age to come. When men begin to give their lives and lose their privileges for the sake of the age to come it is the witness that God will save them and a witness to men who live only for their own benefit and pleasure that they will be destroyed.
A persecutor can destroy the body, but he is powerless against those who willingly suffer for their master. Lost men may refuse to hear the words of the gospel, but they are incapable of ignoring the testimony of the suffering of the saints. How many have been converted not just from the words of a gospel witness, but from the demonstration of the gospel in a suffering man or woman? It is easy to reject words. It is another thing altogether to gaze at the one who willingly suffers, even unto death, for the unseen God.
When that kind of suffering takes place, the unseen God becomes visible in front of those witnessing the suffering. It is the ultimate testimony of Jesus. No more are ideas and concepts about God only ideas. Those ideas take on flesh and blood in the suffering saint before them. When lost men and women see the saint willingly giving their life for the salvation of the age to come, it confronts their empty and hollow lives that are relentlessly driven by their own desire for self preservation.
This kind of witness is demanding. It requires a church willing to lay down her life, but it is the call of Jesus. He calls us to take up our cross and follow Him and this is what that following looks like. It is willingness to suffer for the gospel. it is willingness to lose benefit in this life, even to the point of losing our own breath, in order to be a demonstration to this age that Jesus is worthy of love. Not only is He worthy of love in general, but He is worthy of this kind of love in particular.
God is looking for a people that He can trust with suffering because He wants to put the gospel on display. He wants to embarrass the powers and principalities. He wants a rebuke to lost men in this age so that their delusion might be shattered and they might have the opportunity to repent.
Let us set our hearts before Him and commit to take up this cross that His name might be made great. This is not a casual conflict, but a weighty battle. The powers are not intimidated us when we do not challenge them, but when we embrace suffering, we challenge them directly with truth. Grace is needed, but let us not back off from this, but let us embrace suffering as did our Lord.
By Samuel Clough
I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. – 2 Corinthians 7:35 (ESV)
2 Corinthians 7 contains Paul’s well known views on sexuality and marriage. Paul begins by stating his opinion that it would be better for more individuals to be single as he was so that they could be wholly devoted to the Lord. For Paul, there was an urgency to prepare for the Day of the Lord, so it was completely natural that he would exhort believers to lay aside anything that could potentially divert their focus from preparing for, and laboring in light of, that day.
At the same time that Paul advocates for his lifestyle, he also validates marriage by specifically addressing the sexual component of marriage. This is unique because usually when addressing behavior that is unhelpful for the church, Paul simply exhorts the saints to lay it aside or, simply put, stop it. However, in the case of sexuality, Paul’s logic throughout the chapter affirms sexuality and it would be fair to summarize Paul’s argument as being that celibacy is advantageous, but if an individual’s desire is too strong then it is appropriate to marriage in order to have an outlet for that desire.
This tells us what we already know which is that there is something very unique about sexual desire. I am not quite sure we understand fully the sexual desire, the uniqueness of it, or God’s ultimate purpose in it. I also fear our present society is so sexualized that it could be almost impossible for us to come to a full, proper understanding of sexuality which properly recognizes its power and God’s gift in it while also refusing to allow it to become an obsessive and compulsive thing.
Regardless, in the midst of Paul’s clear instructions on sexuality we are prone to miss Paul’s primary point. Paul’s ultimate directive on sexuality and marriage is that one should choose the path which enables them to be most devoted to Jesus. Paul argues this point by initially saying he believes it best to be fully dedicated to the Lord without being engaged in marriage or sexuality and then shifting that argument by saying that if an individual’s desire is too strong and overwhelms them that they should marry so that they can express that desire.
What is Paul’s point? Paul’s point is clear. Sexuality and marriage are to be lived out in such as a way as enable each individual to best devote themselves to Jesus. For some, this means receiving the gift to abstain and, in so doing, devoting themselves completely to Jesus. For others, whose sexual desire is too strong, it means marrying so they can express that desire and have their hearts free to love Jesus more deeply then if they were constantly bound up by desire. Ultimately, neither way is sin and the way we choose to live should be based on what enables us to be most devoted to Jesus.
While Paul’s conclusions affirm, and validate, the incredible strength of sexual desire, I wonder if we truly approach marriage and sexuality with Paul’s ultimate value system? In our sexuality, whether abstaining or indulging, are we choosing the path that allows us the greatest measure of devotion to Jesus?
Whether we pursue marriage or a celibate life is a decision to be worked out before the Lord. However, what is critical is that we express our sexuality in a way that deepens devotion to Jesus. Sexuality is not just an isolated experience or desire. It is a part of us and therefore should be managed and expressed so that we can be most dedicated to Jesus and live for the glory of God. As we consider sexual issues, let us no longer make it primarily an issue or marriage or not marriage or one thing or another, but let us, like Paul, make the primary issue devotion to Jesus.
Given that most choose to marry, I would extend Paul’s logic by saying to those that have chosen to indulge in sexuality should evaluate their sexuality in light of what strengthens their devotion to Jesus. Our culture is so sexualized that sexuality has no longer become simple, even for believers. For those that marry, you must realize that sexuality is not divorced from the rest of your person. Set your heart when considering sexual matters to choose the path that leads your and your spouse into the deepest level of devotion to Jesus. Like Paul, let’s make the primary issue, not the sex act, but rather our devotion to Jesus in all things. How glorious it is when men and women choose every in every are of life, whether food, drink, vocation, education, or sexuality, the path that frees their heart to be most devoted to Jesus and experience the deep joy of being properly related to God.
By Samuel Clough
Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. – Hebrews 13:3
In all the news about the war in Afghanistan, it is rarely mentioned that the “new” government that the US has supported in place of the Taliban has no freedom of religion at all. Shockingly, a member of the Afghan parliament recently openly called for the execution of Christians in Afghanistan. Even more shocking is that our government continues to work closely with the Afghan government rather than addresses this fundamental injustice. Amazingly, Americans seem concerned about terrorism, but completely ignorant of the fact that the government we support in that nation is willing to execute Christians as policy. May God touch you with the reality of their persecution as you read the letter below from the Afghan Christian community. Here the ache in their voice and the fear that their pain is unfelt and ignored in the rest of the world.
To the Body of Christ:
“This letter is written by the Afghan Christian Community in India which is a small community of 150 Afghan Christian refugees and asylum seekers.
“We left our country because we were sentenced to death on the account of our Christian faith (conversion), as Afghanistan is a Muslim Country, the Afghan Government is an Islamic government, and Islam is the only formal religion of the country, and according to the Constitutional law of the Afghan Islamic Republic, conversion is considered as a big crime, Christian are called pagans and infidels and are sentenced to death by the Afghan Government. Christians are considered criminals. Death penalty is waiting for all those who want to leave the darkness and come to the true light, repent from their sins, and put their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Lord and Savior of all human being.
“We believe that you (the Body of Christ) have already heard that some pictures and movies of the Afghan believers (from Delhi and Kabul) were shown by an Afghan Private TV (Noorin TV), this TV channel showed these picture in a especial program (Sarzameen Man), and the Government and people were encouraged and provoked to think about the issue of conversion, to make a stand against it and to take serious and practical measures and actions to destroy Afghan Converted Christians (Sons of God) and those who share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Lost.
“The Afghan Parliament, Senate, Religious Council and Islamic Parties and leaders made statements that the Afghan Government has to search, find, arrest, deliver to courts and executes all Afghan Christians, and the Christian NGOs and Organization have to be stopped too. University students protested against Afghan Christians in Kabul and Herat Provinces, and the Afghan Government also made a statement that all Afghan Christians will be arrested and executed, and the Christian NGOs and Organizations which involved with the issues of conversion will be closed.
“Mr. Mujajdi, the Chairman Of Afghan Senate, said that if the Afghan Government does not take serious action, he and other Islamic leaders will call and request the Afghan people to take practical measures to kill all Afghan Christians. President Karzai himself showed his personal interest in this regard and said that all Afghan Christians will be arrested and executed and Christian organizations which are involved with this issue will be stopped. He ordered the Afghan security organs to take serious measures in this regard.”’
“The Afghan Home Minister and the Chairman of the Afghan Intelligence told the Afghan Parliament that 4 Afghan Christian individuals and one family have been arrested and they are under investigation, 13 NGOs have been named and suspended, the names of Afghan Christians have been listed, and the Afghan Intelligence agency is trying to arrest them. Two Church organizations have been closed. As we are in contact with our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, many believers are arrested, our houses are checked by police and intelligence people in Afghanistan, our families and parents (though they are Muslim) are under investigation and even arrested, and all Afghan believers are misplaced.”
The letter-writers, “(Afghan Christian Community) along with our other Afghan Christian brothers and sisters who are in Afghanistan” request you to:
“Pray for us and for this critical situation, pray for those who are arrested, and those who are under investigation. Please come together and help your Afghan brothers and sisters in Christ, as we are sentenced to death, we are arrested, we are under investigation, the Afghan Government kills us because we believe on Jesus Christ, we know that we should consider it pure joy when we suffer (James 1: 1 -4), and we are enjoying all suffering all joy. But we also know that faith without deeds is useless (James 2: 14 – 17), and this is the time to raise your voice for your brothers and sisters, for our children, for our old parents, for the execution of thousand Afghan believers. “This is the day that all of us should come together and pray, think, help and raise our voices to the International Community, to put pressure on the Afghan Government to stop killing, persecuting and executing Afghan Christians, to give us freedom of religion, to respect and accept us as Afghan Christians.
“We do not know how the whole world and especially the Global Church is silent and closing their eyes, while thousand of their brothers and sisters (Body of Christ) are in pain, facing life danger and death penalty, and are tortured, persecuted and called criminals because they believe in the Truth.
“We need to wake up, get up and speak up today, and to prove it that we are really in concern, and care for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we should help the persecuted part of the body of Christ, for His Glory. If we really believe that Lord Jesus Christ is God, then, He commands us to love Him and to love our neighbor, if our own brothers and sisters, are in pain and suffering, and we are silent and we ignore them and their suffering, then the question is that do we really obey Lord Jesus’ commandment to love Him and our neighbor?”
The letter concludes: “So, dear brothers and sister (the Body of Christ), we (Afghan Christian Community in New Delhi) on behalf of all Afghan Christians request you to support us by your prayers and practical measures, let us tell the Afghan Government that we are not pagans and infidels, we are not criminals because of our Christian faith, and let us tell them not to sentence us to death.”
By Samuel Clough
The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into His fields. – Matthew 9:37b-38 (NLT)
No one would deny the great need for laborers for the gospel in this hour. Not only is there the great need among the nations of the, but previously evangelized cultures in the western world are growing more and more ignorant of the gospel and more and more in need of a gospel witness.
The need for the gospel to go forth with power is clear and the need is as great as it has ever been in history. There are more men lost and in bondage on the earth now than ever before in human history. God is laying this burden on the hearts of believers all over the earth, but it is imperative that we do not merely respond to the call but that we return to the apostolic method of missions whether we have in view missions to the lost in our neighborhood or to an unreached people group.
What are we to do when are hearts are burdened by the great need of the gospel to go forth in power? Though our first impulse is to zealously enter into activity, Jesus summarizes the apostolic missionary method in Matthew 9:38. Before we undertake any activity, if we are truly burdened for the overripe harvest fields, we are to enter the place of intercession asking God to send out laborers into the fields and I fear that our familiarity with the language of the Scripture has masked just how radical Jesus’ instructions are.
Most of us, burdened with the great need of the gospel to go forth, immediately devise ways of motivating others to the call. We find new and innovative ways to call people to the great need of the sharing the gospel. We use charts and graphs to clearly indicate the great need. We devise powerful sermons that move the human heart to respond. We create training programs to equip individuals to evangelize. We teach new and innovative methods to communicate the gospel. In other words, once we get even a hint of the burden of God’s heart for the gospel we set ourselves immediately to activity and completely bypass Jesus’ instructions on how to respond to an overly ripe harvest.
We fall prey to this error for many reasons, but one reason this course of action is so deceptive is because the activities we have already listed are all necessary to the cause of world evangelism. Individuals must be called to share the gospel. They must be trained and equipped. Believers must understand how critical the hour we are living in is. It is not that what we are doing is wrong, the issue is that, in the rush to activity; we are setting the cart before the horse. Matthew 9:38 exposes our error in clearly declaring that laboring for an apostolic sending of men from heaven is the horse that must pull the cart of missions.
Saints, we have had a lot of gospel activity but the reality is what we have had little fruit. A lot of sweat, tears, blood, effort, and money have been expended and yet we have not seen the kind of results that the apostles saw. While there are many reasons for our lack of fruit, Matthew 9:38 identifies one of the critical errors.
The Apostolic Pattern
Saints, if we desire to again see apostolic missionaries of the same kind as the early apostles were, we must return to the apostolic method of missions and the apostolic method is to first pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers. The most well known apostolic missionary, Paul, was sent out of a community in Antioch that was obedient to the apostolic pattern. In Acts 13:2, the saints were in the place of prayer and the Spirit expressly sent Paul and Barnabas forth to the gentiles and so began the career of one of the greatest apostolic missionaries of all time.
Part of the secret of Paul’s success was that he did not just go to the gentiles with a burden and under the compulsion of human emotion, but he was sent by the Spirit. After all, that is exactly what is means to be apostolic. Apostolic simple means a “sent one.” In fact, it is a clear indicator of our lack of understanding of what it means to be apostolic that we constantly attempt to define what is apostolic according to role and function. We define an apostle by what he does, but an apostle is defined by who his is. To be apostolic is to be sent and only the Holy Spirit can effect a sending. When we begin defining what is apostolic by the activities that accompany it rather than by the God initiated sending that is the basis of all that is apostolic, we have already lost the essential elements of what it means to be apostolic.
The Holy Spirit is the Grand Architect
We must understand that man is not the grand architect, nor even the executor, of the plan of world evangelism, but rather that the Holy Spirit is the architect of the cause of Jesus on the earth. In the book of Acts we clearly see the Holy Spirit actively directing the work of the church. While we would acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit, we are much more prone to use the “wisdom” of 2,000 years of history to prop up human effort while we give the Holy Spirit lip service and then ask Him to provide the miraculous power when we need a “sign” or a “wonder” to back up our gospel claims.
And is it not part of our fundamental problem that our gospel campaigns our often our campaigns and not His? Saints, the Holy Spirit has not changed His role. He is still God. He is still the grand architect of the church as He is the one that makes known to us the mind of Jesus and tells us what is on His heart. Is it not the height of arrogance that we build so much of our gospel activity on human wisdom and human zeal and then ask the Holy Spirit to sprinkle a few miracles on it as though He is simply power for our programs?
We ignore the Holy Spirit as a person and as the all-wise God and instead use Him for power and then we stand amazed that so little power is on the gospel. Frustrated, we read the accounts of the apostles and become disillusioned that there is not power on the gospel, but when we have not followed the apostolic pattern, we should not wonder that the Holy Spirit does not gives His full endorsement to our activities.
We must again give the Holy Spirit His place as the grand master architect of missions and as the possessor of the mind of God if we expect His power to accompany our proclamation. It is true that He always uses men and that is precisely where the confusion comes in. He uses men and then we come to believe that something is intrinsic in man and so we seek to duplicate the pattern we see played out in a man rather than go back to the place of the sending of the Holy Spirit that is what made the man unique in the first place.
The issue of missions then is putting the Holy Spirit back in His place through the application of Matthew 9:38 and one of His primary roles, as the initiator of gospel activity, is to send men and women. As already noted, this is foundational to the understanding of what is apostolic because contained within the very definition of apostolic is the understanding that one who is apostolic is one who is sent.
It is true that the community of saints must send and individual, but that sending must be a secondary sending. When a community sends an individual whether it is to pastor a local church, or to go labor across the earth that sending must be an affirmation and acknowledgement of a sending that has already taken place, because before one can be properly sent by men they must have been marked as a sent one by the Holy Spirit.
Saints, one sent men can do more to turn the world upside down then a thousand believers sent by human effort and motivated by human zeal. The great need of the earth right now is not laborers, it is sent laborers and there is a tremendous difference. There is a reason that Isaiah 6, Jeremiah 1, and Acts 9 are such pivotal passages and the reason is that they mark the sending of a man from heaven. Men that are sent from heaven change history. Men that are sent from man merely increase activity. God, in His kindness, may give some measure of blessing to man’s efforts, but He will not give an apostolic outcome where the apostolic pattern is not followed.
If the great need then is sent men is there any way we can increase the number of heaven sent laborers in our generation? Matthew 9:38 holds the promise for us. Are you burdened for the gospel? Do you feel the Lord’s heart both for your own nation and for the nations of the earth? If so, then the first thing is not to preach your burden or call others to missions, although that may very well come, the first thing to do is drop to your knees and ask the Lord of the Harvest to send men.
If you truly understand the great need of the harvest and the vast need for laborers you will understand the gross inadequacy of human effort and be pressed into the place of intercession crying out that God would send men knowing that a sending from heaven is the only solution to the great need of the earth in our hour.
Contending for Sent Laborers
The place of prayer is the place where the great missions enterprise is lost or won, for it is only in that place that we can secure the favor of heaven to send men for white harvest fields demand sent men, not merely laborers sent of energy, zeal, and humanistic motivations. Jesus’ instructions to His disciples were radical. They were ready for His call to lay down their lives and labor in the harvest fields, but I suspect they were surprised to hear Jesus’ admonition to rather pray that God might send men. As a measure of how significant Jesus’ words were, Acts 6 reveals that the apostles learned this lesson well as they gave themselves to prayer and the Word that sent ones might go forth and they shook the powers in their generation because their labor in prayer secured sent ones.
How different Jesus’ value system is from ours! We rush to activity, and the fact that we rush so quickly to activity betrays the fact that we have so little confidence in prayer and the reason we have little confidence in prayer is that we have little confidence in God Himself. We are more confident in our ability to labor than we are in God’s ability to send, though it is the heaven sent ones that are truly apostolic and that change history.
Does laboring on our knees preclude laboring in works? Certainly not. We must put our hands to the tasks in front of us in obedience to Jesus. He certainly calls us to labor, but He calls us first and foremost to the labor of prayer. He calls us first to gaze upward and cry out for sent ones to again walk among us and advance the gospel with power as the apostles of old did. We will labor until our bodies are exhausted and spent, but we must labor as sent ones from heaven, and it is the place of prayer that will secure this sending. Jesus’ command does not give us the luxury of praying and then refusing to go when sent.
The Holy Spirit has not changed. He is still jealous for Jesus’ glory. He is still the grand architect of the gospel enterprise. He waits only for a company of people who will resist human initiative and lay hold of Him in prayer beseeching Him to send men of His own initiative into the harvest. He will send men if we stand before Him and ask for apostolic witnesses. He will anoint the gospel with power when it goes forth according to the apostolic pattern.